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Bang For The Buck

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Posted by Daniel Johnson on November 21, 2003 17:46:37 UTC

In general, a Dobsonian will be the best "bang for the buck," for visual observing--it has a very simple but very stable mounting, and nearly all the cost goes into the two most important things--the optics and stability of the mount. The Orion scopes also come with two decent eyepieces--many entry level scopes give you only one, or give poor quality eyepieces. The Orion scopes can also have a computer added later (it's new, and I haven't seen any reviews). This computer won't move the scope automatically, but it will tell you when you've pushed the scope to the right spot by hand.
If you want the Orion scope, it is sold by Orion itself online at telescope.com . I do order nearly all my astronomy supplies online.
There are other reputable online scope vendors, some of whom may sell other brands of Dobsonian scope. The following vendors have treated me well: optcorp.com
astronomics.com
scopetronix.com
shutan.com
The first two have also gotten good reviews from various astronomy geeks with whom I correspond regularly. I have not checked their sites for Dobsonian scopes.
The one drawback of the "Dob," as the mounting system is often called, is the lack of a motor drive, but any motor drive worth owning will double the cost of your scope. Remember, you'll be magnifying things anywhere from 50 to 250 times, and every vibration of a poor mounting is magnified the same amount. Stability is key. It's also difficult to break a Dobsonian mount, and most guys could fix one easily if it ever did break. Not so an expensive mount.

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