How to Use a Telescope like a Pro

One of the great wonders in life is the sky. At night, when the sun has gone down and all the lights are turned off, we can stare up at this massive expanse of black with millions of tiny little dots in it, and we’re reminded just how small we are on a tiny little planet in the midst of a huge universe. So much of it is visible with just the naked eye. It’s quite enjoyable to lay on the lawn and look up at all the stars blanketing the sky, but it’s another feeling altogether to be able to experience them much closer through the lens of a telescope.

Buying Your First Telescope

A good home telescope doesn’t have to be expensive. There is a wide array available out there for any budget and any experience level, whether you’re looking to spend less than $50 or over $1000. As with everything, do your research and find the telescope that’s right for you and your personal situation. Amazon has hundreds of options to choose from, ranging from small and easy to use to massively complex monstrosities. Make sure you read the reviews before you buy, both good and bad. They will typically tell your more than the description will.

Setting Up Your Telescope

Once you’ve purchased your new telescope, you will need to assemble it. Follow the instructions provided carefully. Do not rush. Make sure everything is put together exactly how it is supposed to be. A mistake in assembly could result in an inaccurate or completely unusable telescope. Once you have it together, now it’s time to test it. Don’t try your first test at night. Night objects, such as the stars and moon, are harder to focus on and move due to the earth’s rotation. Try it out during the day and pick a stable object, such as a tree. Focus on the tree and practice using your adjustments.

A Note On Power

When first starting out with telescopes, many people assume that more power means a better telescope. This isn’t true. Ignore the claims of the ‘Barlow’ lens allowing 500x magnification. While it’s true, it will also give you a blurry image. Imagine blowing up your favorite photograph. The larger you make it, the blurrier it becomes, right? This is what happens with the telescope. Take note of what size your reflector is and multiply that by 50. That is the max power you should use. For example, if you have a 6-inch reflector, the most power you should use is 300. The image will be smaller, but clearer. In fact, a good rule of thumb is to use half of the max to achieve the best image.

Test It Out

As you focus on your tree or other stable object, play around with your adjustments. See what they all do, what effect they have when you twist one way versus the other. Now is the time to really figure out the ins and outs of your particular scope. If you have one of the more popular home telescopes, read the reviews on Amazon. Often, reviews will post advice or things they learned in their reviews. Search for your telescope on a search engine. In all likelihood, someone has posted a guide out there that you can use to fine tune your own viewing. There are numerous resources you can make use of. Don’t be afraid to look for them.

Get Some Guides

While many telescopes will come with a basic star map, it would be best to get one of your own. There are numerous books out there that will give you a full overview of what to look for and what you will see when you look through your telescope. Find one that will give you a good idea of what you can see from where you are and give good instructions on how to locate each constellation.

Find The Right Spot

Finding the right place to set up your telescope is key. Sometimes your options are limited, such as to a back deck or rooftop terrace, but if you can, do a little testing and see where you get the clearest night view. You want someplace that’s dark without a lot of ambient light. If you are stuck on the deck, turn off the lights inside the house. If you can remove yourself to a dark area, that is going to be the most effective for you. Also keep in mind the height of your telescope. Some are designed to be set on railings or tables. You don’t want to be using a miniature telescope and have to lay on the ground for hours if you find that uncomfortable.

Start Exploring

Now that you’re all set up, it’s time to start your journey through space. The easiest object to find is usually the moon. It’s the biggest and brightest. But it’s also one of the most interesting. With a telescope, you can see amazing detail on the moon. Did you know that the moon reflects the Earth? If you look closely, you can see a negative image of the Earth on the moon, due to the way the Sun reflects off the oceans. Other easy to see objects are the other planets in our solar system, especially Jupiter and its moons, Mars, and Saturn. Some constellations are easily recognizable, including the Big and Little Dippers and Orion’s Belt. The Milky Way is a stunning cluster of beauty that shouldn’t be missed. Pull out your guide and see what you can find.

Owning a telescope can be a rewarding experience if you take the time to set it up right and learn how to use it before trying to explore the night sky. With a little patience, a lot of interest, and a good guide book, you’ll be discovering the wonders of the universe in no time at all.

How do Telescopes Work? Your Question Answered

Telescopes have the ability to see objects from hundreds of thousands of miles away in space, but how do they work? Truth is, telescopes come in many shapes and sizes, and they range from the little plastic tube that you can buy at the toy store for $2 to the Hubble Space Telescope. On the middle end of the spectrum, you have amateur telescopes that fit in the middle, and while they are not as powerful as the Hubble, they can still accomplish incredible things like read the writing on a dime from more than 150 feet away. When it comes to the amateur telescopes of today, you have two types: a refractor telescope and a reflector telescope.

The Two Telescopes

Instead of using lenses, the reflector telescope uses mirrors while the refractor telescope uses glass lenses. They both accomplish the same thing, but they do it in different ways. To understand what makes telescopes work, first, let’s look at why you cannot see far away. For example, why can’t you read a dime from 150 feet away without a telescope? The answer is that the object does not take up enough space on your eye screen. To give an analogy, it is like how digital cameras couldn’t see the writing on a dime because it does not cover enough pixels on your retinal sensor.

Using a bigger eye, you can collect light from the object and create a bright image that will magnify the image to stretch it over more pixels on the retina. This is what lets you see further away.

The Objective Lens and the Eyepiece Lens

The objective lenses, also known as the primary mirror, will collect light from distant objects and bring the light to a point of focus. On the other hand, you have the eyepiece lens, and this takes bright light from the objective lens, and it focuses the objective lens. In other words, it spreads out and magnifies the primary mirror. Telescopes operate using the same principle that you find with a magnifying glass. In essence, the idea behind it is to collect as much light as possible to form images inside the telescope, and the light magnifies it like a glass that takes up the space on your retina.

The Ability to Collect Light

Your telescope’s light collecting capabilities relate directly to the diameter of the lens or mirror that is known as the aperture or objective lens. The aperture gathers light, and the larger your aperture, the more light that your telescope can collect and bring into focus. The more light that you have, the brighter the final image will be. How does a telescope magnify things? A telescope’s ability to magnify images will depend on the lenses and the combinations that are used. The eyepiece will perform a magnification, and that magnification can achieved with almost all telescopes.

Why Can’t the Eye See Objects at a Distance?

While human eyes do have the ability to see for long distances, most of it will appear to be a tiny point in the sky. For example, humans can see the Andromeda Galaxy, which is more than 2.5 million light years away, but even in a massive galaxy like Andromeda, it appears as a tiny point in the sky to the naked eye. As an object gets further away, the harder will be to see, but that is why telescopes have proven an invaluable tool for exploring the known universe.

Will a Bigger Lens Yield a Bigger Image?

If you want to make a distant object appear bigger and brighter, you want to collect more light. You can create a brighter image so that it takes up more space on your retina. In fact, the big lens of telescopes will collect more light than what the naked eye has the ability to collect, and this focuses the light to a point from inside the telescope. Your telescope’s ability to collect light will largely depend on the objective lens, which will gather and focus the light from a narrow portion of the sky. The performance of your telescope will depend almost entirely on the size of your objective lens, which is why you should look for a telescope with a larger objective lens.

Refracting telescopes have sometimes been seen as inferior. If you have ever watched light bend through a prism, then you know where the problem comes in at with a refracting telescope: the lens. As light passes through the glass, it will slow down, and while lenses have the shape to bend light, the amount of bending will depend on the wavelength. Understanding this, however, you can make an informed decision on the best choice for a telescope. Reflecting telescopes can be much larger, and they look deeper into space because of the design.

Reviews of the Best Telescopes of 2017

Men and women have always been fascinated with the stars, and children have grown up being amazed by space for years. In today’s society, there are a number of excellent telescopes that are designed by various manufacturers for specific astrological purposes. Some of these telescopes are extremely advanced and take a lot of technological knowledge in order to operate. However, there are numerous ones on the market designed for children and amateurs and do not need a lot of previous technological background knowledge. After all, everyone has the right to enjoy the beauty of the stars. If you are interested in astronomy and telescopes, you will be able to find all of the information that you could possibly need below.

Best Telescope for Beginners – Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ

Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQIf you are a beginner, the AstroMaster Reflector Telescope is by far the best choice on the market. It has a lot of higher end features that other brands do not provide in this price range, and it is an easy telescope to set up. This is extremely important for beginners because you have to know how to set up a telescope correctly in order to get the best out of it. Most beginners are still learning about astronomy in general, and therefore, they are fascinated to see the simple things and wonders of space.

With the AstroMaster Reflector Telescope, they might not be able to see far off galaxies, like with a higher powered telescope, but they will be able to see things like the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter. These things are fascinating for beginners, and it is an excellent starting point. With this telescope, you will get access to two different eyepieces that get up to 100 x magnifications. When using this telescope, it has been recommended that you also use the CELE705 lens kit. These lenses will enhance your view, giving you the best experience available.

The dimensions of this telescope are 11 inches by 17 inches by 32.25 inches. It isn’t as large as other telescopes, which will make it easier to handle for beginners, and when it is assembled, it is only 12.7 kilograms. Therefore, it will be easy to move for most beginners, regardless of their age. When it comes to brightness, this particular telescope is actually three times brighter than other telescopes that are considered to be 60mm scopes. The only downside that people have found about this particular telescope is that the start pointer on it is not all that easy to actually use.

According to the reviews of the people who have used this telescope, this telescope is a good telescope, but it is really designed for beginner observation and not deep sky observing. They also said that the price of this telescope is excellent for the quality that it will provide you, especially if you are a beginning astronomer. After all, if you are a beginner, you do not want to spend a lot of money on your first telescope, while trying to figure everything out.

Best Telescope for Kids – Vixen Space Eye

Vixen Space Eye 50mmA universe is an amazing place, and kids are often times fascinated with stars. However, just like most things, it doesn’t make sense to purchase an expensive telescope for a child. That is one reason why this particular telescope is the best telescope for kids. The Vixen Space Eye Telescope is a 50 mm telescope, and other than price, it has a lot of features that makes it perfect for a kid. Unlike a lot of other telescopes, this one only weighs 6 pounds, which means it will be easier for a kid to move around when using it.

This particular telescope comes with everything that a kid could want and need in order to enjoy the universe. The telescopes dimensions are 13 inches by 8 inches by 37 inches. According to some of the customers who have purchased this particular telescope said that one of the best things about it was its mount. With cheaper telescopes, you sometimes have to deal with the object are watching skipping slightly when trying to move the telescope. However, the Space Eye 50 mm Telescope has slow motion controls.

Due to this, it will make it easier for a kid to actually be able to steady the telescope and follow the objects that they want to without having to worry about the object getting blurred and losing eye contact with it. Another aspect about this particular telescope is the fact that it actually is powerful enough to allow kids to see the rings of Saturn under certain conditions. This is important, because although the moon is both unique and extraordinary, there is nothing more beautiful for a new astronomer, especially a kid, to be able to see the beauty of Saturn lay out before their eyes.

Another excellent aspect about this particular telescope is the fact that you can actually purchase an adapter for it that will allow your kid to be able to hook their smartphone up to it. This is an excellent way to also introduce them to astrophotography. This adapter is actually designed to work with most types of smartphones, and it will add on hours and hours of fun from this particular telescope for your kid and even yourself.

Best Telescope for Astrophotography – Celestron NexStar 130 SLT

Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized TelescopeAstrophotography is a little more difficult than regular observation. One of the biggest differences is the fact that you need a telescope that is actually designed to be able to take the photos needed and desired. According to a lot of astrophotographers, the NexStar 130 SLT computerized telescope is by far the best one available on the market for anyone that is actually interested in astrophotography. This telescope comes with a focal ratio of f5, and it has a focal length of 650mm.

While using this particular telescope, you will find that it is extremely easy to move, and this is entirely thanks to the fact that it has a motorized Altazimuth mount. You will not have to worry about being able to follow objects in order to get that perfect picture of your favorite object in the sky. It also has SkyAlign. This is an excellent aspect about this telescope because you will no long have to worry about just looking at one object. With SkyAlign, you will actually be able to align the telescope with any 3 celestial objects in the sky that are bright.

There have only been two things about this particular telescope that have been logged as needing help. The first thing is its battery. The battery life is rather short compared to others. Therefore, it is imperative when using this telescope that you charge the battery to full before heading out to do your astrophotography. After all, you would not want to be in the middle of your project and have the telescoping die. The second thing about this telescope is that it is a little sensitive to vibration. Therefore, when you are using it, you need to make sure that it is on a surface that will not conduct vibration.

However, the pros of the NexStar 130 SLT far outweigh these minor setbacks. For instance, you will not find another telescope in its price range that has as wide a field of view as this telescope. Therefore, you will be able to broaden the horizons of your astrophotography experience. It is also very light and portable. Therefore, you will not have to worry about it being too heavy to move around as you see fit.

Best Telescope for Viewing Planets – Celestron COSMOS 90GT

Celestron COSMOS 90GTThe COSMOS 90GT WiFi Telescope has a lot of things to offer any astronomer, especially if what they really enjoy looking at are the planets. When getting this telescope, you will be able to download the COSMOS Celestron Navigator app, which will allow you to operate the telescope via WiFi. One of the best things about this is the fact that this app will work with most smartphone technologies, including Android, iPhone, and iPads. Therefore, you will never have to worry about switching devices just to be able to operate and sync to the telescope.

This telescope comes with everything that you will possibly need in order to enjoy viewing the skies beyond. It includes 2 Kellner eyepieces, a cosmic calendar poster, a mirror star diagonal, a StarPointer finderscope, and the free planetarium application. You will have everything you need in order to look at any type of celestial object, which includes galaxies, the moon, planets, and many other fascinating things. The refractor that it uses is a 90 mm, and it is fully coated with glass optics.

The COSMOS 90GT WiFi Telescope also comes with a small tray that was designed specifically for you to be able to put extra eyepieces on it or a place to place your smartphone. It is also large enough that you can fit a small tablet on it, as well. The dimensions for this particular telescope are 37 inches by 57 inches by 37 inches, and it only weighs 13.2 pounds. Therefore. It is big enough to be able to see the things that you want to, but it is also light enough for you to be able to move it around with ease.

Overall, this telescope is by far the best telescope for viewing planets due to all of the excellent features that it has. The app that is used with this app also helps to make it the best, because it will allow you find whatever celestial body that you want with ease since you can control your telescope directly with the app via WiFI.

Best Telescope for the Money – Celestron NexStar 4 SE

Celestron NexStar 4 SEThere are thousands of different telescopes that are available on the market, but when looking at price vs features, the Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope is by far the best telescope for the amount that it costs. This telescope has a state-of-the-art computerized operating system, and this will allow you to be able to view a number of excellent and beautiful celestial objects. Although this telescope can be used by beginners, it is designed more for a more advanced astronomy observer. With the single touch of a button, you will be able to find thousands of different planets, galaxies, and stars, and you will be able to enjoy the entire world of astronomy from the privacy of your own backyards or your favorite star gazing spot.

According to the people who have used this particular telescope have given it an overall excellent review, but there are a couple of things you should be aware of before purchasing this telescope. First off, this telescope can actually use rechargeable batteries, but these batteries are not included with the actual telescope. Therefore, you will need to purchase them separately. Plus, due to its size, it can be rather limited when it comes to being able to view deeply into space. However, its size is also one of its best tributes. Thanks to this, it is both small and portable, which means you can carry it around a lot easier to the places that you wish to star gaze from.

The computerization components of this telescope are also very trackable, which means you will be able to keep track of the different celestial bodies that you observe with the telescope. Another thing that actually makes this the best telescope for the money it costs is the fact that you can also take part in amateur astrophotography. You will be able to take pictures with it, but it will be rather limited. They will not be as high quality as a telescope that was designed for such things. This telescope is motorized, and therefore, you can actually align the telescope to be able to track whatever you want from planets, nebulae, galaxies, and stars.

Best Telescope for under $100 – Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm AZ

Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm AZ Refractor TelescopeThere are a lot of different telescopes that fall into this price range, but just like everything else, there is one that is superior. In this price range, the telescope that is superior is the Meade Instruments Infinity 70 mm AZ Refractor Telescope. This telescope has an aperture of 70mm (2.8 inches), a focal length of 700mm, a focal ration of f/10, and a rack-and-pinion focuser. When you purchase this telescope, you will also receive an instructional DVD and an Astronomical software, which will help you take your star gazing to the next level. For its price range, you will be able to view farther out into space than with other telescopes like it, but it was not designed to allow you to observe far away.

It comes with an Altaximut mouth that has a slow motion control. This is excellent and helps to make sure that the view does not skip when trying to move it manually. Because of this, you can also track the things that you want to track, regardless if it is day or night. This telescope has 2 barlow lens which always you to double the magnification power of all eye pieces. It has two different eyepieces to choose from. The low eyepiece is 26mm, and the high eyepiece is 6.3 It provides you with a red dot viewfinder, which will allow you to point at the celestial objects that you want to see. Therefore, you will be able better observe to your desire. Another asset to purchasing this telescope is the fact that it actually comes with an accessory tray. This is very convenient if you are observing the stars out and away from any furniture. It is actually big enough for your phone and keys.

Another reason why this is such an excellent telescope for its price is the fact that you can use it at night to observe the universe and during the day to observe things like birds and the ocean. The assembly of this particular telescope is very easy, especially since it is a refractor telescope. This means you will never have to worry about aligning mirrors. You will actually be able to use it straight out of the box.

Best Telescope for under $200 – Orion StarBlast 4.5

Orion StarBlast 4.5If you are looking for the next step up to your beginning telescope, the Orion StarBlast 4.5 Equatorial Reflector Telescope is the next logical price. It is still reasonably priced, and it will give you the best experience possible for a telescope within its price range. This particular telescope is able to view a number of different things in the night sky. Not only can you see planets and moons, you will also be able to see a number of deep space objects as long as they are bright enough. If you are new to astronomy, you can actually start out with this telescope because it is easy to set up and use, but it is also suitable for an intermediate astronomer who is looking upgrade.

The eyepieces that it comes with are Expanse telescope eyepieces, and they will actually give you a 66 degree field of view. Unlike cheaper telescopes, you will even be able to see the Andromeda galaxy with this one, and the first time you see it, you will be in awe of its absolute beauty. It also has fast f/4 optics, which means that you will be able to see a lot more celestial objects without having to hunt for them, thanks to the widened field of view that it provides. This telescope does come with a EQ-1 equatorial telescope mount with a slow motion control. Basically, this means that you will be able to follow celestial objects across the night sky without having to worry about your view being skipped.

With these controls, you will never have worry about moving your telescope by hand. You can actually just enjoy a smooth viewing of your favorite celestial objects. The dimensions of this particular telescope are 44 inches by 12 inches by 20 inches, and it weighs a little less than 20 pounds. Therefore, it is heavy enough to be held down firmly, but it is not so heavy that you cannot move it as needed to set it up. This telescope requires a Lithium ion battery, and it comes with one. Therefore, you do not have to worry about going out and finding one of your own.

Best Telescope for under $500 – TwinStar Black 80mm iOptron Computerized GPS Equatorial Refractor Telescope

TwinStar 80mm iOptronIn this price range, the variations between the different telescopes become more noticeable. It is imperative that you know what you want before you start looking to purchase one. However, after researching, the 80mm iOptron Computerized GPS Equatorial Refractor Telescope manufactured by TwinStar is by far the best telescope that you can purchase for under $500. This telescope actually comes with 80mm objective lenses that are fully coated with achromatic, and they have a 400mm focal length. Thanks to its F-ration, you will be able to view your favorite celestial objects with outstanding brightness, making your observations all the more beautiful.

It uses Kellner eyepieces that are 1.25 inches in diameter, and it has a 25mm eyepiece and a 10mm eyepiece. This will allow you to choose between the two, depending on the various types of objects that you want to observe. This telescope comes with a iOptron SmartStar-A Computer Controlled GPS Equatorial Mount, and it also has a iOptron GoToNova Controller that actually has a 80,000 Celestial Object Database. This will allow you to be able to extend your interests in the celestial objects that you will actually be able to see and enjoy.

Unlike some of the other telescopes in this price range, this telescope weighs a little less than 20 pounds, and this makes maneuvering around a lot easier than the heavier telescopes. However, it is still heavy enough that it will not easily be knocked over by accident while using it. With the controller, you can actually maneuver the telescope a lot easier with different coordinates that make it a lot easier than if you had to do it by hand. Another aspect about this telescope is that the mount can actually be run off of 8 AA cell batteries. This means that you can use it wherever you want, without having to worry about trying to find a power source. The only downside is the fact that you have to purchase the batteries separate.

Best Telescope for under $1,000 – Meade Instruments LightBridge 12-Inch Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope

Meade Instruments LightBridge Dobsonian TelescopeWhen you get up to this price range, it is imperative to do the research. The LightBridge 12-Inch Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope has received the best results and reviews for the people who have actually used it. It has a number of excellent features that will allow you to have the best astronomy experience possible for its price range. This telescope has a focal length of 1525 millimeters, and it has an aperture of 12 inches. This will actually allow you to see celestial objects a lot brighter than most other telescopes available on the market for less than $1,000. As an added bonus, this particular telescope actually comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

This is extremely important, because everyone knows that it is possible for accidents to happen. You do not want to purchase so a high quality telescope without having some protection for those accidents. The focal ration of this particular telescope is f/5, and the dimensions of this telescope are 29 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches. It does weigh close to 100 pounds. Therefore, it is imperative that you are careful when moving it, because it is not the easiest telescope to move around once you have it set up and placed in the desired spot. However, the beautiful experience that you get with this telescope is especially worth it.

Before you are able to use the telescope, you will actually have to get 8 AA batteries in order for it to work. It is recommended that you purchase higher quality batteries in order to avoid them being drained quickly and you missing out on a beautiful astrological event that might only come around once in a life time. This telescope actually stands around 5 feet tall. Therefore, you will not have the need for any other type of mount, and this particular telescope is excellent for visual observing, but it is not recommended for someone that wishes to partake in astrophotography. However, if you live in a big city or an area with high light pollution, this is the perfect telescope because it will actually allow to see through it and view deep sky observations.

Best Telescope for under $2,000 – Celestron Advanced VX 8″ f/10 EdgeHD Telescope

Celestron Advanced VS EdgeHDIf you are interested in going big, the Celestron Edge HD Telescope and its usual bundle is by far the best deal in the $2,000 price range. First off, this telescope comes with a 2 year warranty, which is extremely important, especially due to the expensive nature of this telescope. When observing the stars, you never know when something might happen to knock over your telescope or something else. So, this warranty will allow you to have peace of mind when out having fun and observing celestial objects. The Celestron Edge HD 8” Telescope comes with a 1.25 inch eyepiece, a 1.25 inch 90-degree mirror diagonal.

It also comes with a Celestron Advanced VX Mount that is a tripod mount. This will actually make it a lot easier to set up. These types of mounts are generally more stable, which means they are less likely to be tipped over by an accident while trying to observe the stars and other celestial objects. This telescope weights around 85.5 pounds, and due to its weight, it is imperative to make sure you plan where you want to observe from prior to moving it. This will cause you a lot less trouble than having to constantly move it once it is set up. One of the only downsides to this particular telescope is the fact that you cannot merely use regular batteries to charge it.

It actually needs 12 volts in order for it to work. Therefore, you will need an inverter and a car battery to make it work or a power port I a nearby vehicle. However, the excellent results that this particular telescope will provide you in your observing experience are completely worth it. You will be able to look and see just about anything that you really want, within reason. Some people have even reported that while using this particular telescope, they were actually able to get 120 second exposures without having to deal with see the star trails. This telescope actually takes astrophotography to a whole new level. Plus, it is excellent due to the fact that vibration is not an issue when this telescope and mount are used together.

Things to Know when Buying a Telescope as an Amateur Astronomer

If you are new to astronomy, it can be extremely difficult to learn everything on your own, and if you are not careful, you could make costly mistakes when buying your telescope. One of the most important things to remember when buying your first telescope is that there is no substitute for quality. Although you might find an appealing telescope at your local department store, it is always a better idea to purchase your telescope from an actual telescope store or from a place where you can find just as high a quality of the telescope.

If you are willing to put in the time and really learn astronomy, you can actually save yourself a lot of money, especially if you are a younger astronomer. For instance, joining an astronomy club is a great way to learn the different constellations. By doing this, you will actually be able to find a telescope that is cheaper and more simplistic to use. Some astronomers might tell you that you need all of these technological features on your telescope in order to take seriously. However, it is not always important to have these features. A lot of times, people want these features for the sake of having them, but they could honestly get by without them lightening the expensiveness of their telescope choice.

When practicing astronomy, it is important to know that observation is key to having a good experience. One of the things that separate expert astronomers from amateur astronomers is their observation skills. Therefore, it is imperative that you make sure to work on these skills because it will actually assist you in being able to get a smaller telescope that will most likely cost less. Generally, there are two types of astronomers that people want to be: Visual astronomer or an astrophotographer. As an amateur astronomer, it is always better to start out as a visual observer, because the equipment and knowledge of astronomy are a lot more extensive in order to do astrophotography.

What to Look for When Purchasing a Telescope

There are a number of different features that you should look at when looking to purchase a telescope. However, there are things that you should notice that should deter you from purchasing one as well. For instance, some telescopes and their ads talk only about the power of the telescope. Even though power can be an important feature, which you will learn shortly, generally, a telescope that has a large power ad is on the lower end of quality.

Aperture – The aperture of a telescope can refer to one of two different things: the objective mirror of a reflector or the objective lens of a refractor. This is the part that actually gives a telescope “power”. The aperture is required to let the light into the scope, and therefore, this is why it is important to look at. For most amateurs, you want a refractor around 2.4 inches to 3.1 inches and a reflector around 4.5 inches to 6 inches.

Price – With this aspect of buying a telescope, one saying comes to mind, “You get what you pay for.” This saying is especially true when purchasing a telescope. There are a lot of different telescopes on the market, and some of them are more expensive than others. To tell the truth, the average astronomer does not have the need for an extremely expensive telescope. They can observe what they want to observe without spending all of the excess money. However, if you are interested in higher end astronomy, you will not be able to witness it with a lower price ranged telescope.

Mount – This part is a lot more important than most people might actually think. You will be able to choose between one of two types of mounts: an equatorial mount or an altazimuth mount. An equatorial mount is designed to look across the sky while the altazimuth mount is designed more like a camera tripod and can be adjusted up and down & back and forth.2

Refractor/Reflector – This is the part that actually holds the pieces that allow the light to come through, which lets you actually view the stars. Refractors come in different sizes, and they have two different lenses.

Eyepieces – For most telescopes, you only need one eyepiece, but some telescopes will actually have two or three to make it easier to view different aspects of the stars. For most beginners, the eyepiece is generally around 25mm. This is large enough to let you view what you wish too, but not too large to distort the images that you find.

Reputable Brands of Telescopes

There are a lot of different brands that manufacture telescopes for both professional and amateur astronomers. Below, you will be able to find a few different reputable brands that are some of the best in the industry.

Celestron – Celestron has been manufacturing telescopes and accessories for over 50 years, and all of their workers provides quality craftsmanship that actually make them one of the best manufacturers, in the industry. They have telescopes designed for every type of an astronomer, regardless if they are a beginner or a professional. One of the best things about Celestron telescopes is the fact that they are extremely easy to assemble, and those who purchase them are always guaranteed satisfaction.

Sky-Watcher – If you have ever been to a star party, then you have probably seen a Sky-Watcher telescope, especially if you live in Europe. They have been around since the 1960s, and currently, they are actually known as the #1 fastest growing telescope brands in Europe, and their reputation is starting to grow everywhere else as well. They are the manufacturers that actually created one of the first Dobsonian telescopes, which is one of the most popular types available on the market.

Zhumell – Zhumell is known for their beginner telescopes. They have a wide range of these types that are low cost being less than $200. They have been around for years, and they are by far the best brand available on the market for that young or inexperienced astronomer in your life.

Meade – There are different stages of being an amateur in astronomy. Some are kids and some are adults. Meade understands that this is important knowledge to know when manufacturing telescopes. Currently, they are one of the top manufacturers when it comes to creating telescopes for any amateur despite this knowledge or age.