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First Proper Telescope

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:35 pm
by JollyNomo
Hello everyone

Big question for me is what is a good computerised telescope thats reliable and doesn't cost a million pounds. Been looking a soooo many telescopes thinking that they are all amazing, then the reviews are completly mixed between good and rubbish bringing more confusion to the search. Was looking for a telescope around £200 downwards that is fairly decent (can see Saturns rings if possible that is). This appealed to me but for all I know it could be amazing or rubbish. ... 099&sr=8-1

Thats why I came here to see if anyone can save me from this predicament as there have been many telescopes that I've almost brought then completly changed my mind.

Had two telescopes before, both under £70 so you can imagine what they were like so thats why I'm looking for a proper one to see Jupiter possibly or Venus instead of looking at the moon and little dots wanting to focus in but not being able to.

Any help will be much appreciated :D


Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 10:47 pm
by David Frydman

I think that the telescope you have highlighted is one of the good ones.

But wait for others to advise.

I will look at Sherwoods site to see the details.
I don't know the supplier you mention.

A 10 x 50 binocular also.

Sorry it is late, I may look into it more tomorrow.

Regards, David

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:19 am
by The Bat
Skywatcher scopes are a popular brand and are generally good. You'll certainly be able to see the rings of Saturn, Jupiter's moons and the phases of Venus. I don't think the scope itself will be rubbish, but the finder looks like a red dot finder which in my experience is limited in its usefulness (difficult to find anything that is not visible to the unaided eye). There may be potential to upgrade that to a better finder at some point though.
You mentioned "computerised" telescopes. This is certainly not one of those. This one appears to be motorised - in other words, it will track the sky to match the Earth's rotation, but it won't find objects for you. The cheapest Go-To telescopes seem to start at > £220.

Just my thoughts.


Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:24 am
by David Frydman
The only drawbacks of this telescope seem to be that...

It may not have a parabolic mirror. It seems to have a spherical mirror.
At this size and focal ratio this just meets the Rayleigh limit I think, but a parabolic mirror would be better.
So the 130mm f/5 Parabolic might be better but more expensive and does not seem to have a 2x barlow or a motor.

The mount for the telescope might be a bit lightweight, so it may be O.K. if you observe from a sheltered location without any wind. But the mount may not like being slightly bumped and at high magnifications a bit wobbly.

But it can work.

Hopefully somebody else ill advise.

But it is quite a good scope with a good range of magnifications.

Regards, David

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:06 pm
by Brian
Hi, and welcome to the Forum! 8)

David and Rachel have made good points. Optically the mirrors are of good quality, and give good images. The mounting is just adequate to carry the rather long (f/7) tube for visual use, but you would probably need something heavier if you want to try imaging (with a webcam) in the future. For general planetary observing you will probably find a magnification of around x150 is the maximum our British seeing will encourage (I never really used more than about x180 visually on my old 8-inch reflector because of seeing limitations). This sort of magnification will show Jupiters main belts, the GRS, transits of the shadows of the Galilean moons, and on Saturn certainly the rings and the main equatorial bands (in fact you can just begin to suspect the rings in 10x binoculars - the "disk" is rather egg-shaped).

The non-motorised version of this telescope scored 90% overall in a 2008 Sky at Night test:

Best Regards,

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:37 am
by mike a feist
I have very recently spent £209.00 on a Skywatcher Startravel 102mm (4") short-focus (F5) refractor on an alt/azimuth (AZ3) head. It comes with a 45deg diagonal (very suitable for terrestrial a large spotting scope) but a 90deg diagonal makes it better for skywatching and can be bought separately. An astronomer-friend saw it and was equally impressed and bought one as well.
No messing about with equatorial alignment or computer control makes it handy and portable and I would think therefore a useful "proper telescope" for experienced observers and and an excellent choice for beginners. I have been following Vesta with mine......even through the double-glazed window! maf.

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 11:45 am
by David Frydman
Dear Mike,
I have been suggesting this very telescope to friends for maybe ten years but I have never actually seen the mount or used one.

I do have the tube and optics which I have used on a Slik 88, but a heavier mount would be better.

I agree that the simplicity of your new scope also allows a beginner to learn the sky.

With a low magnification you could use the scope as its own finder.

Does it have a 2inch drawtube?
What finder?

What is the maximum magnification you can use it at?

A beginner would have problems with high powers. Perhaps they could manage 2/3 rds your maximum magnification.

I have long favoured short focus refractors on simple mounts.
My most used telescope was a Jaegers 123mm f/5 on Mahogany garden tripod.
16x, 20x, 35x, 75x BEST general use, 100x, 145x, occasionally 200x.
So I suppose 20x to 120x might be a good range for your scope. Maybe 140x also.

There is an AZ4 mount but more expensive I think.
And also the 120mm f/5.
So maybe 120mm f/5 on AZ4 would be a nice scope, though more expensive and heavier.

Unfortunately people now think electronics and computers is the way to go.
I think simplicity is better.

Best wishes, David

I use similar scopes up to 95x happily through double glazing as long as the angle to the window is almost at right angles.
At bigger angles 60x or less may be the maximum before distortion sets in.

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:52 am
by mike a feist
Morning David: It comes with a red-dot laser finder which I have yet to use and probably will not.. I did think about buying an angled optical finder perhaps 6x30 with 90 deg eyepiece (so as to match the view's orientation when using the 90deg diagonal) but the shop did not have one on the shelf. At x20 sighting along the top of the tube is more or less adequate really. The focus-tube takes the std size (1.25) eyepieces.
I have been experimenting with various eyepieces and a reasonable x2 Barlow (not a cheap and nasty one!).
25mm = x20 or with Barlow x40 both give v good images.
20mm = x25 or with Barlow x50 both give v good images.
10mm = x50 or with Barlow x100 gives good image at x50 and useable image (on the Moon) at x100.
All these were through the windown glass. I did try using the scope outside and snapping the Moon with Ricoh digital camera around sunset yesterday with some good results but the temperature plummeted and fog and condensation drove me indoors.
Further interesting observations were made which I will recount on the "Observations" thread above...regards maf

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 10:16 am
by brian livesey
I have a CELESTRON 102mm/f.5 refractor, which makes for a good rich-field 'scope. Being an achromat, chromatism creeps in at moderate to high mags.
I purchased a BAADER Semi-Apo filter to reduce ( but not eliminate ) chromatism.

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:18 pm
by JollyNomo
From what everyones saying I'm getting the idea that yes its a good telescope and that it might be worth spending a bit more on a computerised one, say something like these two. ... 759&sr=8-2 ... 572&sr=1-4

But If I can't come to a decision by the end of November I'll go for the original one :]

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:09 pm
by JollyNomo
Was thinking more of the Skyhawk than the Celestron

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:39 pm
by David Frydman
I prefer the Celestron refractor.
They probably both come from the same Chinese factory.
Refractors are more durable.
The short refractor has false colour. The Newtonian maybe none, but the Newtonian more easily goes out of collimation.

It mentions that the Celestron has 5 eyepieces but they may not be high quality. Same for Newtonian.

If the Newtonian finder is a 5 x 25 it is hardly worth having. It is sometimes only 15mm. If 6 x 30 O.K. Also the red dotfinder on the refractor may not be very useful.
You can line up the refractor at 20X ? and use it as its own finder.
It is difficult to line up a Newtonian by sighting along the tube.

But wait for others to advise.

All 3 scopes are reasonable, as is the fourth mentioned by Mike Feist.

As to computerised telescopes a wide angle short focus one as chosen here is better than a long focus Maksutov with a very small field.

Regards, David

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 10:40 am
by brian livesey
A problem with computerised 'scopes is that they discourage us from learning our way around the sky. If we star-hop, we soon learn to identify the constellation patterns and we develop a more intimate relationship with the sky.
Of course, if we happen to be in a badly light-polluted area, where the constellations are barely visible to the unaided eye, there's a case for having a GoTo facility.

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:06 pm
by mike a feist
"Each to their own" of course but I steer clear of computerised scopes myself. If I can find Venus in the daytime against the blue sky , locating objects in light-polluted skies is not that impossible. maf

Re: First Proper Telescope

Posted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:12 pm
by JollyNomo
Probably gonna get the one you showed mike, Skywatcher Startravel. Looks like a good telescope and sounds like it to :]