6 Beginner Tips for Buying a Telescope

August 22 21:27 2017 Print This Article

The world of astronomy is a fascinating yet beautiful place. For most beginner astronomers, the process of finding the right telescope can be challenging. With complex technical jargon, a multitude of options and confusing features, the selection process can be daunting.

You don’t want to find yourself buying the wrong scope and becoming frustrated in the process. To help astronomers, this simple guide explains what every beginner should know when purchasing a new telescope.

What Do You Want the Telescope for?

It may seem like a basic question, but you’ll be surprised at how many beginners get this wrong. Most beginners want to buy a multi-purpose telescope that offers excellent views of both astronomy and land-based objects. The truth is, get one for your specific viewing needs.

Unless working for NASA, you won’t be in need of radio telescopes to receive radio signals from space, you must decide what type of viewing you’ll be more engaged in. If you’re more into land viewing, you’d be better off with a pair of binoculars.

Consider the Telescope’s Aperture

This is the most important aspect when it comes to buying a telescope. A telescope’s aperture is the diameter of the mirror or lens that will collect light and direct it to your pupil. The larger the telescope’s aperture, the more light it can capture and the sharper and brighter the night sky will be.

Keep in mind though, that a larger aperture means a larger and heavier telescope. Ask yourself, where will you be using the telescope? If it’s your backyard, then a large one is no problem. If you’ll be carrying it often away from bright city lights, a smaller, lighter telescope would be more convenient.

Quality of the Optics/Magnification

While aperture is critical when choosing a telescope, magnification too is important but not a decision making factor. While it’s highly desirable to use an eyepiece with the highest possible magnification, a telescope’s aperture may limit you on what you can view clearly.

Know what eyepieces suit the type of telescope you’re buying. Swapping eyepieces will simply change magnification. The quality of the optics may seem all too important but what you need is a telescope that allows you to see the most detail of an object in the sky.

Quality telescope eyepieces are very important to scope performance. A telescope can have the finest objective lens, but achieving ultimate detail is only possible if an eyepiece of equal quality is used.

Choose the Right Telescope Type

You can’t make an informed purchase without understanding the different types of standard telescope types.

Refractors

These are the most commonly used telescopes. They use lenses instead of mirrors. The eyepiece is located at the bottom of the telescope. With a similar design to binoculars, they offer a good viewing experience for stargazing or planetary and lunar viewing.

Reflectors

Reflecting telescopes use a mirror instead of lenses. The eyepiece is located at the side of the telescope’s tube. They come with larger apertures, offering great views of deep sky objects. These telescopes need a bit more care and maintenance.

Catadioptric Telescopes

These telescopes use a combination of lenses and mirrors. They come in a nice modern design and have larger apertures. They offer excellent deep sky viewing experience and come in a compact and durable closed-tube design.

Get the Right Mount

You need a good mount to stabilize your telescope. The mounts available include the equatorial mounts and altazimuth mounts. Each of them has its pros and cons. Choose a mount that is sturdy and heavy enough so you can move your telescope smoothly and securely.

Buy Based on Your Budget

Finally, it’s time to buy your telescope. Consider your budget, and also your precise astronomy needs. Going for a slightly expensive one that will last longer and offer clearer views is much better than buying a cheap scope that you’ll have to replace later.

  Article "tagged" as:
  Categories:
view more articles

About Article Author

Jonathan Yaniv
Jonathan Yaniv

Jonathan is the founder and editor-in-chief of TrustedNerd.com. Covering major tech shows such as CES, Jonathan is always there for the latest tech news. Want your gadget to be reviewed or have a release you'd like to be considered for publishing? Send Jonathan an email, jonathan [at] trustednerd.com

View More Articles