The Dobsonian Telescope: A Practical Manual for Building Large Aperture Telescopes Hardcover – 1 Jun 1997
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P.s Super book, building as we speak..
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It doesn't matter if you want to build one, use one, or buy one pre-built. David Kriege and Richard Berry do an absolutely tremendous job of taking the reader through all the construction steps of a large-aperature Dobsonian telescope, of describing how to use it, how it will impact your life and your family and what's the best size for you.
"The Dobsonian Telescope" is extraordinarily well-illustrated, contains a wealth of technical data that generations of astronomers found the "hard way," yet is very easy to understand and apply.
Kriege and Barry also realize that not everyone can afford or has the space for the monster scope of their dreams, so there's even a good chapter on building a much more modest scope from off-the-shelf items. Best of all, all the "big scope" information is still useful for the smaller one (8") and just a plain, good, read.
Finally, the book is fun. Both authors have a dry wit that livens up what otherwise could have been a rather boring, technical monologue.
For anyone who's ever craved an owner's manual that tells them what they really want to know about their purchase, "The Dobsonian Telescope" is a "best buy." Even better, you don't have to buy the telescope to enjoy the book.
One of the authors is responsible for the "Obsession" line of high-end Dobsonian telescopes. This book is almost a step-by-step guide on how you can build your own large Dobsonian, with optics and performance nearly as good as an Obsession. Yes, you probably won't save much money over a purchased 'scope, but the pride of being able to say "I built this myself!" more than makes up for that. Plus, you will know (and understand) every single square inch of your telescope, so modifications and changes won't be as frightening to you as they would if you had to cut into a $3000 commercial telescope.
If you think you're going to use this book and build an 18" 'scope for $500, you're going to be in for quite a shock. The authors in this book both stress the importance of premium optics, and these do not come cheap. Expect to spend roughly $1500, or more, for a good quality 12.5" primary mirror alone. Quality doesn't come cheap, and with the only commercial Pyrex production line in the US shut down for the next several years, expect mirror prices to rise, drastically.
For those who can afford it, a scope like this can last for a lifetime. But if you can't afford such a huge investment, this book also covers construction of an 8", closed-tube Dobsonian (The larger sizes in the book are all truss tube models), which can be assembled for roughly $600.
Right now, several of my friends and I are starting to plan our dream scope, using nothing but this book as a reference guide. We're going to build slowly, completing one major piece at a time. This both insures that the finished unit is as high a quality as we are capable of producing, plus helps to defer construction costs over a longer period of time.
Even if you have no intention of every getting a Dobsonian, you will find many things of value in this book.
Why are you still reading this? Go and order a copy for yourself. Experience firsthand just how well written and useful it really is, and I'll bet you also start dreaming of cutting wood and aligning optics.