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Explore Scientific Firstlight 130

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#1 Andy's Deli

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:11 PM

Hello everyone. New member here, and a beginner to astronomy, although I've done quite a bit of reading and research (Night Watch, The Backyard Astronomer's Guide, Star Watch, reading the forums here, looking at some stuff on the Sky and Telescope website). I'm planning on buying my first telescope and have one in mind but can't find much in the way of reviews for the particular scope either here or anywhere else on the web, other than some brief mentions by people who don't say if they've actually used it, so I figured I'd ask in this forum.

 

Does anyone have any experience with the Explore Scientific Firstlight 130mm Newtonian with EQ3 mount?

Specifically I'd just like to know the quality of this telescope. Are the optics decent? Is the mount decent? As it's a fast (f/4.6) scope, can you get good views with not too expensive EP's (something like Orion Sirius Plossls)? And what would be the highest practical magnification with such a fast scope? How easy is it to collimate it, and how sensitive is it if it's slightly out of collimation.

I really want to hear from people who've used this telescope themselves.

 

I live in light polluted Central New Jersey, and as I'm a beginner, I want a telescope that will be able to give me a taste of everything there is to see (planets, split double stars, DSO's, etc), but realize that not everything will be Hubble photograph wonderful with a scope such as this. I just want something decent to get my feet wet, that won't break the bank if I lose interest in the hobby.

This scope is on sale at Amazon for $162, which seems like a great deal, especially as it has an EQ3 mount, and comes with a 25mm Plossl EP. The comparable Meade and Celestron 130mm newts seem to come on EQ2 mounts and with MA/Kellner EPs. But it's only a deal if the mount is a good EQ3, and the EP a good quality Plossl, so I want to hear from those who've used it.

 

Thank you all in advance for any and all advice and help you can give.

 

 



#2 Augustus

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:19 PM

The secondary mirror is undersized and the mount is an EQ2, not an EQ3 like they claim. The Meade Polaris 130 is superior.



#3 stargazer193857

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Posted 16 July 2019 - 04:45 PM

An equatorial mount is ideal for high power views, and if smooth enough, for photography. Otherwise I like alt AZ much better, and usually cheaper. I hope you can figure out the eq, which is much heavier than alt AZ.

A 130mm parabolic Newtonian is a respectable entry point for someone not ready to spend much money, just like $35 10x50 binoculars. It should provide a wide view for beginner targets and help you find them.

What kind of finder does it have? Hopefully a red dot finder.

A 25mm Plossl is a good eyepiece that is hard to beat for the price. 52 deg is wide enough to enjoy but narrow enough to have clean edges even at f4.6.

Go on ebay and get a 66 deg 9mm or 6mm eyepiece for $28 shipped and don't buy anything else for a while.

150mm is significantly heavier but still grab and go. 114mm f8 is also good for the price.

Edited by stargazer193857, 16 July 2019 - 04:47 PM.


#4 Andy's Deli

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Posted 17 July 2019 - 11:15 PM

The secondary mirror is undersized and the mount is an EQ2, not an EQ3 like they claim. The Meade Polaris 130 is superior.

Thanks for the info. The Meade Polaris 130 is another scope I was considering.

Pardon my ignorance (I am a beginner after all), but I have some follow up questions. You say the secondary is undersized, but I thought a small secondary was a good thing as it blocks a smaller percentage of the light entering the scope. Is it so small that it doesn't even provide a view of the entire primary?

And how can they get away with saying it comes with an EQ3 mount when they supply it with an EQ2?

 

Thanks again.



#5 Jond105

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:02 AM

Thanks for the info. The Meade Polaris 130 is another scope I was considering.

Pardon my ignorance (I am a beginner after all), but I have some follow up questions. You say the secondary is undersized, but I thought a small secondary was a good thing as it blocks a smaller percentage of the light entering the scope. Is it so small that it doesn't even provide a view of the entire primary?

And how can they get away with saying it comes with an EQ3 mount when they supply it with an EQ2?

 

Thanks again.

When they speak of under sized secondary’s, you want it large enough to illuminate the entire field for your eyepiece. Otherwise you’d come across some loss of light entering the eyepiece. But I’d be surprised if it’s that far undersized for 1.25” eyepieces, but could be wrong never owning it. It is a faster 130mm newt. Agree I’d go with the Polaris 130mm

 

As as far as the mount, They get away with it by calling it a Nano. 



#6 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 18 July 2019 - 05:13 AM

Andy:

 

First let me :welome: you and say Hello to Cloudy Nights.

 

I have not used this particular scope.  These are some general comments based on my experiences with similar scopes.

 

As a first scope, I would not choose an F/4.6 focal ratio, it is just too fast, it makes collimation more difficult, it is harder on eyepieces.  It looks to me like it has a cast spider, I consider that a negative because of wider vanes and their lack of strength/ductility.  

 

A true EQ-3 mount should be comparable to a CG-4, Celestron was always one up.  And a CG-4 class mount would handle this scope but this doesn't look to me like a true EQ-3 mount with the skinny tripod legs and just the general construction.  An undersized mount means the scope will be prone to vibration and difficult to focus.  

 

For a first scope, I think a 6 inch F/8 Dob makes much more sense.  The mount is solid so vibration is not an issue.  At F/8, it is much easier to collimate and it works quite nicely with Plossls and the like.  And the added aperture is a help.  For viewing the planets, a 6 inch F/8 Newtonian is often called an "apo-killer" because they can do such a good job that they give a slightly smaller high end refractor, a run for their money when viewing the planets.. 

 

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

 

Jon


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#7 Andy's Deli

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 09:54 AM

Thank you all for your information and advice.

 

 

 

An equatorial mount is ideal for high power views, and if smooth enough, for photography. Otherwise I like alt AZ much better, and usually cheaper. I hope you can figure out the eq, which is much heavier than alt AZ.

A 130mm parabolic Newtonian is a respectable entry point for someone not ready to spend much money, just like $35 10x50 binoculars. It should provide a wide view for beginner targets and help you find them.

What kind of finder does it have? Hopefully a red dot finder.

A 25mm Plossl is a good eyepiece that is hard to beat for the price. 52 deg is wide enough to enjoy but narrow enough to have clean edges even at f4.6.

Go on ebay and get a 66 deg 9mm or 6mm eyepiece for $28 shipped and don't buy anything else for a while.

150mm is significantly heavier but still grab and go. 114mm f8 is also good for the price.

Stargazer, thank you for all that information, and yes, the scope I mentioned does come with a red dot finder.

 

 

When they speak of under sized secondary’s, you want it large enough to illuminate the entire field for your eyepiece. Otherwise you’d come across some loss of light entering the eyepiece. But I’d be surprised if it’s that far undersized for 1.25” eyepieces, but could be wrong never owning it. It is a faster 130mm newt. Agree I’d go with the Polaris 130mm

 

As as far as the mount, They get away with it by calling it a Nano. 

Jond, thank you very much for the explanation. Now it makes sense to me.

 

 

Andy:

 

First let me :welome: you and say Hello to Cloudy Nights.

 

Jon, thanks for the welcome, and for all the information you provided.



#8 stargazer193857

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 01:36 PM

On my previous advice about the 6mm and 9mm 66 deg eyepieces...
They are barlowed natively, but ask Jon how well their edges handle f4.6. I have no experience there. It depends how free of astigmatism your eyes are. You could just get a barlow for the Plossl and get sharper edges, but there will still be coma. I'd take the 66 deg field for finding stuff.


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