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Versatility of a 6" Newt

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#1 deanrth357

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 12:50 AM

All aspects considered, portability vs apreture vs cost and etc etc, I find a 6" dob probably the best telescope for many people, beginner to advanced observer. If this true, would anyone mind sharing their experiences with one? I'd do it myself, but I'm still hoping to get one sometime.

Edit: 8" will be welcome here, too. These things just work astronomical wonders, don't they?

Edited by deanrth357, 11 July 2018 - 01:18 AM.

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#2 TOMDEY

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 01:26 AM

I built and enjoyed this 6-inch F/7.3 before I even knew what a Dobsonian was. But it's really close to that concept. Enjoyed that for a long time, added setting circles and wroth my own calculator program to point at things. Used that for years on planets, clusters, nebulae, etc. It was wonderful! I would take it in my compact car to star parties. Very convenient. Sure, I eventually went bigger... but your point is a good one. There is a LOT to be said for starting out with this size and doing visual.

 

P.S, I also made the mirror and the mount... from scratch, my own design. That was also fun and enlightening!  Tom

 

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#3 siriusandthepup

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 01:27 AM

A 6" f/8 holds a special place in the hearts of us older amateurs. The classic RV-6 Criterion is the poster child for the 6" f/8s. Many had exquisite optics and the planetary views were quite memorable. I was interfaced with an RV-6 in high school (I graduated in 1970) - the school owned one and it was superb.

 

Yeah - yeah, that's the nostalgia talking.

 

Today, with the Dobs, I would say that the modern equivalent is the 8" f/6. It's not that 6" f/8 is any less worthy a telescope than it was 50 years ago - it is still a wonderful telescope to own. But nowadays the 8" f/6 has such a small differential in price to the 6" f/8 that it makes sense to get that instead for most folks. Both telescopes share the same 48" focal length. So both are manageable as far as size is concerned.

 

my 2 cents. :)


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#4 sg6

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 03:27 AM

I would say the "advantage" of a 6" is very much it's size and portability.

Very easy to pick up and take outside in terms of a dobsonian mount and also easy if placed on a tripod based mount.

 

People tend to put a lot of emphasis on aperture but aperture eventually makes a scope toublesome. And in my mind hobby's like this has to be relatively simple and easy and hassle free.

 

I would also say that you can likely see much the same with a 6" as an 8". One of those strange areas where there is no real boundry. You might see it with a 6" and see it better with an 8", but either option you have seen it. If you cannot see it in a 6" then in an 8" it will be just visible and so not really good. Objects do not switch from invisible to magnificent brilliance by a change from 6" to 8".

 

 

I will eventually build a 6" ultra portable and the reason is as initially, nice all round size, easy to transport and take anywhere. In a way 8" loses that portability and does not deliver aperture. If after the 6" I made a bigger one it would be 12".


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#5 Tony Flanders

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 05:47 AM

I agree with siriusandthepup that while a 6-inch f/8 Dob is a great scope for beginners -- and for experienced observers as well -- an 8-inch f/6 Dob is even better. The 8-incher is very nearly the same size as the 6-incher due to its shorter focal ratio, and is quite a bit more capable. The only real advantages of the 6-incher are that it's somewhat lighter and cheaper and significantly more forgiving of poor collimation. But once you learn how to do it, collimating an f/6 scope should take well under a minute in most cases.

 

As it happens, my own scope is halfway in between -- a 7-inch f/5.4 Dob. It's a total joy to use, in every way. I can carry it easily in a single trip and set it up in a matter of seconds. Its ergonomics are miraculous -- completely stress-free observing while sitting in a standard chair for objects almost from the zenith down to 20 degrees above the horizon. With a 2-inch focuser, it has an amazing widefield capability, fitting and framing objects like the Pleiades beautifully.

 

On 90% of all nights it shows almost as much planetary detail as my 12.5-inch Dob. Under dark skies, it shows hundreds of deep-sky objects with ease, resolves at least a dozen globular clusters, and shows a great deal of detail in nearby spiral galaxies such as M33, M51, and M101.


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#6 Phillip Creed

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 07:26 AM

I have a modded Orion Starblast 6 that's a great "utility infielder" type of scope in a quasi-dob configuration.  I got a used OTA and hooked it onto a Skywatcher AZ-4 mount and had the original 1.25"-rack and pinion focuser replaced with a 2"-dual speed Crayford.  Anything from high power (300X) on planets to >3° FOV with enough aperture to make things interesting under dark skies.

Clear Skies,

Phil
 


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#7 starcanoe

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:22 AM

There was a nice long thread recently about 6 inch dobs in the reflector forum. Might be an interesting read for some.



#8 Mark Radice

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 10:12 AM

To segway somewhat, I am a big fan of my second hand 6” skywatcher Mak. Enough aperture to be useful and smaller than a dob. This is my grab and go, take on holiday, working away choice.

#9 Eric63

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 11:51 AM

Six inches is enough for me.  I love my 6"F5 Newtonian and it's also lots of fun to tinker with.  I bought a SW version six years ago and since then I upgraded the focuser to a two speed, I flocked the interior, I had the mirror re-figured, added a dew-shield and finally made a fan for cooling.  This scope is a great all around performer and very easy to use on a SW AZ4 mount.  From wide field to high power planetary, this scope performs like a charm.

 

Eric 


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#10 csa/montana

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 12:56 PM

This thread will be moved to Reflectors for better fit of topic.



#11 havasman

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 01:47 PM

I spent some quality time with a donated XT6i f8 club scope getting it ready for members' use at the dark site and kitted out with ep's (A-T Paradigm Dual ED's worked very well) and I was very impressed with its capability both from here in town and from the dark site's much better skies. I think it's a very sweet spot in the continuum.


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#12 steve t

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 09:31 PM

I built my 6" F8 around a University Mirror and Novak tube components back in 1981. As time went by I've upgraded components as better ones became available (finder, rotating tube rings, focuser, and mount...). 

 

Since I started in amateur astronomy in 1973, I've had the opertunity to own larger and smaller scopes, but as mentioned be above, the 6" scope just hit a sweet spot for me and my observing style.

 

This is a photo of the scope in its current configuration.

 

  

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#13 barbie

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 11:17 PM

I love my 6"F8 dob!!


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#14 Deep13

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 05:02 AM

Built an airline portable strut Dob around a 2002 Discovery 6" f/5 and diagonal. At that length, it is mostly a RFT. It does very well. The TV 24mm Pan. rrally brings out its capability.
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#15 dmgriff

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 09:28 AM

DSC00102

I use a 6in f/8 newtonian ota with rings on a manual lxd75 german equatorial mount as my big scope.

 

Good viewing,

 

Dave


Edited by dmgriff, 12 July 2018 - 10:00 AM.

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#16 Binojunky

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 09:38 AM

I recently picked an Orion 6"F8 dob, the basic version, a complete scope for the cost of an mid range eyepiece, it has exceeded my expectations, glorious views of the moon filled with intricate detail, highly recommended, like-button.jpg D.


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#17 gwlee

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 09:54 AM

i own both 6”f8 and 8”f6 scopes, and the lower weight and slightly smaller size of the 6”f8 give it a big advantage for me at this observing site, so it’s my most used scope by far. 

 

If you can EASILY handle the larger 8”, it’s likely the better choice for most people. Scopes seem to grow bigger and heavier after the new wears off though.


Edited by gwlee, 12 July 2018 - 09:15 PM.

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#18 Solar storm

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 10:23 AM

My 6" f8 on my Orion Starseeker IV alt/az tracking mount is awesome for planets!  It cools so fast and makes a perfect grab and go.  The scope and mount are so light together that it is super easy to just pick up all at once and bring outside.  An 8" may show some more, but weight and cooling time make it harder as a grab and go if that is the purpose.  My 11" is for the long sit out cool down serious work.  


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#19 barbie

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 12:17 PM

After owning and using a variety of larger scopes, both refractor and reflector, I have come back to the 6"F8 Newtonian because I'm older with a bad back and knees and the 6" dob/Newt is so much easier to set up.  This along with my 4"F9 apo and 90mm Mak very much satisfy my current, and most likely permanent astronomical needs.


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#20 eklf

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 12:24 PM

I have been using a celestron c102 4" f/10 refractor for weeknight hour-long observing outings.  With the planets well placed they have been getting much more time lately.  However, I find the CA quite bothersome (perhaps spoilt with my other scopes Nexstar 8 GPS and 12 inch dob - naturally color-free but more cumbersome to set up than the 4 inch frac).

 

I have been eyeing the At102ed as the natural solution to my problem, and a while back was able to compare the views between the two scopes.  Another person present at the club outing had a 6-inch f5 reflector with 2 inch focuser and type 1 paracorr.

 

The reflector provided best views of saturn and jupiter - bright, sharp and color-free.  It was slightly better on globs like M13 (obviously due to the slightly better light grasp).  With the paracorr it was also an amazing wide-field instrument. Just a slight step behind the At102 in FOV department, the paracorr-corrected views were brighter and more engaging to me than the At102ed.   It displayed all the portability advantages of At102ed, had better color correction, and provided slightly better wide-field performance but with a slightly smaller wide-field FOV.

 

Going by memory (as I had not set up the C8 side-by-side that night) I'd rate the views of the 6" reflector far closer to the C8 than to 4" refractor.

 

I was about to pull the trigger on At102ed, but I found the 6 inch f5 more satisfying.  Although a 4" ed better compliments my existing line-up, the 6" f5 is a better stand-alone scope.  The owner of the 6" f5 and I agreed to a short-term exchange of the two scopes (the C102 and 6 inch reflector) for a couple of weeks, so I would be curious if my initial exuberance stands the test of repeated observing over a period of time.  


Edited by eklf, 12 July 2018 - 12:32 PM.

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#21 aatt

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 08:21 PM

I am all about aperture most of the time.That being said, my 6" is a keeperI have seen spiral arms of M51 in it and fanstastic planetary observing as well. Under dark skies it is a very capablle little scope.Even after getting a 15" I have sometimes used it for conveniece or neccesity and it has not been " too bad I cant use the 15" scenario.It satisfies.Easy forgiving collimation, very quick cool down and super easy to transport.Odds are you will have good to great optics as well. Outside of Quasars it shows all of the types of objects out there. 


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#22 izar187

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Posted 12 July 2018 - 11:20 PM

Another vote for 6" f/5, on an alt-az tripod. My favorite 6". And 4" for that matter.


Edited by izar187, 12 July 2018 - 11:22 PM.

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#23 BlueTrane2028

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 01:09 AM

My favorite scope is my 12".

My 6" sees a lot of use though.  Too convenient.


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#24 Keith Rivich

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 12:08 PM

I would say the "advantage" of a 6" is very much it's size and portability.

Very easy to pick up and take outside in terms of a dobsonian mount and also easy if placed on a tripod based mount.

 

People tend to put a lot of emphasis on aperture but aperture eventually makes a scope toublesome. And in my mind hobby's like this has to be relatively simple and easy and hassle free.

 

I would also say that you can likely see much the same with a 6" as an 8". One of those strange areas where there is no real boundry. You might see it with a 6" and see it better with an 8", but either option you have seen it. If you cannot see it in a 6" then in an 8" it will be just visible and so not really good. Objects do not switch from invisible to magnificent brilliance by a change from 6" to 8".

 

 

I will eventually build a 6" ultra portable and the reason is as initially, nice all round size, easy to transport and take anywhere. In a way 8" loses that portability and does not deliver aperture. If after the 6" I made a bigger one it would be 12".

During the summer when I am setting up the 25" in 100 deg temps I wonder if it is all worth it. Then I look at m22 and say to myself "darned right it is". I little bit of hard work on the front end reaps many benefits on the back end. 

 

Thinking about the OP's opinion that a 6" is the "best telescope" for advanced observers I would have to humbly disagree. While such an observer can really make a 6" scope hum it is simply not enough aperture to hold ones interest for more then a few objects. IMO a 16" f/5 or an 18" f/4.5 hits the sweet spot for the advanced observer. Enough aperture to really go deep and portable enough to make set up easy.


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#25 paul m schofield

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Posted 13 July 2018 - 04:25 PM

Well, this topic IS about the versatility of a 6" Newtonian, not about light grasp. Here are some mounting options easily done with a 6", more difficult with an 8", and impossible with 10" and larger if you want to keep it grab and go, or at least grunt and go.

Here's my 6" f/6.7 in Dob or eq format. Either way, setup is quick and easy.

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