Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - 30

S&T Test Report by Ken Hewitt-White

The Explore
Scientific
FirstLight 8"
Dobsonian
This modestly priced Dobsonian
is a solid performer.

Explore Scientific FirstLight 8″ Dobsonian
U.S. Price: $499.99
Telescope.com

What We Like
Good optics
Quick setup
Compact for storage

What We Don't Like
No optical finderscope
Slightly oversized spider hub
Errors in assembly instructions

30

Some Assembly Required

series offers telescopes of various sizes,
mount designs, and optical configurations. Some are small, entry-level
instruments - quickly set up, simply
operated, and easily stored. For this
review, we acquired a larger yet still
user-friendly model in the FirstLight
lineup: an 8-inch f/6 Newtonian reflector on a manually operated Dobsonianstyle mount. The product arrived at my
home in two well-packed, reinforced
cardboard boxes. One squarish box was
a "flat pack" of the various laminated
particleboard pieces requiring assembly
to make the Dobsonian rocker box. A
longer box contained the optical tube
assembly (OTA), which, at first glance,
looked ready to go under the stars right
out of the gate.

The flat pack meant work! Anyone who's
purchased u-build furniture like that
from Ikea will recognize the procedure,
though the provided wordless quickassembly pamphlet guides you along.
A detailed instruction manual exists
online. Oddly, however, it isn't mentioned in the pamphlet. If you seek help
on the scope's website (https://is.gd/
ESdob), you'll be happy to know the link
to the written instruction manual is
cleverly hidden in a tab labeled "Extras."
Both assembly instructions contain
errors. In the pamphlet, for example,
the illustrated parts list shows two
semicircular altitude bearings but suggests there are four by labeling each
bearing "2×". Another head-scratcher,
both in print and online, depicts the

JUNE 2 02 0 * SK Y & TELESCOPE

p The Explore FirstLight 8″ Dobsonian is an
easy-to-use starter scope or nice upgrade
for the budding backyard astronomer. The
compact unit weighs less than 50 lbs fully
assembled.

round base plate with four bolt holes
when, in fact, there are six. The online
manual begins by using both numbers
and letters to identify the same components. Later, the parts aren't labelled
at all. During each step of the instructions, we're forced to return to the early
graphics to match letters and numbers
to illustrated parts. Fortunately, assembly is essentially an intuitive exercise.
Two hours later, the entire scope was
put together and I was itching to get it
outside. I first verified that collimation
of the OTA had survived shipping by
analyzing a reflection of the primary

A LL PHOTOS A RE BY THE AU THOR

EXPLORE SCIENTIFIC'S FIRSTLIGHT


http://www.telescope.com https://www.is.gd/ESdob https://www.is.gd/ESdob

Sky & Telescope - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - June 2020

Contents
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - 1
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - 3
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - 4
Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - 5
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Sky & Telescope - June 2020 - Cover3
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