This is where the fun begins!

SkyWatcher 130PDS & SkyWatcher EQ5 Pro

Well, after a month of waiting, it’s finally here! My first telescope that is dedicated to astrophotography!

I do already own a Galileo telescope that I had when I was kid. It’s got a focal length of 800mm with a mirror diameter of 80mm, giving an F-ratio of F/10. However, it’s nearly 15 years old, was a kids toy telescope and pretty much useless, even for visual work.

I wanted to own a professional hobby-grade telescope that has decent optics and could be expandable in the future. I spent the tail end of April researching what equipment to purchase that was within my budget. It has been suggested to start with a APO refractor, as this doesn’t need collimating every time it’s in use. However, this just pushed the total amount over my budget. I was already used to a reflector telescope, so I finally decided on the SkyWatcher 130PDS after stumbling across a forum post on Stargazers Lounge called “Imaging with the 130pds“. All the images that people had managed to capture were absolutely stunning, albeit with much higher quality mounts and cameras that what I could afford! But, the general consensus is it’s a fantastic scope for imaging, punching way above its price.

A Little Bit of Detail

The SkyWatcher 130PDS is a modified version of the well regarded 130P, but with a Crayford 2″ dual speed focuser fitted, and the main mirror is shifted upwards within the tube, allowing cameras to achieve prime focus instead of having to use eyepiece projection. With a focal length of 650mm, it’s got a wider field of view than my old telescope, but with a 150mm mirror, the F-ratio is half that of my old telescope at F/5. This means it’s got twice the light-collecting ability, allowing me to get shorter individual exposures, yet still get the same amount of light.

The optical tube assembly (OTA) comes with the standard tube rings with dovetail plate, a decent 28mm, 2″ eyepiece, and a 6×30 finderscope.

Usually, this OTA is paired with a SkyWatcher EQ3, but I opted to upgrade to a SkyWatcher EQ5 for astrophotography purposes, as it comes with the steel tripod and higher payload limit. I wished I could have afforded the HEQ5 Pro, but that was more than my entire budget unfortunately. I better start saving again!

Fortunately, I had already purchased a T-ring adapter for my Canon camera, so that will allow me to fit my 600D directly to the 2″ focus tube.

If you have read my previous post and have used Stellarium yourself, you will probably have also used its field-of-view feature. These images below show what will be viewable with my 130PDS and my Canon 600D.

Now, these views are completely unrealistic, and I’m probably not going to be able to achieve these types of shots from a Bortle Class 6 back garden. But it’s given me the challenge to try and achieve similar quality shots.

Now at the time of writing this post, it’s been chucking it down for nearly two weeks straight! No sign of a break in the clouds to test out the new scope. But rest assured, the first chance that I get, I’ll be out there trying to get my first glimpse of any deep space object!

Until then, clear skies!

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