Home > Telescopes > Skywatcher > Refractors > Startravel
Model: st120ota-10940Part Number: 10940
The Sky-Watcher Startravel 120 telescope is a tried & trusted two-element, air-spaced achromatic refractor that provides wonderful wide-field views of comets, star fields, star clusters, nebulae, bright galaxies & planets, the Moon and Sun (with proper safety filtering!).
It is also an excellent telescope for daytime terrestrial observing when used with the supplied erecting prism or as a ‘fast’ fixed aperture lense for both astrophotography and terrestrial photography (camera adapters available separately).
I bought my first telescope, a 10 inch Newtonian on a Dobsonian mount, just over a year ago and have loved using it. I decided to invest in a refractor for easier portability. The StarTravel 120 seemed a good choice – short focal length (600mm) for wide field and not expensive. I particularly enjoy looking at open star clusters and galaxies and the wide field of view suits that purpose. For planets and smaller fields of view I have also invested in a StellaLyra classical Cassegrain telescope.The StarTravel 120 is quite compact, light and solidly built. The telescope comes with a red dot finder, 1.25 inch 10mm and 25mm eyepieces and an erecting 45 degree prism. There is a fixed dew shield; a sliding dew shield would have made it even more compact for transport. The mount used is a Ioptron CEM26 and the telescope was easy to balance. I live in Bortle 6 skies and have a fairly bright glow from London in the Eastern and South Eastern sky. First light was mid June, not terribly late (11pm-1am) on a clear moonless night.Stars – lovely and bright pinpoints. Can just about see Polaris B. Mizar and companion are separated but only just with the 25mm eyepiece (focal length is 600mm, therefore with 25mm the magnification is 24x). Vega, Deneb and Sadr all lovely and bright. Aliberio was seen against the glow of London and the two stars are separated well and the colour difference is easily noted. Ring nebula, fairly small ring structure with the low magnification – the two framing stars Beta Lyrae (Sheliak) and Gamma Lyrae (Sulafat) were in the same field of view. The ring clearly visible as a grey colour – but it wasn’t terribly late for a summer night and the direction of view was facing the glow from London, probably reducing contrast considerably. Hercules globular cluster was visible as a yellow fuzzy blob. I couldn’t see any individual stars at 24x magnification but again this object was seen against London light in the background. Very pleased to see it though.To the west the most exciting thing was to see M81 and M82, Bode’s galaxy and the Cigar galaxy in one field of view with the 25mm eyepiece. Small silver grey smudges within a field of much nearer stars. These galaxies are 12 and 11 million light years away respectively. I was delighted to see them both at the same time, with the light gathered by a 4.7 inch primary objective lens in relatively light polluted skies.I am very happy with this telescope and am looking forward to taking it on holiday to a darker site! A great choice for anyone considering their first refractor. I did find that the 45 degree erecting prism meant that for quite a few observations I was kneeling on the ground, squatting or lying on my back holding my head up to the eyepiece; next time I will use a 2 inch 90 degree star diagonal to ease the neck pain! Having said that, the joy of actually seeing the light from these objects is worth a bit of discomfort.
As a beginner, I started a few weeks ago with a Sky-Watcher Maksutov 90/1250 on an EQ-1 tripod. Not the best choice perhaps, but it gets things done nevertheless.I also wanted a telescope for deep-sky objects, nebulas and such, for which the small Mak is not too well suited. So, I bought this Sky-Watcher Startravel 120T with 600 mm focal length.Unboxing it already gave me a good first impression. Sturdy metal where you would expect it. A very smooth slider for focusing. The eyepieces are rather basic, but that was to be expected. They get the job done though. I already had a 2x Barlow, it works nicely with this scope. Combined with the 25 mm ocular, you get the Moon exactly filling your FOV. My wife was in awe of the full Moon right away. I held my hand in front of the ocular and let the image project itself onto my hand. That gave her the "warning" that there would be quite some light intensity coming out of that eyepiece (without filter yet, this is one of the details I will have to sort).For now, the 120T sits on my EQ-1, which will not suffice for long. That is why I ordered the Sky-Watcher EQ-5 mount. The Mak can then get its EQ-1 back Next, I will get myself a 3x and perhaps also a 5x Barlow and then see where I go from there. I have an adapter for my Pentax ist dl camera, and a remote control for it, so that exposures can be made. I foresee the wish to buy a USB-eyepiece-camera, but I want to postpone that decision as long as possible.This 120/600 telescope is a very nice instrument for a beginner, and perhaps also for the experienced amateur, but I am not quite there as to be able to judge. The views through it are remarkably satisfying, the stars as sharp as a needle. When I looked at Venus, it was immersed in a blue corona, but I believe that is to be expected for such a bright object, causing chromatic aberration, I guess. My next "ambition" is to find and observe M31 Andromeda tonight, but of course, it will take a bit more than just luck to find it out there! I probably will have to escape the light pollution here and get used to the sky at night, finding my way among the stellar constellations, as it ought to be.
As a binocular guy who loves wide field views, this scopes really hit all the right marks. High quality all metal construction. Sharp optics. Decent coatings and manageable weight at a bargain price. A 12 centimeter lens really is the sweet spot in astronomy. Enough light gathering and resolution for some serious astronomy, while being relatively light and portable. Fast achromats are not the first choice for planetary observation and if you favors that, you should go with the Evostar F8,3 model instead. It's a much longer telescope though and not as comfortable and fun to use as this Grab-n-Go model.The only let down is the diagonal and eyepiece included. I never planned to use those, but this scope really needs a 2" diagonal and a nice 68-82 degree 24-32 mm eyepiece. For this price it's hard to complain to much.I must say i'm impressed by Sky-Watcher and their telescopes. For prices within reach for almost everyone you get high-quality astronomy equipment.Also thank you FLO for your international service and website! A pain free and enjoyable experience!
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