When I am asked about what telescope is the right choice for someone getting into astronomy, I am often asked why choose a larger 8′ to 12″ telescope ? The telescopes I keep in stock in this class are the 8″, 10″ and 12″ Skywatcher Collapsable Dobsonians.
Our most popular telescope is a Kson 4″ tabletop & for many people this is the best choice, for Budget, portability and ease of use. However when your goal is to see faint Nebula, galaxies & star clusters, invisible to the naked eye, a telescope of 8″ aperture is a great place to start.
So what is the advantage of the SkyWatcher Collapsable Dobsonian ? Well the number one rule in astronomy is aperture rules supreme ! The larger the aperture of a telescope the fainter the objects you can see. Not only can you see objects with larger aperture telescopes that are invisible to a small aperture scope, but you can resolve greater detail in those objects. This is of course tempered by factors such as portability, weight, affordability and ease of use. So where does the SkyWatcher Collapsable Dobsonian fit in with these considerations:
- Portability: This is where the SkyWatcher Collapsable Dobsonian comes into its own. Being able to collapse down to 2/3 of its extended tube length means it can easily fit into the back of most cars complete, without having to separate the Optical Tube (OTA) from the base. For example This means an 1100mm 8″ scope folds down to 830mm. This is the difference between an OTA taking up the back seat of your car & easily fitting in the luggage area, or only occupying 1 seat. I have found the 10″ will also fit in the back of most medium sized wagons & the 12″ perhaps requiring the headroom of a 4WD or van when fully assembled.
- Weight: This will be a consideration especially if you are wanting to take your scope away from the city and to a darker county area where fainter objects can be seen. This is how they stack up in total assembled weight: The 8″ is a total of 22.5kg and in my experience an easy lift into the back of a car. The 10″ comes in at 27.5kg, a solid lift but one I am still comfortable with, but for a person of slighter build this may be a 2 person lift. The 12″ comes in at a total of 39.5kg and in is a 2 person lift. This said, you can easily separate the OTA and base for increased portability and easy of lifting. You should always be the judge of what you can lift of course.
- Affordability: At the time of writing (Sept 2015) from NightSkySecrets.com.au the 8″ sells for $800 the 10″ for $1200 and the 12″ for $1800. This is a few hundred dollars premium on a solid tube scope but I believe is worth it from my own experience with the difficulty of having carted a solid tube 10″ scope to some pretty remote locations in Northern Australia.
- Ease of use: Well, in my opinion and experience with many different telescopes from refractors on EQ mounts, GO-TO Cassegrain scopes & lots of dobsonian (dob) reflectors, the dob’s win hands down in the visual observing field. However, if you are talking about Astrophotography or large observing groups that is another article for another time !
- Aperture: Rule #1 applies tempered by the above factors. Some examples of what a difference in viewing aperture can make visually can be seen on this site by a dedicated visual observer.
Regardless of what type of scope you chose we can help match you up with the right type of Telescope for your needs at NightSkySecrets.