I've narrowed my 1st telescope research down to 3. Help!

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I've narrowed my 1st telescope research down to 3. Help!

Postby jonnykerm » Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:03 pm

I have about £300 - £350 to spend and have looked at many, many telescopes, finally narrowing it down to 2 reflectors and 1 refractor:

Meade StarNavigator 130 Newtonian £345

Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerised Reflector Telescope £341

Celestron EXSTAR 102SLT Computerised Telescope £314 Costco (special offer)

I've read that large aperture is good, but a refractor is better quality, but that doesn't really help me decide.
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Re: I've narrowed my 1st telescope research down to 3. Help!

Postby jonnykerm » Tue Dec 01, 2015 9:58 am

Anyone? Please?
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Re: I've narrowed my 1st telescope research down to 3. Help!

Postby Gfamily2 » Tue Dec 01, 2015 11:32 pm

What are you most interested in observing, how dark are your skies, and how familiar with the night sky are you?

If you want sheer aperture, and are happy to find your own way around the sky, then you might also consider a larger Dobsonian Mount like this one
http://www.tringastro.co.uk/bresser-mes ... 9890-p.asp

If you're able to view well from your own garden, its relatively large size won't be too much of a problem, whereas if you need to travel to a dark site, then one of the others may be a better bet.

On the other hand, having a good GOTO mount is very useful for finding more challenging objects.

As for the decision between the 130mm Newts and the 102 Refs; one thing to consider is that, as well as refractors benefiting from an unobstructed aperture, they generally hold their collimation better than a Newtonian; so (again), if you're having to put your scope in the back of the car to get a dark site, you might find it more useful to get the refractor.

As for the Meade/Celestron decision - I've been a long time Meade user, but the feeling I'm getting is that Celestron are definitely leading the field at the moment.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: I've narrowed my 1st telescope research down to 3. Help!

Postby jonnykerm » Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:15 am

Thanks for your reply. I'm just outside Edinburgh towards the borders so it's fairly dark but I am in a housing estate. The scope will be stored in a cupboard and only brought out for specific use, so it will be moved around a fair bit.

I'm a total beginner so like the idea of being guided by the technology, at least for now anyway.
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Re: I've narrowed my 1st telescope research down to 3. Help!

Postby Gfamily2 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 12:46 am

jonnykerm wrote:Thanks for your reply. I'm just outside Edinburgh towards the borders so it's fairly dark but I am in a housing estate. The scope will be stored in a cupboard and only brought out for specific use, so it will be moved around a fair bit.

I'm a total beginner so like the idea of being guided by the technology, at least for now anyway.


OK - to be honest I'd say it's a toss up between the two Celestrons then.

As an f5 scope, the Newtonian has a central obstruction of about 20%, which gives it (by my calculation) about 30% more light gathering area than the refractor. That will give some (but not a massive) difference in light gathering power - but the refractor is likely to have better contrast, and is more compact and should need less attention.

And quite jealous about where you live, our daughter studied at Edinburgh, so we love that city - cold in winter though!
Last edited by Gfamily2 on Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
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Re: I've narrowed my 1st telescope research down to 3. Help!

Postby Gfamily2 » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:46 pm

One thing that's worth noting is that although the Celestrons run off AA cells, they do specify that Alkaline batteries are required, and people have had problems if they try to run them off rechargeables. The problem is that rechargeable cells only give 1.2V each, compared to the 1.5V of an alkaline cell; so the 8 cells only give less than 10V rather than the 12V needed. Running off Alkalines can get expensive though.

Celestron sell a 12V power pack, but most people think those are overpriced, so you would be better off getting a 12V leisure battery (as used in camper vans) as they will give you a much longer time between charges. They are heavy (like a car battery), but should last for a long time. There are smaller, lighter, more expensive 12V packs available. I can't comment on them.

Some people get car 'jump start' units, but they aren't really designed to provide a small amount of current for several hours, and they may well lose capacity over time.
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak, Raffle winner of SW ST80
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
(Not a moderator)
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Re: I've narrowed my 1st telescope research down to 3. Help!

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:05 pm

My personal choice is to spend the money on the optics rather than the electronics. It's OK tracking down obscure objects but you need aperture to actually see them. My choice (127mm Maksutov) does not show anything fainter than these telescopes but gives great views of the solar system objects.

Maybe I could have got a large Newt for the same money but I'm pleased with what I have.
How can I be one with the universe when we don't know what 96% of it is.

My website: http://www.philippughastronomer.com/

My blog: http://sungazer127mak.blogspot.com/

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philippughastronomer/
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Re: I've narrowed my 1st telescope research down to 3. Help!

Postby dave.b » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:56 pm

I did write a long reply but it got lost when I posted it :-[

In summary, buy the 102SLT, buy a 7Ah lead acid battery (long standby type) and charger from the likes of CPC, buy a Celestron 8-24mm zoom eye piece (£70-80). Oh and search the Forum, I've written plenty about these things over the years :-)

Dave B.
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