Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Family Telescope: Orion Dobsonian or Edmund Scientific Astroscan … or Orion StarBlast?

I'm looking for advice - so please comment!

I would like to get a telescope for family astronomy (really, my 7yo daughter and I). Happily, unlike my high school days, I don't have to grind a mirror. We'll have to travel outside the city to see much, so ease of transport and setup is important.

I've more or less narrowed things down to two quite different devices:
Both devices have excellent reviews. The Astroscan is more rugged, requires no assembly, is very easy to transport, and provides great star field views. The Orion Dobsonian is better for planetary viewing.

Any thoughts?
Update 12/3/09: I ended up choosing none of the above, and went for a well regarded scope that’s a bit of both – the Orion StarBlast 4.5 and a separate 2x Barlow lens. I waffled about getting the same StarBlast with an equatorial mount, but ended up with the original mount because Amazon and Orion offered free shipping on the simpler scope, the equatorial is pretty finicky to assemble, setup, and transport (we live in the city, so viewing requires travel), storage space is an issue in our home, and the primary user is my daughter who’s still 7 yo size. I’ll post later about how I feel about that decision after we’ve used the scope a bit.
There’s also a StarBlast 6 now, though it’s not sold by Amazon. I felt that might be stretching the limits of the basic design, but clearly I’m no expert.
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Anonymous said...

Obviously it will depend on your circumstances but with a young child in tow I would prefer portability over almost everything and the Dobsonian is always going to lose that battle. If planet-viewing is key, maybe a premium eyepiece to help the Astroscan out?

John Gordon said...

Good thought on adding the premium eye piece. It makes the Astroscan rather more costly, but I can do it in stages. Maybe even pick up a used eyepiece.