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Most popular aperture

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#1 stevew

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 06:27 PM

I own several telescopes from 4 inches to 16 inches.
However it seems my most frequently used telescopes are in the 5 to 8 inch aperture range.
The larger ones come out more often in the summer time as this is when get most of our best observing weather.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the most popular aperture?
Not necessarily based on sales, as I'm sure the department store 60 mm refractor out sells just about every other telescope.

Steve

#2 MikeBOKC

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:52 PM

Based on what I see in people's signatures here on CN, I would say 4 inches in refractors, 8 in SCTs and 8-10 in Dobs.

#3 stevew

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 07:57 PM

Yes, I was thinking about the same.
8 inches seems to be very popular in the SCT and Newtonian categories.

#4 StarStuff1

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:06 PM

Agreed. A couple of years ago I started a build on a 12.5-in dob and gave it up just before finishing. Age takes it's toll.

With that said, if I come across a good deal on a 10-in <f/5
:o

#5 Ira

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 08:06 PM

8" seems to be the sweet spot for price/performance/size, except for refractors.

/Ira

#6 nytecam

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 04:26 AM

My #1 is a M12"SCT [in dome as avatar] but it's an astrograph - no eyeballing - for that my #2 and favourite is my 40mm PST on the sun. :grin:

#7 Dick Jacobson

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 08:42 AM

At local star parties I see a lot of Newtonians in the 12-16 inch range. I own a 14" and consider it a perfect balance between portability and light gathering power, also with an eyepiece low enough so I don't need a ladder.

#8 JIMZ7

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:57 AM

Back in the 60's a 6" reflector and 3" refractor was probably the average scope people would own,but now the sky is the limit it seems. My 10" Dob is getting to be average with star-gazers.

Jim :dob:

#9 drbyyz

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:23 PM

Lots and lots of 8s out there. I'm seeing fewer and fewer dobs under 10" though. Almost everyone who wants seems to be able to afford a 10+" dob if they want nowadays. I seem to remember the 6" dob being the perfect beginners scope, now aperture is becoming king at affordable prices. Hope the newbies don't get frustrated lugging out their giant scopes!!!

#10 JayinUT

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 09:47 PM

I have a great 14 Zambuto in a strut dob that is around 45 lbs, less when broken up. 14 is the best for me. I also own a 10 that I mainly use at home.

#11 Tophat3

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 02:08 AM

I agree, I run into lots of 8 and 10in dobs

#12 Astrojensen

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:25 AM

I see a lot of 4" apochromats, 6" maks, 8" SCTs, 10" solid-tube dobs and 12" truss dobs. And for good reason, I think. All are in a sweet spot for their respective types, both performance-wise, but also price.


Clear skies!
Thomas, Denmark

#13 Eddgie

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 10:43 AM

Well, I think that your question is somewhat difficult because there are two ways to measure popularity.

You yourself own several scopes (as many readers of the forum do) so would they not also be popular?

Would your question be better if you asekd "If you own several different telescopes, what aperture do you tend to use the most?"

I own a 90 MCT, a C5, an AP 6", an EdgeHD 8", and a C14.

Of these, I would be willing to bet that the C8 is the most popular from a sales persective, but I don't use it much simply becuase it is kind of small (as are all the rest).

Also, by your own admission, you tend to use your smaller scopes when the weather is less than good, so is it "Popular" simply because it gets you in and out fastar than the big scopes?

If that were not a factor, what would you use the most?

Sorry, I know I am picking on your question, but at the same time, it doesn't really define anything.

The scope I personally have used the most over the 40 years of observing has always been the biggest scope.

But it is more than the size that stops people from buying them, it is also the cost. Not everyone can afford a 14" dob or a place to store it.

If you made me bet, I would bet that the C8, simply by the fact that it has been on the market for 40+ years, is the most polular "serious" astronomy telescope ever sold.

If you made me guess, what is being used the most today, I would bet that it is smaller telescopes, but often for the same reasons you yourself tend to use them a lot... Easy of use.

People that live in more moderate climates though might have an answer that would trend upwards. The "Quick Look" mentality makes a lot more sense when you are freezing your behind off.

I have only had 5 nights of freezing temps in the last year.

For me, the investment of 15 minutes to set up my C14 for three hours of observing seems like a decent value proposition.

If it were 20 degrees outside, I think my C5 would get a lot more use... LOL.

But that is why so many of us have so many different scopes. No one scope does it all, and conditions often may limit people to different choices based on needs and tolerance.

When I recommend scopes to people, I usually recommend the EdgeHD 8".

If I could only have one scope for the rest of my life, it would be the EdgeHD 8".

And yet, I rarely use it.

But that is my guess why they are so popular... Just big enough, and still light enough. Has made sense for 40 years, and with the EdgeHDs, will makes sense for the next 40 years.

#14 EJN

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 12:15 PM

60mm
:yay:

#15 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:08 PM


For me, the investment of 15 minutes to set up my C14 for three hours of observing seems like a decent value proposition.



Eddgie:

I think scope choice depends on our observing habits, how often we observe, how long, what are the conditions.

My observing habits are bimodal. On a work night at home in the city, I will likely use a 3 or 4 inch refractor, it takes me a few minutes to setup and tear down and I might be only out for an hour or even less though last night I was out for 3 hours. If it clear, I am out there, if only for a shortwhile... If I set up a larger scope, the largest I have in the city are 12.5 inchers, then I will probably still have a small scope out. A good week is every night, a poor week might be 1, 2 or even no nights.

Weekends, most are spent at our little mountain hideway, dark skies most often clear... It's always a bigger scope, 12.5 inch, 16 inch or 25 inch plus a small scope. Such sessions are long... I time them around the moon, on a waxing moon, I get in an hour or two, go to sleep and wake up at moon set. In waning moon, I go to sleep at moon rise. I am too old to put in all nighters the way I could 10 years ago, I need at least two hours sleep sometime to make it though the night. For dark sky observing, a good month is 6-8 nights, a bad one is 1, 2 or even none.

My most used scopes are my 80mm and 101mm refractors and my 12.5 inch, 16 inch and 25 inch Dobs with the biggest scope getting less time than the 16 inch, it's real work to observe with it and the site is quite windy, it's a rare day when it doesn't blow 20mph, so the strut design of the 16 inch is more practical.

Jon

#16 hfjacinto

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 01:19 PM

I have a 60MM, 80MM, 120MM and 9.25 and the 120MM gets the most use.

Close 2nd is the 60MM. The 80MM has been relegated to Wide Field imaging and the 9.25 isn't brought out often although the 9.25 shows the most details. I think living in a white zone makes the difference, when out at our dark site, I try to bring the 9.25 if not imaging.

#17 RogueGazer

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:26 AM

The 60mm refractor is the most common scope size. If you don't agree check Craiglist or even your average weekend garage sale. Those things are everywhere. Most are junky department store models that get little or no use but that's beside the point. The more dedicated amateur astronomer gets the biggest scope he or she can carry and store. That would be an 8" reflector. Cost is a factor but your average adult with aperture fever will probably just throw it on a credit card and hope they can pay it off later or sell something like their 6" scope they bought after selling their 4 1/2" scope :roflmao:

#18 Eddgie

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:55 AM

I think scope choice depends on our observing habits, how often we observe, how long, what are the conditions.



Well, this aligns to my too long note above. The question that the OP asked is somewhat vague in the sense that different observers use different apertures for different reasons, and many of us have multiple scopes.

If his question was "What scope do you use the most", the answer would be very easy. We would just say what scope we use the most. I use my C14 the most. But I have owned 3 C8s over the years so from a "what do people buy" standpoint, for me, it would be C8s.. (Two Vixen 140s and two C5s too), so the C8 would be the most popular from an ownership experience.

But "Most Popular Aperture" is a rather vague, and we don't know what he is searching to find the answer to. Most popular by sales, most popular by percentage of use, the aperture that most of us would consider would be the "If I only had one scope it would be ______" popularity.

We get a lot of good conversation starter type questions like this that have no real answer because the subject is to complex.

We debate them endlessly, but at the end, the OP doesn't really get an answer that is anything but a widely varied set of opinious, mostly relating to what we own and what we use.

And to think that Cloudy Nights represents more than a tiny fraction of all the telescope owners and users on the planet is I think a bit of a stretch. European and Japanese astronomers have their own forums (which often tend to be more objective test kinds of forums, becasue these markets are more into objective data).

I love a good dialog, but my initial post was really a very long way of saying "there is no real answer to this question without a scientific study."

#19 csrlice12

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 10:50 AM

Guess the true answer is, will you take a second look? If you do, there's probably enough aperture to get started. But Eddgie makes very valid points, especially about the other forums (and they're good forums too). And, truthfully, what's a perfect scope for me, might be a real PIA to you...

Scientific Study: If you consider that each individual will need to conduct his own study, yea....cause like you said the subject is too broad and complex for a single answer.

Even in Astronomy, the standard answer is: it depends.....

#20 hottr6

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 12:48 PM

For me, it is a 6" Newt or 6" MCT. I have them set-up and ready to go. If I read about some interesting object here on CN, I can carry out the 'scope and be observing in a couple of minutes. My eyes take longer to dark-adapt! :foreheadslap:

On the other hand, my 10" Newt on a GEM grab-n-go takes a good 10-15 mins to set up. My slow refractors require the most amount of set-up time, and thus they receive the least amount of use. Being small in aperture does not help their case.

#21 csrlice12

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 01:00 PM

Agree that my 10" Dob is actually easier to set up and be using then the 4" frac/EQ Mount.

#22 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:16 PM

Agree that my 10" Dob is actually easier to set up and be using then the 4" frac/EQ Mount.



I think it depends on the scope. A short focal length 4 inch can be hauled out the door on an EQ mount in one piece. A long focal length 4 inch probably needs to be carried in two pieces.

Part of the difficulty is that a long focal length scope needs to have the tripod legs extended so that the eyepiece height at the zenith is workable. This can mean more time to setup.

Jon

#23 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:59 AM

I've had 6" reflectors, 8", 10", 12" and 12.5". I went back to a 10" F/4.7 because I can lay it down flat in the back seat perfectly when going away and it takes me 5 min to set up anywhere! Not bad on the back at all either!

IMO, a 10" F/4.7 is compact enough to set up easy, but has enough light gathering for some good stuff! :like:

Cheers,

#24 Mark Costello

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:34 AM


Agree that my 10" Dob is actually easier to set up and be using then the 4" frac/EQ Mount.



I think it depends on the scope. A short focal length 4 inch can be hauled out the door on an EQ mount in one piece. A long focal length 4 inch probably needs to be carried in two pieces.

Part of the difficulty is that a long focal length scope needs to have the tripod legs extended so that the eyepiece height at the zenith is workable. This can mean more time to setup.

Jon



It also depends on the mount. I was willing to forgo motorized tracking. So I can have my 5" achro / EQ rig ready to go in 6 minutes (including all the eyepieces, chair, notebook, and red light). I probably could set up a 8"-10" Dob faster, but for me faster than 6 minutes is not much gain.

#25 pstarr

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 08:46 AM

Back in the 60's a 6" reflector and 3" refractor was probably the average scope people would own,but now the sky is the limit it seems. My 10" Dob is getting to be average with star-gazers.






Jim :dob:


Funny you should say the sky is the limit. It is the sky that most people view under that is making of us get larger scopes. In the 60's, the 6" f-8 reflector was the scope to have. Most backyards were dark and a scope this size showed a wealth of objects well. Now a 8 or 10" is required from light polluted backyards to see what the 6" used to showed in dark skies.






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