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Dobsonian Telescopes

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About Dobsonian Telescopes

1. Dobsonian telescopes are known for their large aperture and low magnification. This is ideal for observing faint objects in a very wide field of view. Because of their design, they are best used in areas with very little light pollution. This is a hindrance for some, but once you get it there, you'll agree, the Dobsonian is a superb, elegant design.


2. Originally designed as a simple, easily manufactured telescope for portability and ease of use, the Dobsonian has, as of late, evolved into a more sophisticated device. While you can still find inexpensive models, current incarnations of the Dobsonian feature fully motorized mechanics to find celestial bodies and the latest in optical advances.


3. For DIYers with a taste for astronomy, the Dobsonian is the go to model. Most telescope kits are Dobsonian models, because of their simple mechanics and optics. Indeed, it was an amateur astronomer, John Dobson, who invented it in the 1960s to popularize astronomy and encourage amateurs to build large, well-performing telescopes.


4. Specifically, the Dobsonian telescope is a reflecting telescope modeled after a Newtonian telescope. This means there is a concave mirror at the end of the telescope tube and an eyepiece on the side, toward the front. The mount is really what distinguishes the Dobsonian from a standard Newtonian telescope. It is easy to manipulate, holds the tube like a cannon, and its mechanics make for a very inexpensive device. Purists will even complain that fancy Dobsonian telescopes do little but confound users.


5. However, the more expensive models usually have better means for doing astrophotography and, as of late, come with motors that automatically find celestial objects for you. It may take some of the fun out of finding it yourself, but it will save you a whole lot of time.

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