2006-03-21

New telescope on order

It's a year ago this month that I took delivery of the 130M and started to get back into observational astronomy and, in that time, I've been surprised to find how often I use a binocular to observe along side, or instead of, the 130M. There's something to be said for the wide-field views and the simple joy there is to be had from sweeping large areas of sky and getting big views of big objects.

The main problem, as many people find, is that a binocular isn't a very comfortable observing tool. While I know that there are some solutions — dedicated binocular brackets or mirror mounts for example — they've always tended to appear a little on the expensive side for my taste (the prices are understandable but I'm not yet at the point where I've got the sort of equipment that warrants spending that sort of money on just mounts — yes, yes, I know, the mount is important, but...).

With this experience in mind, for the past couple of months or so, I've been toying with the idea of getting a small 'scope that will more or less do the job of a binocular; the sort of 'scope that I can drag out into the garden in no time and which is portable enough that I can take it along to astronomical society meetings without having to drag along something that takes up a large part of the boot of the car.

While having a good look around to see what my options were (I'd set a budget somewhere around £100, a tight budget but not impossible, around the price of an acceptable binocular) I stumbled on the Antares 905 over at Scopes'n'Skies. I then spent some time searching around on Google to see if I could find any reviews of the 'scope but it seems it's pretty new so I couldn't find anything (well, apart from a boat with the same name but that didn't really help much).

After a short email exchange with the people at S'n'S I decided that I'd give it a go. So, this morning, I gave them a call and placed an order. All being well it should be with me tomorrow (here's where I should insert the usual thing about how it'll be cloudy for the next couple of weeks, but that's hardly a big deal given that it's been cloudy for the last couple of weeks anyway).

At this point, I'd like to praise the customer service of S'n'S (no, really, I don't have any connection with them other than being a very satisfied customer). The 905, as advertised on their site, comes with K9 and K25 eyepieces. I've already got 10mm and 25mm eyepieces in my collection (along with a 6mm and 15mm). In other words, the supplied eyepieces would pretty much clash with what I've already got. I asked if it would be possible to opt for something different, either of equal value or of different value and I'd pay the difference — I had my eye on a 32mm Plössl. Without any hesitation they said they'd be happy to do a straight swap. That's what I call great customer service! It's also fully in keeping with my past experiences of them, I've purchased a few items off them and I've yet to be disappointed — every time the delivery is swift and, the one time they made a mistake, they were quick and efficient when correcting it.

So, fingers crossed for a swift delivery and some clear skies real soon. I'll post a report of my first impressions once I get the 'scope and have a chance to drag it outside.

File Under: Antares 905, Scopes'n'Skies, Telescope.

2 comments:

Jeff said...

Nice one Dave - I look forward to hearing the first light reviews. That's very good customer service too, with regard to swapping the eyepieces.

Tag said...

Hi Dave,

Yes, let us know how your new optics work out with the grab-n-go experience. Kudos to S-n-S for looking out for you ;D

I know what you mean about bins, but despite the inconvenience (like high altitude objects) they sometimes present, their portability has won over the larger scopes.

peter