The wait is almost over! Friday I’m buying my first telescope, an Orion XT8 Dobsonian. I’m pretty excited about it because up until Friday, all of my sky observations have been done with my 15×70 binoculars. I love my binoculars though! I think every astronomer needs to have a good pair of binoculars to compliment their strongest telescope. However, the
binoculars have acted like a springboard just waiting to launch me into the deep end. I don’t mean the deep end in the traditional sense when it implies being in over one’s head, but as a bit of a play on words referring to the viewing of deep sky objects. While I understand that the XT8 is by and large a beginner’s scope, the reviews I’ve read about it typically rave about its performance for planetary viewing and deep sky viewing. I recently read a review on Cloudy Nights rating the XT8 a 10/10. The authors of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide classified the XT8 as the perfect scope for a beginner and the best performance for the price. It’s an 8″ Newtonian reflector set on the sturdy Dobsonian mount. The apperature seams good enough to gather enough light to do some serious planetary viewing, which I’m really excited about. The price is not steep at all. Orion has it listed at $349. I’ve yet to call the dealer in my area to find out their pricing but I can’t imagine it’s much different. If you live in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area there’s a dealer that sells all sorts of telescopes and accessories called Company Seven, they’re located in Laurel, MD. The reason for the strange name is that the guys who started the shop were all a part of Company Seven at the local firehouse. Firefighters turned astronomers, pretty cool!
Anyway, that’s my spiel on the soon-to-be new purchase. It’s supposed to be cloudy the next couple of nights here so I’m praying that Friday night is clear! I’ll be sure to post a nice review of the scope once I’ve gotten my legs under me. In the meantime, here’s a couple helpful websites that offer telescope reviews. Peace.
Sky And Telescope…Although they aren’t dedicated to reviews they do have some world-class experts who frequently do reviews and other editorial features