I am planning to purchase a refractor in the coming weeks. It will be my first scope since I was a child, and it will mark my reentry into astronomy. Now that my living situation finally affords me access to dark skies, I am very, very excited about rediscovering the cosmos.
The two scopes that I am most strongly considering right now are the Astro-tech AT80ED and the Astro-tech AT92. I am hoping that, with the information provided below, you can help me make a decision.
- What I am after is a highly portable, quality refractor that I can “grow with” as a beginning stargazer over the next 3-4 years (before I buy a larger scope), but that I will not necessarily “outgrow” once that larger scope arrives. I am only interested in visual use, and am quite sure that I will never move into astrophotography.
- I am, without a doubt, most interested in DSOs. My assumption is that the 92mm would yield better results on DSOs, although the difference would not be immense, given that the apertures are only 12mm apart. Does this seem like a reasonable assumption? Please allow me to respectfully/preemptively decline the advice that I should get a dobsonian or larger refractor/reflector at this time. I intend to get a larger scope after a few years. I understand the limitations of aperture and, for several reasons, I want a small refractor at this time.
- I am definitely looking for a portable scope. The portability factor doesn’t seem to vary too much between these two scopes. The 80 is a bit longer and lighter. The 92 is a bit shorter and heavier. So I doubt there’s much to say about this… but maybe there’s something I haven’t considered in regard to portability?
- Obviously, the price difference is great. I am willing to pay extra for the 92 if it will really serve me better in the long run. Although this will be my first (in a long time) telescope, I want something that I can really use for many years to come. I would love to avoid buying/selling telescopes. Based on the reviews that I’ve read here on CN, I have the impression that the 92 is a scope that may serve me well for many years, even when I buy a larger instrument eventually. But perhaps that is equally (or almost as) true for the 80?
- And I do wonder if the difference in quality between these scopes is proportional to the difference in cost. The AT92 is 4.5x more expensive than the AT80ED. What I need help thinking through is whether it is really 4.5x better for my purposes... I suppose that's the crux of this thread!
Thank you, in advance, for your feedback.
Edited by rgsalinger, 29 March 2020 - 08:05 AM.