In what must be the ultimate gadget for amateur astronomers wishing to cocoon, Orion Telescopes has announced the availability of what must be the world’s largest consumer telescopes.
Until now cocooning gadgetry has most appealed to sports and movie fans with gigantic TVs and home theaters (I’ll quietly admit to having both Dish Network satellite HD and an Internet-connected BlueRay DVD player connected to my 72-inch DLP TV screen and Carver stereo system).
But until now the telescopes available to me even at my great location on top of a mountain in West Central PA haven’t been able to satisfy my urge to peruse the galaxies on cold winter nights because I was limited to a puny 12-inch telescope.
Now Orion’s Peter Moreo has produced the ultimate wet-dream goal for anyone obsessed with viewing the farthest reaches of the heavens, 36- 40- and 50-inch telescopes.
While a bit out of the reach of the average teenage telescope fan with money from eBay or a paper route (prices range from about $55,000 to about $123,000 for the really big scope), as people find travel less and less enjoyable and practical, the true astronomy geek now has something comparable in both prestige and cost to match his less intellectual neighbor’s swimming pool and Porsche.
The specs of even the smallest of these new Orion Monster Dobsonian telescopes are filled with superlatives.
The primary mirror of the Orion 36 has 1000 square inches of surface, four-times the light gathering power of an 18-inch scope, the largest practical home scope until now.
The 150 lb. honeycomb mirror is relatively light weight and easy to bring to ambient temperature using the five included fans.
In fact, using an aluminum truss structure the telescope is actually designed to be transportable despite an assembled weight of about 400 lbs.
The largest of these Monsters is scheduled for delivery by mid 2011 (having a custom-designed telescope this size means waiting for up to a decade.)
The 36-inch scope is actually built and photographed, with delivery scheduled for this summer, although the 40- and 50-inch scopes still exist only as drawings.
Note: a Dobsonian telescope is a Newtonian reflector telescope (invented by Newton, of course) but mounted in a very inexpensive way. The mount for a large telescope is often as expensive or more expensive than the telescope mirror itself but Dobsonians are inexpensive and fine for visual observing.
P.S. If you would like to get a look at one of these great innovations, Peter told Newsblaze that he expects to exhibit one of the Monster Dobsonians at this Spring’s NEAF (Northeast Astronomy Forum) show April 17 and 18 in Sufferen, N.Y. (Rockland Community College.)