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"The BEST astronomy is EXPERIENCING astronomy"

VCAS President Hal Jandorf answers the common question... "What's the best telescope?"



I am recommending a few telescopes (in my opinion) that can qualify some (but not all) factors that people are looking for.

These factors are: Budget, Ease of Use, Weight, Complexity, Simple to Set Up, Light Gathering Power, Planetary & Lunar, Deep Sky and Astrophotography.

#1.  ORION 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Reflector.


This basic 8 inch diameter telescope can get big, bright images in a big way. The cost is under $400. Set up and ease of use is the best part.

Also, you can purchase eyepieces and a better finder scope later on but the standard equipment will do as a starter.

This telescope works fine for planetary, lunar and deep sky observing. Alt-Azimuth mount is easy to use.

I recommend this telescope for both observing sites: City and Remote dark sites. It is great for planetary observing and great for star clusters, nebulae and galaxies!

Light Gathering Power is 1024x (compared to unaided eye) and maximum magnification is 480x


The size and weight (30 lbs) can be a problem as storage and carrying. The telescope must be covered after use as the mirror can get dusty and tarnished.

Astrophotography is extremely limited to the moon and bright planets as the telescope will not track.

The Earth’s motion moves the images out of view after a few minutes so plan on manual tracking yourself.

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