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....or at least it can be.

Just wanted to share a article i stumbled across, that i particularly liked.(hope that's ok mods?)

https://cosmicpursuits.com/2358/an-ode-to-small-telescopes/

Highlight for me was the image & write up  of the 40mm Unitron. 😉

Takeout from the article was whatever your budget, enthusiasm goes a long,long way. Enjoy the universe  with what you've got.

I started out in 1982 with a rather dubious 50mm refractor on a' blancmange mount'. Really it should have put me off for life, thankfully the youthfull enthusiasm held out.

Also thankfully~ todays' beginners scopes are generally much better!

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

There is always something bigger, better , more expensive , than what you have . But you are right as enthusiasm is one of the things  that everyone enjoys , equally . I have had a roller coaster ride , trying out different scopes of all sizes . The saying that there is no one scope that satisfies all aspects of astronomy is true. Not sure if i've found the right set up , yet .. but i'm getting there :) . 

What amazes me is the sheer variety and choice available these days . 

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I enjoyed the read and I often looked at the adverts of Unitron scopes in the Sky and Telescope magazine. I remember wishing I had an 8.5 inch scope from Charles Frank in Glasgow - too expensive - date in the 1960s.

I still fancy a small APO frac to take in the car but the moment I will settle with my Heritage 130P on an alt/az mount.

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Nice link, thanks.

I do enjoy small scopes. To me the observing challenge of spotting something in a small scope is just as rewarding as something much more exotic in a large one. Being stuck under poor skies probably contributes to that, and I love owning and using both my 63mm Telementor and 65mm TAL Alkor very much.

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Lovely article, it’s nice to be reminded of the joy of small scopes. My 66mm frac on a photo tripod still gets used when I am short of time and  need a quick ‘astro fix’. 

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My etx90 is compact, I wouldn't call it small in what it enables me to see.

It's the one that goes on holiday with me and is out in the garden when friends are over.

We use two 70mm refractors in school which although not 'decent' are priceless.

I'm not sure what 'small' refractor the child is using in the picture though, it looks enormous! :D

And I'd struggle to the see representations through my 8", let alone the 70mm!

No mention of Galileo or Newton (or Zucchi) and their phenomenal discoveries through small 'scopes, but the sentiment is good. :)

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Small telescopes can be a joy to use. There was a period where I had the choice of three telescopes, but my goto telescope was my Skylight 60mm F16.7. The background is just black velvet, and stars really do look like pin pricks of light. I've managed to get some quite amazing details on both Jupiter and Saturn, given the small aperture. 

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Nice to here such support for smaller scopes.Although I now own a large Dob I don't think I can be precluded from this discussion because for nearly half of my astronomical life I've only used small telescopes.Most of my most vivid memories were with a 60mm refractor.

Everyone should start with a small scope,serve their apprenticeship if you like.As long as the optics and mount are of good quality of course and that the user is fully aware of the telescopes limitations.

Recently I tried to discourage someone who didn't have a permanent site from purchasing a Skywatcher 16" Flextube Dobsonian despite what the catalogues say this instrument is NOT portable,and if someone struggles to lug it about for long enough disaster is bond to ensue.

I suggested the 10" version instead.I don't know if he took my advice,but I think I was right.

The trouble is as scopes get larger,bulkier and more awkward you are dealing with diminishing returns. The difference between the 10" and the 16" is only about 0.8 magnitude and 0.2 arc seconds resolution and the difference of 800X and 500X.

Not only that sub arc second resolution is very much a rarity and because of seeing conditions 300X-350X is a rarity also so if a scope is capable of comfortably giving 300X that's the main thing.

Obviously this doesn't include observers using starter scopes which although much better now than in the past should be practicing on lower powers anyway.

 

 

 

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18 hours ago, Roy Challen said:

And let's not forget, a small scope is usually a portable one, so it'll likely get used more.

Quite right you can see more with a 3" scope that is easy to use and used often than a 16"scope that's big and bulky and spends most of the time gathering dust!😆

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The problem with larger scopes is that whilst they will gather more light and enable one to see fainter objects , unless you are observing from dark skies they tend to magnify  the light pollution and bad "seeing" as well . to my mind the perfect set up is a large scope and a small scope . As long as you are realistic on what you will be able to see , then aperture doesn't matter though. 

I have observed Saturn through a WO ZS61 and its tiny , but crystal clear . I value the clarity of the view . 

 

Edited by Stu1smartcookie
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I keep reading recommendations on inferior (sorry) forums of the like...

 “I have $1500 to spend on a telescope, what should I buy?”

A: “Aperture is king. Get the biggest dob you can get”

No caveats or mention of the learning requirement.

At the other end of the scale, there are the...

”I want to look at everything and do astrophotography. What can I get for less than $100?”

 

 

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