Narrowed it down...

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Narrowed it down...

Postby bob4026 » Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:22 pm

Well, I think I have.

I'm new to this and want to get a half decent beginners set up, but of course I am limited by budget (who isn't) and it would need to keep me interested for a couple of years after which I could afford to upgrade if necessary.

I want to study the sky, get good images of the planets, and the moon and things further afield. My garden is fairly dark, and I don't think I will be travelling to observe. The scope will stay in my garage, and come out for garden use. At this stage I don't think photography is where i'd like to go with it.

Heres my shortlist...feel free to beat me with an educating stick. ;)

Celestron skyprodigy 130
Celestron nexStar 130slt
Skywatcher skymax 127 synscan AZ goto
Meade DS 2102
Celestron nexStar 102 slt

My current knowledge of the sky only sees me recognising the plough, polaris, Cassiopeia & orion, so i'm thinking goto will help but i'm not averse to learning new skills. I just don't want to get frustrated at not being able to find my way around the sky.

Anyway thanks for bearing with me and offering your help.

ATB

Bob
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Re: Narrowed it down...

Postby Gfamily2 » Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:41 am

Hi Bob, and welcome.

You've clearly done some research, and each of those telescopes has something to offer.
The first two are basically the same telescope, with the skyprodigy having a far easier alignment. As a beginner, that may well make it attractive, but after a while you will have learned enough to not need it - and the initial extra expense could have been used for accessories down the line.

Other than the amount of automation, all of the telescopes have similar mounts, being Alt-Azimuth designs with GOTO capability. From what I can tell, you should be able to connect any of those to a laptop running software such as Stellarium and control the telescope that way instead, so whether your handset has 4,000, 9,000 or 40,000 objects is not really an issue.

This means that the main difference is the type of optics. Both the 130 scopes are Newtonian design, which mean they benefit from optical simplicity - for the money, that's the best way to get a reasonable aperture. As they have relatively short focal lengths, they will give you the possibility of a wider field of view than the other scopes - and the larger aperture means they should allow higher magnification for planetary views - but you will want short focal length eyepieces to do so. On the other hand, Newtonian scopes can need regular collimation; which isn't necessarily difficult, but it is regular activity you will need to do to get reasonable results from your scope.

The Skywatcher and the Meade scopes are of a design called a Maksutov Cassegrain, this is a 'folded' scope design, so the 'Scopes' are much shorter (though they are surprisingly heavy) - this can make them easier to take with you (in a car) if you are likely to be travelling - taking them on holiday for example (or visiting Star Parties - which is an excellent way of sharing your enjoyment of the hobby). These have relatively long focal lengths, which means they will give you high magnifications using mid-focal length eyepieces. On the other hand, the central obstruction is quite a bit larger than you get with a Newtonian, so the '127' gathers quite a bit less light than the '130' of the others.

The final scope on your list, the Nexstar 102 SLT, is a refactor - so the whole of the 102mm aperture is unobstructed - which means the image is supposed to have better contrast than other designs. This is relatively short focal length, which is good for wide angle views, but it won't stand quite as much magnification due to the smaller aperture.

Personally, I would discount the Meade DS102 unless you specifically wanted a very compact scope to take with you on holiday. ( I have the 102mm version of the Skywatcher - which is basically the same as the Meade, it is very nice, but any of the other scopes is probably better).

Of the others, you would probably be mostly happy with any of them -
the Skyprodigy should be the easiest to set up
the Nexstar 130 SLT should give you the brightest view for the least money
the Skywatcher is the one that'll need the equal least day to day adjustment
the Meade is, umm, compact
the Nexstar 102 SLT should give you the crispest view as well as equal least day to day adjustment
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: Narrowed it down...

Postby Gfamily2 » Sat Dec 12, 2015 12:06 pm

Hmmm, googling again it looks as though there may be two telescopes branded as the Meade DS 2102 - one the Mak Cas (as commented above), and a 102mm f7,7 refractor. The Meade refractor seems to be similar in design to the Celeston 102mm scope - it's got a slightly longer focal length, so will have a slightly narrower field of view, and slightly higher magnification with the same eyepieces.
I get the impression that Celestron is slightly ahead of the game in terms of developing their systems - so a newly released Celestron scope mount may well have better features than you would get with a comparable Meade scope.

For the record I've got a Meade scope myself - the LS8, which is fully automated, but for which you pay a premium. I'm very happy with it, but I'm aware that I could probably have got more scope for a lot less money if I'd bought Celestron.
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)
Gfamily2
 
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Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2015 10:38 pm

Re: Narrowed it down...

Postby The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof » Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:40 pm

I'm not currently using a GOTO mount but have the Skymax 127 on an EQ3/2 mount. Optically, it is amazing. Just check out my website and blog to see what I can do with 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.com/

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philippughastronomer/
The Man with the Corrugated Iron Roof
 
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Location: Wiltshire but can be just about anywhere up to 41 000 feet


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