I’ve had enormous fun with my giant 20*80 binoculars, but over the last few weeks was hankering for even better views of Saturn, Jupiter and assorted other objects in the skies. Probably this can be at least partly attributed to the phenomenal run of excellent weather we’ve been enjoying.
We seem to have had an almost endless stream of warm days, clear skies and lack of wind. What’s more it grows dark around 5.30 ish and doesn’t get light until around 7 ish. That means I can pop out on the deck for some quick viewing before dinner, or grab a quick look at 5.30 or 6 am before I start work.
I gave in about 10 days ago and ordered an 8 inch (200mm) Dobsonian Newtonian Astronz GS 680 Telescope:
This telescope has Newtonian optics, with a 1/8th wave parabolic primary mirror located at the base of the metal tube and a flat elliptical secondary mirror deflecting the light cone to the rack and pinion focusser at the top of the tube.
… The telescope will provide excellent viewing of the Moon and planets; sharp views are helped by the small secondary mirror (55mm) and thin struts on the supporting spider. The Cassini division in the rings of Saturn or the great red spot on Jupiter are easily visible. Brighter nebulae and globular clusters are easily seen, and from sites with darker skies, many galaxies and fainter objects will be available. The limiting magnitude for discrete stellar objects will typically be in the range magnitude 12.5 – 13.0.
I’ve had it for a week now, and am starting to get used to it. Certainly I’ve loved looking at Saturn and actually seeing the rings. I can see the rings with my binoculars too, but I’m not entirely certain whether that’s because I know they’re there and am imagining them. With the scope I can see definite rings.
Saturn’s low in the North in the evening sky and soon drops below the trees and the hill, so my viewing is limited. Jupiter though is rising earlier and also shines bright in the West in the morning sky.
The scope is gorgeous and clearly uses decent optics, unlike the cheap and nasty telescope I wrote about a couple of years ago (and soon sold again).
Of course, as with any purchase, I’ve now had to buy accessories: a $45 hand trolley and some stretchy straps to make it easy to move the scope around (thanks to the excellent Ice in Space website for the tip), a rubber mat so I don’t slip on the damp deck, some books from Amazon.