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Suggestions on new scope

beginner Celestron observing
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#1 Spriggs

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 09:15 PM

Hello,

 

I'm looking to get myself a new telescope to get back outside and looking up. I currently have a Celestron Astromaster 130eq, however, I do not use it as much as it broke in a way where the mount and knobs cannot be fixed. I did enjoy using it, but now I am looking for a more convenient scope to use. I'm looking at smaller goto scopes around $400. I want to be able to take it with me anywhere, set it up in minutes, and get to observing without much hassle (punch in an object and have it be tracked). I'm currently looking at the two scopes below:

 

Celestron NexStar 4se
Celestron NexStar 130 SLT

 

I realized the 130 is the same size as my current scope, but with its goto factor, I feel like I would use it a lot more. The 4se is very appealing due to its small form factor. In addition to the Solar System, I would like to be able to see some DSOs. As for the price, $400 is my comfort zone at the moment, but I'll consider going up or down based on recommendations. If anyone has any experience with the scopes above, or has a recommendation, please share your input. I would love to hear it as I really want to get back outside and observing.

 

Thanks,
Spriggs



#2 Augustus

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 09:17 PM

A GoTo scope is not going to be more convenient. It will take longer to set up and weigh more.

 

I'd get a 6" or 8" Dob.


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#3 vtornado

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 09:46 PM

The celetron 130 on the SLT mount is shakey.  There are some home solutions to stiffen up the mount.

Some find that tube rings replacing the bolt on dovetail help.  The cat scope would be better on the goto, but you are losing a lot of aperture.

 

I don't want to throw cold water on your project, but I do want you to go into it with eyes wide open.

 

The SLT mount cannot be slewed without the hand controller.  So if you just want to quickly scan

the sky you can't.  You need batteries, and the mount eats the AA's that are provided.

You can get a bigger battery, or use an AC adapter but that is more stuff again.

 

If you have to tree dodge, you have do the alignment every time you move the setup.

 

I don't know about the astromaster 130, but maybe it is possible to mount this on a twighlight 1 mount.


Edited by vtornado, 08 November 2018 - 09:48 PM.

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#4 Gary Z

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 10:17 PM

I have seen the 130 SLT in action and when there is no wind, this performs ok.  Once you get more wind, you will see this scope move all around when viewing through its eyepiece.  

 

A Dobs while not providing goto (classic Dobs), will be considerably stable when you get wind as it sits low to the ground and its base is more solid than many tripods.  

 

If you can hold out a little further and get a more stable system like the 6 SE, with a six inch telescope and more stable tripod (more stable than the SLT), I think you will enjoy both better stability and goto (should that be what you are looking to have). 

 

Hope this helps,

 

Gary



#5 Cajundaddy

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 10:40 PM

8" Dob.  This opens up the sky in ways most don't understand.  A simple, effective tool for observing.  Use your phone and a $1.99 app as s show-to finder to discover the heavens.  This is by far the best bang for a limited $$.  Get out under dark skies and good hunting!

 

If you *must* have Goto I can recommend the 127 SLT.  Enough aperture to open up the sky and a long reach to observe the solar system details.

 

Both should fall within budget, the Dob offers more IMO.


Edited by Cajundaddy, 08 November 2018 - 10:43 PM.

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#6 SeattleScott

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 10:43 PM

GoTo requires an alignment process. It isn’t no hassle, just set it down and punch in an object and go. Once you learn some bright stars and get some practice you can probably do it in ten minutes. So it isn’t onerous but there is some hassle factor. There are some more automated scopes with GPS and such but they are more than $400.

To me a 4” Mak will be a bit dim for DSO. The 130 sounds better, but then it sounds like there are concerns about the stability of the mount with the bigger tube. A 5” SCT or Mak would be a good starting point for DSO. Or a 4” refractor.

Scott

#7 Taosmath

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Posted 08 November 2018 - 11:48 PM

I've had a Nexstar 4SE, a 5SE and a 6SE.  The 4SE is great for doubles and planets but too dim for anything except the brightest DSO's.  The 5SE and the 6SE are not much larger than the 4SE when they're in a case, but they are much better on DSO's.  

 

You might be able to pick up a used 5SE for your $400 budget, but a good used 6SE is likely to cost $500-600.

 

If you really want a goto system I'd wait for a 5SE to come up or like CajunDaddy said a 127SLT (B&H has a used one in mint condition for $350 right now).

 

However I also agree with Cajundaddy that an 8" dob will get you much more scope than any of these for less money, though of course it has no goto.


Edited by Taosmath, 08 November 2018 - 11:49 PM.

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#8 Starkid2u

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 12:57 AM

You really want to go with a 6-8 inch Dob. You'll be unhappy with the other, smaller scopes if you don't. Give it a go.

 

STARKID2U


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#9 Kesil!

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 04:33 AM

You could have another "problem" with the money spent on the go-to system:

You could enjoy in the near future the star-hopping challenge and even stop using the go-to!

Or soon you will know constellations enough to stop using the go-to aid.

Bye


Edited by Kesil!, 09 November 2018 - 04:33 AM.

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#10 Dougeo

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 06:40 AM

You can problem pick up a good used 8" that shouldn't break the bank. You will be pleasantly surprised and pleased with the views you will experience with it.

The more aperature you can afford the more light you let in and the more objects you will see. Have fun deciding!

Doug
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#11 MalVeauX

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 08:12 AM

Heya,

 

The SW AZ GTi (LINK) is a fun easy to use mount, alt-az, fast to setup, easy alignment, use an app on a phone to command it's slews. Fantastic little mount.

 

Keep your 130mm OTA and mount it on a new mount. Good to go.

 

Very best,



#12 Jond105

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 08:28 AM

Heya,

The SW AZ GTi (LINK) is a fun easy to use mount, alt-az, fast to setup, easy alignment, use an app on a phone to command it's slews. Fantastic little mount.

Keep your 130mm OTA and mount it on a new mount. Good to go.

Very best,


This. Best suggestion. If you truly want a new scope though, 4SE

#13 jtb2874

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Posted 09 November 2018 - 03:52 PM

Hi,

 

Been using a NexStar 4SE for about 6 months now. It's a solid basic scope. The mount will get a bit shaky and can be a real issue at higher magnification. I think this is common among any scope in the price range though. I've been able to to view quite a lot more than I had expects with this scope. DSO's are a challenge especially if you are attempting to view anywhere near light polluted area. When I have a chance to get out of town with it it works well and is small enough to pack up easily even with the extras to power the mount. I use a jumper box with a 120v AC plug on the side and that will run the scope for several hours. 

 

I got mine on a deal on Amazon for about $350 and it was money well spent. The 6 or 8 would be nice but for causal use it's a solid choice.



#14 Spriggs

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 06:57 PM

Thanks for the input everyone. I'm looking at possibly getting a goto mount for my current scope, but I am still looking at the smaller options. I guess I just like the idea of something smaller and easier to transport that will help me get back outside under the stars. I've also been recommended the NexStar 102 SLT as an option since it can fit my current scope as well. For those suggesting a Dob, I originally wanted to start with one, but ended up getting my current setup. 


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#15 SeattleScott

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 07:57 PM

The problem with a Nexstar 4 is views of DSO are too dim, making it more of a lunar/planetary scope. And do you really need GoTo to find Saturn??

Scott
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#16 AnalogKid

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Posted 10 November 2018 - 10:07 PM

Another vote for a 6" 8" dob.  Add manual setting circles, and you have what we call a poor mans' push to.  My 8" is grab and go.  Easy enough to take out in one trip.  Another for the eyepieces and table to set everything on.  


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#17 Freezout

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Posted 12 November 2018 - 02:53 AM

Hi Spriggs,
No reason to spend money in goto if you want to see DSOs. Use the dollars for aperture ! I had a 4" in the past, now a 6"... big difference. You won't regret it!
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#18 konrad

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Posted 13 November 2018 - 01:49 AM

I would also rather get a 6 or 8 inch dobs , the 130 astromaster will fit on a SLT mount (I have tried it) but its very shaky as the dovetail attachment to the OTA flexes , and ideally needs rings to balance it properly , good luck with whatever scope you decide on.

 

You could always build your own dobs mount for the 130 , will be better than the original mount


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#19 aeajr

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Posted Today, 02:36 PM

I don't have those scopes so can't offer specific help for those.

Goto is great. My Meade Goto and Orion PushTo are easy to align and do a fine job finding targets.

I can also use these manually and do so about 50% of the time. I have great success using an angle gauge to find targets if you are interested but I have to manually track when doing this.

#20 aeajr

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Posted Today, 03:13 PM

The Celestron 102 SLT is one I recommend often.  Here are some other GoTo scopes that would be close to your budget and would meet your goals.   I have a lot of experience with the Meade GoTo systems, none with the Celestron.

 

What do you have in eyepieces now?   Some of these have three eyepieces and a barlow.  Some have fewer.  How important these are to your decision I don't know. 

 

These are all scopes that I would enjoy owning based on the reviews I have read. I have not used any of them.  

 

 

Meade StarNavigator NG 130 – GoTo Reflector – $395
https://www.amazon.c...e starnavigator

 

 

 

Celestron NexStar 102 SLT GoTo Refractor – 16 pounds – $425
Includes finder, 2 eyepieces,
https://www.amazon.c...L70_&dpSrc=srch
Setup Guide
https://www.youtube....ivG1M7-R4c&t=4s
Video overview
https://www.youtube....h?v=m-l2G7RGu-M

 

Celestron NexStar 130 SLT GoTo scope. – $420
Comes with finder, 2 eyepieces and is capable of using 2" eyepieces.
https://www.amazon.c...=Celestron GoTo
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=m-l2G7RGu-M
https://www.youtube....h?v=t-_Khwl2Iv8
Review and video overview
https://www.space.co...ope-review.html

 

Meade Startnavigator 102 NG Goto refractor – $450
https://www.amazon.c...r/dp/B01LX9OELD
Video
https://www.youtube....h?v=v8GaKek0VIw
Set-up and align
https://www.youtube....h?v=slJlzIBH1Vg
Video – this is the earlier StarNavigator 102 – prior to the newer NG
https://www.youtube....h?v=VhZTuBIFNDI



#21 aeajr

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Posted Today, 03:15 PM

If your reason for GoTo is more about the ability to find targets and less about the tracking, then these discussions might be of interest.  When I am not using the GoTo or PushTo systems, this is how I find my targets. 

 

 

Using an angle gauge to help find targets
https://www.cloudyni...y/#entry8120838

 

 

Great thread on making an AZ gauge on a refractor to complement the angle gauge
https://www.cloudyni...an-altaz-mount/




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