In response to post 51
I am the professor at Saddleback. I agree with the following post however you should know the back story:
"I could be mistaken but I think Saddleback College is a two year community college (CC) that is part of the California Higher Education System. Students who finish their lower division courses at one of the community colleges are given preference for admission to a four year public university in California such as one of the campuses of the University of California (UC) or California State Universities (CSU) to finish the upper division requirements and receive a Bachelors degree from a UC or CSU. For what this 250 mm refractor cost and the numerous other costs associated with owning it, the college could have obtained a far larger and more capable RC. Very few CC students actually end up meeting the admission requirements to transfer to a UC or CSU and get a degree in Astronomy or Physics. A 250 mm refractor at a college is an extravagance that will do little to prepare those students who go on to major in Physics and Astronomy at a four year University and Graduate School for future careers. Professional astronomers simply do not use refractors and training on one would be a waste of time and money."
We initially could only afford a Meade 16" about 10 years ago. No college money was used to purchase the TEC telescope. We are broke, always scrounging for money. We rely on donations and monetary gifts. The 10 inch TEC was purchased by a donor (ex-student of mine) and donated to us (no one here at Saddleback asked for it). If you look at the picture posted much earlier there is a Meade LX200 equatorial pier bolted to the ground. So I thought the same thing, our Meade 16 will outperform this refractor. Not true. This refractor by far outperforms the Meade 16 SCT. What about light gathering power? We really cannot look at deep sky objects due to severe light pollution. So on campus we are limited to the moon and planets. The TEC has a near theoretical MTF. I don't know the MTF of the Meade 16". My students comment that they can see a lot more detail through the TEC compared to the Meade. These are general ed. students with no astronomy or science background.
The mount we are using is a 1995 AP900 which is designed to hold half the weight.
To observe deep sky objects, I take my classes and a 16" homemade Dobsonian out to the desert. Again, we scrounged up enough money with our tin pan to purchase the bit pieces for even a 16 inch Dobsonian. A manufacturer kindly donated the 16" mirror. Once in a while we get equipment money.
We have qty 10 Meade 8" LX90 telescopes for student use. These were bought using equipment funds. Kind of like biology buying microscopes.
So in sum, before we looked through the TEC, I would definitely have purchased a 20" Plane Wave or similar telescope if $50,000 fell on my lap. Initially I was planning on using the TEC for a week and putting our Meade back up. But then I saw the images through the TEC, as did my management and colleagues (these people are not amateur astronomers). Several amateur astronomers have visited our campus to look through the TEC. They had similar comments.
Now the same donor wants to buy us a proper mount (maybe an AP1600 or similar) with goto capability. two weeks ago he made my staff investigate buying even a larger refractor. To date no real action has been taken on a larger refractor. Our ultimate limitation is the size of our observatory. Large refractors are difficult to build and are susceptible to aberrations (for a multitude of reason).
So yes, we are broke and unable to buy lavish items. This is where philanthropists help us. I wish there was more out there.
We also do not train our students on the refractor. They are trained on the Meade 8" LX90. Logistically it would be very difficult training our students with 1 telescope.
I hope this post demonstrates that we are not wasting tax payer money and puts your mind at ease. If anything we brought in more money for the tax payer in the form of equipment.
Saddleback is a 2 year community college with open access to the community. The main reason I posted on this site is to let the community know that they can come observe through the telescope if they want. My department does not turn away anyone who wants to look through our telescopes. You are more than welcome to come down and check out our telescopes.