Re: Tal 2m or Explorer 150/200?
- From: Mike Murphy <evmurph.zetnet@co@uk>
- Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2005 16:22:21 +0000
On Thu, 29 Dec 2005 15:30:52 GMT, "Saxon" <speedbird011@xxxxxxxxxxx>
>I'm interested in buying a first telescope and have a budget of up to around
>£400. I am interested in a telescope that will enable me to view planets
>and deep sky objects in reasonable quality and am quite keen to use the
>scope for photography via digicam.
To see all the planets, up to Pluto, I recommend an 8 inch 'scope as a
minimum. To do any web cam imaging of the nearer planets a reasonably
good steady mount is required, an EQ5 or better.
>I have spent a bit of time considering what to buy. I live on the outskirts
>of a Surrey town in a small modern close. Unfortunately I do not have
>unobstructed views in all directions due a neigbours trees down the side of
>my back garden and of course my and others houses. I have a fairly
>unobstructed sky at the front of my house but am not sure if I will look a
>bit daft to the odd passer by (it's a quiet residential cul de sac!)
Which way faces south? That direction is your main planetary observing
area, from east round to west if possible.
>I'm trying to decide between say a Tal 2m (£400) or the Skywatcher 150
>(£350) or possibly the Skywatcher 200 newt (£430) and which is around £535
>if motorised and I suspect it would need to be for astrophotography.
>I also like the idea of go-to and connecting my scope to a laptop to drive
>it while sitting in the comfort of the lounge viewing things but am unsure
>if either of these scopes could ever be adaped to such use and in fact for
>that you're into buying a Meade or CRestron SCT and a whole lot more
The Tal can't be motorised on the Dec axis so can't be goto'd.
Skywatcher mounts can have drives on both axes but computerising them
is, not impossible but ia a bit of a DIY job and can be problematic.
The Skywatcher HEQ5 and EQ6 mounts can be goto'd.
The Skywatcher 200 EQ5 or 200 HEQ5 are contenders and the HEQ5 has
built in drives and is a steadier mount (and can be goto'd). However,
they are both F5 scopes and for planetary viewing a longer focal
length is preferable so as to achieve higher magnifications more
easily. The Tal-2M is better in this respect at F7.3 (but it is much
smaller in aperture). For deep sky objects the F5 scopes are more
>I'd really welcome views on which if any of the above would seem to be the
>best option. How much difference is there on say views of Mars between the
>Tal and the 8" Skywatcher?
There would be a significant difference, very noticeable, due to the
77% increase in aperture.
>Would you want to drag any of them around from
>the back garden to the front? Am I better to set one up in my relatively
>secure back garden and leave it there permanently? - maybe chained up and
All these 'scopes are quite large and require some considerable
setting up for an evening's observing. I used to have a Tal-2M and
found it quite awkward to lift and carry, even in its main component
parts; that's one of the reasons that the more expensive
schmidt-cassegrain telescopes are popular.
I wouldn't leave a whole telescope permenantly set-up in any gardern
it's just too much of a theft or vandalism risk. There are also
condensation problems to deal with. You can instal a permenant pier to
attach you mount to, once you've decided on the best location and that
is what many people do.
As for achieving a fully remote set-up, it's much more difficult than
you might imagine. Plan on being there out under the stars to begin
>Interested in views from the experts out there. I am keen to buy a scope
>that I won't grow frustrated with due to poor views and have been somewhat
>spoiled by seeing what a Meade LX90 8" can do!
Bigger is always better in telescopes, but, you could always go for
something slightly smaller and much easier to set-up. The Skywatcher
maksutovs are good, the 127mm one is a bit on the small side but will
give you good views of Jupiter, Mars and Saturn. It comes as standard
on a EQ3-2 mount with no drives for about 400 GBP and you could always
negotiate a EQ5 mount and a drive or two at the time of purchase (for
extra dosh of course). This would give you a nice planetary set-up
that's reasonably easy to carry and gives good views for the money. It
won't be so good for feint deep sky objects, can't be easily goto'd
and is more tricky to collimate than a newtonian, but can give very
good planetary results via a web cam; See Kevin McCarthy's site at:
If you do get an EQ5 upgrade then it will be quite easy to buy another
OTA with the sandard EQ5 dovetail to go on it should aperture fever
strike you later (it usually does!).
If you want to be able to goto your mount later then something on the
HEQ5 mount is worth considering, although at 439 GBP it's not a
particularly cheap upgrade, you'd end up spending 1000 GBP and are
then at the cost of a Meade LXD75 schmidt newtonian.
- Tal 2m or Explorer 150/200?
- From: Saxon
- Tal 2m or Explorer 150/200?
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