Dobsonian Telescope: An Inexpensive Night Sky Observation Instrument
For those who want to expand on their knowledge of the night skies, a simple Dobsonian telescope would be a good starting point. The Dobsonian telescopes are available in six-inch and larger models. These reflecting telescopes have simple mounts to allow viewers to pivot the telescope in all directions so that it is easy to point the telescope anywhere you wish in the sky.
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The design of the Dobsonian telescope is especially appealing to amateur astronomers and this can be attributed to the fact that the results are simply amazing given that these are extremely simple as well as rugged large-aperture telescopes that also do not cost a lot. The term Dobsonian actually refers to telescopes that have an altazimuth mount (up-down, left-right movement) as well as a Newtonian telescope tube assembled together along with some of the features popularized by John Dobson.
The Dobsonian telescope is well liked by amateur telescope makers as well, and it is they who led the way incorporating many of its original features into the hugely popular commercial telescopes now hitting the market. Nevertheless, the Dobsonian telescope is not really a single invention and many of its features have already been used before. It was John Dobson who invented its design sometime in the 1950s by combining all the innovations of those times in order to build a mammoth, cheap as well as simple-to-use telescope, which would enable one and all to view astronomical objects.
John Dobson and the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers first made the Dobsonian telescope in its classic or hard tube avatar popular in the late 60s with the sole intention of making astronomy readily available to the general public. So, the telescope incorporated large apertures and cost less and was also portable. In fact, the design was so simple that anyone with minimal skills was able to construct a huge telescope using just common items easily available at any hardware store or scrap yard.
The design of the Dobsonian telescope allows the astronomer to observe the deep skies to visually observe star clusters, nebulae as well as galaxies that need a large objective mirror that can gather a lot of light. Of necessity, such telescopes are used away from big cities and in dark locations, which requires them to be more compact, rugged as well as portable as compared with the more conventional large Newtonian telescopes.
The advantages of using a Dobsonian telescope include its compact size, ease of use and outstanding deep sky performance as well as some pretty useful planetary performance. The flip side is that it has a non-equatorial drive which makes it difficult to point to objects close to the zenith, and there are also several balance issues to be sorted out. All in all though, you can't go wrong with this kind of telescope, and it is good for getting started in astronomy observations.