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Re: Upgrading From Meade 4.5

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Posted by Peter Bilotta on November 14, 2000 16:15:04 UTC

I too have a 4.5" that I have upgraded. Despite the fact that I have an 8 inch as well, I still use my 4.5" more because it is so convenient and easy to use at a moment's notice. Don't discount this, because it is the #1 factor affecting how often you will use your scope and how much enjoyment you get from it.

Reflectors do offer you the greatest aperature for the lowest price, an aperature is the key to seeing more. You can get greater aperature in a refractor or combos, but you'll pay 2 to 3 times more.

As you increase aperature, you accomplish two things:

1) You can see fainter objects and those objects you can already see in your 4.5" will appear brighter.

2) You can resolve finer detail.

For example, a globular cluster in your 4.5" will look like a round puff with a few stars visible, but in an 8" will be brighter and resolve into a ball of thousands of individual stars. You will be amazed at the brightness and detail you will see in an 8" or 10" compared to your 4.5".

The shorter focal length of the two scopes you describe have a few drawbacks. First, the size of their larger secondary mirror degrades the image a little bit, so you won't get as sharp or contrasty of an image as you do with a longer focal length scope. The second is coma, which distorts the images of stars near the edge of the field (I wouldn't worry about this too much, since most scopes today are well corrected for this).

If you think you will ever want to do astrophotography, stick with the equatorial mount. If not, dobsian gets you the biggest bang for the buck for any type of scope.

By the way, whichever way you go, if cost and space allow, don't part with your 4.5" unless you discover that you no longer use it after you get your bigger scope. I've kept mine, and it remains my favorite and most frequently used scope.

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