Sure, all the fancy “Go To” stuff gives you a chance to see a lot of objects your first few nights out, but then what. When it’s all over you know nothing about the sky and you’re out of sites to see. I believe go to technology can greatly aid the experienced observer, but as a starter it’s just too much of a crutch. Spend the money on the optics; force yourself to learn your way around the sky. After using my 8″ doc for 2 short years and I still had a lot left to learn.
That said, my second scope is a goto scope. I have seen many wonders of God’s creation that I couldn’t find with my dob, but that does not mean there is no longer any challenge to find an object, it is now more a matter of refining my skills as an observer and not having to worry about if I am even looking in the right place. I now go out and study a small area of the sky in detail. Trying to see every Deep Sky Object (DSO) in the area.
I still maintain that a 6″ or 8″ dob is a good first scope. Any smaller and you will be disappointed, any bigger and you might not use it. Once you have a scope for a year or so you will know how much set up and tear down time you are willing to accept.
My current equipment consists of:
- Celestron C11 GPS with XLT coatings
- Coronado Personal Solar Scope
- Atlas mount (primarily for astro-imaging, but also used for the PST)
- Moonlight motorized focuser
- Telrad finder
- UltraBlock Narrow band filter
- OPT ED 2X 2″ Barlow
- f/ 6.3 focal reducer
- Many eyepieces including: Nagler Type 2 12MM, Explore Scientific 82° 18MM, Baader Planetarion Mark III zoom 8MM to 24MM, GSO SuperView 20MM, GSO SuprView 30MM, TPO SuperView 50MM, and a collection of generic Plossl’s ranging from 6MM to 40MM
With all those eyepieces to choose from it is very interesting that on most nights I only use a few.
- GSO SuperView 20MM and Explore Scientific 82° 18MM for glimpsing dim galaxies with the GSO having slightly better contrast.
- Nagler Type 2 12MM for those small objects the benefit from extra magnification.
- GSO SuprView 30MM and TPO SuperView 50MM for those large objects that require a wider field of view.