If you always wondered what a Dobsonian telescope was, to tell you more, it is a type of portable telescope that has been named after John Dobson, also known as the “Father of Sidewalk Astronomy”. He popularized the portable altazimuth mount that allows the telescope to move from one side to another and up and down easily. Nowadays, the telescopes considered as Dobsonian telescopes support the idea that the telescope should be easy to set up and use and must be compact and portable.
The best Dobsonian telescopes have a Dobson mount and a Newtonian reflector that uses two mirrors. And usually, Dobsonian telescopes are not long and thin like regular telescopes. The aperture or diameter of the telescope is larger, which makes it much easier to view the deep sky and see distant objects. This is because the larger aperture enables the telescope to capture more light.
So, here is our guide on some of the best Dobsonian telescopes on the market to enable you to choose the one that’s perfect for you.
Best Dobsonian Telescopes
Here are our Dobsonian telescope reviews.
1. Orion 8944 SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
The SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope from Orion is an excellent reflector telescope for beginners that is available at an excellent price. The telescope is extremely easy to navigate and does not require polar alignment, which makes the scope very easy to use by anyone. The large-sized optics and simple design take observation to a new level and the high quality and affordable price makes the Orion 8944 SkyQuest one of the best Dobsonian telescopes on the market.
- The Orion 8944 SkyQuest has a 150 mm aperture and an f/8 parabolic mirror that offers excellent views of the planets, moon, etc.
- The scope is attached to a Dobsonian base that is very stable, which ensures that you get great images without any vibration even when you’re viewing at high power.
- The telescope is very easy to move around, making tracking of objects very simple.
2. Sky-Watcher 12″ Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope
If you’re on the lookout for the best Dobsonian telescope, then you can’t go wrong with the Sky-Watcher 12″ Dobsonian Telescope. The durable telescope can be collapsed for easy storage and transportation. The Sky-Watcher 12″ telescope is a compact scope that is ideal for advanced users.
- The 12-inch telescope has a 1500 mm (f/5) focal length and magnification of 720x.
- The Dobsonian telescope has two 4-element Plossl 1.25-inch eyepieces of 25 and 10 mm.
- The scope has a solid rocker mount that keeps it stable for best viewing.
3. Celestron 21024 FirstScope Telescope
If you’re on the lookout for an affordable telescope that is perfect for beginner stargazers, then you can’t beat the Celestron 21024 FirstScope. Made from high-quality materials the Dobsonian scope provides great views of lunar craters and planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, etc. The mount of the telescope is solid and offers excellent stability and maneuverability and the telescope is very easy to use.
- The telescope has a 76 mm reflector optical tube and a high-quality Dobsonian style stand that makes it a great entry-level telescope.
- The lightweight and compact tabletop design makes the telescope very easy to set up, store and transport.
- The 20 mm and 4 mm eyepieces of the telescope help to increase its power and the 20 mm eyepiece offers 75x magnification.
4. Orion 8974 SkyQuest XT8 Plus Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
The SkyQuest XT8 Plus from Orion is an upgraded version of the SkyQuest XT8 Classic, which has been rated as one of the best Dobsonian telescopes and has developed a huge fan following among beginner and amateur astronomers in the world. The SkyQuest XT8 Plus has a range of upgraded features and accessories to enhance the viewing experience. The telescope is very sleek and attractive with weight-reducing cutouts that make it more portable compared to its predecessor.
- The Dobsonian telescope is equipped with a 2-inch dual-speed Crayford focuser having 11:1 fine-focus and offers precise focus adjustments for clear and sharp views.
- The scope has an attractive metallic blue optical tube that is attached to a base featuring knobs to adjust the precise focus.
- The telescope has two eyepieces – a 2” DeepView eyepiece of 28 mm and a 1.25” Sirius Plossl eyepiece of 10 mm.
5. Zhumell Z8 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
The Dobsonian reflector telescope is a simple, but precise 8-inch telescope that is a perfect choice for both beginners, as well as experienced astronomers. The Zhumell Z8 Deluxe telescope offers excellent performance at an unbeatable value. The compact size of the telescope and the collapsible tube makes the telescope very easy to store and carry around.
- The telescope is equipped with an 8-inch parabolic primary mirror that gathers an ample amount of light and produces bright and crisp images without any spherical aberration.
- The scope has two fully multi-coated eyepieces of 30 mm and 9 mm for a wide field of view and higher magnification.
- The scope has a dual-speed Crayford focuser that allows precise focusing.
Dobsonian Telescope Buyer’s Guide
Finding the best Dobsonian telescope that is perfect for viewing your favorite celestial objects that also fits into your budget is not very easy considering the several models and brands of scopes on the market. However, before buying the best Dobsonian telescope, here are a few important aspects that you must consider.
Telescopes come with different apertures – narrow and wide. You need to choose one depending on your viewing preferences. If you want bright images with plenty of details, then you should look for a telescope with a wide aperture. The best Dobsonian telescopes usually have an aperture of around 10-12 inches. However, if you’re looking for a lightweight and affordable telescope and you don’t want a very high resolution, then a telescope with a smaller aperture will be sufficient, as long as you get suitable accessories such as eyepieces and focusers.
If magnification is an important feature, then you need a telescope with a long focal length that will allow you to get closeups of objects that are very far away and the eyepieces of the scope must offer versatility and higher magnification power. The best part about eyepieces is that you can choose from several focal lengths and can add them to your device to make it more versatile. Typically, magnifications available are 10x, 20x and 40x, although there are even higher magnifications available. However, you must take care not to exceed the maximum magnification as this will lower your viewing quality dramatically.
Ease of Use
When buying a Dobsonian telescope, buy a model that is easy to use. If you opt for a more complex model with more buttons, knobs and dials, then you will need to learn to control the scope. This may be a good option in the long run; however, as a beginner, you may find the device difficult to handle. If you’re just starting out, look for a telescope that has a simple functioning mechanism. You can learn how to align the telescope and then improve on your focusing abilities using a Crayford type of focuser to practice. Also, opting for a computerized telescope can make things much easier when starting off as it has data on scores of celestial bodies.
When looking for the best Dobsonian telescope, you should have a budget in mind. This way, you can balance all the properties and features of the various telescope models and choose the one that works for you the best. If you travel a lot, then opting for a cheaper, lightweight telescope may be better than a high-end model that is more expensive and is also difficult to carry around.
It is always a good idea to buy a basic telescope when starting off and then buying accessories later on, rather than overspending right at the start. You can start off with a simple telescope with a couple of eyepieces and once you are familiar with the basics, you can upgrade once you have learned the basics.
In conclusion, as we have discussed earlier, Dobsonian telescopes are designed to make observing and exploring deep-sky objects easier. These are very simple telescopes with simple optics and are very user-friendly. We hope that our review and buying guide has helped you in making an informed choice of the best Dobsonian telescope that can help increase the joys of stargazing.
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