Meade ETX 90 or Sky-Watcher SkyMax-127 AZ GTi

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Meade ETX 90 or Sky-Watcher SkyMax-127 AZ GTi

Postby Ronboy109 » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:54 pm

Hi Folks

Returning after a long absence from telescopes and am about to buy a family present for Christmas.

I am looking for something relatively simple to use, with 2 young children I am keen to show them the sights of the night sky.

I have narrowed the search down to Meade ETX 90 or Sky-Watcher SkyMax-127 AZ GTi.

I guess I am just looking for a few pointers or advice on what the best option might be, or if there are any other choices that I should be thinking about.

Cheers!
Ronboy109
 
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Re: Meade ETX 90 or Sky-Watcher SkyMax-127 AZ GTi

Postby Gfamily2 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:01 am

Hi and welcome.
I'd say - of those two - go for the SkyMax, but do please read this first ...

Some questions:
Is this primarily for you, or is this this mainly for your childrens' benefit? I assume it's a bit of both, but it makes a difference where the balance lies.
How old are your children? It sounds that they probably wouldn't be able to manage the scope by themselves, so it's worth knowing what sort of sights are you hoping to share.
The Moon, the planets, star clusters, galaxies, nebulae; all these are potential targets.

Both the SkyMax and the ETX90 have relatively long focal lengths for their aperture, so both will have a restricted field of view. They'll both be good for planets and the moon - with the SkyMax's larger aperture giving more light for better viewing. The SkyMax will also be better for smaller objects like Planetary Nebulae and Globular Clusters. However, neither is really great for larger star clusters, where sometimes it's better to have a really wide view, so you can see the cluster against the more sparse background. Here, the narrow field of view can be a disadvantage.

At this sort of aperture, most of the things that look good in astronomy books (i.e. galaxies and nebulae) just look like grey smudges through the scope - so while it's great to see them, they may be a bit underwhelming for youngsters.

But that's not a reason not to go ahead.

Can I suggest you get yourself a scope that will satisfy you - and also a second, more child friendly scope for your children. We bought a Celestron TravelScope 70 for our 7 & 5 year old nephews, which they can use independently - for astronomy, bird spotting and for checking for pirates. It comes in a backpack with a lightweight tripod (OK -ish for travelling with, but you'd want a better one for use where weight isn't an issue). It gave quite good views of the moon and the Pleiades (the whole of them, which you miss with the 127mm SkyMax).

For yourself, as I've suggested, the SkyMax is the better of the two (I have the same scope on a different mount), and it is good to use, particularly if you have dark skies. It is a very compact and robust scope to fit in the car if you're going on holiday.
As for the mount - the ability to use GOTO and control the scope from an app on your phone does sound appealing, but it does mean that you need to make sure your phone is charged to be able to use that mount - and handing the phone over to your youngsters if they want to run the scope. Worth bearing in mind.
As an alternative, you could get the same scope on the older SynScan mount - which is controlled through a handset, and you could get the optional SynScan wifi module to give you wireless phone control as an additional option rather than the only means of controlling the scope.

i.e
This
https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/ac ... tml#SID=56
plus this
https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/ac ... tml#SID=22

rather than this
https://www.harrisontelescopes.co.uk/ac ... l#SID=1723

Just a suggestion

Ideally, get in touch with a local astro society and see if they do observing evenings, when you might be able to look through a range of telescopes to see what works for you.

Or if you're near Somerset, someone is selling a 127mm Skymax for a good price: PM me for details
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
Gfamily2
 
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Re: Meade ETX 90 or Sky-Watcher SkyMax-127 AZ GTi

Postby EIZO » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:25 am

GoTo is good, if it works and yes I do have it, with a celestron 82ED Edge Evolution.

They do have problems and need setting up, and when they can't find things, youngsters can get annoyed.

Personally I would get a scope that can be used for Astronomy AND daytimes birding, at the coast, on holiday etc

https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/ast ... startravel

https://www.widescreen-centre.co.uk/ast ... skymax-127

Simon who owns the Widescreen centre was a good friend of Patrick Moore and his advice as an Astronomer is superb
Celestron Edge 8" Evolution, Esprit 120mm triplet, Sky Tee2, William Optics Binoviewers, many 2" eyepieces. Nikon D4s, D810, Nikkor 70-200 F2.8, 14-24, 70-200, Sigma 150-600 Sport, Gitzo tripods
EIZO
 
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Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:09 pm

Re: Meade ETX 90 or Sky-Watcher SkyMax-127 AZ GTi

Postby Gfamily2 » Thu Dec 21, 2017 1:14 am

If you're interested in the AZ GTi mount, the new January 2018 edition of Astronomy Now has a review of the mount (paired with the 102mm version of the Mak).
A generally good review, with a few issues I'd say. Using a phone/tablet means you can get a lot more functionality, but because you're using a touch screen you don't get to 'feel' the separate buttons, so you may find yourself looking away from the EP to know where on the screen to press next.
And there was a specific action* you needed to follow to be able to confirm your position with the alignment stars during set up.
Once aligned though, the mount was very impressive in action, and it has the useful capability of you being able to manually move it to a new position and it will keep its alignment.
The eyepieces provided though are very cheapskate, so do reckon on getting better replacements.


*You need to centre the alignment stars specifically by moving 'Up' and 'Right' as your last two movements - this is good practice anyway as it ensures that backlash in the gearing is handled consistently, but it's only explained deep in the help guides. Once aligned, the pointing was very accurate
Scopes: Meade 8" SCT, Skywatcher 127mm Mak
For imaging: Pentax K5, Asda webcam, Star Adventurer (new toy)
For companionship: Mid Cheshire Astronomical Group.
Gfamily2
 
Posts: 325
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm

Re: Meade ETX 90 or Sky-Watcher SkyMax-127 AZ GTi

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:06 pm

I have the 127mm Mak and love it.
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.co.uk/2015/11/november-2015.html
The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof
 
Posts: 384
Joined: Sat Nov 23, 2013 1:53 pm
Location: Wiltshire but can be just about anywhere up to 41 000 feet


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