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10'' or 12'' Dobsonian as first telescope?

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#1 darkskies14

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 04:54 AM

Hello everyone!

 

I am going to get my first telescope and I decided to go for a classic Dobson, but I'm not sure which would be better: a 12'' or a 10'' + eyepieces (from the cost difference of the telescopes).

 

Money is not necessarily a problem here, but the 12'' is quite heavier and I am curious if the extra apperture is actually worth it given the reduced portability. I'll primarily do observations from my backyard and I get a respectable amount of light pollution since I live in a small city. Of course, I'll go to dark sky places once in a while but maybe every 2 months or so. I plan to do lunar, deep sky objects and planetary observations. My question is: are there going to be major view differences given this context?

 

A small request: If it's not too much, could someone please underline the differences between the 10'' scopes as I can not make much out of the specifications... I'm a complete beginner.

 

Thank you all for your time and I'm sorry if I made any grammatical errors, I'm not a native.

 

I'll link the scopes below (I'm from Europe, Omegon is a German brand):

 

https://www.astrosho...ab_bar_1_select                                    -- 10'' Omegon

https://www.astrosho...ab_bar_1_select           -- 10'' SkyWatcher

https://www.astrosho...ab_bar_1_select                                     -- 12'' Omegon


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#2 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 06:13 AM

First:

 

Hello and :welcome: to Cloudy Nights.

 

The 10 inch versus 12 inch question is difficult, it's performance versus size.  I have some very large scopes but they are truss style scopes.  I also have a 10 inch GSO which is identical to the 10 inch Omegon.  When I see a 12 inch F/5 Dob, I am always surprised by the size of the 12 inch, it seems overly large.  

 

One issue with the 12 inch F/5 is the length of the OTA, it's about 1.5 meters in length and is difficult to fit in a standard size car.  The 10 inch is about 1.2 meters in length and fits across the back seat of a relatively small car, I used to transport mine in a 1989 Nissan Sentra, a small compact car. The size of your vehicle is an important consideration.  Personally, I consider the 10 inch to be the largest practical tube Dob, a 12 inch really needs to be a truss type Dob.  

 

View wise, the 12 inch will show more but I think the views are more the same than they are different.  The 12 inch goes about 0.4 magnitudes deeper, significant but not overwhelming. 

 

As far as the differences between the two 10 inch scopes:

 

- I prefer the mount design of the Omegon, I like the spring design, mine has those and it tracks nicely.

 

- I prefer the focuser of the Omegon.  Both are Crayfords but I really like the Omegon (the scope is manufactured by GSO.)  It is simple, effective and easy to work on.

 

- The Omegon has a slightly longer focal length, it's slightly slower.  This will reduce the coma slightly.

 

- The Skywatcher has a Pyrex mirror, that is a good thing, it distorts less when cooling.  

 

Jon

 

(Your grammar is excellent, probably better than most native speakers)


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#3 Starman47

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 06:40 AM

My first telescope was the 12” Dobstuff easy travel telescope. I have taken in with me on several trips totaling over 42,000 miles. It fits into a sedan (Toyota Camry), and I have disassembled it so it can fit in checked baggage on a round-trip trans pacific plane trip. I take it out to the back yard on a regular basis. It has traveled to almost every eastern state and to Texas, in the future it may just make it to California. 

 

The Dobstuff telescopes are kits, which can save you hundreds of dollars,  If you are interested, then I can give you my personal review. But you should already be able to tell, it will be a positive review.

 

www.dobstuff.com


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#4 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 06:51 AM

My first telescope was the 12” Dobstuff easy travel telescope. I have taken in with me on several trips totaling over 42,000 miles. It fits into a sedan (Toyota Camry), and I have disassembled it so it can fit in checked baggage on a round-trip trans pacific plane trip. I take it out to the back yard on a regular basis. It has traveled to almost every eastern state and to Texas, in the future it may just make it to California. 

 

The Dobstuff telescopes are kits, which can save you hundreds of dollars,  If you are interested, then I can give you my personal review. But you should already be able to tell, it will be a positive review.

 

www.dobstuff.com

Darkskies14 is located in Europe and seems to be looking at commercial scopes.  

 

Jon


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#5 Migwan

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:05 AM

Pre-existing cases of aperture fever are easily cured with a 12" Dob.  Side effects include a desire for a bigger ride and in some cases, back strain.   Please see your  CN house doctor if these side effects continue after the first clear skies.  

 

jd


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#6 darkskies14

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:12 AM

First:

 

Hello and welcome.gif to Cloudy Nights.

 

The 10 inch versus 12 inch question is difficult, it's performance versus size.  I have some very large scopes but they are truss style scopes.  I also have a 10 inch GSO which is identical to the 10 inch Omegon.  When I see a 12 inch F/5 Dob, I am always surprised by the size of the 12 inch, it seems overly large.  

 

One issue with the 12 inch F/5 is the length of the OTA, it's about 1.5 meters in length and is difficult to fit in a standard size car.  The 10 inch is about 1.2 meters in length and fits across the back seat of a relatively small car, I used to transport mine in a 1989 Nissan Sentra, a small compact car. The size of your vehicle is an important consideration.  Personally, I consider the 10 inch to be the largest practical tube Dob, a 12 inch really needs to be a truss type Dob.  

 

View wise, the 12 inch will show more but I think the views are more the same than they are different.  The 12 inch goes about 0.4 magnitudes deeper, significant but not overwhelming. 

 

As far as the differences between the two 10 inch scopes:

 

- I prefer the mount design of the Omegon, I like the spring design, mine has those and it tracks nicely.

 

- I prefer the focuser of the Omegon.  Both are Crayfords but I really like the Omegon (the scope is manufactured by GSO.)  It is simple, effective and easy to work on.

 

- The Omegon has a slightly longer focal length, it's slightly slower.  This will reduce the coma slightly.

 

- The Skywatcher has a Pyrex mirror, that is a good thing, it distorts less when cooling.  

 

Jon

 

(Your grammar is excellent, probably better than most native speakers)

Thank you for the prompt and very detailed response! grin.gif

 

Indeed, a 1.5m tube would not fit easily in my car. As you put it I guess there wouldn't be that much of a view difference between a 12'' and 10''; not to mention the fact that I wouldn't be able to tell the quality difference since I have no prior experience. After all, this will be my first "real" telescope. I think a 10'' one will suffice for quite a few years.

 

I will dig deeper into specifications and figure out which one to pick.

Thank you again!

 

 

Starman47, as Jon said, for the moment I'd like a commercial plug and play scope. But I appreciate the info and I will consider it for future projects!



#7 darkskies14

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:14 AM

Pre-existing cases of aperture fever are easily cured with a 12" Dob.  Side effects include a desire for a bigger ride and in some cases, back strain.   Please see your  CN house doctor if these side effects continue after the first clear skies.  

 

jd

Haha, I hope the apperture bug won't bite me anytime soon! lol.gif


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#8 Jeff Struve

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 07:14 AM

My first real scope as the Orion 12XXi Intelliscope Truss Dob... I still have it and it is still my main scope for visual.

 

It is the quickest and easiest of my scopes to set up and tear down and great for outreach. From in the cases in my van to set up, collimated and aligned, its under 10 minutes. 

 

Being a truss dob, it packs up taking a fairly small foot print, and each piece (4 of them) is easy to lift and move as well as transport. 

 

I like the Intelliscope part a lot as it helps me locate objects when I want to move from object to object quickly (especially useful while doing outreach) and when light pollution is bad enough that star hopping isn't producing desired results. If you prefer star hopping, you don't have to use the feature.

 

At my last Messier Marathon I was able to find 107 of the 110 Messier Objects plus another 11 objects in a single night using that Dob and just a 21mm 100° eyepiece.

 

Although I'm an eyepiece snob, I'm also an eyepiece minimalist... you don't need a lot of glass... just the best you can afford. In the 12" Dob I use my 13mm and 21mm about 90% of the time and an 8mm about 10% of the time. I also would recommend a 4th piece of glass, that being a comma corrector (if the scope is f5 or faster)... I use TeleVue glass, but Explore Scientific makes for a very, very fine second choice at less $$$. 

 

my 2 cents!

Jeff

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#9 darkskies14

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:02 AM

My first real scope as the Orion 12XXi Intelliscope Truss Dob... I still have it and it is still my main scope for visual.

 

It is the quickest and easiest of my scopes to set up and tear down and great for outreach. From in the cases in my van to set up, collimated and aligned, its under 10 minutes. 

 

Being a truss dob, it packs up taking a fairly small foot print, and each piece (4 of them) is easy to lift and move as well as transport. 

 

I like the Intelliscope part a lot as it helps me locate objects when I want to move from object to object quickly (especially useful while doing outreach) and when light pollution is bad enough that star hopping isn't producing desired results. If you prefer star hopping, you don't have to use the feature.

 

At my last Messier Marathon I was able to find 107 of the 110 Messier Objects plus another 11 objects in a single night using that Dob and just a 21mm 100° eyepiece.

 

Although I'm an eyepiece snob, I'm also an eyepiece minimalist... you don't need a lot of glass... just the best you can afford. In the 12" Dob I use my 13mm and 21mm about 90% of the time and an 8mm about 10% of the time. I also would recommend a 4th piece of glass, that being a comma corrector (if the scope is f5 or faster)... I use TeleVue glass, but Explore Scientific makes for a very, very fine second choice at less $$$. 

 

my 2 cents!

Jeff

Thank you for the information!

 

A 12'' Truss is too expensive for my first telescope though. That's why I opted for the full tube ones.



#10 Starman47

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:03 AM

In my experience nothing cures aperture fever, but three things seem to control it: a bad back, a small pocketbook, and a reluctant significant other. 


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#11 MrRoberts

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:07 AM

I originally had an 8" dob and my friend had the same mfg 10".  The 10" had much brighter and detailed views. About a year later someone else we knew had bought the 12" (same mfg). Although the views were slightly brighter, the weight/bulk made it very difficult to transport etc. In the end 2 of us wish we had bought the 10".


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#12 gene 4181

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:14 AM

 10 in  , 12 inch ,  Don't forget  a decent 2 wheel dolly  with the pipe insulation on the dolly tubes and a couple of bungee cords  , makes moving them easier than  most any other set up  with tripods (alt-az or EQ).


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#13 kfiscus

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:22 AM

Welcome.  Start with a good 10".  Grow out of it.  You can easily fit the tube across the back seat of most cars.


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#14 aeajr

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:34 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights and the universe.   It is a big place up there and you will have a lot to see.

 

  • Where will you store the scope?
  • Where will you use it on your property?
  • How will you move it around?

 

Whether 10" or 12" you want it to be convenient to use or you won't use it.   

 

If you have a garage or other outdoor storage location that is dry even a 12" solid tube Dobsonian scope can be easy to move around.  I store my 8" in the garage on a cart that I roll down my driveway to my sidewalk observing location.   My 12" lives on a hand truck which is moved the same way but it will also move easily across grass, sand or gravel.  See photos below for ideas.

 

If you can store the scope outside, in a well ventilated space, it will always be near ambient temperature.  Temperature adjustment is important with most types of telescopes.  Until they reach ambient temperature their high power performance will suffer.   

 

If the scope is stored in the house, how will you get it outside?   If you store the scope inside and you bring it outside to a very different temperature you will have to let it warm up or cool down in order to achieve best performance.    Nothing wrong with this but you have to plan for the thermal adjustment time.  You potentially avoid this if you store it in an outside unheated space.

 

My 12" scope is almost as quick and easy to deploy as my 80 mm refractor because it is stored outside and on a hand truck.  Likewise for my 8".

 

If you can do this, a 12" is not much more trouble than a 10.    But you do have to work out either how to get it in the car or plan to have a second, smaller scope for the car. 

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#15 aeajr

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 08:39 AM

To get the 12" into my sport utility vehicle I just lay it against the back bumper and slide it in.  So easy.  Same would work for a 10"   

 

Naturally you have to measure first to be sure this will work for you as I don't know anything about your car.

 

 

 

 

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#16 25585

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 09:03 AM

My first was 8", second 12", third 10". 

 

The 12" I could just fit in an Austin Metro, back to front. Its weight and width made for some shoving and heaving. Still have both scope snd vehicle.

 

My takeaway Dob is now a 10" F5 Bresser. Lighter, smaller, and only a little dimmer. It can go on an Orion Dob Pod for extra height.

 

My 12" is for fainter objects, but the 10" gets to go places. I also have an Orion Optics VX10L, a F6 10", which is my most used.


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#17 Jeff Struve

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 09:12 AM

For me, I'd never cart mine anywhere... I worry about bumpy grass... drives.. seams in the concrete. I just carry it. I also then don't need a cart to haul around.

 

I also would not really want one larger than 12"... unless I do something like a 30"... as I don't want to have to carry around a step stool or step ladder to reach the eyepiece.

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#18 BoldAxis1967

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 09:41 AM

I like Jon Isaacs' advice.

 

I will not comment on visual differences between 10 and 12 inch.  But, for a first scope I would lean towards whatever is easiest to set-up, breakdown and transport.  This will be your only scope and a scope that is easy to set-up and breakdown will be used far more often than a scope that requires more effort. 

 

Also, where you live is a consideration. For example, what type of temperatures do you experience?  The larger the mirror the more time it takes to cool down if bringing the scope form inside to outside and a thermally stable mirror is especially important for viewing planets, the moon and double stars.  Consider a 10-12 degree Celsius difference: a 10 inch mirror with a fan running  will take about 40 min to cool but a 12 inch mirror will take about 60 min.  

 

Folks that may be calling for 12 inch over a 10 probably have a smaller scope they use from home.  

 

You will see a lot with a 10 inch, it can keep you busy for a long time.

 

L. 


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#19 REC

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 09:57 AM

Start with a 10" and get a nice set of eyepieces and a good chair. Check to see if there are any astronomy clubs near you.

 

Have fun, great hobby!


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#20 cuzimthedad

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 10:41 AM

Welcome to Cloudy Nights darkskies14. I think Jon pretty much nailed it on the head. I'm in the 10" camp if choosing between the two if for the portability sake alone. You can put the money difference into gear and as has been mentioned, upgrade in aperture at a later date.


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#21 mfoose

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 11:14 AM

I echo many of the statements above that push for the 10" dob over the 12". A 12" solid tube is just too large for a first scope in my opinion, whether it is storing, transporting, or setting-up the 12" is more difficult than a 10". 

 

A 10" or a 12" Dob can not only be a first scope, but a lifetime scope. It was not very long ago that 6" and 8" scopes were some of the largest that amateurs owned. Aperture does matter, but I would rather have a 8" Dob under dark skies than a 12" Dob under lots of light pollution.

 

Typically for a first scope I recommend an 8" f/6 Dob. They are smaller in size, lighter, easier to store, the mirror cools off faster (which is important especially for viewing the planets), it collimates easier (which is also important for viewing planets), and it is cheaper which allows you to buy more accessories. Here is an 8" f/6 for sale: https://www.astrosho...03-1200/p,53802

 

I do understand wanting a 10" though. I am building one now. I simply recommend an 8" Dob because its size makes it better to move outside, set-up and is cheaper. A first scope should allow you to observe as much as possible.

 

I would just stay away from the 12" because of its size. There is always more time to get a bigger scope, but you don't want to miss time observing.


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#22 Richard Whalen

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 11:43 AM

Can I pick none of the above? I would look for a 10" f6, easier to collimate, no paracor needed. Can be used sitting a lot, and standing no step or ladder required. Better chance of quality optics etc. At f5 or below you really need a paracor which is $$$ and money better spent on a quality eyepiece. Still shorter than the 12" and only 10" longer than the 10" f5. Should be close to same weight. If you can find one with quartz mirrors better yet.


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#23 Piero DP

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 11:44 AM

As Jon said, a 10" tube Dobson will fit in almost every car. This is not the case for a 12" tube dob.
In line with him, I also think that a 12" dob is the starting point where a truss design makes more sense.

I currently have an order for a custom 12" F6 dobson that should be ready soon. Being about 6ft long, needless to say that it has a truss design! :)

Edited by Piero DP, 13 June 2019 - 11:46 AM.

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#24 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 12:41 PM

Can I pick none of the above? I would look for a 10" f6, easier to collimate, no paracor needed. Can be used sitting a lot, and standing no step or ladder required. Better chance of quality optics etc. At f5 or below you really need a paracor which is $$$ and money better spent on a quality eyepiece. Still shorter than the 12" and only 10" longer than the 10" f5. Should be close to same weight. If you can find one with quartz mirrors better yet.

Well:

 

There are no commercially available 10 inch F/6s.   A 10 inch F/6 has the same 60 inch focal length as a 12 inch F/5 so it will be about the same length . 

 

There are many who use F/5 Newtonians without a Paracorr.  I have a Paracorr,  originally purchased for my 12.5 inch F/4.06, I use it at F/5, I use it at F/5.5 and I'd use it at F/6. But I sometimes use my 10 inch F/5 without the Paracorr,  it provides nice views.  

 

Just to fill in my story , I have had my 10 inch F/5 GSO Dob since 2003. It's never been my biggest or "best" scope but it's been a very good scope and provided me with many memorable views. Over the years,  I only made a few very minor modifications and it's stood up well despite the fact that one night the first owner left it out in the rain.  It is very good planetary and double star scope as well as a capable deep space scope.  It's traveled all over the southwest. 

 

It's a keeper,  it's a scope that I'll have until I pass away.  I consider a 10 inch F/5 to be the sweet spot in tube big enough,  but not too big.  It has sufficient aperture wise to do some real damage but its still easily transported in a small car . There's no need for a cart to move it , I carry the base and scope separately in two trips, I do that with a 6 inch . 

 

GSO Dob Base refinished.jpg
 
Jon

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#25 Chesterguy1

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Posted 13 June 2019 - 01:12 PM

Lots of good responses from the usual suspects. As Gene and Ed point out, weight is a factor along with length and girth. There are ways around it like a two-wheel dolly, but there is still lifting and moving even if it's simply off the dolly and into a car or nudging it onto the ground. If you are young and in reasonably good shape a 12" might not be excessive, but unless you are purchasing something that will help, or counting on a friend, the 12" would be an upper limit. 

 

I did the weight conversion for those of us in the US and the Omegon 10" is 22 lbs for the OTA and 42 lbs overall, which makes for a reasonable combo for all but the most physically challenged individuals. The 12" on the other hand, is 53 lbs for the OTA and 72 lbs overall. That is pushing the limit for carrying the OTA solo unless involving a dolly or cart. I have an 8" solid tube and occasionally long for 10", but never when I'm lugging it. I can easily carry the entire scope with the 8" at roughly 40 lbs, but am happy to use my dolly (why risk ruining my back). I have a 15", but that is a truss and breaks down into more reasonable components. I did own a very heavy sonotube 10", which was closer in weight to your 12". It got old lifting it for more than a few feet as I didn't have a dolly at the time. I always feel that 8"-10" is nearly ideal in solid tube, beyond that you'd be better served with a truss, despite a more complicated assembly (which isn't that bad). However, as you mentioned, it will be more expensive to go truss.

 

Chesterguy


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