This review, “Orion’s Atlas 8,” appeared in the May 2004 issue of Astronomy magazine.
Whether it’s clothing, hair, or musical groups, styles come and go. What’s “hot” today may be “not” tomorrow, only to be back in style next year. Although not as fickle as fashion, the telescope market also swings like a pendulum. In the 1960s, nearly every dedicated amateur astronomer owned either a 6-inch or 8-inch Newtonian reflector on a German equatorial mount. These instruments delivered high-quality views of sky objects both near and far.
Then along came the 1970s, and Newtonians fell out of style in favor of catadioptric telescopes. The 1970s faded into the 1980s, which brought “aperture fever” as the Dobsonian craze tempted amateurs with huge, double-digit-aperture Newtonian reflectors on basic wooden mounts. The 1990s saw catadioptrics sharing the market with refractors (themselves back from the 1960s) as well as Dobsonian-mounted Newtonians. But tried-and-true Newtonian reflectors on equatorial mounts were few and far between. Until recently.
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