I struggle when travelling with my 200P Dobsonian. Do you have any advice for transportation, or is it time to downsize?
Steve says: “Dobsonian reflectors represent some of the very best value instruments as you get a lot of aperture for your money and a no-frills but very stable mount.
However, an 8-inch (200mm) reflector is a relatively large and cumbersome instrument – as you have discovered – so it may be worth simply downsizing a little so that you don’t lose too much of that valuable aperture, but have a more manageable instrument to move around.
A 6-inch (150mm) reflector would be an excellent compromise here, as this would still provide a very generous aperture but would be just that little bit smaller and easier to transport.
Unfortunately, the Skyliner 150P Dobsonian – made, like your current telescope, by Sky-Watcher – has the same 1,200mm focal length, so there would be no saving in overall length.
However, Sky-Watcher does have a standalone version, the Explorer 150P, which is available in a shorter focal length of 750mm, and this could be satisfactorily mounted on a suitable altaz mount.
The 150P has the same focuser as the telescope that you are used to (a single-speed Crayford design), but in all other respects it is just a scaled-down version of your existing optical tube.
Mounts suitable for the 150P would include the Sky-Watcher AZ4 and the Vixen Porta II mount, both of which come equipped with lightweight but stable aluminium tripods.”
If travel astronomy is really your thing, perhaps downsizing might be the best option! Read our guide to the best telescopes for astronomy travel.
Email Steve your astronomy queries to firstname.lastname@example.org and they could be answered in a future issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine.