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Is a Skywatcher Heritage 150p a good upgrade to a Meade S102, or should I save up for a larger dobsonian?

Beginner Dob Equipment Meade
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#1 bigopapa


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Posted 12 June 2021 - 09:54 AM



I have a Meade S102 refractor telescope. I have been using it for about 4 months now, and it's working OK for me, but I am looking for an upgrade (mainly for planetary and visual observation).


I would get an XT6 or XT8, but shipping costs almost as much as the telescope for me, and they aren't in stock. 


I saw that the Heritage 150p has a larger aperture and a longer focal length than my current telescope. Do you think that it's worth an upgrade, or should I save up for a larger dob? Is the mount stable? Can it hold the weight of a phone adapter (+phone)?



#2 f74265a


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Posted 12 June 2021 - 12:02 PM

My personal view is to save up for what you really want when it is available.

#3 Phil Sherman

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 12:04 PM

I'd save up for a larger dob. The Heritage scope has a focal length that's only 25% longer and an f/ ratio that's 18% faster than your refractor which means that the increase in image scale won't be very much. You will have a higher resolution from the larger objective and the extra brightness from the shorter focal length shouldn't help a lot for planetary viewing.


All dobs will support using a cell phone camera. Worst case, you'll need to add a little weight at the mirror cell end of the scope to keep it in balance. Fill an empty Altoids (breath mints) box with lead weights (fishing or tire balancing) and glue magnets to it to make positioning it easily adjustable.

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#4 vtornado



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Posted 12 June 2021 - 12:31 PM

I would make the jump.


150mm vs 100 is a good leap in aperture.   You will lose the chromatic abberation of the fast refractor.

An 8 inch dob would be a better leap but only you can decide if it is worth the wait, extra expense and increase in physical size.


The 150p has a helical focuser, I'm not sure if it can handle a cell phone.   I have the 130p it focuses well, I have not tried to

attach a cell phone to it.  Hopefully someone can chime in who actually tried this.  My 130p mount is very stable.

I don't know about the larger sized mount.   I can place the 130 on a bar stool, upside down 5 gallon bucket and resin coffee table.

All of these assume flat ground.   These will rock if used on a hill or lumpy ground.

The scope can be used on the ground as well.  In the summer I roll out a blanket, which is very pleasant.   Not so nice

on snow pack.



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#5 MisterDan


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Posted 12 June 2021 - 01:05 PM

Much depends on your "home base" and personal goals:  available storage space, viewing area(s), path(s) from storage to your viewing area(s), physical strength, tolerance, etc.  If you have plenty of room for an 8-inch Newtonian, and additional mass/bulk will be no problem, then you may wish to save a little more $ (spend a little more time) and bypass the 6-incher in favor of the bigger scopen.  There are lots of folks who have 6-inch Newtonians and are not "itchy" to get a bigger scope.  On the other hand, there are lots of other folks who spent a few nights with their new 6-inchers and realized: "Well, dang: now I want more!"


The Heritage 150P (or "Tabletop," here in the U.S.) has interesting features: collapse-able for storage, nice price, et.al.  However, many folks find that a "table-top" mounting is indeed sometimes handy, but often lacking.  A "two-armed" Dobson-style mount (rather than a single-armed mount like the Tabletop's) will be more rigid & stable.  The single-arm design may be fine and stable enough, but a traditional two-bearing altitude axis will be much more rigid, balanced, and capable.


A new "classic" 8-inch Newtonian (Sky-Watcher Classic 200P, Orion XT8 Classic, Zhumell Z8, Apertura DT8...) will be priced around $450, but - as you know - you may have to wait for stock. "Deluxe" versions or additional accessories will nudge the price upward.  A second-hand 8-inch classic will cost even less - often less than $350, sometimes a little less than $300.  Again, you may have to wait.  -And how about this:... considering the "new" cost of an 8-inch classic - a second-hand 10-inch classic can be found for a similar price (~$450).


My own recommendation is to, first and foremost, consider your "home base" logistics and all those ancillary factors of owning - and USING - a bigger telescope.  If your primary limitations are budget and space, then a 6-incher may be a wonderful bargain.  If you have the space and the wherewithal, then an 8-incher may be perfect for you.


Best wishes and luck.


Edited by MisterDan, 12 June 2021 - 01:07 PM.

#6 SteveG


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Posted 12 June 2021 - 01:07 PM

A well-collimated 6" reflector will show a substantial improvement over a 4" achro in planetary viewing. I'm with VT on this. You will want to make a 3-legged platform for it. If it is what you can get now, I don't think it's a bad decision at all. Don't have too high of expectations for planetary views though, as they are very dependent of your local seeing conditions and the planet altitude above the horizon.

#7 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 02:31 PM

There are reviews of the Sky-Watcher 150P Heritage at https://telescopesto...er-and-smaller/ and https://www.skyatnig...bsonian-review/

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#8 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 12 June 2021 - 02:38 PM

Is the Sky-Watcher Classic 150P Dob available to you?


#9 TheUser


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Posted 12 June 2021 - 02:53 PM

this is not quite an upgrade but rather addition cause there's another optical scheme


there are pros and cons for both variants of yours:


If you hop in aperture you for sure will get boost of image details, but having no experience with reflectors can cause the new big scope to be damaged;

you can obtain not so big scope so you can have practice working with another optical scheme, save money also, but there's no guaranty the image will be different.


me personally would try to purchase the scope not as substitute but as complementation (at least in the beginning)

#10 sevenofnine



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Posted 12 June 2021 - 03:06 PM

Sometimes "upgrading" can be very frustrating. Especially if you have to sell the scope you have to buy the one you don't. I recommend keeping the refractor for awhile to make sure the 150P is really the better scope for you. Another thing to think about is the combination of a 102mm refractor and an 8" Dob could keep you happy for a long time. Good luck with your decisions! waytogo.gif

#11 vtornado



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Posted 12 June 2021 - 03:45 PM

"but having no experience with reflectors can cause the new big scope to be damaged" --- what ???


The only way to damage the scope would be to take the mirrors out and clean them with a bad technique.

Of course the scope could be dropped, or have something fall down the tube but this can also happen to a refractor.


Dobs being made out of wood are fairly indestructable, and repairable with simple hand tools.

That can't be said for a goto mount filled with plastic gears.

Edited by vtornado, 12 June 2021 - 03:47 PM.

#12 MisterDan


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Posted 12 June 2021 - 05:53 PM

TheUser may have been referring to the "upgrade" from 4-inch refractor to 6-inch Newtonian not being an obvious or "big enough" upgrade, when considering one's satisfaction at the eyepiece -- "damaged hopes," perhaps.


That was my take, anyhow.


Best wishes.


#13 Echolight



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Posted 12 June 2021 - 06:37 PM

Heck, I'd make the jump to a 120mm Mak for lunar and planetary. Because it's a nice compact and not too expensive scope that's easy to magnify and won't be too demanding of eyepieces.

Keep the refractor for wide field.


But I'm really not the one to ask. I've got two 80mm refractors and three 90mm Maks.


Then I have a 6 inch f8 refractor. And you know what scope I'd buy next if I could. A 6 inch SCT.

Edited by Echolight, 12 June 2021 - 06:38 PM.

#14 Tony Flanders

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Posted 13 June 2021 - 05:36 AM

Going from a Meade S102 to a Heritage 150p would be a vast improvement. That's not so much because a 6-inch reflector is better than a 4-inch achromat -- though that is true -- as because the Heritage 150p is a good 6-inch reflector, whereas a Meade S102 is a mediocre 4-inch refractor.


I have never used a Meade S102, so I cannot comment on its optical quality. My guess is that it's pretty good, judging by other similar Meade scopes that I have used. But it's obvious from the photos that the mount is grossly inadequate -- both shaky and hard to use. The Heritage 150p, by contrast, comes with an excellent table-top pseudo-Dobsonian mount, steady, smooth, and a joy to use.


Do be aware, however, that you will either need to sit on the ground next to the Heritage 150p or else build or purchase some kind of support for it. A telescope is only as solid as the support it's sitting on.


As for whether you should wait and get an 8-inch Dob, I cannot comment on that; the choice is up to you.

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#15 Adun



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Posted 16 June 2021 - 09:20 PM

Thinking very long term here:


I too had to pay lots on international shipping to get my scopes, and it turns out I use my 6" SCT (on a manual mount) more than I use my 10" dob.


I believe it's because a 6" compact scope on a good manual alt az mount is great for grab and go and car travel (away from the city's light pollution). More aperture is only good until it starts preventing the scope from being taken out (or taken away to dark skies).


So I believe the answer to your question lies in yourself and your situation: ask yourself if a larger dobsonian would be more difficult for you to take out (say: you live in an apartment, you'd have to store it a basement downstairs, you have a bad back) or would be less likely to be taken away from the city (say: you have a small car, you can only do such trips with family).


If you were living in a ranch under a Bortle 2 sky, it'd definitely be best to save for a larger dob of at least 8", or maybe 10" (and paying dearly to ship it's heavy wooden base would still be worth it)


But if you live in a light polluted city (Tel Aviv?) then you need to ask yourself what's a large enough aperture that would still be very easy for you to take outside frequently and away from the city on occasion.


If the Heritage 150 is the same as the AWB OneSky, it would make a very good grab and go scope, and great for travel, and a noticeable (but not groundbreaking) upgrade from an S102. But to make the most of it you really would need to take it to darker skies.



You asked about pictures using a cellphone. I've seen good ones but only by people who were using a tracking mount (German equatorial with drive, or go-to alt-az). If you owned a tracking mount I'd be offering you a third option: an EAA camera would turn your S102 int something that can see deeper than a 10" dob can.

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