Archive for August 22nd, 2012


A quick observation about aperture

August 22, 2012

I had an epiphany last night. The busier I am, the less often I get out to observe, the more likely I am to use the XT10. The rationale: if I’m only getting out once or twice a month, I want to enjoy myself as much as possible, and that means using the biggest available scope. The only exceptions are (1) truly quick peeks, under half an hour, where I’ll usually grab the 90mm Mak, (2) sidewalk astronomy, where I use the 90mm Mak just because it’s the most portable, and (3) double star work, where I prefer the slightly cleaner, sharper views provided by the Maks. Any other small-scope observing is a luxury, for stretches when I’m already getting plenty of dark-sky time with a bigger scope–not my current situation, unfortunately. But fall is coming, and that’s traditionally my season for getting out to the desert on dark weekends. I can’t wait.

Maybe this would not even be worthy of comment for most observers, but I’ve always had a thing for small scopes. I still do, and probably always will. But now that I’m sort of settling into my current lineup and not especially wanting or needing another (small) scope, I’m spending more time thinking about the scopes I have and their strengths and weaknesses. Although every one of my current scopes fills a need, I am finding that the overall enjoyment they provide correlates with aperture more than anything else. It’s one thing to hear that aperture rules, another thing to really understand why, and still another thing to discover that for yourself, out of your own experience.