I own two achromatic Stellarvue telescopes, the 80/9D and the Nighthawk that I use for visual observation. Both have 80mm diameter doublet objective lenses, with the former having a focal length of 750mm (f/9.4) and the latter 480mm (f/6). I bought these telescopes as a complement to my first telescope, a Celestron 8 inch (f/5) reflector. The Celestron is a respectable moderate-aperture telescope suitable for observing rather dim and diffuse deep-sky objects, especially at dark sky sites or when you have plenty of time for set-up/tear-down and to let the temperature of the optical tube assembly reach equilibrium with the surroundings to achieve decent views.
The Coronado Personal Solar Telescope (PST) is a wonderful way to look at the sun in Hydrogen-alpha, and has produced a legion of new "solar addicts" in the short time since its release. One of the limitations of this scope compared to Coronado's higher end products was its inability to come to focus with binoviewers, even with fairly significant Barlowing.
A brief synopsis of the conventional wisdom: Make sure you really want a telescope. Many beginning astronomers would be better served by a good quality binocular (7x50 or 10x50 are the types most often recommended).
This low-cost Chinese-made refractor has only been on the market nine months, but already it appears Orion’s new 80mm ED f/7.5 scope is a huge hit. Indeed, the Orion ED users yahoo group has grown from some 30 members in October 2003 to nearly 500 in May 2004
started looking for a new telescope to replace an ancient 4 ¼ Newtonian with an equatorial mount. My eyes drifted to those numerous wonderful goto scopes. But then I thought about how often I would be doing any photography. I also needed a telescope that was readily portable, fairly easy on a bad back and fit in a typical size car.
For the last several months I have been looking for a wide field telescope to complement my Starmaster. Since I’m still years out on the AP list, I decided on the NP-101 and placed an order through Anacortes. One week later the telescope, a Gibraltar mount and Star Beam was delivered.
The thought process that led to purchasing this scope started years ago at a lunch meeting of the Analemma society in Great Falls, where I was an invited speaker. Marty Cohen of Company 7 was talking about the steadily increasing demand for Astrophysics refractors, and the steadily lengthening wait lists.
Here with the tripod is fully extended, with the Synta 150 (6") f/8 refractor, properly balanced. The pivot point of the DEC axis with the tripod fully extended and pointed north is at 67.5" in height.
You can’t go to a star party these days without bumping into one of Coronado’s Hydrogen Alpha (Ha) Filters. All it takes is one look and your hooked. Seeing the solar chromosphere come alive in Ha light is thrilling. I have had the opportunity to look through and compare the 40mm, 60mm and 90mm versions as well as a stacked 40mm and a stacked 90mm. When it came time to purchase one, I bought the 60mm.
The Meade ETX-60AT digital, computerized, go-to, 60 mm telescope was recommended to me by a nameless, but respected, member of NOVAC, who said they were a lot of fun. However, my experience with it is that it is a pain in the neck that makes funny whirring noises in the dark and is much less useful than a decent pair of binoculars.