Small Aperture

An 8-inch SCT's mirror looks positively huge to a novice amateur astronomer— until the first time the scope is set up next to a 20-inch Dobsonian at a star party, that is. Suddenly, the "big" SCT will seem pretty puny and not very capable of delivering decent images of DSOs or anything else. It Is true that an 8-inch SCT's visual images will never be able to compete with those of a 20-inch scope, but an 8-inch is nevertheless more than large enough to show plenty of good stuff, especially under a dark sky. An 8-inch CAT will reveal thousands of clusters, galaxies, and nebulas, more than most amateurs will ever get around to observing. Many of these objects, the brighter ones, will also show off plenty of detail. M13 will be revealed as a massive ball of tiny stars, M51 will pirouette its graceful spiral arms across the field, and the veil-like folds of M42, the Great Orion Nebula, will seem to stretch on forever. Remember also that if 8-inches is "not enough," SCTs are available in apertures up to 20-inches.

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