Highly preferred by both amateur and professional astronomers alike, Dobsonian telescopes are revered as some of the best telescopes the market has to offer. Popularized by their creator, John Dobson, these telescopes are large and sturdy but surprisingly lightweight at the same time. Built with a 12-inch aperture for deep space observation, these Dobsonian telescopes are perfect for viewing distant galaxies, star clusters and nebulae that are unseen to the human eye.
Best 12-Inch Dobsonian Telescopes
Here are our reviews of the best 12-inch Dobsonian telescopes.
1. Orion 10023 SkyQuest XX12i IntelliScope Truss Dobsonian Telescope
Don’t let its massive size fool you, this 12-inch Dobsonian telescope, from Orion, has solved the transportation question with this model. With its lightweight design, easy set-up and deconstruction, this telescope was designed to easily fit in any car for transportation to your favourite dark sky locations outside of the city.
- Fully computerized and programmed to locate over 14,000 celestial objects
- Enhanced reflective parabolic optics collect light for clear, crisp images
- Starry Night software included
2. Orion 10136 SkyQuest XT12g GoTo Dobsonian Telescope
This fully motorized Dobsonian telescope, from Orion, can electronically locate and track up to 42,000 celestial objects with the simple push of a few buttons.
- Quick and easy assembly
- Wi-Fi enabled means this telescope can be controlled from your tablet or smartphone—all you have to do is download the included app.
- Dual-speed, Crayford focuser ensures high-quality images
3. Meade Instruments 204011 12″ LIGHTBRIDGE
Unlike many 12-inch telescopes, this Dobsonian telescope, from Meade Instruments, is not just a big telescope; it’s a big telescope that is also highly portable. This practical telescope was designed with portability in mind.
- Red-dot view finder
- Adapter included allows for a wide range of different eyepieces
- No-tool assembly for quick setup and take down
4. Zhumell Z12 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
This popular Dobsonian telescope was built with amateur astronomers in mind. Designed using feedback from amateurs and professionals, Zhumell has put together this sturdy and reliable telescope.
- Comes with two multi-coated eye pieces for high-definition images
- Built-in cooling fan so you can enjoy long, stargazing sessions
- Dual-speed Crayford focuser
12-inch Dobsonian Telescopes Buyer’s Guide
Fashioned with superior materials, Dobsonian telescopes are constructed using a classic design and are built to last.
Aperture size is one of the most important things to think about when it comes to purchasing a Dobsonian telescope. Yes, there are other important factors to consider like eyepieces, focal length and mount types, but the aperture size should be the determining feature. In this review, as the title suggests, we are strictly looking at 12-inch aperture telescopes. Check out our buyer’s guide for more things to look out for when purchasing one of these massive telescopes.
Alt-azimuth mounts are straight forward and affordable compared to equatorial mounts which are tricky to use, heavy and less transportable, not to mention, expensive. Keep an eye out for alt-azimuth mounts, which make set-up as easy as placing the mount on the ground and setting the telescope on top of it.
Amount of light
Amount of light intake is directly impacted by the size of the aperture. In other words, the bigger the aperture, the more light can be gathered, allowing you to see deeper celestial objects with higher-definition. As far as aperture size goes, a 12-inch Dobsonian telescope is one of the best choices available.
As we mentioned before, these things are big; think about what you’ll be using it for. If you’ll be using your Dobsonian for outreach, look for a model that is lightweight, simple to setup and breakdown and can fit into a car. If you plan on keeping your telescope in the backyard or on the deck, a durable and heavy model should be just fine.
As with any purchase, cost has to be factored in. These large telescopes can have a large price range. Consider your budget when making your choice. If you’re on a tight budget, consider opting for a manual Dobsonian telescope over a computerized device, as many of the automatic telescopes can be extremely pricy.
Keep in mind: if you don’t have a few thousand dollars to drop on a telescope in one go, Amazon will work with you to set up a monthly billing schedule that works for you.
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