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starblast 6 vs AWB OneSky

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#1 tamara6

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 02:30 PM

Like so many others out there, I'm in the market for my first telescope.  

 

I've read many of the posts here, and I've finally decided that a tabletop Dobsonian will probably be the best for me right now.  In keeping with the idea that the best scope is the one that you actually use, I think I'm much more likely to use something smallish that I can carry through the house and out to the backyard easily.  

 

In college (25 years ago), I was the TA for an astronomy lab class that required nighttime visits to the rooftop telescopes.  They were, I believe, 4.5 in Newtonians on alt/az mounts.  The views were nifty, but I didn't like having to realign them every few minutes.  So I am actually a bit nervous about getting a Dob, but I am afraid that the extra complication of a tripod would really keep me from heading outside.  I think I'm willing to make this concession.  Obviously, I've never used a tabletop Dob before.

 

Anyway, after lots of thinking, I believe that I've narrowed my choices to the Starblast 6 (non-intelligent) or the OneSky.  Maybe also the Z130.  The OneSky looks very appealing because it is small and light and I can see myself heading out on almost any clear night.  The starblast seems heavier and larger (not really sure how big the base is - I can't find that info on their web site).

 

The starblast is $350, and comes with two eyepieces - 25mm and 10mm.  At that price, I'd have to make do with these eyepieces until next Christmas, when some nice person might get me a Barlow and perhaps another eyepiece.  

 

The OneSky is $200, and comes with two similar eyepieces - 25mm and 10mm.  But with such a low price I could get a Barlow and another couple of eyepieces (or maybe the Celestron 8-24mm zoom).

 

I'd like to have decent views of Jupiter and Saturn.  I'd like to be able to enjoy finding the Messier objects.  I've got Turn Left at Orion.  I live in probably a dark red sky pollution area.  We can't see the Milky Way from home.  I'd like to take the scope with us when we go camping (by which I mean renting a cabin in state parks, not pitching a tent).  

 

So I want the Starblast, but that means waiting for any decent views of the planets, and it seems sort of large-ish.  And I want the Onesky because I can get more for my money now, and it is smaller and more portable.  Will the SB have much more fabulous views that are worth the wait?  This I don't know.

 

I know lots of people will tell me to get a nice 8" dob - but I don't see myself dragging it in and out of the house (can they be stored on the patio?  I live in a humid climate).  So I think that is not really an option.  Really.  I've been through that internal struggle.  I can't do it.   I need smallish, lightish, and easy to set up (ish).

 

So I'm sort of looking for thoughts, suggestions (maybe I've missed something?), and opinions.

 

Thanks!

 

 



#2 MatthewT

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 03:02 PM

The starblast is about 23 lbs with a carrying handle on the base and the extra aperture will open up more objects compared to the smaller aperture scopes. My Starblast is in the mail now. I'll let you know how it performs.

#3 vdog

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 03:04 PM

Welcome to CN.  I'm sure I'll be among many to weigh in here, so I'll keep it brief.

 

I don't think you can go wrong with any of those scopes.  The AWB OneSky is very well-reviewed here (see four-year-old thread below), and would be much lighter and easier to carry than the other two.

 

The Z130 is also a great scope.  I've used it.  It's bulky, though.  It weighs about as much as the Starblast 6.

 

For the best views of the planets, you'll want to get to about 5mm of focal length.  Barlow the 10mm that comes with all of those scopes and you'll be there.  So, a good barlow is probably all you'll need for now.



#4 clearwaterdave

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 03:19 PM

I can only speak for the Onesky. It's great.,You will maybe want an adjustable chair for observing.,many of us prefer to sit while viewing.,I have tweeked mine to suit my needs.,but it was good to go right out of box.,good luck.,check out the onesky thread.,

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#5 Mark326

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 03:23 PM

Can only speak to the AWB OneSky.  Ive had one for three years, views are very nice and its easy to manage.  The included 10mm and 23mm lens are satisfactory and on par with what I think youll find with a scope of this entry level price range.

 

The AWB thread here on CN is a good source of information on everything from Collimation, Cleaning, Modifying, alternative Mounting, and traveling with the scope, plus more. Far as upgrades, I purchased a Shorty 2x Barlow that works well and brings in more detail on solar sytem viewing.  The fact that $100 bucks of purchase price goes to outreach was also a factor for me.  Scope is still my grab and go of choice for convenience of transporting.


Edited by Mark326, 17 February 2019 - 03:24 PM.

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#6 spaceoddity

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 03:38 PM

The 6 inch starblast would be the best scope due to having more aperture but I'm not so sure the .9" justifies the price difference. Of the other 2 130mm scopes, the z130 comes with a rack and pinion focuser which is better than the helical focuser(as does the orion) of the one-sky. The z130 and the starblast also come with tube rings so that can be attached to a tripod mount if you should ever decide to do so, makes them more versatile. The only advantage of the one-sky is that the tube collapses into a shorter length which does come in handy for storage and travel.

 

You will want a higher power eyepiece or barlow with any of the scopes for higher power views of the planets. For a decent budget ep, I would recommend one of the 6mm orion expanse/agena ewa clones(rebrands). They can be had on ebay for less than $25 and have 66 degree FOV(much wider than a plossl). I'd also add the gso shorty 2X barlow. It has a removable cell that can be threaded onto the eyepiece for around 1.4x. That would make the 6mm eyepiece into a 4.5mm or 3mm which would cover your high power needs, not to mention it can be used with the 25 and 10 plossl's that come with the scope.  

 

PS. There are a couple of used starblast 6's right now on amazon. 


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#7 spaceoddity

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 03:41 PM

This is the eyepiece I'm talking about. https://www.ebay.com...bMAAOSwp7tabFQM



#8 tamara6

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 03:56 PM

The OneSky apparently has a vixen style dovetail, which I took to mean that it could be mounted on some tripods (in case I want to go that route later).  Are tube rings actually necessary to mount a telescope on a tripod, or is that just a different way (vs. the vixen dovetail) for doing so?

 

And thanks for all the links to eyepieces and Barlows, I really appreciate it!


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#9 SteveG

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 04:18 PM

The OneSky apparently has a vixen style dovetail, which I took to mean that it could be mounted on some tripods (in case I want to go that route later).  Are tube rings actually necessary to mount a telescope on a tripod, or is that just a different way (vs. the vixen dovetail) for doing so?

 

And thanks for all the links to eyepieces and Barlows, I really appreciate it!

 

No, tube rings are not required. I use my OneSky on a Vixen Porta II mount. It works very well in spite of not being able to rotate the tube.

 

Of the scopes you’re looking at, I recommend the OneSky if portability is the most important. Next, I recommend the Z130. The 6” Starblast will show a little more, but not a lot. Looking at the size and bulk of the Starblast base, I would want that tube on a tripod mount.

 

You didn’t state where you live, but be advised that if you live up north the planets are not going to be in favorable viewing positions for a few years.


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#10 mrsjeff

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Posted 17 February 2019 - 06:35 PM

Another OneSky fan checking in here. It’s a good bit of aperture in a very portable package (14 lbs total weight). Definitely check out the OneSky thread in this forum. And yeah, the dovetail on the OneSky allows for easy use with a mount.
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#11 izar187

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 06:51 AM

I'll add a vote for the 6".

It is a little heavier, yes. 

But is does resolve targets a bit better than 5".

So faint fuzzy's reveal easier, planets a little brighter and at higher power.

 

Please note this is not a vote against the AWB, at all. 


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#12 Abhat

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 08:55 AM

Another vote for 6" if you have the right mount for it that can handle high magnifications. Having owned AWB a while ago I can say that it is a highly compromised scope. Poor focuser, no tube rings and open tube. If you are leaning towards 130mm I suggest think about Zhumell Z130 instead.


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#13 clearwaterdave

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 09:20 AM

I kinda like the helical focuser myself.,and the open tube is a plus in that it makes the scope lighter and more portable.,and can be closed with 2 $1.00 sheets of foam and very little effort., Tube rings are nice.,but hardly a necessity.,YMMV.,but these are all non issues to me.,


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#14 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 08:01 PM

The OneSky apparently has a vixen style dovetail, which I took to mean that it could be mounted on some tripods (in case I want to go that route later).  Are tube rings actually necessary to mount a telescope on a tripod, or is that just a different way (vs. the vixen dovetail) for doing so?

I mount telescopes to photo tripods often both with and without tube rings. Both methods have their merits.

Tube rings allow you to rotate the tube, which allows you to put the eyepiece at just the perfect height and angle. In fact, I find the angle of the OneSky's eyepiece annoying -- much closer to vertical than I would like. But not unacceptable.

On the other hand, tube rings also add an extra layer of complexity and joining, which increases the distance from the scope to the pivot point. That tends to put the scope more out of balance, and photo tripods are decidedly unenthusiastic about off-balance loads.



#15 rnc39560

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 08:10 PM

Like so many others out there, I'm in the market for my first telescope.  

 

I've read many of the posts here, and I've finally decided that a tabletop Dobsonian will probably be the best for me right now.  In keeping with the idea that the best scope is the one that you actually use, I think I'm much more likely to use something smallish that I can carry through the house and out to the backyard easily.  

 

In college (25 years ago), I was the TA for an astronomy lab class that required nighttime visits to the rooftop telescopes.  They were, I believe, 4.5 in Newtonians on alt/az mounts.  The views were nifty, but I didn't like having to realign them every few minutes.  So I am actually a bit nervous about getting a Dob, but I am afraid that the extra complication of a tripod would really keep me from heading outside.  I think I'm willing to make this concession.  Obviously, I've never used a tabletop Dob before.

 

Anyway, after lots of thinking, I believe that I've narrowed my choices to the Starblast 6 (non-intelligent) or the OneSky.  Maybe also the Z130.  The OneSky looks very appealing because it is small and light and I can see myself heading out on almost any clear night.  The starblast seems heavier and larger (not really sure how big the base is - I can't find that info on their web site).

 

The starblast is $350, and comes with two eyepieces - 25mm and 10mm.  At that price, I'd have to make do with these eyepieces until next Christmas, when some nice person might get me a Barlow and perhaps another eyepiece.  

 

The OneSky is $200, and comes with two similar eyepieces - 25mm and 10mm.  But with such a low price I could get a Barlow and another couple of eyepieces (or maybe the Celestron 8-24mm zoom).

 

I'd like to have decent views of Jupiter and Saturn.  I'd like to be able to enjoy finding the Messier objects.  I've got Turn Left at Orion.  I live in probably a dark red sky pollution area.  We can't see the Milky Way from home.  I'd like to take the scope with us when we go camping (by which I mean renting a cabin in state parks, not pitching a tent).  

 

So I want the Starblast, but that means waiting for any decent views of the planets, and it seems sort of large-ish.  And I want the Onesky because I can get more for my money now, and it is smaller and more portable.  Will the SB have much more fabulous views that are worth the wait?  This I don't know.

 

I know lots of people will tell me to get a nice 8" dob - but I don't see myself dragging it in and out of the house (can they be stored on the patio?  I live in a humid climate).  So I think that is not really an option.  Really.  I've been through that internal struggle.  I can't do it.   I need smallish, lightish, and easy to set up (ish).

 

So I'm sort of looking for thoughts, suggestions (maybe I've missed something?), and opinions.

 

Thanks!

I have the clone of the AWB and we recently gave my aunt a Zhumell z130, same optics as the AWB. Although I love my AWB, I MUCH prefer the Zhumell z130. Has an eyepiece tray, a rack and pinion focuser, solid tube, tube rings, and looks pretty cool too!.have you considered it? OK, just saw that you had. I like both, but the Zhumell wins IMHP.


Edited by rnc39560, 18 February 2019 - 08:12 PM.


#16 Tony Flanders

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Posted 18 February 2019 - 08:13 PM

I have used the AWB OneSky and Z130 extensively; I have only used a StarBlast 6 in the store.

 

Don't overestimate the portability of any of these telescopes; remember that they need to be placed on a solid support -- unless you are willing to sit on the ground when using them. If it's possible to rig a permanent support in your backyard or other customary observing spot, then you're golden -- yes, a tabletop scope is quite portable. But if you need to carry the support as well as the telescope itself, then a StarBlast 6 plus its table would probably be more of a burden than a 6-inch f/8 Dob.

 

I kinda think from memory that the Z130's mount is identical to the StarBlast 6's mount. Much bigger and beefier than the AWB OneSky mount. Nonetheless, I carry my Z130 and its dedicated support up and down three flights of stairs in a single load. Then again, I can also carry an 8-inch f/6 Dob up and down stair in a single load. With a bit more stress on my back.

 

I must admit that I think that in this aperture range, every inch makes a big difference -- on the planets in particular. I find planetary views through the AWB OneSky and the Z130 fall far short of what I expect from a top-notch 6-inch reflector. Excellent for what you pay, but not in the same class as a standard 6-inch f/8 Dob. Whether the StarBlast 6 can deliver that image quality, I do not know.


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#17 tamara6

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 03:12 PM

The starblast is about 23 lbs with a carrying handle on the base and the extra aperture will open up more objects compared to the smaller aperture scopes. My Starblast is in the mail now. I'll let you know how it performs.

Matthew, when you get your starblast, in addition to how much you like it, could you also please post how big it is? - I mean, I'd like to know how much area the base takes up - I haven't been able to find that anywhere, although I did see a reference that it might be similar to a circle with a diameter of 15 inches.  And also how tall it is when it is in a stored position.  That will obviously be longer than 75cm (~30 inches), but I'm not sure just how much.  I'm trying to sort out if I have enough room for it, or if I should go for the smaller OneSky.



#18 MatthewT

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Posted 19 February 2019 - 10:50 PM

Matthew, when you get your starblast, in addition to how much you like it, could you also please post how big it is? - I mean, I'd like to know how much area the base takes up - I haven't been able to find that anywhere, although I did see a reference that it might be similar to a circle with a diameter of 15 inches. And also how tall it is when it is in a stored position. That will obviously be longer than 75cm (~30 inches), but I'm not sure just how much. I'm trying to sort out if I have enough room for it, or if I should go for the smaller OneSky.


Sure thing! I'll take some pictures with measurements. I need to build a table and maybe a case for it so I'll be doing that anyway.

#19 Sky Muse

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 06:52 AM

I have a "StarBlast 6", but its particle-board mount is up in the attic now, and where it will remain, as in forever...

 

6 f5w2.jpg

 

It didn't take long after having wrestled around with that base that I transferred the telescope to a tripod-type alt-azimuth that I've had for a lot longer...

 

6 f5r.jpg

 

The salt-shaker perched atop the eyepiece-tray is for a sense of scale.  Afterwards, I really started to enjoy it.  But if I had it to do all over again. I would've gotten this instead...

 

https://www.astronom...0.html?___SID=U

 

That's my humble suggestion if you want a 6".  If you want a 5", go with the Z130; a no-brainer.


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#20 tamara6

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:24 AM

I have a "StarBlast 6", but its particle-board mount is up in the attic now, and where it will remain, as in forever...

 

 

It didn't take long after having wrestled around with that base that I transferred the telescope to a tripod-type alt-azimuth that I've had for a lot longer...

 

Sky Muse, what was it about the base that you didn't like?  I've heard that the Z130 has a nearly identical base.   Was it too big?  Was it that it needed to go on a table, so the height was never really right?  Was it something else?

 

Thanks!



#21 rnc39560

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:50 AM

Sky Muse, what was it about the base that you didn't like?  I've heard that the Z130 has a nearly identical base.   Was it too big?  Was it that it needed to go on a table, so the height was never really right?  Was it something else?

 

Thanks!

Looking at the base of the Star Blast, it looks almost just like the z130. The base of the Z130 is bigger than the AWB Borders base, but not by much. If I had my phone right now I could show a side by side comparison, unfortunately I'm awaiting a replacement, and can't get in my Google photos with the wife's tablet. Like I said though, it is "a little" bigger, but not by much. 



#22 vdog

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:41 AM

The mount on the OneSky looks similar to the one my 4.5" Starblast has.  This base is pretty light.  I can carry the Starblast OTA and base outside and down the back steps in one hand, no problem.  The diameter of the base is also pretty small, making it easy to find something to set it on.  I use a plant stand (probably not the most stable, I know), and in a pinch, you can use a milk crate, cooler, etc.

 

The Z130 base has a wider diameter and is noticeably heavier.  This is where most of the extra weight comes from. It's still manageable, but I would never think about one-handing it. Also, you'll need a wider, more stable table to set it on.  All things to consider, but it's still a great scope for $200.



#23 Tony Flanders

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 07:15 AM

The mount on the OneSky looks similar to the one my 4.5" Starblast has.  This base is pretty light.


The bases of those two scopes are essentially identical.
 

The Z130 base has a wider diameter and is noticeably heavier.  This is where most of the extra weight comes from. It's still manageable, but I would never think about one-handing it. Also, you'll need a wider, more stable table to set it on.  All things to consider, but it's still a great scope for $200.


I often carry my Z130 fully assembled in one hand. But two is more comfortable, especially for long distances. Actually, what I usually do is place the scope on its support and then carry the support two-handed. That makes it easy to put the whole thing down on the ground to rest, or to free up a hand if necessary.

 

Both the Z130 base and the optical tube are quite a bit heavier than the corresponding parts on a OneSky. Nonetheless, my Z130 together with its support still weigh a good bit less than my 7-inch Dob.


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#24 Sky Muse

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 10:37 PM

Sky Muse, what was it about the base that you didn't like?  I've heard that the Z130 has a nearly identical base.   Was it too big?  Was it that it needed to go on a table, so the height was never really right?  Was it something else?

 

Thanks!

I'm not a fan of the modern, particle-board, alt-azimuth mounts.  Particle-board is notorious for being heavy, along with anything and everything made from it.  I had suffered from some muscle strain wrestling with it one night, and that was the last straw...and that almost broke this camel's back.  In addition, it sits too close to the ground.  I also didn't like its one-arm mounting method, not for a telescope of that size and weight.  Then, during the warmer months particularly, the ground releases the heat that it had built up during the day when the Sun was out, and that's not good for the primary-mirror when it's so close to the ground.  The mirror needs to be higher, to catch the cooling breezes, and for best performance...

 

thermal.jpg

 

I'm going to tell you that it's my sincere hope that regardless of which f/5 Newtonian you choose, that you'l eventually re-mount upon a tripod, and as I have done.  When purchasing the Z130 or AWB "OneSky", the lion's share of the purchase price goes towards the telescope, therefore think nothing of abandoning the mount in future.  Now, a 6" f/5 is rather compact, easy to manage, store, and travel with, to wit...

 

https://www.highpoin...ly-ota-31057ota

 

That 6" f/5 is much better equipped than that of the Orion "StarBlast 6" kit.  You get a metal focusser, and a 2" to boot.  The Orion comes with a plastic 1.25" focusser only, and don't I know it.  The focusser is all-important, when observing, and when collimatiing the Newtonian.  I can't stress that enough...

 

https://media.gq.com...pearance-gq.jpg

 

...well, perhaps I did.

 

But the problem with that is that you would have the additional expense of a suitable and supportive mount, and similar to my own...

 

https://agenaastro.c...ltaz-mount.html

 

...or other.  Now, that combination is quite portable, when carried around one piece at a time.  Then, an equatorial mount would allow you track objects, when the RA-axis is motorised, automatically and hands-free, and will even keep an object centered in the eyepiece, standing still, for as long as you'd like...

 

https://www.highpoin...ount-41-7100-00

 

That combination would not be so portable, however, not at all.  It would be a beastly undertaking each and every time. 

 

Going with a 5" f/5 may just be your best bet, as you can choose a smaller tripod-type mount for it in future.


Edited by Sky Muse, 23 February 2019 - 10:38 PM.

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#25 Tony Flanders

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 03:27 PM

I'm going to tell you that it's my sincere hope that regardless of which f/5 Newtonian you choose, that you'l eventually re-mount upon a tripod, and as I have done.  When purchasing the Z130 or AWB "OneSky", the lion's share of the purchase price goes towards the telescope, therefore think nothing of abandoning the mount in future.  Now, a 6" f/5 is rather compact, easy to manage, store, and travel with, to wit...

I've never had much desire to purchase a complete stand-alone tripod-based alt-az mount for a tabletop Dob. After all, those tabletop mounts are surpassingly smooth, surprisingly stable, and pretty light for the degree of control that they provide -- it seems a shame to waste them. So my inclination is to build a matching table instead.

The chances of finding a commercial support or table that works really well for these scopes is small. You can get much better results by building your own.

However, it is certainly true that the combination of optical tube and commercial tripod plus alt-az head would be considerably more compact than the full scope plus a table. It's less obvious to me that it would be lighter. There's no royal road to stability; it requires a pretty hefty mount any way you slice it.

 

For what it's worth, the Z130's mount -- scope minus optical tube and tube rings -- weighs 10 pounds.

 

The tube rings add considerably to the package's overall weight. Not only are they heavy themselves, but they place the optical tube an inch or two farther from the vertical axis than it would be with a simple dovetail mount, as in the AWB OneSky or Meade Mini 130. That extra offset makes the scope more imbalanced and less stable, placing extra demands on the mount.


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