on 4 December 2014
Bought this for a present for my wife, we both love it.
Based on my research you won't find a better telescope for the price of this! Everything cheaper seems not worthwhile as they don't gather enough light.
Highly recommended by the sky at night bbc program reviews online, and I wasn't disappointed at all.
Takes some building to get it set up, and some getting used to if you're a first time telescope user like we are but once you get the hang of it you can see some incredible views.
I'm now looking at getting more lenses for greater magnification to see more objects in the sky.
Strongly recommend a moon filter because it hurts to look at it due to how bright it is, but the level of detail you will see with this is incredible.. even small craters come up in crisp and clear detail.
Hoping to get a DSLR adaptor for it to take some fantastic photos. My phone took some brilliant ones of the moon and more.
You won't be disappointed with this - all the cheaper scopes seem to be intended for little kids whereas this is an entry level to the real deal. Can't imagine the things you could see with a scope that costs £500 or thousands if I can already see incredible amounts of stars with this one!!
on 17 December 2013
I have only had the Skywatcher explorer 130m for 2 weeks but I am very happy with the product and with what can be seen.
I don't normally write reviews for products, but considering there is so much conflicting information out there for people buying their first telescope I thought I would let people know my experience so far. I will be honest and say that I did not purchase the product on Amazon so I can't comment on their particular service, but like myself I am sure people come here to look at reviews wether they choose to purchase from here or not.
First impression when it arrived......
The telescope and mount were of a quality that exceeded my expectations, and it was well packed with bubble wrap around all the important things, the eye pieces (ep's) are kept in separate boxes and everything was easy to find.
Building the telescope.......
Like most men I normally just dive into building things instead of looking at the 'destructions' but after reading other comments on the building process, I thought I would be better to nerd up and read. The build is really not that difficult and took around 30 minutes, the weights and mount were a little bit heavy at times so I would suggest adult help in the event a puddle jumper was planning on tackling it themselves. The only part I found a little confusing was the motor drive fitting instructions. The picture is not all that clear on the diagram but once you attach it in various ways it becomes clear which one works the best. The telescope is pretty big and does take up a good bit of room. The scope is about 3ft long and at its lowest on the mount stands about 3ft high (at the highest around 6ft). I was planning on taking the scope of the mount for storage when I'm not using it, but to be honest it would be too much hassle to put it on in a hurry if I wanted to dash out when there was a break in the clouds so my advice is to make room for it in one piece.
Don't be alarmed when you first connect the eyepiece and focus in to see terrestrial objects upside down, this is normal for a reflector scope, hence why its not used normally in this environment. Setting up the red laser finder is a must. Its as simple as centring a distant object while looking through the telescopes eyepiece. Once focused then now look through the laser dot finder and adjust the small knobs on the finder until the laser dot is on the distant object. I set mine up looking at an electric pylon around 3 miles from the house. People have mentioned that they are useless, but in my opinion they must not have set it up correctly, because I find it to be very accurate. Another tip is to make sure you look through the laser finder with both eyes open. All that remained was to then point the dot at something in the sky and focus in using the various eye pieces.
The eye pieces that come with the telescope (10mm, 25mm and 2 x barlow), are more than capable of viewing the moon, and planets. Tonight was perfect for viewing Jupiter which was in the south and its moons were also clearly visible. For the total novice out there like I am, basically the smaller the eyepiece the greater the magnification, but with less field of vision and light. 25mm by itself will give a full view of the moon. The Barlow lens will then further magnify these eye pieces by two. From other reviews its clear that better eye pieces mean better visuals, and I am sure in the future I will invest in more as the times goes by, but for the meantime the current set up is more than enough.
A moon filter is a must when viewing the moon, especially if its full, or else it will give you a sore head. Buy an astronomy book of the stars. I purchased the Philips guide to the night sky written by Sir Patrick Moore (from amazon for my Kindle) it was less than £3 pounds and it gets you looking in the right places. Its written to accommodate all ages which is good for some younger astronomers too. I have also been advised to buy a planisphere which can help you locate things in the sky and also download a few apps on to my phone which are available.
I haven't fully set the telescope up regarding tracking using the motor feature yet, and I'm still reading up on how that all works but having read other comments its worth doing it properly. In the future I am sure I will invest in a set of 'better' lens', and I would also like to set up the eye piece with a camera or webcams so I can record images. All of which is possible with after market attachments for this telescope.
If you are looking for your first telescope, like I was, then this is a perfect start. I read review after review and in the end picked the one I thought was best. I assure you if you purchase this one with the idea of learning abit about the night sky you will not be disappointed. Its ideal for all ages and on a clear night with the standard set of eye pieces you will be able to see plenty.
If anyone needs a bit of advice or has a question they would like answered honestly then feel free to leave your email in a comment of this review and I will try to help out the best I can.
on 3 March 2015
Bought this as my first telescope after spending weeks researching and reading reviews, and I wasn't disapointed with my selection. I found it fairly straight forward to assemble and it took a little practice to work out how to use the EQ2 mount. The views of Jupiter are excellent and everything I was expecting/hoping for with this telescope specs and now after I have got used to the EQ2 mount I am starting searching for deep sky objects. It was a little larger than I expected and not very portable due to the size and weight, but with a helper you could lug it over a short distance if needed. For now i'm sticking to my back garden or taking it in my car.
The build looks to be of high qualifty and the supplied lenses are also very good. The mirrors came aligned so no callibration was needed but I did have to unscrew the red dot finder mount to shift it in a better position in order to align it accurately.
If you are like me and just getting into or testing out this astromony hobby then I high recommend this, but without owning any other telescope I can't compare, however I feel I have got value for money and hope to enjoy many nights looking up at the stars and planets with this scope.
on 13 December 2011
After looking at the reviews for all the reflectors in the £100 to £200 range, and looking at reviews and info on other websites I decided to go for the Skywatcher Explorer 130m. I went for the motor drive just in case I needed it as some reviewers said I would. I also bought a moon filter which is a must.
I found the scope ok to assemble. You just need to get your head around what everything does by reading all the instructions carefully. I found aligning the red dot with the scope quite easy - in the day I focussed the scope on a double chimney a quarter on a mile away and then set the red dot. I was amazed at how well the scope works in the day even with the 25mm lense. I couldn't wait for a clear night. Unfortunately due to torrential rain and wind I had to wait a while.
Tonight it was very cold, very windy but a clear sky. The scope was excellent. I saw Jupiter and two of its moons with the 10mm lense! I also viewed the craters on the moon which were amazing. The only problem I had was the judder from the wind, however as I said this week is very windy with gale force winds forecast all week (13/12/11). The lenses seem fine to me. The barlow is excellent and gave particularly good detail of the moon - too windy to use on Jupiter because of judder. Excellent piece of kit for the price, very well built.
One other thing - I have an app on my iphone which finds stars etc and has red night mode, the app is called 'star chart' - this is excellent as it finds constellations, planets, stars or messiers so you know what you are looking at and where to point the red dot finder, and it doesn't blind you in the dark. I also have a planisphere which is useful for the price you pay.
Not used the moter yet to track but it is offputting when Jupiter, or the moon for that matter, constantly move off out of view, so you have to keep tracking manually. Hope this info from a very happy beginner is useful.
on 3 February 2014
I gave this four stars instead of five for two reasons really: the mount is barely able to handle a tube of this weight - the image is very unsteady in even the slightest breeze - and the the supplied eyepieces are no good.
Having bought a BST Explorer 18mm (branded as starguider) from skies the limit, i really noticed how poor the original eyepieces were - they really let the main mirror down, which is great. I am looking at buying a 6mm william optics spl for planets, but that will come later.
Advice for newcomers: join the forum stargazers lounge for advice, download the free program "stellarium" which gives a full view of the night sky as seen from your location, with a massive database of objects.
Collimation came near spot on (mirror allignment)
Now for the views: So far, Jupiter has revealed four bands or so on the surface and 4 moons, The moon yields amazing detail of the seas and millions of craters, the orion nebula through the BST eyepiece was large and bright - with details in the clouds just visible from my location (in a town, in a jungle of street lamps); The Andromeda galaxy is a large, milky white object that is stunning but requires extended viewing periods to really appreciated, likewise with M81 and M82 - two galaxies in one field of view :) they were amazing and in the cigar galaxy i just made out the recent supernova. Of course there's a juge range of objects, but they are just a few - the main thing is that this is a great beginner telescope.
The mount - unsteady, but the motor seems accurate once polar alligned - I was observing andromeda for about 2 hours and didn't need to make adjustments. The Worm Gear seems to struggle with moving the tube, unless the clutches are to the point of over tightening - i can live with this, but it's annoying. Am considering buying the EQ 5 mount to replace it, which will easily cope with the weight, and allows for tube upgrades in the future.
Overall, great visual telescope for beginners like myself, I highly advise setting it up away from the house, in shelter from the wind and allowing the mirror to cool down to ambient temp. before use. Also, it is a must that the eyepieces are upgraded - forums have advice, but generally the BST Starguiders are seen as the best under £50 eyepieces available, though there are a fair few other types which review very well in the same price bracket.
Under £200 this scope cannot be beaten. If you have the budget, go for the 200p dobsonian, or the eq 5 explorer 200p.
Happy viewing, clear skies :)
on 4 April 2012
Received this scope as gift from my wife and given that she knows nothing of telescopes or astronomy I was a little skeptical of the likel capabilities of this Newtonian scope. I was very wrong. As an entry level scope I would have no problem recommending this product to someone putting a toe into the water for the first time.
My initial experience of astronomy was as a teenager in the 1970s using an old army surplus aircraft spotting scope - 2.5 inch refractor. Ever since then I've debated getting back into the hobby but time and expense as usually formed a significant hurdle to overcome. Since taking delivery of the Skywatcher I find myself looking at the weather forecast checking for clear night skies.
The equitorial mount with its motorised RA drive works well.
The eyepieces supplied do a good job of providing a wide range of magnifications.
The general quality of the optics seem to be excellent value for money.
Finderscope is a 'red dot' finder. Since taking delivery of the scope I have replaced this with a more conventional 6x30 finderscope which fitted onto the existing mounting with the minimum of fuss.
Polar alignment without a built in alignment scope is not as easy it could be.
I have also started down the road of astrophotography using a DSLR camera inconjunction with the telescope. Early days but it looks promising.
on 20 January 2014
Im new to this fabulous hobby of astronomy after receiving this item like the previous post it comes with eq2 mount not eq3-2 and red dot finder not 6x30 scope amazon ammended there spec after I notified them but apart from all that for less than £200 when you see the quality it looks like a £500 kit it is truly worth every penny , set up in under 20 mins , clear instructions and very well packed on my first viewing of the moon I was truly amazed at the clarity and looking foward to clearer sky to see the true power of this beginners scope.
on 19 September 2013
The Skywatcher Explorer 130mm Reflector is my first telescope and I am not disappointed.
I bought this after reading the review from the The Sky at Night magazine so a nod from Sir Patrick is good enough for me.
Set up took less time than I thought and setting the sighting scope in daylight proved easy.
I was lucky to have a clear night with a full moon on my 24hrs and was blown away by the detail on the moon then on a star cluster.
I now look forward to many chilly nights learning more about the night sky and how to get most out of the telescope.
on 30 November 2014
I got my telescope for my 40th about 8 months ago, so it's been a few months. I am overjoyed my my gift. I've always wanted a telescope and i owned a small spotting scope and got some half-decent viewing from it. When i set it up (20-30mins) i was truly impressed. I felt like hummel!😊. I have seen all sorts of stuff in the night sky that I've never seen before. It's sometimes frustrating with the weather, I'm up in west Scotland. Very wet usually. I do make the most from clear nights and i love it. I get excited when its freezing cause i know the sky will be clear. The telescope is great, the lenses and the rest of the accessories are pretty good though the 2xbarlow seems a bit cheap. The stand is a wee bit light and flimsy but it does its job. Overall i would give it 5/5 I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for a hobby for less than £200. You might want to invest in a filter, it helps! I made the mistake of buying extra lenses, they were cheap looking(bought over net) and a bit s***! Beware of really cheap accessories!!!!! 😁
on 13 May 2012
I was a bit overwhelmed at the size - I just hadn't realised how big it would be when assempled on the tripod. A solid piece of equipment and although tricky to set up at first for a novice like myself, with a bit of practice, I got to understand what I was doing.
Because the weather hasn't been that great recently, I have only managed to assemble it once on a clear night, and had an impressive view of the moon. However, I had hoped to focus on Mars and Venus but haven't quite mastered that yet. I haven't yet operated the motor drive - I'm going to get to grips with the actual scope first. However, it's amazing how frequently you have to adjust to the controls to keep locked onto the target.
I think the instructions could be a bit clearer, plus the outside of the scope is easily scratched by the mount grip rings. However, I'm still learning, but overall I'm very impressed so far by the quality of this kit.