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Walking on the Moon

Not knowing what I don't know.

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As stated in the other thread that I started, I am a relative beginner looking to find a telescope. This would not be the first telescope that I have owned, I got a 114mm reflector for Christmas at around 7 and I currently have a small refractor that I got for free, but it will be the first time that I have actually researched and chosen the telescope that I will be getting. The issue is that I have no idea where to begin looking for what I need. I do know that a larger aperture equates to more light gathering, and by that alone I have been looking for an 8" Dobsonian within my budget of around $550. However, I am wondering of something that bulky* will be annoying enough to move around and store that I won't be as likely to get it out and use it. The problem is that I don't understand anything about telescopes except for the aperture thing and that there are refractors, reflectors, and catadioptrics, and that they all work in different ways. I have looked at some smaller options than the Dobsonian, but I don't really even understand how relatively better or worse they are than the dob. This is leading to confusion that is making any decision about which one to get very difficult. If anyone could give me guidance as to what I need to do to understand all of the choices that I have and what recommendations you could make then I would really appreciate it. 

*I have never seen a Dobsonian in real life, but from pictures they look quite bulky. Also there is no astronomy club in my town so I don't really have the opportunity to see one or to try out any kind of telescope really. 

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An 8” Dobsonian is a very capable scope, good at deep sky and the planets.

It’s a good scope and probably the best bang for your bucks choice.

it’s not too heavy or bulky and can be moved in two separate parts - the main optical tube and the supporting base.

But, everyone is different and you will get many conflicting answers to your questions.

So it would be wise to do more research so that you can make the choice that suits you best 👍

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another 1 for an 8" Dobsonian  personally i think its a great all round scope and within your budget. It might even be the only scope youll ever need. you will get plenty of other options to look at and consider, enjoy the hunt.

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A dob doesn't have to be 8" to be good. If you're worried about portability, have a look at a few 6" dobs:




The Ursa Major will be slightly lighter than an 8" (but not that much) and the Bresser and Heritage much lighter, but need a solid stool or table to stand on.

I speak from the experience of someone who owns both - a Heritage 150p and a StellaLyra 8" dob. Both are relatively easy to carry around but the 150p is a doddle: you can pick the whole thing up with one hand.

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The first question is: what kind of objects you would like to observe? For deep space stuff the Dobs are the best; basically you need a big mirror to collect more light.

However if you have a lot of light pollution where you live a big Dob may not be ideal.

Simialry if you prefer planetary, then a 4 inch refractor or a 5 inch Mak or SCT could be better choices. 

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With the exception of the table top models any dob will be bulky. Its the nature of the beast.  But the cool thing about an 8 inch, the individual pieces, the OTA and base, they each way about 25 pounds.  So while bulky they are easy to handle.  Do some telescopes do better at different things?  Sure, but you will pay 2 to 4 times the price to get that performance. A 8 inch Skyline dob is 850 bucks just for the scope or a grand for the whole starter kit.  A Meade 10 inch LX200. ACF with a field mount is almost 5200.  This shows why dobs are so practical.  Lots of scope for less money.  You will also probably have that 8 inch forever. I run a 10 inch, i have a 16 on order and while i will definitely use the 16 a lot, i will never get rid of my 10.  

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