Dobsonians More for Your Money

During the 1970s, an avid amateur astronomer named John Dobson began building large, standard Newtonian reflectors (10-inch mirrors were typical) and cutting costs by mounting them not on elaborate and expensive equatorial mounts but on inexpensive altazimuth mounts. Dollars were invested in optics and aperture—light-gathering ability—rather than in fancy mounting hardware and clock drives to aid in tracking objects. The result was a powerful reflecting telescope with a wide field of view.

Very nice Dobsonians can be purchased in the $300 to $1,000 range, or you could see if your local amateur astronomy club offers workshops in making your own telescope. Many astronomy club members make their own Dobsonians.

Is there a Dobsonian downside? Some users find the simple altazimuth mount— which lacks the ability to track objects—too limiting.

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