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To the stars!

It appears the astronomy bug has bitten me again. For those readers that pay attention to detail you’ll notice that this is at least the second time that it has. Long ago; when I was probably 6 or 8 years old, I was always looking at the stars…around that time I received a small telescope. I’m not sure where it came from or even who bought it for me; but to be frank, it sucked. I had two different ones, though I think the second was one I bought a garage sale. But both were so close to being the same thing; they very well could have been the same model with different paint jobs.

Read more using the link below: I discuss my old telescope, what I’m looking at now, plus my thought processes regarding that selection.

They were both small refractor telescopes (the long, thin tube kind) and they had a small tripod attached to it, with legs that stood maybe 16-18 inches tall…that by itself makes it difficult to look through because in my area there were large trees on either side of the backyard with the house looming behind me. That left the sky above clear so you would have to get almost right underneath the scope to be able to look through it.

In addition to that however, the telescope’s weight could not be supported by the tripod. So you had to constantly hold it in the position you wanted to look through it. This all leads to having a shaky view making it nearly impossible to actually do anything with.

So they sat in my room for ages. They’d get moved around every now and again, usually when I had to clean my room.

Now things are a bit different. To begin with, I have my own money to spend. Add in to that the internet bringing me access to all of the vendors without having to comb through 10 different magazines to find phone numbers. Put that together with lower costs for high-quality optics and I should be much happier with whatever I finally select.

Currently I’m looking at a couple Orion telescopes.

SkyQuest XT8 Intelliscope
SkyQuest XT6 Intelliscope

As you can see I’m really interested in reflector style scopes, Dobsian mounts in particular. My main thoughts on this are that to start off I don’t want to confuse myself more than I absolutely need to…I think setting up an equitorial mount would qualify as confusing….I’m also being swayed a bit by the reviews I read of the two Intelliscope models. So far every one of them has called them excellent for beginners. The Dobsian mount is nice because you really just need a level and stable place to put it and you can go. The downside with this mount is that astrophotography is nearly impossible because of the long exposure times needed.

The first two scopes are the same series but just different aperatures, 8″ vs 6″. I like the idea of having a nice large aperature; but I don’t know if it would be worth an extra $120 for my first scope when given the downside above. I’m a bit reluctant to stick with the Intelliscope line because at the moment I don’t intend on actually making use of the object finder. But the design of the mount itself seems to be enhanced over the, slightly older, Classic model which uses springs to create tension…the spring part is what I worry about.


About James

I am a Senior Developer/Consultant for InfoPlanIT, LLC. I previously spent over 7 years as a Product Manager for what eventually became ComponentOne, a division of GrapeCity. While there, I helped to create ActiveReports 7, GrapeCity ActiveAnalysis, and Data Dynamics Reports.


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