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Hi,

I've been eyeing an Explore Scientific 12" dobsonian for a while (primarily due to easier collimation). But a few days ago I noticed there was a 20% sale at my local retailer on Explore Scientific's 16" dobsonian and I am thinking I should just go ahead and get one. The big question is, is this too big of a telescope for a first timer (don't really have any experience with observing DSOs and planets)? Only experience I have prior to this is a 70mm skylux from Bresser (My dad bought it for me 15 years ago) which I've used to watch the moon primarily.

 

Any advice or thoughts are appreciated :)

 

Edit: Been lurking on this forum for a while, soaking up information. This forum is great for newcomers! :D

Edited by Lulz

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Hi and welcome to SGL! From 70 to 400 mm seems like a huge aperture step! I have watched those Explore Scientific dobsonians too and am curious about their performance. If you get one I will appreciate you writing a first light report. Cheers and good luck!

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So apart from observing the moon, have you observed much else with any telescope? Whilst this is a great telescope for sure (although it is way bigger than anything I own so can't say how good it will be), whilst wide field views will be great through the scope, higher magnification views of the moon and planets will be a little trickier as you have to manually nudge the scope around in its base to keep objects in view. I guess my worry would be that due to the size and movement of the scope you may get frustrated with the mechanics of keeping objects in view, and this might impact your enjoyment of the scope. If possible could you attend any astronomy societies that will allow you to perhaps use a large dobsonian before you commit to the scope?

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Hello and welcome to SGL Lulz . I am not sure of how the ES perform and in all honesty have not seem much written about them. So you may be taking a leap of faith.

I do know a bit about bigger Dobs, as I have one at 14inch. Be careful if you are going into big dob territory . Firstly don't expect to carry a big dob around easily. It will probably be needed to kept outside in a suitable location. Don't think you can just lift them in and out every night. It will be heavy and 16" dobs are around the size of a grown adult. So you could easily damage the scope taking it in and out

Also you will probably need to re collimation of the scope if you do need to move it around to much as more than llikely it will be knocked out of collimation.

A big scope also needs its mirror to adjust to ambient temperature and therefore this can take hours , if you need to let it to adjust 

If you need to travel to a dark site then taking a 16inch scope is not going to be easy and will put you off traveling at all and then you could miss out on a dark site viewing experience.

If it was me I would look at something like a skywatcher 250p or maybe 300p. A lot more fun and manageable for you. But if your heart is set on a ES keep it at 12" .

I hope this helps☺ 

Edited by Timebandit
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I keep my 10" in the garage on wheels and can roll it about my driveway.  When that doesn't get the LOS I need i can use a dolly to move it about the yard.  We have big trees.

The 10" will fit in my 4 door car and probably me MarkVIII.  Not my 68.  if it were any bigger I would have to borrow the wife's van.

Keeping it in the garage gives me bug problems but limits my cool down times.

Go see a 16" and decide if you can move it about as needed then buy it if ya can.

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Wow, ty for the great response! 

Quote

So apart from observing the moon, have you observed much else with any telescope? Whilst this is a great telescope for sure (although it is way bigger than anything I own so can't say how good it will be), whilst wide field views will be great through the scope, higher magnification views of the moon and planets will be a little trickier as you have to manually nudge the scope around in its base to keep objects in view. I guess my worry would be that due to the size and movement of the scope you may get frustrated with the mechanics of keeping objects in view, and this might impact your enjoyment of the scope. If possible could you attend any astronomy societies that will allow you to perhaps use a large dobsonian before you commit to the scope?

No mostly the moon, and a star now and then. I primarily want to use it to try at find DSOs, albeit planets are also great. Unfortunally, I'm in Norway and I've tried to find some clubs close to me to have a go with a 16" dob but there are no clubs close :( I also don't know anyone who owns a 16" dob. It's as you say I'm afraid of how "heavy" the scopes movements will be when I try to track objects or planets, but I dont know how much the difference is between the 12" and 16" movements.

Quote

Hello and welcome to SGL Lulz . I am not sure of how the ES perform and in all honesty have not seem much written about them. So you may be taking a leap of faith.

I do know a bit about bigger Dobs, as I have one at 14inch. Be careful if you are going into big dob territory . Firstly don't expect to carry a big dob around easily. It will probably be needed to kept outside in a suitable location. Don't think you can just lift them in and out every night. It will be heavy and 16" dobs are around the size of a grown adult. So you could easily damage the scope taking it in and out

Also you will probably need to re collimation of the scope if you do need to move it around to much as more than llikely it will be knocked out of collimation.

A big scope also needs its mirror to adjust to ambient temperature and therefore this can take hours , if you need to let it to adjust 

If you need to travel to a dark site then taking a 16inch scope is not going to be easy and will put you off traveling at all and then you could miss out on a dark site viewing experience.

If it was me I would look at something like a skywatcher 250p or maybe 300p. A lot more fun and manageable for you. But if your heart is set on a ES keep it at 12" .

I hope this helps☺ 

I've read som reviews/First Light reports on some ES 12" and 16" dobs on this forum. I actually have a van which I use to move larger stuff and a garage to store things in (Also a quite large house so storage isn't a problem). Lifting the telescopes weight isn't a problem for me either (28 years and very fit *cough*). I am, however, always a bit optimistic so you have a point it might ruin the experience lifting a heavy telescope in and out. The local retailer I'm buying from only sells the 10"/12"/16" ES dobs and the 12"/16" Meade lightbridge, no other dobs. I was actually going for the 12" until I saw the 20% sale on the 16" :p (feels like alot of bang for your buck) . How large is the time difference between the 12" and the 16" for the mirror to cool down? I was planing to use the dob both from home and from dark sites (they aren't far from my house) would the 12" be a much better idea for that? My thought was that with the 16" I would get way better resolution of objects, but I dont know how much better it is from a 12". So many questions :p

Quote

I keep my 10" in the garage on wheels and can roll it about my driveway.  When that doesn't get the LOS I need i can use a dolly to move it about the yard.  We have big trees.

The 10" will fit in my 4 door car and probably me MarkVIII.  Not my 68.  if it were any bigger I would have to borrow the wife's van.

Keeping it in the garage gives me bug problems but limits my cool down times.

Go see a 16" and decide if you can move it about as needed then buy it if ya can.

I have a Volkswagen van which should fit the telescope without problems. I'm in a rural area where during clear skies (never gets really dark in the summer in Norway, but during winter its great) I can see the Orion constellation and lots of stars right in my yard. However, there is some light pollution as the milky way is not viewable (sometimes its barely viewable). I was planing on using the telescope both from home and at dark sites.

 

Thank you for taking your time to respond to my questions guys!:)

Edited by Lulz

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Are you considering this model: http://explorescientificusa.com/products/16-truss-tube-dobsonian-coming-early-2016

These are literally just beginning to come on the market - I'm quite interested in the smaller 12" version, but so far don't know anyone whose taken the plunge.

The 16" appears to fold up into the base box very small for transport, looks like no more than 24 x 24 x 18 inches, so space isn't an issue. But remember they are heavy, close to 90 pounds in total, and they may be easier to set up with two people.

I imagine they would need collimating every time they are set up, shouldn't be a problem but probably not quite as simple as just set up and go.

These are fast telescopes with a focal ratio of f4.5 so they will need good eyepieces, and you may find yourself needing to pay at least 200 pounds or more per eyepiece to get the best results.

This said, the views through this size aperture are spectacular (of course, when conditions are good). If you opt for the 12" and like it, you will probably always regret not buying the 16" :icon_biggrin: But it's an unknown factor! The jump from the 70mm Bresser is a big one, and so is the outlay in cash. Personally I can be quite compulsive, do my research and buy - end of story. But someone more cautious might test the waters a bit, buying a good 8" Dob for about 300 pounds to get used to first. Then, in a year or two, upgrade to something larger if the need was there. By that time there should be more opinion on the scope, and maybe even some on the second-hand market.

... but as said, I'm not always cautious!

Good luck, and please do write a review if you do decide to get it!

 

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The larger the aperture the further you'll see into deep space. You'll be able to resolve more stars in a glob for example, and you'll see more of those further away galaxies. There's a good aperture comparison here:

http://www.obsessiontelescopes.com/    (Scroll down to the M13 demo).

If you're fit enough to handle a larger dob, and portability isn't a problem, then "go for it" is my advice. I used to have a 12" goto and changed to a 16" manual. It's easy to push so long as the alt and az have smooth bearings with the right amount of "sticktion" so it stays put when you settle on an object - but moves freely when you want to track.

Big dobs work best at dark sites and will reward over and over - especially as you're coming from a comparatively tiny scope. Just my opinion but you can't go wrong. Hope that helps and good luck. :)

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Looking at the ES webpage it looks as though the whole line are folding box dobs...for the price and putting it all in a box, great...I am interested  in the reviews as they become known as well...

Edited by Aaron F Johnson

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How difficult is it to track objects with larger dobsonians? I am planning to get ultra wide angle EPs (100) so I can observe objects somewhat before nudging the telescope again. My wife is equally or even more interested in stargazing so it would be ok if we could watch an object the both of us before it moves out of the FOV. We are most probably going be 2-3 people stargazing with the new telescope.

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Well it's kinda variable depending on amount of magnification and width of fov. With a 16" dob and a 28mm UWAN there would typically be a line of 4 or 5 members of our club viewing an object in turns at the eyepiece. A minute or 90secs with maybe a couple or three nudges each would be adequate for a turn (all very gentlemanly lol).

A friend with a 24" dob and a 100 degree eyepiece would climb a ladder to scrutinise a comet - then climb down and go into his caravan to add a bit more to his drawing - then return to the eyepiece where the comet was now on the edge of (or just over) the fov - maybe 2 mins later. Nudging it back to center is trivial and instant.

Hope that gives you some idea - but higher mags and narrower fovs mean more frequent nudges. :)

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Somewhat outside of the main question. I noticed in your signature that you have a SCT 9.25"? How much less details in DSOs would the Celestron c11 (11") have then say a 12" dob or 16" dob?

Is the Celestron 11" CST any good for DSO observing at all? I want at the minimum to be able to see m31 details/arms. 

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I use the 925 with it's long focal length and slow f-ratio primarily for planets and moon - and it's very convenient with the goto if I get a few folks around wanting a look (eg at the club or star parties). It's good for dso's as well - but the larger aperture 16" with faster optics and propensity for gathering photons is what I use for deep sky observing. Sct's are great for sharp contrasty planets but big newts see deeper into space and pick up more detail in galaxies and nebulae.

Of course you can look at all objects with any scope - but some scopes are better with one particular type of object than others. Hth :)

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it sounds to me like you have been doing your homework, you talk about 100* ep,s and that is the way to go, if you bought the 12" it would be great but i think you would always be wondering what would it be like in the 16" if you have the room (which you have) and you have transport(like you have) then go for it you will have a blast. dont know what you are paying for it but have you considered orion optics uk and go for there 14"

http://www.orionoptics.co.uk/VX/vx14.html

or there 12" superb optics

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One thing to bear in mind, if something is so faint it won't stand out against the background light pollution it doesn't matter how much aperture you use, it still won't stand out.     If you have light pollution around your house there is a limit to how useful extra aperture will be to you at that location.

If you have light pollution, you are forced into using a dark site to see very faint objects and whilst you may be physically able to move a large telescope you might end up wishing you had bought something a bit smaller and easier to manage.

I am speaking from personal experience.   I wanted a 9.25" SCT but saw an 11" advertised and went for it.   I can see some galaxies and nebulae in my garden but some just don't stand out against the moderate level of light pollution in this area.   Now I have just started making trips to a dark site and I am wishing I had a 9.25" rather than an 11".   The tricky bit with a bigger SCT is latching it into an equatorial  mount.    In my garden I do it earlier whilst it is still light and leave it there ready for the evening and that is not so bad.    But in the dark at a remote site it is kind of fiddly, even after much practice. I can manage the 11" but a 9.25" would be so much easier.  

You definitely can see plenty of detail in DSOs through an 11" SCT.   But it is generally accepted (and makes perfect sense) that well adjusted Newtonians are a little bit sharper.

Maybe Dobsonians are a bit easier to transport and put into action, I don't know as I have never owned one, and others who have posted in this thread have far more experience than me.  But my advice would be regardless of what type of telescope you buy, work out what you can easily take to a dark site.    A dark site will do far more for your views than an extra inch or two of aperture.

 

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9 hours ago, faulksy said:

it sounds to me like you have been doing your homework, you talk about 100* ep,s and that is the way to go, if you bought the 12" it would be great but i think you would always be wondering what would it be like in the 16" if you have the room (which you have) and you have transport(like you have) then go for it you will have a blast. dont know what you are paying for it but have you considered orion optics uk and go for there 14"

http://www.orionoptics.co.uk/VX/vx14.html

or there 12" superb optics

Hehe, yeah I've been doing maybe to much research. I think im nearing 100+ hours only the last 10 days   I've always loved astronomy (as a kid I had a pocket astronomy book with me all the time haha) so I can spend hours on it without problems (except when I'm working ofc....). I actually know most of the constellation thanks to those books from my younger days. 

Thank you for your suggestion, those are some really impressive telescopes. I didn't know it was possible to fit 14" newtonian on a EQ6 thats insane  . However, the price for the Explore Scientific 16" is at about £1650 (or NOK 18 499 as I'm in Norway). It's on a 20% discount at the moment from my local retailer. Which is cheaper than the VX14 without a mount  . The VX14 does look like a higher quality telescope though, and having it on a eq6 mount would be a dream (albeit heavy one). In my eyes, since I've never owned a newtonian, I see the easy collimation setup of the ES 16" as a big advantage for me. I'm planning to combine it with a DSC from here: http://www.astrodevices.com/ until I learn star hoping well enough. But you've given me more to think about now. A 12"/14" Newtonian with quality mirrors on a EQ6 sounds really good. Do they ship to Norway?
 

1 hour ago, Riemann said:

One thing to bear in mind, if something is so faint it won't stand out against the background light pollution it doesn't matter how much aperture you use, it still won't stand out.     If you have light pollution around your house there is a limit to how useful extra aperture will be to you at that location.

If you have light pollution, you are forced into using a dark site to see very faint objects and whilst you may be physically able to move a large telescope you might end up wishing you had bought something a bit smaller and easier to manage.

I am speaking from personal experience.   I wanted a 9.25" SCT but saw an 11" advertised and went for it.   I can see some galaxies and nebulae in my garden but some just don't stand out against the moderate level of light pollution in this area.   Now I have just started making trips to a dark site and I am wishing I had a 9.25" rather than an 11".   The tricky bit with a bigger SCT is latching it into an equatorial  mount.    In my garden I do it earlier whilst it is still light and leave it there ready for the evening and that is not so bad.    But in the dark at a remote site it is kind of fiddly, even after much practice. I can manage the 11" but a 9.25" would be so much easier.  

You definitely can see plenty of detail in DSOs through an 11" SCT.   But it is generally accepted (and makes perfect sense) that well adjusted Newtonians are a little bit sharper.

Maybe Dobsonians are a bit easier to transport and put into action, I don't know as I have never owned one, and others who have posted in this thread have far more experience than me.  But my advice would be regardless of what type of telescope you buy, work out what you can easily take to a dark site.    A dark site will do far more for your views than an extra inch or two of aperture.

 

I've been using the following map to check out my skies http://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=11&lat=8312969&lon=1255320&layers=B0TFFFF (link should take you directly to my city). I'm in the orange area according to the 2016 data here. The good dark sites are about 30 mins drive form my house. An ok dark site seems to be a 10-15min drive (there's a good spot close to a lake which runs North-south, but the trees are far away on all sides. I've just been unsure when it comes to dew if it's a good idea to view from a spot close to a lake). But yeah, I would love to be able to use the goto functions on a 11" SCT and use it directly from my yard. During winter the Orion constellation is on a really nice spot and easily viewable during the entire evening/night from my yard during fall/winter. Summers are a b**** though. The sun only sets for about 3 hours and then it gets light enough for only the brightest stars or planets to be viewable. 

The biggest problem with buying a scope in Norway seems to be that there isn't any market for used telescopes, meaning selling one is really difficult. I've only seen 4 telescope for sale on Norways largest classifieds site, 3 of which are Celestron SCTs and one Skywatcher APO 120mm. I guess that's to be expected from a country with ~5mill population. So the scope I buy will probably be used by me for a long time.
 

Edited by Lulz

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2 hours ago, Lulz said:

Hehe, yeah I've been doing maybe to much research. I think im nearing 100+ hours only the last 10 days   I've always loved astronomy (as a kid I had a pocket astronomy book with me all the time haha) so I can spend hours on it without problems (except when I'm working ofc....). I actually know most of the constellation thanks to those books from my younger days. 

Thank you for your suggestion, those are some really impressive telescopes. I didn't know it was possible to fit 14" newtonian on a EQ6 thats insane  . However, the price for the Explore Scientific 16" is at about £1650 (or NOK 18 499 as I'm in Norway). It's on a 20% discount at the moment from my local retailer. Which is cheaper than the VX14 without a mount  . The VX14 does look like a higher quality telescope though, and having it on a eq6 mount would be a dream (albeit heavy one). In my eyes, since I've never owned a newtonian, I see the easy collimation setup of the ES 16" as a big advantage for me. I'm planning to combine it with a DSC from here: http://www.astrodevices.com/ until I learn star hoping well enough. But you've given me more to think about now. A 12"/14" Newtonian with quality mirrors on a EQ6 sounds really good. Do they ship to Norway?
 

I've been using the following map to check out my skies http://www.lightpollutionmap.info/#zoom=11&lat=8312969&lon=1255320&layers=B0TFFFF (link should take you directly to my city). I'm in the orange area according to the 2016 data here. The good dark sites are about 30 mins drive form my house. An ok dark site seems to be a 10-15min drive (there's a good spot close to a lake which runs North-south, but the trees are far away on all sides. I've just been unsure when it comes to dew if it's a good idea to view from a spot close to a lake). But yeah, I would love to be able to use the goto functions on a 11" SCT and use it directly from my yard. During winter the Orion constellation is on a really nice spot and easily viewable during the entire evening/night from my yard during fall/winter. Summers are a b**** though. The sun only sets for about 3 hours and then it gets light enough for only the brightest stars or planets to be viewable. 

The biggest problem with buying a scope in Norway seems to be that there isn't any market for used telescopes, meaning selling one is really difficult. I've only seen 4 telescope for sale on Norways largest classifieds site, 3 of which are Celestron SCTs and one Skywatcher APO 120mm. I guess that's to be expected from a country with ~5mill population. So the scope I buy will probably be used by me for a long time.
 

you can get any of the tubes from orion optics on a dobsonian base a lot better for visual. and they ship anywere around the world. i also use the astro systems dsc (nexus)  its on my signature if you look great piece of kit

the vx 12" with 1/10 mirror kit on a dob base comes in at £1500

Edited by faulksy

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57 minutes ago, faulksy said:

you can get any of the tubes from orion optics on a dobsonian base a lot better for visual. and they ship anywere around the world. i also use the astro systems dsc (nexus)  its on my signature if you look great piece of kit

the vx 12" with 1/10 mirror kit on a dob base comes in at £1500

Would you rather have a 1/10 12" mirror instead of a 1/4 16" mirror for detailed DSO observing? Just wondering. I found a test (In russian it seems) http://www.fidgor.narod.ru/Observers/Test/test_281.html which show a p-v 1/4 for the ES 16" which is ok?

Edited by Lulz

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32 minutes ago, Lulz said:

Would you rather have a 1/10 12" mirror instead of a 1/4 16" mirror for detailed DSO observing? Just wondering. I found a test (In russian it seems) http://www.fidgor.narod.ru/Observers/Test/test_281.html which show a p-v 1/4 for the ES 16" which is ok?

each to there own , the 16" will gather more light and give you more image scale, but the 12" will blow it out of the water on image quality on bright objects and will take high power magnification no problem. if it was my money after using the vx range my money would go to orion optics, hence my new 20" mirror

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