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The Irony of telescope size and beginners

Amateur astronomy is a beautiful hobby. I love it. But in modern times expectations have been set very high when it comes to what we will see with a telescope.

This can lead to disappointment for beginners. And part of this comes down to the size of the telescope, which can be problematic.



So, many beginners start out enthusiastic with their telescopes but due to a variety of factors the enthusiasm can fade quickly.

And this is why the size of the telescope you purchase might not matter at all when it comes to whether or not you use it more than a few times! Yes, this might go contrary to popular belief but it is true. let me explain.

You are stuck in a bit of a catch-22 when it comes to a telescope. First off if you buy a smaller and less effective telescope you might end up with disappointing views of celestial objects. Jupiter, Saturn, and just about every other object is not going to look like it does online.

But, if you have a a larger telescope, 10 inch reflector, or larger, you are going to get some reasonably wonderful viewing. But...... a big telescope like this is a bit of a project to haul out at night! Might be a little too easy to skip it because game of thrones is on. LOL!

It will be night time. And the telescope is going to need to be disassembled, hauled and then reassembled. That takes time and effort. And if the viewing rewards are low then it might be very easy to just do it another night. And, if you live in the city you are probably going to want to put the telescope in the truck or the car and take it somewhere darker. And that is even more effort.

And the bigger the telescope the more work it is.

So having a telescope can be a dilemma for you. My advice is to keep at it. And if you haven't yet bought a telescope; you are still in the research stage. Give consideration to how big the telescope is, how much it weighs and how easy it is to break down and put back together. Give this consideration to your own personal thoughts on it. If you are twenty five and run half marathons then it might be no consideration at all. But if you are in your sixties then it is something you might consider!

Note though that the better telescope companies have been very aware of this dilemma for decades and when you read descriptions of their telescopes they will give you a lot of good information about how much it weight, how many pieces it breaks down into and how easy it is to set up.

Ok, So is there a sweet spot? Somewhere in between where you can get reasonable power yet with a telescope that isn't too unwieldy and uncomfortable to lug around?

Well, there are two different sweet spots. The first is more expensive than the other.

First off you could get yourself a smaller telescope that is very well crafted for top performance. This means you will get a catadioptric telescope. They are small and light yet perform extremely well. A telescope of this type will out perform something much larger and much cheaper.

This Celestron catadioptric comes in at a total weight of 21 pounds. Pretty good. Small, portable and powerful. But in the higher price range.


Celestron Nexstar 6 SE

  • 6-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope; StarBright XLT high transmission coatings come standard
  • StarPointer finderscope to help with alignment and accurately locating objects
  • Quick-release fork arm mount, optical tube, and accessory tray for no-tool setup
  • SkyAlign allows you to align on any three bright celestial objects, making for a fast and easy alignment process
  • Nearly 40,000 object database with 200 user-definable objects and expanded information on over 200 objects

And this telescope fits the second sweet spot. It is a reflector telescope on a dobsonian mount. Quite a lot bigger than the first telescope I showed you . Which can make it a bit more unwieldy to lug around. But not overly heavy. This one weighs in at 41 pounds. So, it weighs more and is not quite as good in terms of performance. But... there is quite a difference in the price. This telescope cost much less.


Orion 8974 SkyQuest XT8 PLUS Dobsonian Reflector Telescope

  • Deluxe upgrade of our popular XT8 Classic Dobsonian boasts multiple key feature enhancements and additional included accessories
  • Eye-catching metallic blue optical tube rides on a redesigned base with adjustable altitude tension knobs
  • Convenient thumbscrew-adjustable secondary mirror for easy collimation without tools
  • Features a 2" dual-speed Crayford focuser with 11:1 fine-focus provides precise focus adjustments for sharp views
  • Upgraded accessories include a 2" 28mm DeepView eyepiece, 1.25" 10mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, Safety Film Solar Filter, Shorty 2x Barlow, eyepiece rack, EZ Finder II reflex sight, collimation cap, and more



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