Tell me about telescopes.

If I’m not mistaken … doesn’t Dobsonian refer to the mount and Newtonian to the optical system? :confused:

I agree as to the mirror size: get the largest you can afford. It’s light-gathering ability you’re interested in, not magnification.

For a reflector, Newtonian is the simplest and most affordable optical system.

I have a fondness for equatorial/horseshoe mounts, but they’re best confined to permanent observatories. Dobsonian mounts are much easier to drag in and out of the garage.

What I don’t like about Dobsonians is not being able to use setting circles to find deep-sky objects. But, hey, life is full of trade-offs.

I really want a good scope with a tubular frame. We had one at my college’s observatory, and it was great!

My two cents.

I’ve been fascinated by space and the heavens since I was a schoolboy. Still, I’ve hardly ever used a telescope. I wanted to but seldom found the opportunity.

Now that I’m middleaged I can afford my own telescope and set about the quest. I joined my local astronomical society and learned much wisdom from the greybeards there. Their advice and my own conclusions -

[li]Wearing glasses limited my ability to see through a telescope. No glasses delivered a few seconds of clarity but then my eye watered and everything degraded.[/li][li]Dobsonian telescopes are very good.[/li][li]Dobsonians aren’t easy for local (ground) viewing because the human brain struggles to accept an image at right angles.[/li][li]Keen amateur astronomers do use good quality binoculars and/or spotting scopes. When you understand what you are looking for, you don’t really need mega power. Especially within the Solar System[/li][/ol]

I bought a small Dobsonian and it has sat unused. I far prefer to do my astronomy on the interweb and through reading books. The Hubble images available are breathtaking especially when you understand just how deep is the Deep Field.

Nevertheless I echo the encouragement to go to star parties. You’ll meet interesting intelligent people and learn much.

[quote=“Ken001, post:22, topic:625160”]

[li]Wearing glasses limited my ability to see through a telescope. No glasses delivered a few seconds of clarity but then my eye watered and everything degraded.[/li][/QUOTE]


Most viewfinders have a “glasses” and “no glasses” mode, where the rubber cup that surrounds the opening rolls up for “no glasses” and stays down for “glasses”. Mr. Athena wears glasses and is blind as a bat without them, and has spent many, many hours with his telescopes. He’s never reported any issues other than complaining when I came to take a look and messed up his viewfinder by rolling up the eyecups so my non-glasses eyes could see through it.

You are correct of course. I was just trying to keep terms simple and match what the OP would see in a catalog or website. Dobs would be separate from equatorial and A/A mounts, but the category for the latter would often be referred to as Newtonian reflectors, and then further reading would expose the OP to the differences and options.

I was hoping he would do some learning on his own! :slight_smile:

If glasses are an issue then consider getting a couple of long eye relief eyepieces. Orion sells a couple of eyepiece lines. It will be worth it if your eyes are watering.

A question for the OP. If you decide you really like this astronomy stuff, how much money could you “afford” to spend in the next year or three on it?

Was that when Orion was still mostly selling other brands?

Don’t they have tube telescopes which ahem telescope?

Yes they do. But they are pain in the ass to make. A take apartable truss “tube” design is much better all around.

If I really got into it, I could certainly drop $1000 on another scope. Maybe more.

Thanks for all the info folks. I have purchased the 5" Orion. I like the idea of it’s better portability and it should be easier for viewing the mountains accross the valley. I can always upgrade.

for viewing the mountains across the way, your image will be reversed and off-vertical.
a star diaganol or erecting prism can put the image back properly. do some research on what works how and you’ll be able to spot those [del]coeds[/del] mountains right side up and left-to-right proper!

what, we’re not gonna do everything for you!

Thanks. Will do. I forgot about that whole image rotation and reversal.

When I first moved up here, my brother bought me a VERY cheap telescope. Refractor. Cardboard tube, with a cheap wood tripod. Kept it for a while just to be nice.

The Orion is going to be a huge step up from that. I may get really into it. I think it’s enough of a scope to get me interested.

Now the Dob looks good, but I don’t like the size, or the base. I may change my mind.

For friends coming during a cookout or some such thing and we have a peak at a planet, I think the standard tripod would be better to set up on a gravel drive or ‘yard’ away from any house lights and the vibration from folks walking around on the deck.

We’ll see. Pun intended :slight_smile: It’ll be a few weeks before I can get it set up and have time to look and evaluate. I will come back to let you all know what I think from a newbie.

Hey enipla. I wanted to give a few pointers but am pretty busy. But for now I’ll just give you this link before I forget to do it. Here is a forum and maybe THE forum for astronomy and telescope related stuff. Great place to get educated and advised.


Do take the time during the day to collimate (great youtube video from Orion) your mirrors, and then line up your finder scope on a distant target (for me, there is a mountain with a flag on top about 2 or 3 miles away that I focus set my finder scope on), so when you take your scope out at night, you will look like a pro when slewing that dob around at various targets and you will have tight points of light in your eyepiece.

Saturn and Mars is out in the early evening now…Mars is an orange “meh” in my 8", but Saturn was very impressive and my wife and her friend had mental orgasms seeing that planet. Another easy target is Mizar and Alcor, the middle “star” in the handle of the Big Dipper which is a double double Binary system (but now seems to have a total of 6 stars in the system). Also pointing along vast stretches of the Milky Way will bring out the WOW in most people.

At that time they were just beginning to sell their own stuff. They had Orion branded lenses (eyepieces) and were just beginning to build their own Dobsonian telescopes.


Cool. Did you know Eric Kopit? I think he was an engineer at that time.