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Scope Types

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Posted by Daniel Johnson on May 19, 2003 23:51:53 UTC

There is no single scope that does everything perfectly, but an 8-inch (or larger) Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope (SCT) from either Meade or Celestron is about as close as one can come to a scope that does it all. Reasons:
1) The f/10 focal ratio is good for planets.
2) There is an f/6.3 focal reducer (basically the opposite of a Barlow) that gives you the low-power, deep-space view.
3) 8 inches is just large enough to be a serious instrument for a wide variety of purposes.
4) You can get the computerized go-to capability these scopes now offer, plus automatic tracking of objects.

Drawback: once you pay for shipping and a few accessories, you're out about $2000. If that fits your budget, go for it. Buy from an on-line vendor such as astronomic.com , optcorp.com , or shutan.com . They'll give you better prices than a local store.
If your budget is more in the $500 range, consider a Dobsonian-style scope such as those sold by Orion ( telescope.com ). They have no automatic features at all but give the most aperture for the dollar. Again, if you're in this for the long haul, go 8 inches or larger. I personally use a 10-inch SCT (Meade LX200 GPS) and also have an old 12.5-inch Dob.

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