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Posted by Daniel Johnson on November 12, 2003 04:55:35 UTC

It depends. The non-computerized version of the ETX-90 (which CANNOT be computerized later) is often available for $200 to $300 dollars. The computerized version costs much more. Either one is portable, and of reasonable optical quality, and can be used for daytime viewing as well (such as bird watching). The ETX 90's drawback is it small aperture (the size of a telescope's main lens or mirror, which determines how much light it collects, and hence how bright objects will appear. Aperture also determines the maximum useful magnification to some extent).
If daytime viewing is not important to you--that is, if your scope isn't going to be used for earth-bound objects--then consider Orion's Dobsonian telescopes (their web site is telescope.com , and specifically for their dobsonian scopes check out this full address:
http://www.telescope.com/jump.jsp?itemType=CATEGORY&itemID=9
The Dobsonian scope is very simple in concept. No motors--you have to push it--but that means that all the money is spent on quality optics and a stable mount. It comes with two good eyepieces. The 6-inch and larger models can have a computerized gizmo added later if you want, to tell you when you're pointed at the right spot. The 4.25-inch model can't be computerized, but it is inexpensive (it and the noncomputerized ETX-90 are the least expensive scopes I would ever give as presents. Spending less just buys you Christmas trash).

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