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Posted: 10/10/2004 1:13:19 PM EDT
I have a question for you amateur or perhaps even professional astronomers that might also be here on AR15.com. I sold my equatorial mounted 4" reflector about a year ago and am looking to replace it with a lighter, more compact, more easily transportable scope.

The Dobsonian mounted reflectors (Orion Skyquest XT 6 in particular) are what I have in mind, but I was kinda worried about the stability of the mount. It can be very hard to find an object sometimes, and especially when viewing at higher magnifications. I'm worried that it will be easy to "bump" a Dobsonian mount so that the object leaves the field of view. How well does a Dob hold it's place? Will I bump it off just by placing my hand on the tube or by touching the eyepiece with my eyebrow or by turning the focusing knob? I don't want to work 10 minutes finding a galaxy or cluster and then lose it when I touch the scope.

Thanks! Paul

Link Posted: 10/10/2004 3:09:12 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/10/2004 3:12:35 PM EDT by ARDunstan]
Dobsons are alt-az mounted Newtonians.
They usually have no motor to follow the movement of
celestial objects.
At high magnification say 250x, yes you WILL bump it if you touch it.
Hell you can see the image quiver if you merely breathe on it.
My suggestion is to buy a small Maksutov with an motorized equatorial mount.
They are more compact and built like tanks.
They will not decollimate like Newtonians do.
My favorite website is astromart.com
They have EVERYTHING! Really.
They have a forum like this where you can ask the most obscure
astronomical question, and have it answered.
In the upper left corner is the link to their sponsor where
you can buy your scope.

Link Posted: 10/10/2004 3:17:57 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/10/2004 6:42:47 PM EDT by Not_A_Llama]
Dobs are a good value, if you're a freak for aperture.

After years of playing that game, and realizing that big scopes are a PITA to set up, I have a widefield refractor now. The offerings from Stellarvue are among the nicest values available in that field, but the 80mm achromats sold through places like Orion aren't to be discounted as toys, either.

It's soooo nice to just be able to grab the scope and a solid photo tripod and walk outside. You do a LOT more observing that way.

Incidentally, I'm selling my old AT1010 (Nighthawk). Contact me if you're interested; it'll probably come out less than a new rifle for a complete setup.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 6:12:13 PM EDT
Try this site :scope review

some of the reviews are kind of old, but it has great info
Stellarvue's are NICE! Right up there with TeleVeu IMHO.

Have you thought about building a newtonian from parts? That way you can get what you want in a scope.
Link Posted: 10/10/2004 7:10:47 PM EDT
Buy both!!

Umm... does that apply here?
Link Posted: 10/11/2004 5:50:54 PM EDT
Thanks for the input, folks.

You've probably changed my mind, I like higher power planetary viewing so probably won't go for a reflector. The short-tube 80mm reflectors would be very handy and portable as you said but most achromats I've looked through had a halo around the objects and weren't great at higher powers.

I am an aperture freak, Not A Llama, that's why I thought about a reflector. Also, the 6" Dobs are fairly portable and easy to set up, but I've got two 4 year old kids and I just don't see how they'll be able to avoid bumping into the scope. If a Dob is going to lose it's target object when it gets bumped that won't work.

I won't go back to a big alt-az or equatorial mounted reflector 'cause they're so darn much trouble to transport and set up.

So...looks like the verdict is...Maksutov-Cassegrain. Portable, I can put it on a rock solid mount.
I just hope it will give the bright, crisp planetary images that my big-ol reflector did.
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