Skywatcher Explorer 130P

A Retrospective Review

Having recently decided to upgrade my Skywatcher EQ2 mount, I thought it was a good time to look back at the pros and cons along with my experience using the mount.

Initial Impressions

I remember thinking this looks sturdy being made of solid metal

My initial impressions when I opened my scope were good, though never having owned my own scope and only having a brief go on a friend’s scope, I had little to compare it to. I remember thinking this looks sturdy being made of solid metal, with the exception of the plastic used on the slow motion controls. The mount came pretty much pre-assembled, requiring only the rings and the slow motion controls to be added. The mount had a good weight to which also added to the feeling of quality, and looking closely at each of the parts being made of metal enforced that feeling further. Once the mount with the tripod and tube were all assembled, again I remember thinking the scope looks amazing and was eager to take it out for the first time.

First Night Out

The confusing nature of the polar alignment and the equatorial movement soon subsided

The first night out was an experience, seeing the sights of the cosmos through my scope truly did take my breath away. Using the scope once setup was simple, once I had worked out how to polar align the scope. The confusing nature of the polar and the equatorial movement soon subsided once after having used and setup the scope a few times, making the whole experience more enjoyable. The eyepieces which came with the set, although not the best, are more than adequate for a beginner like myself.

Scope and Mount Quality

Once you compare with other scopes you soon realise this is a basic scope

The quality of the scope seemed ok to me, again as a beginner, and the quality of the visuals was stunning. Even using the scope in a light polluted area, what I was able to see was great, but once you compare with other scopes, you soon realise this is a basic scope. Like the scope, the quality of the mount seemed very good being made out of metal and having a good weight to it. The major issue I had with the mount was after purchasing a motor to help with auto tracking, as once attached it became clear there were issues with the RA axis of the mount. Initially, I wondered if the issue was with the motor but after close inspection, it became clear the RA was easy to turn in some places by extremely tough in others. The exact cause is still unknown as I did not wish to take the mount apart, though I did grease the parts but this had little effect. Even replacing the mount with a new one, the issue continued to occur.

Tripod Quality

I did read others had filled the hollow legs with sand or used sandbags to add additional weight

As this was my starting scope and I had a tight budget, I purchased a Skywatcher package including the Scope, Mount and Tripod. Following lots of research, I knew the tripod was considered the weakest part of the pack due to the use of lightweight aluminium. With the legs at full extension, several reviews mentioned issues with shaking. This was apparent for me right from the start, though I alleviated this by not extending the legs at all. I did read others had filled the hollow legs with sand or used sandbags to add addition weight, though I didn’t try any of these solutions. Personally, I think for a basic tripod it is not that bad, just don’t make the same mistake I did and over tighten the leg clamps, as in my case they cracked making extending the legs impossible.

Conclusion

Good for a beginner looking to start their astronomical adventure though not so good for the more advanced user

The cost of the mount and the varying quality of the different parts make is an affordable entry level package, good for a beginner looking to start their astronomical adventure though not so good for the more advanced user. Despite the issues I have had, I would recommend this package to anyone looking to start out with something cheaper and not looking for auto tracking. Of course, if someone has the additional funds to purchase a higher spec package then I would highly recommend doing so, at this scope is easily outgrown as the astronomical journey progresses.

 


Have you got this mount and scope package? I would be great to hear from you! Post your comments below.

As my journey through at wonders of the universe, my enlightenment to its beauty and vastness still amaze me. As an amateur astronomer just starting out on my adventure, this is my blog and record of that adventure.

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