Telescope advice for a newbie

Discuss practical questions about using equipment,
finding celestial objects etc.

Telescope advice for a newbie

Postby stev74 » 18 Jul 2009, 16:22

Hi everyone
I am looking for some advice on which telescope to purchase next – I was given an entry level 3” Newtonian for Christmas and after viewing Saturn’s rings and Jupiter’s moons for the first time,  I’ve definitely caught the bug!

Before I became a member on, I got a lot of advice from here on which websites to visit to view telescopes, second hand sites and also found out about Stellarium through one of the posts which has been an amazing help.

After weeks of searching, viewing and reading, I’ve narrowed it down to 6 telescopes (not a very short short-list I know) and would appreciate any comments on my selections which I have listed below.  I have set myself a limit of £300 but for the right scope, I think I could persuade my girlfriend to let me part with a little more cash!  :)

I have been looking through the second hand sites but unfortunately no one seems to be selling in Scotland – so here goes:

1. EXPLORER-150P (EQ3-2) 150mm (6") f/750 Parabolic Newtonian Reflector – best price I’ve found is £229.99 from – this has really great reviews and would love to be able to afford the 8” Explorer 200P but a bit out my range   :(

2. SKYLINER-200 203mm (8") f/1200 Parabolic Dobsonian – best price £269.99 again from – my garden isn’t that flat; don’t know if that would be a problem for this type of scope?

3. SkyMax-127 SupaTrak AUTO (f/1500) 5 inch (127mm) Motorised Maksutov–Cassegrain with Auto–tracking, best price £269.99 from Viking Optical Centre

4. Digimax-90 is a Maksutov-Cassegrain with a 90mm diameter and f/1250mm, also has GoTo tracking system, launch offer of £289, RRP £349 from - this does seem to be a great price although a bit smaller – perhaps paying extra for the GoTo?

5. Celestron Omni XLT 150 on CG-4 mount, price £229 from – spec seems similar to 150-P Skywatcher but not found any reviews for this scope.

6. Celestron 200mm C8-N Newtonian Reflector Telescope, CG-5 Equatorial Mount, £375 from – dream telescope, slightly out price range but does anyone feel it’s worth the extra?

Any advice or comments really are appreciated as you guys are my nearest amateur astronomy club, I’m just over the water in West Lothian but I hope that won’t go against me  :lol:

Look forward to reading your replies soon.


Posts: 190
Joined: 06 Feb 2007, 23:08

Postby bwh » 21 Jul 2009, 20:02

Hi stev74 - welcome

Ok some ground rules....

Rule1. What do you want to look at exactly ?

Planets then you want one of these, Nebula one of those, Both one of the other, you want to go to dark sites - then cant be heavy, you like finding things your self (more optic less computing), you want scope to find things for you (less optic more computers)....

Rule2. Your scope is probably only half what you will need to spend..

Eyepieces, filters, attachments, cameras etc etc can double scope cost.

Keep this in mind a very expense scope with no eyepieces is useless.

Rule3. First and probably second purchase will be wrong.... expect this.

We change our mind, learn what we like and so on.....

Rule4. As ever its a compromise.... where do you want to compromise

Whats a must (decent optic, mount) - whats a would like....

Rule5. Consider secondhand

Dalgety Bay tesco has £200 skywatcher for sale in wanted section ... ?

hope this helps.....

I have 5inch and 8inch and amazing how often the 5 beats the 8 (setup time, clarity etc etc).


Meade 8inch (228mm) LX5 Smidt-Cassegrain fl=2000
Meade EXT 90
Meade EXT 125
Meade DSI Pro

Posts: 181
Joined: 07 Sep 2007, 20:24

Postby justanotherpete » 22 Jul 2009, 16:17

Another place to keep an eye on is this web-site

for second/hand stuff.


Postby stev74 » 22 Jul 2009, 23:05

Hi bwh, pete and all,
First of all thanks for the reply.  Since my first post I've been doing a bit more research and have been looking at the second-hand sections on Stargazer Lounge and astrobuysell (thanks pete).  I'm afraid there's not much, if any, in my price range or in range in terms of cost of petrol on top of cost of scope.  I've also phoned tesco's in Dalgety Bay tonight (thanks bwh), the woman said the advert wasn't there so probably had been sold.  Which is a pity because it would of probably have had a decent aperture if they still wanted £200 for it. If any of you hear of any more please let me know, thanks!! As for ground rules, yeah sorry could've given you guys a bit more info so here goes this time...

Definitely looking for a good all round scope and mount.

I basically want to see a bit of everything planets and DSO's. Can probably say after more searching for info I will give the Goto's a miss for now, the thrill of finding Saturn by myself was a big part of the fun!! I'm a bit more certain of the type of scope now as well, I'm thinking Newtonian and EQ mounts. I know they on the larger side but I'll mostly be in the garden or a close by dark site just outside the village. Not looking to take photo's for now. So I'm thinking Skywatcher explorer 150p 6" or the Celestron C8-N 8". So maybe a few more questions (sorry  :) )......

I've heard SW brand is really good what about Cel?  

I could afford Eyepieces, filters, etc. straight away with the SW or does the extra size of the 8" Cel out-weigh that, could the extras wait a few months?

Lastly storage - is it ok to put it in the hut or storage bunker (was originally for coal but all cleaned out), i.e. less time to set up and cool down and the kids not tripping over it in the house?

Any help or advice appreciated, and if any of you hear of second-hand scopes please let me know.


Solar B
Posts: 162
Joined: 07 Dec 2006, 23:00

Postby Solar B » 25 Jul 2009, 20:42

Hi Steve

             I would definately recommend buying your scopes and mounts
             second-hand,i have now owned over 20 different types of scope
             up to a 16" Dob but have now settled on refractors.
             The only real way to see what suits you best is to try various
             scopes until you find which you prefer.

" Gentlemen only ever use Refractors "

Posts: 364
Joined: 12 Jun 2008, 11:39

Postby Cosmic » 26 Jul 2009, 14:21

Hi Guys
Just back after 2 weeks in sunny Turkey!
Stev Skywatcher are excellent scopes and unless you have bottomless pockets like Pete and Brian it would be a good start. I have a Skywatcher 12" dobsonian and a celestron Nexstar 5SE both excellent scopes. However Brian and pete are of the opinion that Gentlemen only ever use Refractors but if Reflectors are good enough for NASA and "Real Astronomers" :) then you see where my loyalties lie.
I have for sale a 4" refractor on EQ mount. The OTA is Brand New and though it's not an APO the views are comparable with those I used to get with Meade ETX105. Going for £175.00

PM me for more details

Cheers Cosmic
Meade 8inch  SCT. Observatory mounted on an HEQ5 Pro using EQMOD Canon 1000D modified DSLR,200mm Dobsonian, 200mm Celestron C8, 15x70 Astro Binoculars. 2x Mintron ccd cameras, lots of other stuff.


Postby stev74 » 26 Jul 2009, 19:03

Hi Guys,

Thanks again for the advice, if any of you hear of anymore second-hand scopes or have more advice that'd be great.  Cosmic PM sent.


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