Posted by Graham Relf at 18:34 on 2011 Feb 10
The SkyWatcher telescopes are excellent. I have their 250 (10") f/4.8 Newtonian on an HEQ5 mount. The only bad aspect for me was a complete lack of any documentation. A Google search found a manual at http://www.skywatchertelescope.net/swtsupport/Instruction_Manuals/HEQ5andEQ6130405V1.pdf but that still lacks a lot of important detail. I have therefore written a page about my own discoveries of how to use the various parts of the telescope: http://www.grelf.net/skywatcherdoc.html . (I am keen to encourage others to try astrophotography and that was the motivation for my web site.)You can avoid having to guide long exposures at all by taking a lot of short exposures and then using some software to align and stack them. That also has advantages for coping with light pollution and reducing overexposure of bright stars. I describe the procedure on my own site, and you can see some of my own results using an unmodified Canon DSLR without guiding: http://www.grelf.net/astrolatest.html. To use multiple 30-second exposures it is important to align the HEQ5 mount so that Polaris is within the small circle in the setting scope, as described in the PDF file from skywatchertelescope.net .