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Subject:  Re: Telescope talk Date:  2/13/2002  7:37 PM
Author:  Messier101 Number:  148 of 1871

My main questions would involve any advantages/disadvantages of such a "fast" scope (f/4). But for the money, I've not seen anything comparable. (Also, I don't want a GoTo scope at this point... I'd rather learn the sky.)

A few other thoughts.

Coma as Jim stated, gets worse as the scope gets faster, so that is a disadvantage.

The F4 is designed for visual use, photography is a secondary consideration. Coma will show up more on photographs, you won't notice it as much visually.

At 800mm focal length, this is a scope designed for wide field deep sky objects which you will need a dark site to use. With the 9mm EP you only get 89x power which is not very good for viewing the moon or planets. Also the eye relief stinks on a 9mm plossel, especially if you wear glasses. I had a 10mm Plossel that I sent back because it was too uncomfortable to use, even without glasses.

If you are anywhere near DC you will need to go out to the country to get a good dark sky to fully use the scope. That is where portability and setup become an issue. The best scope is the one used most. If a smaller scope which is easier to move and set up is used more than a large scope then that is a better scope for you.

This is why I got a 5" instead of an 8", I can keep it set up in the house and walk out to the back yard and plop it down and be viewing in 5 minutes. It is also small enough to take camping. But a 5" under a dark sky will be more satisfying than an 8" under a suburban sky.

If you have not looked through a lot of different telescopes, the best thing to do is find a local astronomy club and go to a star party. You will be able to try out a large variety of scopes and see how big they are and how easy they are to set up.

One last thing with regard to GOTO scopes. There are 2 schools of thought. The first is you need to learn the sky and therefore GOTO is bad, the second is that a GOTO scope will help you learn the sky. I subscribe to the second view. One of the most frustrating things to a beginner is finding things to look at, especially if you are in an urban or suburban location. It can be very hard to find anything but the brightest stars and constellations. A GOTO scope helps keep the interest level up while learning the sky at the same time with a good sky map. The best telescope is a telescope used often, not one that sits in the closet gathering dust.

Hope I didn't ramble too much. Again, these are just my opinions. Good luck with you research.

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