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Orion SkyQuest XT6 vs XT8 beginner questions

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#1 Ethan2102

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 10:30 AM

Hey, I’m new to the forum and and have been searching for my first telescope for a while now. I’ve decided that I think I wanna get the Orion Skyquest XT6 because of the attractive price as I’m just starting out. However as I’ve been researching I see alot of people also enjoy the XT8 and scraping up some extra money wouldn’t be too much of an issue. So I have a few questions about which would ultimately be the better option.

 

Coming from a beginner who only used a telescope a handful of times, is there a major difference in ease of use that would make it more difficult to use the XT8 than the XT6?

As for plantetary viewing is there a significant difference in the quality and detail  of the viewing between the two? Are you able to see Neptune and Uranus with the XT6 or do you need the XT8? I would like to do a decent amount of planetary observation but don’t need a amount of detail.

 

As for deep sky viewing, this where I’m mostly stuck between the two. I know the capacity to view DSO increases with aperture, but how good is the XT6 at spotting those objects? I would like to be able to view galaxies and planetary nebulas, so should I go for the XT8 or would I be satifised with the viewing capabilities of the XT6?

Sorry for all the questions, I would just like to make sure I make the right purchase. This will likely be my only telescope for a while so I would like pick one that I like. Thanks for the help.

 

Ethan



#2 Abhat

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 10:35 AM

I have owned both. I currently own a 6" and 8" Dob. 8" is a better choice due to larger aperture. XT6 will be lighter, easy to carry around and easy to collimate. Both of them have similar foot print. Unless you are opposed to carrying extra 10-15 Lb weight I would suggest go with XT8 or Zhumell Z8.


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#3 ShaulaB

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 10:39 AM

Welcome to Cloudy  Nights. Plenty of help here, for sure.

 

To view Uranus, you really only need binoculars, as it has a visual magnitude of 5.7.So yes, the 6 inch scope will let you see both Uranus and Neptune. The larger aperture will make the blue color of Uranus a bit more pronounced.

 

There is an organization called the Astronomical League that gives awards to people who participate in its observing programs. One of these is an award to those who observe all 110 objects in the Messier List. This list includes galaxies, diffuse nebulas, planetary nebulas, open star clusters, and globular clusters. I was able to view all 110 with a 6 inch scope like you want to buy. The secret is viewing under dark skies. So factor in gas money. A 6 or 8 inch fit into a sedan, trust me.

 

If you can afford it, get the 8 inch. It improves brightness, color, and detail on planets a bit over a 6 inch.



#4 river-z

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 10:41 AM

I have an XT6. It’s a good beginner telescope. Simple. Easy to use. Inexpensive.

I can see bands on Jupiter. Saturns rings are distinctive (and amazing). From light polluted LA where I live I can find lots of double stars. Outside the city I found nebulae and galaxies.

My 0.02 is to get the cheaper scope when you’re learning the night sky so if you find you like it you can upgrade to something knowing way more about what you like and what you need.
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#5 Ethan2102

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 11:09 AM

Thanks for all the advice. 

 

Portability and weight shouldn't be too much of an issue. Without getting a telescope, is there a way to estimate light pollution in my area? I live in Salt Lake City and I don't think we have a ton of light pollution but I'm not sure. 



#6 Tangerman

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 11:18 AM

Google dark sky map and you can estimate light pollution. I'm down in Provo, and yes, Salt Lake (and Provo) has a lot of light pollution. Deep sky objects aren't so easy to observe from here. The good news is that you can drive to Goblin Valley or your favorite camping area and easily get extremely dark skies. I'd say go for the 8, it will do better with deep sky, but if you're mostly going to use the telescope on planets and won't want to travel with it, then the 6 is a fine choice. 



#7 river-z

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 11:25 AM

Thanks for all the advice. 

 

Portability and weight shouldn't be too much of an issue. Without getting a telescope, is there a way to estimate light pollution in my area? I live in Salt Lake City and I don't think we have a ton of light pollution but I'm not sure. 

There are a few light pollution maps online. Here's one I like.

https://www.lightpol...0FFFFFTFFFFFFFF



#8 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 11:27 AM

I have owned both. I currently own a 6" and 8" Dob. 8" is a better choice due to larger aperture. XT6 will be lighter, easy to carry around and easy to collimate. Both of them have similar foot print. Unless you are opposed to carrying extra 10-15 Lb weight I would suggest go with XT8 or Zhumell Z8.

I agree.  Another possible option is the Apertura AD8.

 

https://www.highpoin...n-telescope-ad8



#9 Barlowbill

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 11:31 AM

If you live in a city, or any town, you likely have quite a bit of light pollution.  I think I'm 8 or 9.  I virtually can't see to the east or north east.  More aperture is always better however at my location I would not bother by increasing 2 inches.  I would increase by 4 inches.  If weight isn't an issue, go with the 8 inch.  whichever you choose, enjoy what you have.  There is more up there than you will ever see with whatever you choose.  Good luck.



#10 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 11:38 AM

Here's a recent photo of an older model 6" f/8 Orion SkyQuest XT6, the smallest of my collection of Dobs, that I use as a "quick-look scope" for casual observing from my red-zone front yard.

Attached Thumbnails

  • Orion Dob April 2 IMG_7876  Processed CN.jpg

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#11 Ethan2102

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 11:49 AM

Thanks for the light pollution maps, I didn't realize how much we had here. I'm leaning more toward the 8" right now but I'm still not sure if I want to pull the trigger and spend an extra $100.



#12 river-z

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 11:52 AM

I don’t know what kind of view finder comes on the xt8 but on my xt6 I found the non-magnifying view finder to be useless. The first and best upgrade I made was to the right-angle, low magnification view finder that Orion sells. Definitely recommended.

#13 epee

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 11:57 AM

More aperture is always better, provided you can move it. In the case of the XT6 vs. the XT8 the major portability difference is primarily in the weight rather than the size. An 8" will show you more than the 6" and, due to its 2" focuser, allows more room for growth. However, to get the most out of either scope you will need to budget for certain accessories. I'm listing them in what I think is the priority order.

 

  1. Additional eyepieces; both scopes come with a decent 25mm Plossl but you're going to need 2 to 3 more.
  2. Collimation gear; sure, you can use a star, but a barlowed laser is quick, convenient, and doesn't depend on seeing conditions.
  3. Finder scope; the red-dot is fast and easy to use but in light polluted skies, a telescopic finder will let you see dimmer stars (granted, in a smaller area) and help suburban star-hopping.
  4. Planetary filters; this is controversial but I'm not recommending buying every color filter under the rainbow. You can generally see more on planets, Mars especially, with the right filter. 


#14 Ethan2102

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 12:02 PM

For those of you that have used both how significant is the difference when viewing the Messier objects? That sort of seems to be the hinge point right now, as I'd be willing to drive to get dark skies.



#15 Ethan2102

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 12:05 PM

Sorry for all the questions, but from a financial standpoint would it be better to buy the XT6 with accessories or the XT8 just by itself?



#16 epee

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 12:23 PM

With only the supplied eyepieces either scope is going to be a "One Trick Pony"; good for the Moon and Open Star Clusters or Deep Sky Objects at a dark site, but presenting small scale images of the planets (but recognisable images). At a bare minimum two more Plossls, say a 36mm and a 12 or 15mm will exponentially enhance the telescope's usefulness. This will run you about $60. If you're not interested in the wide® field views a 36mm will give you a $70 24mm - 8mm zoom is a great starter of Lunar and Planetary observations.

 

All the other stuff falls into the "real nice but can wait category". Ideal would be the 8" with extra eyepieces.


Edited by epee, 09 April 2020 - 12:24 PM.


#17 Abhat

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 12:37 PM

Thanks for the light pollution maps, I didn't realize how much we had here. I'm leaning more toward the 8" right now but I'm still not sure if I want to pull the trigger and spend an extra $100.

You can also shop for used scopes. Also check Orion's clearance section. I do find 8" much better for DSOs compared to 6". Brighter images. Also 8" scope will have a better focuser and will allow you to use 2" Eyepieces in future.

 

Also as Dave said checkout other brands such as Zhumell, Skywtacher and Apertura brands. Those can be cheaper and are usually better built than Orion.



#18 SteveG

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 12:50 PM

Both scopes will give excellent views on all objects, with the 8" being just a little brighter (and heavier). I would get the 8" scope due to its included 2" focuser. Buy your eyepieces and accessories after first getting your scope and using it.


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#19 gene 4181

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 01:09 PM

  Plossl eyepieces  , 32 mm  a 12 mm  and inexpensive barlow are dirt cheap at   Astronomics , the people who  sponsor this site    , value line plossls (GSO's)  .    



#20 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 02:32 PM

Here's a link to the 8" Sky-Watcher Dob.

https://www.astronom...-reflector.html

#21 Dave Mitsky

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 02:37 PM

Thanks for the light pollution maps, I didn't realize how much we had here. I'm leaning more toward the 8" right now but I'm still not sure if I want to pull the trigger and spend an extra $100.

The 2" increase in aperture is the most cost effective one in amateur telescopes.
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#22 Tank

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 03:04 PM

If you think you can manage/handle a 8" go for it

If you feel the weight is too much try the 6"



#23 dusty99

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 07:12 PM

When I got back into astronomy it was with an XT8, but honestly I would recommend the 6": f/8 is more forgiving to collimation, eyepieces and your back.  A 6" will be fine for Neptune and Uranus.  If you live in an area with a lot of light pollution, consider an 8".  Both of these Skywatcher Dobs come with 2" focusers:

 

https://www.astronom...0.html?___SID=U

 

https://www.astronom...r.html?___SID=U

 

 

Edit:  I missed that you live in SLC.  I used to live in Sugar House, and in a neighborhood like that, with light pollution on all sides, I'd get the 8".  If I was up in the benches or the upper Avenues (or by the U) and could observe toward darker skies, I'd probably get the 6" (which would also be easier to drive up one of the canyons to darker skies).  But either way, you won't go wrong, and should have a scope you can use for years, even if you decide to add something smaller on a GoTo mount later on.


Edited by dusty99, 10 April 2020 - 04:01 PM.

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#24 LDW47

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 07:37 PM

Hey, I’m new to the forum and and have been searching for my first telescope for a while now. I’ve decided that I think I wanna get the Orion Skyquest XT6 because of the attractive price as I’m just starting out. However as I’ve been researching I see alot of people also enjoy the XT8 and scraping up some extra money wouldn’t be too much of an issue. So I have a few questions about which would ultimately be the better option.

 

Coming from a beginner who only used a telescope a handful of times, is there a major difference in ease of use that would make it more difficult to use the XT8 than the XT6?

As for plantetary viewing is there a significant difference in the quality and detail  of the viewing between the two? Are you able to see Neptune and Uranus with the XT6 or do you need the XT8? I would like to do a decent amount of planetary observation but don’t need a amount of detail.

 

As for deep sky viewing, this where I’m mostly stuck between the two. I know the capacity to view DSO increases with aperture, but how good is the XT6 at spotting those objects? I would like to be able to view galaxies and planetary nebulas, so should I go for the XT8 or would I be satifised with the viewing capabilities of the XT6?

Sorry for all the questions, I would just like to make sure I make the right purchase. This will likely be my only telescope for a while so I would like pick one that I like. Thanks for the help.

 

Ethan

I had both in the SkyWatcher versions, they are both great scopes but if $ is no problem get the 8”, it only makes sense !  Clear skize ahead !



#25 vtornado

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 08:53 PM

Hello Ethan and welcome to the forum.

 

The six inch is 10 lbs lighter and a little smaller, I can one hand it out the door.  I don't think I can one hand an 8.

The xt6 focuser leaves something to be desired. there is slop in it, that I can't easily adjust out. 

 

If the 8 inch comes with a two inch focuser that is a plus.  2 inch eyepieces give you the option to widen your field of view.

The 8 inch will show you more of everything.  More planetary detail, better globs. 




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