The Durable Dobsonian Telescope

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  2. March 24, 2014 1:54 am

The Durable Dobsonian Telescope

The Dobsonian, a reflector telescope, is a favorite of stargazers due to its low cost as compared to other telescopes. Named after John Dobson, the astronomer and telescope builder came up with the simple alti-azimuth design in the 1960’s. The telescope tube has “bearings” on each side that are cradled in the cutouts of a box.

A reflector telescope consists of a large tube ranging from 3″ in diameter to 16″ and larger. A curved mirror is placed in the bottom of a tube where it gathers light.
A smaller mirror is situated near the top of the tube to reflect the image from the large mirror to an eyepiece that magnifies and resolves the image.

The Dobsonian reflector telescope, due to its large mirror, gathers more light than other telescopes making it an excellent telescope to view deep sky objects such as nebulae, galaxies, and clusters. When using it to view planets, its resolution is not as sharp as some other telescopes, but the trade-off is worth it to most users.

Dobsonian telescopes are a favorite of stargazers who like to build their own telescopes. These builders usually prefer to fabricate very large instruments that use mirrors measuring 16″ and over. The Dobsonian design makes it more affordable to build and requires little expertise; however, some patience is needed when it comes to balancing the telescope.

Dobsonians are built commercially and start at about $300. Innovations in design have made it possible to equip the Dobsonian with the hardware and software that makes it simple to locate thousands of deep sky objects with the touch of a finger. The Dobsonian telescope is durable and portable, making it easy to leave the light polluted city to find starry skies in the wilderness.


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