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Chapter 3. Scope Hacks > Hacks 33–43

3.1. Hacks 33–43

Hacking is a time-honored custom in amateur astronomy. When Robert started observing in the mid-60s, most people built their own scopes. As a teenager, Robert couldn't afford a commercial scope, so he did what thousands of others did: bought a mirror kit from Edmund Scientific and ground his own 6" mirror, built a finder scope from half of a discarded binocular, assembled an equatorial mount from pipe fittings, and scrounged far and wide for parts to build the mirror cell, focuser, and so on.

Life is easier for amateur astronomers nowadays. In 2000, when Robert decided to jump back into amateur astronomy, someone gave him a catalog from Orion Telescope & Binocular Center (http://www.telescope.com). Flipping through it, he spotted a 10" SkyQuest XT10 Dobsonian telescope for only $699. It certainly looked odd to Robert, whose idea of a scope was a tube sitting on a tripod. This one was a tube sitting in what looked like a large box on the ground. OK, so things had changed. But $700 for a complete 10" scope? It must be a piece of junk, right?


  

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