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My First Telescope Redux

Saturday was the big day for me.  I was by far more excited about Saturday than the Super Bowl on Sunday (would not be true if my Ravens had been in it…).  On Saturday my dad and I went down to Company Seven, the closest telescope dealer, in Laurel, MD to buy my XT8 telescope.  Since it was my first time buying a scope I wasn’t sure what to expect from the store.  I kind of figured that it would be run by a couple of geeks (which it was) but I did not expect the magnitude of their geekiness to be as high as it was!  That is meant as a compliment to them of course!  I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being down there.  The associate I spoke to seemed to know absolutely everything there was to know about Orion telescopes.  I told him I was looking at the SkyQuest XT8 he immediately recommended that I consider the XT10 Intelliscope instead because it comes with one more eyepiece, has the computerized finder, takes in more light, and offers the best probability that I won’t have to upgrade to a better scope for quite a while…all for only an extra $200 or so.  I was glad that he made that recommendation.  Meanwhile he assured me that he never tries to upsell just for the sake of it and making money.  Company Seven is subsidized by the government through NASA and has worked with them in the past on Hubble and various other projects so selling telescopes is not how they make their living.  Their interest is purely in seeing the customer walk out of the store with the best telescope possible that suits his or her astronomy wants and needs or with a better understanding of the market so that their interest in astronomy can last a lifetime.

So I ended up selecting the XT10 Intelliscope over the XT8 SkyQuest based on the associate’s recommendation.  I was very pleased with the purchase, which my dad and I decided to split.  Overall, the total after the various accessories will come to around $1,200.  I just have to wait about a week or two for them to assemble the scope and collimate it and make sure everything is working in perfect order.  They charge an extra $95 to assemble it but that was money well spent in my opinion because there’s no way I want to risk messing something up and not having the scope work properly.  I’m very excited to get my hands on the new scope and can’t wait to take it out on the first clear night!

Company Seven is a great place to buy a telescope!  Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned pro, they’ve got everything covered from beginner scopes to very expensive eyepieces.  They live and breathe telescopes and astronomy so they really know their stuff.  Just tell them what you want out of a telescope and they can direct you to the perfect one in no time!  I would highly recommend Company Seven for all your astronomical needs.  www.companyseven.com

Company Seven showroom...a telescope Mecca Credit: Company Seven

My First Telescope

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

The XT8

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.

Cloudy Nights Telescope Reviews

Scopereviews.com

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

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