I’ve so far managed to restrict myself to three telescopes. My main ‘scope is a Skywatcher Skyliner 250p Dobsonian, which I have named ‘Big Ron’. It’s a Newtonian reflecting telescope with a 10-inch mirror, which means that it’s great for observing deep sky objects, such as nebulae and galaxies. It’s also fully manual, which means that I can be outside and looking through it in under five minutes
The little telescope on the top is a finder scope, which – as the name suggests – helps me to find things to look at through the main ‘scope. The telescope is quite large, but still fits (just) across the back seat of the car so that I can take it to star parties and other events.
My second telescope is a Skywatcher Heritage 130p FlexTube Dobsonian, which is essentially a smaller version of Big Ron. So, obviously, I’ve named it ‘Little Ron’. It has a five-inch mirror, which is still fairly respectable, and the ‘flextube’ bit means that the open bit of the tube that you can see in the photo below slides down over the enclosed bit of the tube.
This feature makes the ‘scope extremely portable, so Little Ron is my telescope of choice if I’m in a hurry or if I just want to take a telescope in the back of the car if we’re heading off somewhere for the weekend.
If you’re looking to buy your first telescope, by the way, then this is the one that I’d recommend you get. It’s reasonably cheap, easy to use but still a very decent piece of kit.
My third telescope is the first one that I ever bought. It’s a Skywatcher Skyhawk 1145p, which is also a Newtonian reflecting telescope and has a 4-inch mirror. Instead of being on a Dobsonian mount like the other two ‘scopes, though, this one is on a tripod with an equatorial mount. This means that it’s great for observing something for a longer period of time, as the mount allows me to ‘track’ the object across the sky.
I’ve just realised that this telescope doesn’t have a name. That’s a bit sad, so I’ll have to come up with something.
In addition to my three telescopes, I also have a pair of 10×50 Celestron ‘UpClose’ binoculars. They’re quite light, extremely portable and generally come with me whenever I go observing. They’re also absolutely perfect for looking at things like double stars, star clusters and the moon.
You’ll notice that all of my telescopes are fully manual, with no motor drives or ‘go-to’ computers. This also means that they don’t need any batteries or complicated setting-up procedures, which is extremely helpful. However, the more I see my fellow astronomers with their fancy new kit, the more certain I feel that I’ll succumb eventually.