James Paulson's roll off roof observatory at the Sunridge Observatory site, taken in the summer of 1986, housing a 10 inch f/5 Cave Astrola Newtonian reflector telescope

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Change in Quantum Leaps

As a young amateur back in the mid 70's, I could never imagine a time when telescopes would be available to us on an individual level that has not been seen since the times of the Herschel's. To even imagine using a telescope of 4 foot diameter could not be contemplated. In those days, a 12 inch mirror was considered a monster, and the mounts to hold them were not considered portable in any way.

Orion Telescopes has changed all of that recently with the introduction of their monster line of Dobsonian mounted telescopes, with aperture's up to 50 inches available. I can only imagine the views through a mirror that is roughly 4 feet in diameter, which on a scale of comparison will deliver 16 times more light gathering power than the largest amateur instruments of those days. That is serious equipment.

As if one release isn't enough, Orion has also released a new line of telescopes that will really change the complexion of the telescope world, their GoTo line of Dobsonian mounted telescopes. The electronics revolution has changed the hobby greatly over the years, and this technology in particular will lead a great many away from possibly purchasing that SCT and jumping up to a larger Newtonian configuration for the same money. I remember when the SCT was the king of telescopes but I think with Orion's 1-2 punch those days may be coming to a close.

It's a great time to be an amateur, we are living in the best of times without doubt.

1 comment:

  1. James,

    I have to agree with you that it is an excellent time to be an amateur. Orion has really pushed the market of late. I think they are really going to the mid market, that part of the market between introductory scopes like their XT line or the Zhumell Z line and the premium dobs. The basis probably being that those who stick with the hobby will end up in one of their scopes because of price and features. I sure like their XX14i and after investigating took the plunge. Nice blog!