Here’s my first ever telescope! Early last year, my parents promised me a gift for doing well in my national exams. So, since then, I’ve been on a hunt for my first ever telescope. I did loads of research before buying it (as it wasn’t going to be cheap!). In the end, I ended up learning so much: the differences between a reflector, a cassegrain, a refractor; the importance of aperture, focal length and focal ratio; which eyepieces and filters work best; collimation; portability; mirror quality (pyrex or perspex) and coatings. In the end, I chose a dobsonian (a Newtonian reflector minus a tripod but with a Lazy Susan base instead) as it provided the most aperture for the least cost (as a tripod stand isn’t needed). “Aperture fever” I must say!
And thank god for that as I’ve got too see things like the Trapezium Nebula and NGC 1999 (a small reflection nebula) through it! Observing from my light-polluted balcony, I don’t think I would have got to see as much using a smaller aperture (albeit more portable) scope.
This site proved invaluable in the study of observational gear: http://www.cloudynights.com/
Here’s a link to a dilemma I faced when having to choose between an Orion XT 10 and A Skywatcher Collapsible Dob. http://www.astronomyforum.net/dobsonian-telescopes-forum/113499-optical-quality-orion-xt10-vs-skywatcher-10-collapsible-dob.html
A picture of my sister and I collimating the scope. Yes we used sunglasses to protect our eyes from laser light from a Saxon Laser Collimator! Though I don’t think it helped much as I later read that we would need special glasses for laser protection. Word of advice, point your dob at a wall when using a laser collimator, so the reflected laser beam (from the primary mirror) dosn’t aim straight at your eyes and burn cells in them.
Image Credits: Vasanthi Vijaya
I was initially worried that nudging the tube (as it’s not equipped with a tracking device) to keep track of an interstellar object in the field of view would be troublesome, but worry not, it’s not as bad as it sounds. In fact, you barely even realize you’re moving the tube as you’ll probably be too engrossed with whatever you’re looking at (like myself).
Images are really clear too; the first object we saw through it was the moon on a clear night and it look like a giant crystal of ice. It was just breathtaking! The craters were really well defined and sharp. You’ll have to see it for yourself to believe how beautiful it looked!
And guess what, the collimation holds really well too. I’ve only collimated it once when I first bought it. Each time I observe, I’ve got to carry it out to the balcony (about 15 feet away) with the help of my dad. Despite all the bumping around when transporting the scope back and forth between my dining room and the balcony (which has been going on for almost 9 months now), I’ve never had to collimate again!
A scope highly recommended!
Let me know if you have any questions about this scope, I’ll be glad to help.