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REVIEW : Skywatcher 4.5" F900mm Newtonian Reflector

SKYWATCHER 4.5" Newtonian Reflector on EQ2 mount. Focal length = 900mm

This is the telescope that rekindled my interest in astronomy. It came with the standard 6x30 finderscope, free accessories (10mm and 25mm eyepieces, and a 2X barlow lense), plus I purchased a 1.25" moon filter as well. The EQ2 mount (without the tracking motor attachment) is a standard equatorial mount for entry level scopes.

The scope came on an EQ2 mount with a 7x30 finderscope, 10mm and 25mm eyepieces, plus a 2x barlow lense (I bought a .13 moon filter as well). The focusser is made of plastic, and only accepts 1.25" eyepieces. This telescope gives surprisingly good views of the Moon and the brighter planets. Mountain ranges, as well as many craters and walls are visible on the Moon. Jupiter's cloud bands, as well as the Cassini Division in Saturn's rings are visible, and the planet Uranus has a definite disc shape as opposed to a star-point appearance. Allthough a mirror this small doesn't make for awesome deep sky viewing, you can see some of the brighter deep space objects. In a dark sky I have seen galaxies M81, M82, and of course M31. Globular star cluster M13 just begins to resolve into individual stars in this scope, and I have even seen M57 (the Ring nebula) in this telescope, allthough it wasn't very bright.

Telescopes this size are also available on Dobsonian mounts for a few dollars less, but you would lose some viewing comfort while looking at objects low in the sky, and the manual slow motion controls to re-center objects as the Earth rotates. It is not bad for a first telescope, and with several additional eyepieces it kept me busy for a few seasons until I could afford something a little larger.