Jump to content

Walking on the Moon

Telescope Selection

Recommended Posts

Hey everyone I've been trying to narrow down my selection on telescopes for quite some time now and I've got it down to 2 choices and could really use some help on which and why as there are a few ?'s for me on both. Basically same question on each just vice versa. In advance thank you for any and all help you can provide. Basic Information that will factor in....I live in a small town so I can easily drive to a darker location but will be viewing from both back and front yards mostly with a couple of streetlights around but no skyscrapers, neon lights or other big city issues. Part of what is causing me issue is that I want to see many things without loosing good image quality and one scope is meant more for planetary and the other more for deep space . I like the Meade LightBridge 10 dobsonian reflector and the SkyWatcher ProED 100mm Refractor. Primary targets, though not the only things i'll be viewing are, Moon, Saturn and its rings, Jupiter and its moons, Orion nebula and a few others and some galaxies such as Andromeda. The LightBridge will be good for the deep space but I don't want to loose good quality images of the planets and I don't know if the street lights will effect it much since it's aperture is meant to bring in a lot of light. I've read a ton of good things about this scope and seen same on the reviews. As for the SkyWatcher  I've been reading its great for planetary but will it still give me good images with the deep space as well? As with the LightBridge I've read nothing but great things about this scope also. Finding a nice middle ground seems to be the issue. Also I'm trying to not completely [removed word] off the wife and the skywatcher doesn't currently come with a tripod if a good one, without breaking the bank, so lets say around 300 or less could be suggested that would be great. thanks again for any and all help

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello, and welcome,

To keep any lights, artificial or natural(the Moon), from interfering with the LightBridge, you'll want a shroud for it...


You may also want to make an extension for the front of the tube; a light-shield...

http://iskywatch.com/wp-content/uploads/catablog/fullsize/ScreenHunter_06 Aug. 25 19.16.gif

One may be made from most any material that's flexible.  Both the shroud and the shield would serve to improve contrast; for blacker sky backgrounds and object details.

Here are a few mount suggestions for the Sky-Watcher 100mm ED refractor...


This one comes with a single motor-drive, and allows for automatic, hands-free tracking of any object...


Without the motor-drive... http://www.telescope.com/Mounts-Tripods/Equatorial-Mounts-Tripods/Orion-AstroView-Equatorial-Telescope-Mount/pc/-1/c/2/sc/34/p/9822.uts

A larger, EQ5-type mount... https://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=&sku=1124462&gclid=CjwKEAiA6rrBBRDsrLGM4uTPkWASJADnWZQ4e9lzYr6nEEYhB5LjLAQ7EJK71MWzLeJhoX1653yO8BoC_prw_wcB&Q=&ap=y&c3api=1876%2C52934714882%2C&is=REG&A=details

If you would prefer a simpler alt-azimuth...



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm assuming that you will be observing visually. Dobsonians are very limited for any type of astro-photography. I'm also assuming, perhaps wrongly, that this is your first telescope.

If you can, try to find a local astronomical society which runs an observing night. You will have the opportunity to see different telescopes in action and talk to their owners about their respective advantages. You will also get an idea of size, mobility etc. There are clubs in Kansas City http://www.askc.org/  and Wichita http://www.kaowichita.com/  and probably others as well.

The 10" Meade Lightbridge is an excellent Dobsonian, but may not be the best option for a first scope. It is quite big and on the limits of easy portability. It is also quite a "fast" telescope (f5), which means that to get the best results you will need to consider high quality eyepieces which can be expensive. The truss tube also means it will need regular collimation (alignment of the mirrors) - although this is not difficult with a little practice.

Personally I would lean towards an 8" Dobsonian with a solid tube - a little lighter and more portable, but still with enough aperture to observe a lot of objects very well. At f6, it will be considerably more tolerant of eyepieces with a large selection available at more reasonable prices. The solid tube will mean less collimation. Ultimately, you may want to upgrade to a larger Dobsonian but, perhaps, depending on the targets which most fascinate you, switch to a completely different telescope design altogether. In this case, the 8" Dob should be easy to sell second-hand. Check out this model: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1141702-REG/sky_watcher_s11610_8_traditional_dobsonian.html

The SkyWatcher ProED 100mm Refractor is also a great telescope, but maybe more specialised and less versatile. It has considerably less aperture, 100mm compared to 250mm for the Meade and 200mm for the Skywatcher, and for visual observing this is a disadvantage for fainter objects. Optically, however, it is great and will provide very sharp views of the planets in good seeing conditions - but not really dramatically better than a larger Dob, especially for a beginner.

If you do go with the refractor (or another telescope which needs a mount), you need to decide between manual or go-to. Go-to mounts are computerised and can locate objects in the sky as well as tracking them, which can be very attractive. However, they are considerably more expensive and usually need an external power supply. Many people prefer manual mounts for simplicity and some argue that locating the object themselves helps them to learn more about the night sky. A matter of personal preference.

Mounts also work on two different principles. Equatorian mounts are aligned on the Pole Star and sweep round in an arc which follows the stars as they "move" across the sky. Alt-azimuth mounts move up-down, left-right. For visual observing with a smallish telescope such as the ProED, a good Alt-az would be a good option. For example: https://www.amazon.com/Vixen-5863-Porta-Mount-Telescope/dp/B0024OIF66

Another interesting possibility for a Dobsonian reflector is the Orion Intelliscope. This is semi go-to. While there are no motors to actually move the telescope, the alignment is computerised so you can input a specified object into the handset and it will show you where to nudge the scope until you're on target. http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Dobsonian-Telescopes/IntelliScope-Dobsonians/Orion-SkyQuest-XT8i-IntelliScope-Dobsonian-Telescope/pc/1/c/12/sc/27/p/102012.uts


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes I will be observing visually. First scope...yes and no technically no this will be my second but I haven't had one in a very long time. The portability for me is not an issue since both my vehicles and myself can easily handle this with no issue. Collimation is something I consider to be part of having a reflector and for a scope this nice that Ive heard great things about, well worth it. I did look into some single solid tube designs but I didnt see any that appealed to me nor had anywhere near the good reviews that this one had, thus being able to narrow it down to this particular one. As for the Orion Intelliscope, it was one of my possibilities as I did like that it could help locate things while still allowing you to do the work, but didnt like that Orion, in every single sight I read reviews of their scopes, ALWAYS have quality issues with their products. Not every person but quite a few. Either missing parts, dented or scratch tubes, lenses etc and it seemed like a risk I didn't want to take particularly with the kind of money I'm going to be spending, while not a HUGE amount at 1.000+ I don't believe there should be this kind of quality issue aside from the occasional fluke which obviously happens but again nowhere near the amount I keep reading about. As for the shroud suggestion I already have it on my list of things to get if I do go with the LightBridge thank you. Goto is not necessary I would prefer either manual or Something like the Intelliscope. If and Probably when I get something much more expensive I will then think about the higher quality goto mounts and an external power source. These are very helpful suggestions and greatly appreciated and further help deciding between these two or if anyone else has other specific options is greatly appreciated. If anyones curious if these have been my only options no they are not just what has after 2 months or reading reviews talking to the companies etc. been the better options in many ways. I also had the Orion SkyView Pro 8 and Orion XT8i, but after the many many reviews and people telling me there quality issues they fell off. Meade and SkyWatcher neither have this issue anywhere close to that extent either in there reviews or the people ive talked to that own one of these. Celestron didn't have anything bad going against them they just didnt have anything that stood out at this price range. Im really trying to keep the scope itself no higher than 700. The skyWatcher was the exception because of its great reviews and only being 50 over. Though to my wife gets docked some points for not coming with a tripod, not that I blame her lol. As for help from an Starparty or Observatory, not really possible for me without driving about 2+ hours away or I would have been all over that. I love all the help and Suggestions so please keep them coming. The main question though Which of these 2 will get me the best views of both planets and deep space with fewest compromises? please try to give your opinions on this as well as other suggestions of scopes and information in general that you would like to share that way if it still comes down to these 2 I can make a better more educated decision. Thank you

Edited by CSMReaper
forgot some Intel
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The 10" go-to Sky-Watcher Dobsonian is motorised...


In that its tube is not rotatable, the finderscope would need to be replaced with a right-angled variant, when using the telescope in manual mode.

The non-goto version... https://www.astronomics.com/sky-watcher-10-inch-dobsonian-telescope_p16608.aspx

That one comes with a right-angle finderscope, and for improved comfort, and is priced the same as the Meade; but without the Meade's two-speed focusser, and for finer focussing.

Incidentally, Synta of China manufactures both the Sky-Watcher and Orion telescopes.  I think that the Meade is produced by Jinghua.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Based on what you say, personally I would go with the 10" Meade over the smaller aperture refractor. As you don't have collimation or portability issues with this, and are aware that you may need better/more expensive eyepieces, you will find the 250mm aperture a really great experience.

Ultimately Skywatcher and Meade are like Ford and Chevrolet - some people prefer one over the other, but at the end of the day, they're pretty similar. Meade perhaps have a wider distribution than Skywatcher in the US than in the UK, and are less common now in Europe - I suspect part of a deal with Bresser which for a while was part of the Meade group. Another brand of Dobs in the US is Zhumell who market GSO telescopes - but I think they are all solid tube.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The skywatcher 10 with the goto was suggested because it was similar to the meade and the goto on it if you watch skywatcher's presentation can be used manually without issue and still keep track of where its at. Therefore providing the directional assistance that I would like while still allowing me to be in the drivers seat so to speak. While more pricey due to it being able to be used as both as goto and or manually and not being enormously higher I dont think my wife would mind toooo much so this has been added to the decision. From the great information ive been provided it sounds like the best options are going to be either the Meade LightBridge 10 Dob or the SkyWatcher 10 goto Dob. Anymore information on the SkyWatcher 10 goto as its the one I have the least amount of intel on, though obviously im in the process of reading as much as I can and Finding videos and Ill be emailing more questions to SkyWatcher after the weekend, would be great. Things such as is the goto on it absolute crap or does it work just fine seem to be the issue with goto's unless you get the really expensive goto systems. How long does it last before running out of juice without being plugged into a power source? Does the goto provide any extra issues that I may not be aware of currently? Does it make pulling the telescope together a huge pain? and other things of that nature. Thank you very much.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another possibility might be the customised "Track and Train" option which JMI Telescopes offer for the Meade Lightbridge range. I've never seen one, but heard good things about the system. http://www.jimsmobile.com/buy_acc_altaz.htm#TNT_w¬ith_Pre-Drilled_Meade LightBridge

A cheap way to provide some directional oversight on Dobs is also to use setting circles. A company called opticsmart.com was providing them as an add-on to the Lightbridges they sold - but I can't now see any reference on their web page. You can also make your own - I think there are templates you can download from Cloudy Nights.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Starting to lean toward the SkyWatcher for the ease of the collapse when we to travel vs putting the trusses on. Ive been getting the sense that there are mostly very similar in quality, ability and optics. Does this sound right or does anyone have something to add about either the LightBridge or the SkyWatcher Collapsable? The SkyWatcher also comes with 2 eyepieces instead of one like the LightBridge.

Edited by CSMReaper
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Sky-Watcher has an easier truss system to manage, and an extra eyepiece.

The Meade has a two-speed focusser, a more complicated truss system, and only one eyepiece.

Newtonians are great for tinkering with and modifying.  It would be pretty easy to add a two-speeder to the Sky-Watcher in future, if you feel the need or desire for one.

Motorised Dobsonians haven't been out on the market long enough for a large cache of user-reviews; however...

Synta also manufactures the motorised Dobsonians branded "Orion"...


In all probability, they're equipped with the same mount-systems as those of the Sky-Watcher line.

As a matter fact, they appear to be identical, the telescopes themselves notwithstanding.

Therefore, you can consult the user-reviews of the Orion line before deciding.

Edited by Alan64
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Love these two choices and after further research a lot of emails with both meade and skywatcher and your guys help I dont think for what im looking for I can go wrong with either. Im probably going to go with the skywatcher collapsible 10 for the extra eyepiece and easier tuss system. Thank you for all your help.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.