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I have just bought another telescope, this time a short tube Skywatcher StarTravel 102 refractor which is a lot smaller and lighter than my 200mm reflector.

I had been thinking of getting something smaller than my 200mm Newtonian (also Skywatcher) for two reasons: Firstly, following the car crash that I was a victim of last year, I have been unable to carry heavy objects in my left hand, nor have I got a great deal of dexterity in my left wrist. The large Newtonian and HEQ5 mount proved to be a little tricky to set up, align and use. Secondly, I have been thinking about getting a small scope for solar use but was undecided about whether to get a telescope, spotting scope or another camera lens. I was browsing the net when I found this little telescope, and it seemed to be ideal. I know it's not going to be as good for deep space objects (my main interest), but with all the light pollution around my area, I was having a lot of trouble locating them anyway.

This telescope is much lighter and I can just about lift the mount and tripod with only by the bad wrist (without counterbalance or OTA attached). This will allow me to continue to explore my astronomy while my wrist is healing (I am still waiting for a corrective operation). The main targets for this scope will be The Sun, The Moon, Saturn (may be too late this year), Jupiter and Mars, and I will also be attempting some globular clusters as well.

The telescope itself is constructed of aluminium, all-metal tube, with coated lenses. The lenses are air spaced which helps with the cooldown and also helps in correcting chromatic aberrations. The interior of the tube is properly black matted and has a couple of knife-edge type baffles. The focuser is an all-metal rack and pinion with good travel and a 2" visual back fitted with a 1.25" adaptor. The supplied mount is an EQ1 which is lightweight and somewhat flimsy compared to my HEQ5. I cant tell if its metal or plastic, it's almost plastic to feel, but also cold like metal. It's ok, but the manual adjustments on the mount can be tricky to wind in and out.

While I had my wallet out I also purchased my first set of astronomy filters: Antares 11, 12, 15, 21, 23A, 56, 80A coloured set, a variable polarizer and a light pollution filter. I also purchased a Thousand Oaks glass solar filter, which should enable me to get some great solar photographs.

Sometime before winter, I will be upgrading my HEQ5 with a SynScan kit, which will hopefully find the deep space objects for me! I can use this new telescope as a guide scope and with a long camera exposure, I should be able to capture some good deep space objects (that's the plan!!).

Now all I need is some clear skies!!!!

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