So a friend of mine was looking for suggestions to upgrade from his Celestron C90 MAK to something significantly larger so he can view DSOs. He was more interested in an 8 inch CAS or a 10 Inch DOB. He emailed his University's Astronomy dept head for suggestion and the quite experienced professor (almost 65 years with scopes) sent the below reply:
"Back in the day, aperture was quite a relevant. Tracking had not matured and films could get limited exposure, so aperture was all the game. These days more and more people are getting better and better results with smaller apertures - as imaging and tracking technologies advance and owner of a 4 inch scope who has good equipment and is good at post processing can get far better results than someone owning 8 inch but not having a stable mount or knowing good image processing.
Unless someone already owns a large scope that they have invested a lot of time and money in - Or they are advanced professionals - I always suggest the below:
- If you live in light polluted city, get a 5 inch MAK or 80mm APO - max, then spend like crazy on mount and accessories - and focus on planets and bright DSOs
- If you live in less light pollution, get a 6 inch Reflector (or 8 inch if you have a lot of time to collimate) - again, spend crazy lot on mount and accessories and focus on DSOs
- Your learning curve will be extremely fast, you will enjoy the nights your equipment will be specialized.
- People do get amazing results with large apertures but those people are more rare than you would think - They work hard through difficult learning curves. In reality - most people get aperture fever, get too large of scopes and then the scopes sit there collecting dust because they don't have the stamina, time and equipment to use those devices and they can't handle the learning curve.
Unless you can dedicate a lot of time to astronomy - Keep it small, keep it specialized, follow my suggestions and you will have no regrets."
My friend thought the apertures suggested were too underwhelming and sent this email to me for an opinion. I strongly agree with the professor and understand that large apertures are not for everyone to handle and that technology is helping smaller scopes a lot now (my friend is n professional either - with a busy work life). I thought that the more experienced people here would also know a lot .. Are apertures larger than suggested really that difficult to use & learn on and are the above the best options for amateurs, these days ? Will also be useful for people looking into suggestions in the future. Thank you
Edited by Agreegator, 04 December 2020 - 06:23 AM.