OPT loves Dobsonians! Many of our telescope experts started out with one, and have fond memories of silently pushing it around the sky, peering into the star clouds of the Milky Way in hopes of finding a new galaxy, nebulae, star cluster, or interesting star to investigate. Over time, we may have moved on to large electronic mounts to support our astrophotography habit, but we will always look fondly on our introduction to deep space through the eyepiece of a Dobsonian Telescope.
The Sky-Watcher 8" f/6 Dobsonian is just such a telescope. It is the middle-sized telescope in the Sky-Watcher Traditional Dobsonian line, but believe you me, you are getting a lot more bang for your buck with a 8" Dobsonian than with a comparably priced Cassegrain or Newtonian reflector on an equatorial mount.
Why Buy a Sky-Watcher Classic Dobsonian?
Relatively Easy on the Wallet The Sky-Watcher Traditional Dob design costs the least to manufacture out of all the Dobsonian choices on the market today. It is very similar to the telescopes John Dobson, the father of the Dobsonian mount, built for himself and taught others to build to support the mirror they ground themselves in his "mirror making" classes.
It's Pretty Much Indestructible! Since the rocker box mount sits firmly on the ground, there is no tripod to trip over and cause the whole telescope to come crashing to the ground. The closed tube assembly does a good job of protecting the mirror, whether its in use or being stored. There are no wires, cords, or delicate features of the telescope to worry about. The sturdiness factor makes this the perfect telescope for kids and teens, and it is the scope of choice for schools, organizations, and outreach.
Super Easy to Use Set up takes about a minute. Place the telescope tube in the cradle of the Dobsonian mount, pop an eyepiece in the focuser. Done. You can show newbies how to use your Sky-Watcher 8" Dobsonian in about five minutes, tops. Especially if you buy yourself an easy-to-point red dot finder, like the classic Telrad. Now you can go get a cup of coffee, run another more complicated telescope, or go in the house and take a nap, because that newbie will be swinging your Dob around like a champ before you can add sugar to your cup.
Like Elmer Fudd, its "Very, Very Quiet" There are no motors, no power supplies, and bells, no whistles, no button pushing....you get the idea. This is a Point and Shoot telescope. Point it, then look. Then move it to something else and look again. I'm not saying that computerized telescopes don't have a place in astronomy. They are very cool, and can find things in the sky for you in a flash. But you pay the price for all of those brains and motors, and sometimes it is more fun to, oh, I don't know, find the Andromeda Galaxy all by yourself.
Learn the Sky If you buy a Sky-Watcher Dobsonian, you will have the opportunity to learn the sky. When you hunt down an object yourself, instead of letting a computer do it for you, the sense of discovery is heightened considerably. And here's the thing....we all have enough computer assistance in our lives. Smartphones, tablets, laptops...they are around us all day long. But to step outside into the night, and spend some time hunting down that elusive galaxy in Leo the Lion with a simple telescope that is not all that different from what Galileo would have used (except yours is quite a bit bigger!)...there is something to be said for that. We become enveloped in the mystery of the Universe, we commune with nature, and we gain self-assurance as our knowledge of the sky grows.
The 8" Sky-Watcher Dobsonian comes with all the accessories you'll need to start your astronomical adventures with the exception of two things....a red flashlight and a star chart (more on that later). Focusing is done via a 2" Crayford-style focuser. You can use either 2" or 1.25" eyepieces in this focuser, since a 1.25" adapter is included in the package. You will also get two 1.25" Plossl eyepieces...a 10 mm (higher power) and a 25 mm (medium power). A full-sized 9 x 50 finderscope and bracket allow you to find objects quickly once you have aligned the finder with the telescope...a simple procedure.
A really cool feature on all of the Sky-Watcher Traditional Dobsonians is the Tension Control Handle, invented by Sky-Watcher and patented in the United States (US Patent No. 6,940,642). The Tension Control Handle provides user-friendly tension adjustment that can quickly and easily increase or decrease tension between the telescope tube and where it sits on the Dobsonian mount. The addition of the Sky-Watcher Tension Control Handle is a big deal, because it means the telescope does not need to be balanced in order to stay in position. The tension adjuster can be tightened so that the optical tube will stay in the desired position for as long as you like, but when you are ready to move again, it is simple to readjust tension to allow for smooth and easy movement.
Earlier I mentioned a Red Dot Finder. I highly recommend you buy one, even if you still use the 9x50 finder for magnified views when necessary. My favorite will always be a Telrad (see suggested accessories to your right). It offers wide field, zero magnification views of the sky that are right side up. An illuminated bullseye is used to point to the object you wish to observe....there are even star charts that show you where your Telrad bullseye should be to center a particular galaxy or other celestial object. I also recommend a simple red flashlight so you can read your star chart in the dark without affecting your night vision, as well as a planisphere or star chart. This is your map of the sky. Think of this as an amazing road trip where there are no roads (Roads? Who needs roads?), and your star chart takes the place of a Rand-McNally USA Road Map. You get the picture, now get out there.....what are you waiting for?