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Refractor or reflector


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Hi guys

I'm currently raising funds for a community telescope and would appreciate people's thoughts on the old refractor vs reflector conundrum!

I want a scope that is easy to set up and operate, but also one that will impress people who are new to the hobby. I have my sights on an SW evostar 120, but I am wondering whether the 6" reflector might be a better option.

Any thoughts on this old chestnut...



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reflectors will make things 'upside down' as it were- this doesnt matter as there is no real orientation in astronomical terms. reflectors allow more aperture for price as a rule, therefore you will see more, however refractors are often used for imaging.

if its a community scope then go with a reflector- a dobsonian if you can? best aperture for price which you will need to impress newcomers

try this if you can http://www.firstlightoptics.com/proddetail.php?prod=dobsky200


Edited by richbyers
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If you have a queue of peopel waiting to look through a scope then you will find yourself having to recenter the target between viewers... so possibly soemthing with at least an RA motor drive would make life easier...

Dobs give you most bang for your buck optics wise and are often used for Pavement style outreach astronomy...


Edited by Psychobilly
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For a community based scope i was thinking a refrac would be better. Doesnt need collimating,is more robust,little to no cooling needed etc etc.

Then again the EQ mount is not an easy beast to get on with.

A "Dob" reflector would offer biggest bang for buck and is easy to set up and use.

I guess a happy medium would be a Newt on an EQ mount. You get the apeture you want and it can also be driven,motorized etc and will allow for imaging also if needed.

Sure you still have the EQ mount but hey !!!................life aint perfect........................UNLESS YOU OWN A DOB.


6" would be ideal, so the 150P as mentioned above would be good.

Dont forget your moon filter and light pollution filter(the Skywatcher LPF is great value for money). Oh and while you are shopping pick up a decent 2-3x Barlow. The TAL barlows are VERY good value for money. I'm surprised the cost of them has not gone up because they are very popular.

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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Thanks for that summary Luke. Kinda mirrors my own thoughts. I have a 12" dob that people will have access to, but the community scope is intended for people to take away and use themselves...

I will muse some more...

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If people are taking it away, that realistically, removes the fast newt option be it a dob or eq unless they are able and willing to collimate it.

A 6" F8 newt is probably more forgiving of being handled but it will tend to be better on planets than DSO's, so with that, a refractor or Mak may be more practical, being more robust than a newt. At this stage portability could be considered. Maks are smaller than refractors for a given focal ratio.

Maybe gauging some opinions from those that are likely to borrow it could help.

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Let's see now, you're after something:

- Easy to set up

- Easy to operate

- Gives impressive views

- Can be safely lent out to anyone

That's easy... You're looking for "the perfect scope"

When you've found it, let us know eh? ;)

Seriously though, if I were choosing, I'd go for a good-quality, 4" Refractor (not short-tube) or Mak on an alt-az mount. Not exactly a galaxy-hunter, but there's enough clusters and planets around to keep people happy...

Edited by great_bear
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So, the options so far .....

An EQ Newtonian,


A Dobsonian,

A Refractor.

Yeah, thanks D25

I'll 'dwell' on that! ;)

As for all the other comments, they are all making sense, which just goes to show that the question is not a simple one.

As they will have some access to my 12" dob I am leaning towards the refractor. It will also give people (including me) the chance to become more familiar with an EQ mount.

Thanks for all the comments


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