a reply to: zazzafrazz
It's actually quite tough to suggest a scope for someone because no single scope is "the best" for anyone and everyone. It really depends on what it
is you want to do with that scope, what sort of star-gazing you plan to do with it, where you plan on doing your star-gazing, and so on.
So all I will do is try to get you off on the right foot to start your research (and there's a LOT of research you need to do !)... Keep in mind I'm
no whiz kid when it comes to scope technologies, I just know what I'm familiar with based on the scopes that I've used over the years.
So with that in mind, here's my suggestions:
If your husband is more into viewing deep-sky objects instead of just the moon and planets, then I would suggest looking into a schmidt-cassegrain
refractor scope... and as others have mentioned, 8" is most definately a fantastic size for deep-sky viewing with clear beautiful imagery of even the
faintest of nebulas - not only because it's big enough to catch faint objects, but it's also small enough for easy portability and setup (which is an
important thing to take into consideration).
They're also great for astrophotography with tracking and ready-to-mount ccd abilities, if that's what your hubby wants to get into.
Speaking for myself personally, I'm a loyal fan to schmidt-cassegrain because I've had my 8" Celestron for close to a decade now and have been nothing
but pleased with it... My girl has never let me down.
However... keep in mind that you will pay more for a schmidt-cassegrain
price per inch.
So if price is a big stickler for you, then a newtonian reflector scope would also be just as good as an 'all-around scope' to purchase with a lower
price tag on it.
Also keep in mind that aperture (light gathering) is far far more important than magnifying power. Without good light capture, magnification means
nothing. So if someone is trying to sell you a scope based on its 'magnifying power', walk away... they're a snake-oil salesman.
So in a nutshell: If your husband just likes to look at the solar system, then just about any scope will do. But if he prefers to view deep-sky
objects, then you need to take into consideration refractor vs reflector, aperture vs magnifying power, tracking and ccd capabilities, city vs country
viewing (light pollution), etc etc.
But the single most important aspect to any scope ?
The mount !!
Without a strong stable mount, no scope is good no matter how much you pay for it ! I strongly suggest you do not scrimp when it comes to buying a
top-quality mount for whatever scope you decide on.