5 Tips For Buying a Telescope

In May I had interviewed my friend, Lara, at the University of Texas Astronomy Department for tips to get into astronomy. Recently, I went to visit her again to ask about how to find a good telescope. I’ve never owned one so I didn’t even know what to look for. If you’re like me, then this is a good place for you to start!

Which telescope is best for beginners?

Which telescope is best for beginners?

  1. One question I had was how cheap can you get. Times are tough right now and when you have kids, its even tougher. We also know when the price of the product is low, the quality can go down, too. So how low a price can you get a telescope without losing too much quality? About $200.
  2. Its highly recommended to start with a basic model if you’re a beginner. You can get a more expensive telescope with all the bells and whistles, but they can get more complicated to understand. A bigger size can also make it more difficult to transport if you’re considering taking it on camping trips.
  3. There are 2 types of telescopes. Reflectors and Refractors. Reflectors work by the use of mirrors and are also recommended by Lara. One thing to be mindful of with the reflectors is that the wind can blur your view. Some telescopes will have a clear cover on the end but some are open causing more wind to blur what you see. Just wait for the wind to die down before trying to adjust your telescope. If the wind dies down and you can see, then it was just the wind disrupting your view.
  4. The aperture, or diameter, of the telescope should be between 4 1/2-6 inches which is 114-152mm for good results.
  5. Most telescopes will come with 2 eye pieces You can buy more like a camera, but don’t automatically go for more magnification (lower numbers) until your comfortable with working your telescope. If your telescope comes with a 10mm and 20mm, 20mm will give you less magnification.

There is a lot of info out there about telescopes but one good place to check out is telescopes 101 at telescopes.com

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