How easy is it to use an 8-inch Dobsonian?
Further message from Rich:
Based on your information I have closed the Argos catalogue and have further researched Dobsonian telescopes. In fact I phoned Beacon Hill Telescopes and spoke to a Mr Barry Watts, who was very, very helpful.
Anyway, he agrees with you that the Dobsonians are very good and stocks the Skyliner 8 inch for £300.00 and he also has a Beacon Hill-made 8¾ Dob.
  BHT say they do not compete with smaller Dobs these days because imports are that good & cheap.Barry says import mirrors he gives 8 out of 10. But home mirrors he uses, 10 out of 10.
 Would 8¾ inch be too much for a beginner or is bigger the better even
for a novice like myself? – Rich

I wouldn’t be put off by an 8¾ inch. It just gives better images than a smaller telescope, that’s all! And with a Dob that size, it stays put while you are looking at something, unlike smaller instruments that dance around while you are trying to focus. The main thing, however, is to make sure that it has a decent finder. The 6 x 30 finders that are often used are good compared with the rubbishy 5 x 24 (actually they are not usually even 24 mm aperture anyway), but are by no means ideal. However, a good finder could cost a fair fraction of the price of your telescope so you may begin to find your purchase exceeding your budget.

If you begin by looking at the obvious things such as planets (and the brighter Messier objects) you will soon get the hang of it and will want to find fainter objects. The main drawback with Dobs is that they can be hard to nudge slowly, particularly when observing close to the overhead position, to follow objects through the sky. If you get a chance to try the telescope first, test it nearly vertical and see how easy it is to move slowly. It should glide rather than jerk. Often you have to apply a certain amount of foot pressure to make them move!

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