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Seasoned appetite for Astronomy-Newjack sense of direction.

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 To save time getting right to the point-Ive owned a celestron skyprodigy 90 and that scope alone made me feel more powerful than ever.Im planning on spending close to 2,000 on a new setup with a far larger aperture and although I love the cassegrain goto scopes from celestron and Meade,I’ve been wondering if my budget should go toward a custom dobsonian.

 My dream begins with landing a setup within that budget and choosing the right attachments to be able to study the moon up close and personal.If you can imagine it I’d like to be able to at least recognize a footprint if there is one.Im assuming this is possible while so many scopes can see so much further away like other planets and such.

 I’m more than grateful for any input that you’ve learned the hard way or any financial corners I can cut while still being true to the game.


Thanks in advance.

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The single most important thing is optical quality, so if you're going to go for a Dob, go for the best optics your budget can buy. Aperture is secondary -  its worth losing a few inches if it means getting a higher quality mirror. Better optics mean better definition and a more detailed view. Just as an example, I'd much prefer a truly high end 8" Dob over an average 12". Don't be tempted by fancy focusers or cosmetics as things like that don't make it a good telescope. Go for optical quality first and gadgetry and go faster stripes can be added later if need be.

If its the Moon that you're interested in then perhaps a high quality refractor, such as a ED120 would be more suitable, as the ED120 despite being smaller in aperture, will give a significantly sharper more well defined view than most reflectors. The ED120 is a great lunar and planetary scope, and its able to pack quite a punch on DSO's too.

Edited by mikeDnight
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What do you want to observe? Just the moon? 

No telescope will allow you to see footprints on the moon. It is much bigger and further away than you are thinking and the Earth's atmosphere will get in the way long before you reach the sort of magnifications you would need to are something so small. Also, your current 90mm scope is perfectly capable of seeing other planets, they just appear much smaller than the moon. 

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Why a Dobsonian? The original intent of the Dobsonian design was to make a setup that was cheap and easy to make as a home-brew for large Newtonians, and would offer a large aperture scope that could be transported to dark-skies sites.  The design has now been taken up by commercial makers who offer it as a "low-cost" design.  It's what some people clearly want, but on the other hand they don't track, they have image rotation making them unsuitable for long exposure photography (and they don't track) the don't do Goto except at substantial extra cost, and they don't have manual slow motions.  Nowhere here is anything that makes them particularly suitable for looking at the Moon under high magnification.

There has been much discussion here about the best telescope for planetary (including lunar) observation.  Some people argue for relatively small apertures.  In any case, the turbulent atmosphere limits the performance of larger aperture telescopes, unless they are sited on a mountain top.  There is a thread here about "what you can expect to see" which you should find and read.  As for the mount, you at least want something that tracks under power.

If you want a recommendation, the Celestron C8 SE SCT may not be the best possible planetary scope ever, but it 's a highly effective one, and very usable.

Footprints? I think even seeing a lunar object the size of a football stadium might be too much to expect.  


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Thanks you guys for the info.I admit I’m wet behind the ears in this but the passion is lifelong and just getting stronger as I age and can’t help but to wonder more.Most of all I appreciate the info on purchases.With a pretty big family I’m not willing to spend too much and all the advertising is beyond confusing when shopping for a scope I could grow with.It blows that I won’t see the moon in the magnification I dream of but there truly is far more I’m hoping to see and learn.I’ll add onto this thread when I see more comments or at least when I make my purchase.Better yet -I’ll choose a telescope then report here BEFORE I do.Oh and to answer about the Dob-I did some research and watched a video of John Dobson building one way back and the hand grinded mirror gave me such a great respect for the process I considered it boss.Thought maybe starting with a Dob would make me learn the way the Pros do.

Edited by Sunnaroe

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