Apertura AD8 Dobsonian Telescope Review – Our Top Pick

The Apertura AD8 is one of High Point Scientific’s mid-range Dobsonian reflector telescopes, which is comparable to GSO’s 8” Dobsonian and Orion’s XT8. This is a great budget-friendly telescope for beginners and experienced astronomers alike.

Key Features

  • Two 9mm and 30mm Plossl and Super View eyepieces for both medium and high magnification views
  • 35mm extension tube allows for extra focal travel
  • Laser collimator for easy primary mirror collimation
  • 8 Inch parabolic mirror figured to 1/12th wave
  • Adjustable knobs for easy to use no tool adjustment of the primary mirror
  • Battery operated cooling fan to quickly reach ambient temperature
Top Pick
Apertura AD8 Reflector Dobsonian Telescope
9.2/10Our Score

Features:

  • Large 8" aperture allows for strong mid range light collection
  • Easy hand adjustable balancing mechanism for rebalancing scope with accessories
  • Roller bearings used on the azimuth axis for smooth control when slewing and hand tracking

We found the Apertura AD8 to be the perfect balance of both light collection and manoeuvrability not often seen at this price point.

 

*The Apertura AD8 can only be purchased from the manufacturer Highpoint Scientific, however comes with a 2 year transferable warranty*

The Optical Tube Assembly

The Apertura AD8 is a Newtonian-style reflector mounted on a Dobsonian alt-azimuth base. Like most visual Newtonians, this type of telescope has an optical tube is somewhat bulky, weighing nearly 25lbs and measuring 46 inches in length. This can be somewhat of an inconvenience, but is still very manageable to transport and set up.

The aluminum tube is painted a shiny black on the outside, while maintaining a matte finish on the inside of the tube. The matte interior is adequate for preventing unwanted reflections in the tube, but the scope could benefit from a darker coat of paint or flocking with another material.

Inside view of the Apertura AD8 optical assembly tube

At a focal ratio of F/5.9, the optics do not have very noticeable issues with coma, which means that you can get great views without the need for a coma corrector. Other than that, the optics are fairly standard and exactly what you would expect out of most consumer-grade Dobsonians.

The 1200mm focal length and 8 inches of aperture is a great compromise as well, allowing spectacular views of Solar System and deep sky objects alike. While some may prefer long focal lengths for planets or short focal lengths for large deep sky objects or star clusters. Those who want the best of both worlds would reap the benefits of the AD8’s mid-range focal length.

The AD8 Mount

The Apertura AD8 optical tube is mounted on a simple Dobsonian mount made from cheap particle board. This is standard with most mass-produced Dobsonian telescopes and is nicely robust, easily supporting the weight of the 25-pound optical tube. However, it is to be noted that particle board is very susceptible to water damage from moisture and should be properly stored.

One difference that sets the AD8 apart from others is the use of roller bearings on the azimuth axes of the mount. Most Dobsonians make use of bearings that slide on teflon pads, whereas the AD8 uses rollers. This provides a slight improvement when it comes to general smoothness when slewing and hand tracking.

Apertura AD8 telescope on its mount

Along with that, the tension adjustment system on the altitude axes include sliders. This is a great feature of engineering, allowing the telescope to balance well with most accessories attached to the telescope with just mere adjustment of the sliders.

The Telescope’s Accessories

The Apertura AD8 includes a lot of convenience features for the price. Mounted on the tube is a dual-speed Crayford focuser and small cooling fan on the back of the primary mirror cell. For ease of use, it also features hand knobs on the collimation bolts for a tool-less primary mirror alignment. The secondary mirror holder, however, does not include such a thing. It must be collimated using a screwdriver or can be replaced with these secondary mirror collimation screws from High Point Scientific.

Other accessories included are an 8×50 right-angle finder, a 1.25” eyepiece adapter, two plossl eyepieces (30mm & 9mm), moon filter, 4-slot eyepiece tray, and a laser collimator. The laser collimator, although relatively cheap and finicky, allows for easier and faster collimation than just using a standard collimation cap or cheshire. (see our collimation guide here).

Box-of-Apertura-AD8-Accessories

The 8×50 right-angle finder is not a preferable choice for a finderscope, however, it is easy to use because of its 90-degree angle. A simple zero-power red-dot finder or Telrad would be a better option for this telescope.

Overall, however, the Apertura AD8 provides some of the best and most accessories for the price.

What Can you See With the Apertura AD8?

As mentioned in previous paragraphs, the Apertura AD8’s 1200mm focal length is a great compromise for those who want the best of both worlds when it comes to getting good images of both Solar System and large deep sky objects.

For the price, the AD8 also packs a respectable amount of aperture. When it comes to visual astronomy, large aperture reigns supreme. Luckily, the AD8 caters to this without needing to shell out large sums of money.

With this scope, all planets of the solar system can be seen. Great detail can be resolved from Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars (at opposition). More specifically, the gaps between Saturn’s rings are very visible in good seeing, as well as Jupiter’s cloud bands/great red spot, and Mars’s polar ice caps.

Neptune and Uranus can be seen as small, colored points in the night sky. However, this will be mostly all you can get of the two outer gas planets with any consumer-grade telescope.

Deep sky observation is where the Apertura AD8 really shines. The 8 inches of aperture packed into the Apertura AD8 allows for detailed views of a multitude of nebulae, galaxies, and globular clusters. Along with that, the scope’s rather mid-range focal length allows larger objects to fit comfortably in the field of view, such as M31, M33, M45, and many others.

Apertura AD8 Specs

Scope DesignNewtonian Reflector
Focal Ratiof/5.91
Focal Length1200mm
Focuser2 inch, dual speed Micro 10:1 Crayford style
Primary Mirror Thickness0.98″ (2.4892 cm)
Primary Mirror DetailsParabolic, 1/12 wave
Primary Mirror CoatingAluminum and silicone dioxide (SiO2); Reflectivity = 93%
Limiting Stellar Magnitude14

Our Final Thoughts on the AD8

Overall, the Apertura AD8 is a solid telescope for the price, both for beginner and intermediate amateur astronomers.

The flexibility that its focal length provides makes it a decent telescope for both fans of deep sky observing and solar system observing alike. Not only that, but its 8 inches of aperture also helps objects of all types stand out with detail, instead of looking like muddy nothing-ness.

While some may find the Apertura AD8’s 46 inch tube to be a bit lengthy, the entire kit is still relatively portable, and can easily fit into almost all vehicles. Better materials for the mount could have been chosen to make the kit more lightweight and durable, but cheap materials like particle board are to be expected for a telescope at this price point.

While the AD8 has the exact same optics and relative design as its competitors (GSO, Orion, etc), the extra included accessories, adjustable balance, and just overall better quality engineering for a similar price point makes it outshine the competition.

In terms of overall price to performance, High Point Scientific’s Apertura AD8 is about the best you can get on the market for your dollar and is strongly recommended by us at Optical Mechanics. 

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