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What did you end up doing? I'm also looking at entering this arena. I know I used to work at an observatory, but my area wasn't normal optical astronomy. My project involved an array of PMTs in the focus box. Not a CCD or anything most people think of as imaging astronomy.

canonian is correct that bigger is better for imaging, but for most people you have to balance size/weight with what your goal is. He's also correct that the brighter the area where you live, the less you'll see with any given size objective. You can get great amateur images with a 6" if you are far enough away from the city that you can see the Milky Way with your naked eyes.

I'm thinking about 6", mostly for weight and expense. One does have to include the tripod and drive motor in that weight calculation!

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