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Refractor vs Reflector in metropoltin area buying advice

Need our opinion on a telescope Optics Planet has on sale, go ahead and ask! Post some hints and tips on various telescope brands and configuration.

Refractor vs Reflector in metropoltin area buying advice

Postby Ringo97 on Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:57 pm

Hi, I'm considering buying a computer guided telescope for planetary and deep sky observing and I would like to keep the price under $500. I know that it's generally recommended that an 8 or 10 inch reflector telescope works best for this, but for the most part I will be using this telescope in what is considered a heavily light polluted area. The closest dark sky area (I live in the center of Portland, Or) is probably 60 or 80 miles away. I've read on a few buying advice web sights that suggest that reflectors don't work under these conditions and that my best choice would be a refractor.

So my questions are: is it true that that a reflector is a poor choice in a light polluted areas?

And if the above question is true and I'm restricted to a 4" or under refractor telescope ($500 or less), can you see any deep space objects with any size and detail even if I do at times travel out far enough to get away from light pollution. I read a review regarding the NexStar 102 SLT Refractor that said the ring nebula would look no bigger than a cheerio on a dinner plate, but considering I don't know how that relates in distance and size to other objects in space, I still can't relate this to what I can expect.

If a reflector will work at least for looking at planets in a light polluted area I would probably look at an 8 or 10 inch dobsonian telescope but those telescopes don't look like they have any way of leveling them or adjusting there height for comfortable viewing?

Your buying advice will be greatly appreciated.

Postby Jne_K on Mon Oct 06, 2008 5:47 am


More urban telescope myths. Reflectors work under any conditions.

What does not work well under heavy light pollution, only inasmuch as potential is largely wasted and a bit more sensitive to seeing conditions, is a large telescope. If you are under heavily light polluted skies, you are going to be limited to brighter deep-sky objects, no matter how large your scope. Under these conditions, a smaller scope makes more sense and the advantages of a refractor - more durable, less maintenence, better light transmission - make it an attractive choice. Does not mean you cannot use a reflector.
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