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Thursday, 16 August 2012

What kind of telescope should I buy? What is best for me?

Those who think about having a telescope, and suddenly ignited in them the passion for astronomy, will put for certain some questions like: What kind of telescope should I take? What is best for me? What to be? Refractor or reflector? From where to buy it, or how much to pay?

Most will want to start with an inexpensive telescope, but to see too much with it. It seems paradoxical, but even binoculars which does not have a magnification as an astronomical telescope, may be more expensive.

The spectacular images of the cosmos that you find on the internet, are made ​​with large telescopes at long exposuresmade with filters. You must also realize that you will not make images like those photos with your cheap telescope in your backyard. The truth is that many expect too much from an inexpensive small telescope.

What kind of telescope should I take or how much to pay for it?

It depends on how much detail you want to observe. You can see with the naked eye without the telescope, all the planets except Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. With any small telescope you can see the phases of Venus, whrn is on the same side of the Sun with the Earth, the Martian polar caps, the cloud belts of Jupiter and its moons and rings and moons of the planet Saturn. If you want to see significant details of the planets, you'll need at least a reflector telescope of 6, 8 or 10 inches, which means 15.24 cm, 20.32 cm and 25.4 cm.

So it depends on what expectations you have. What do you want to see. A reflector telescope like the one below, is cheap, but you can see the planetsalthough not too close to your eyes. However they will appear bright and clear. Astroimaging with this scope is not good, because the mount is tenuous (Az-1), and the camera is pretty heavy for this. A telescope mount that to use it in Astrophotography must be strong, hard, and besides that, its motion for driving the tube should be fine. With a small mount and a thin tripod, you will not meet any of these desires.

In short, it is a telescope to see othe sky objects without great expectations.


At a budget of 200 USD, you better buy some binoculars. A lot of companies that sell cheap telescopes and tell you that their telescopes go up to 400x or 500x power, although they provide lenses to do this, the small size tube and optical quality makes it completely impossible. The picture will be poor and distorted.

At a budget between 700-1500 USD, a telescope can be acceptable, and start some true astronomical observation. Starting with 114 mm (4.5 inches) reflectors, or 60 mm refractors can be purchased with this money and even much more bigger, but not with motorized mounts. Beyond this budget, you might be tempted by a motorized telescope has to track the stars or even a computerized one that allows you to simply type a location in the sky, to find a particular galaxy or nebula. However, this option is not recommended for beginners because it will be too complicated for them.

What telescope is best for me?

Rather than buying a telescope that magnifies 450x, but nothing to do with it due to poor lens or small tube, you better get one with less power, starting at 40x, with which you can see Jupiter and it's moons, Saturn and it's rings, or nebulae. And if you raise the magnification to 50x, images will be a little vague, but hopefully still clear.

It not all depends on the magnification. For example it can be a night of turbulent atmosphere, especially in the evenings when everything cools down after a hot day, and the heat risesThen, you will have to decrease your magnification to see a clear, not blurred image.

What to be? Refractor or reflector?

What is a refractor telescope and what is a reflector telescope.

Reflector telescope (or Newtonian), uses two mirrors to magnify what is viewed. With a reflector is better to see less bright objects such as distant galaxies and nebulae.

Refractor telescope, uses two lenses that magnify what is viewed, the primary objective magnifies the most. This model normally provides a better picture of the planets and the Moon.

Where to buy it?

It is better to avoid buying them from the street corner store. You better go to a specialized telescope dealer, or Amazon, if you previously talked to someone about a particular model, and you can find on sale. Find your local astronomy club and try to observe the sky with different telescopes at one of their meetings for observations. Do not rush to buy. You must realize how serious you are about this hobby, and how much you want to spend.

Related Articles: Astronomy telescopes and accessories


Laurel Kornfeld said...

This is great information. I just want to add that a third planet, Pluto, is also not visible to the naked eye. I think a telescope must at minimum be eight inches to observe Pluto.

Lupu Victor said...

Thank you for your comment. Pluto is not a planet anymore unfortunately. You are right anyway, because yes, Pluto is not seen with the naked eye.
I know you from Facebook. The avatar picture of you is printed in my mind. :)

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