Telescope Buying Guide

Guide to Buying Your First Telescope

We often have questions about what telescope an aspiring amateur astronomer should buy. The “correct” answer can be elusive and is highly dependent on a lot of variables, including the expectations of the questioner, budget, storage capacity, available transport, etc. Rather than type all this advice over and over, I’d like to offer this post in the hopes that it can be made “sticky” so others can add to it, and it can remain near the top of the astronomy forum.

Before you spend a dime, find a local amateur astronomy club, and see if you can attend meetings as a guest.

Get there early and mingle. Let the members know that you are interested in pursuing astronomy and that you are open to suggestions about what kind of gear might be appropriate for you. You can get valuable guidance that way. Next, arrange to attend the club’s next star party. Often they are open to the public as an outreach effort. Again, show up early. This is valuable for you in many ways. You will get to see what kind of transport requirements are involved in owning and operating a range of telescopes and mounts. You will also get insight into the simplicity/complexity of setting up various types of gear. Also, you’ll get to observe through a variety of instruments so you can get an idea of their strengths and weaknesses. Observing will also help dispel high expectations brought on by aggressive marketing by telescope vendors. The nice color images of nebulae in the ads are a come-on. You’ll see varying shades of (mostly) greenish-gray at best. You can see colors in stars and planets through modest amateur scopes, but not in galaxies or nebulae. The pretty pictures in the ads are made by skilled astrophotographers. Your eyes cannot integrate photons over long periods of time like cameras can, so you will not see colors in dim objects.

Another great advantage to hooking up with local amateurs is that lots of observers are gear-hounds, and they may have scopes in their closets that are gathering dust while they use their newer gear. You could get a great deal on a used telescope, and best of all, you’ll get to try it out before you buy it.

Now, do you really need a telescope?

Even a modest instrument can bring you a lot of enjoyment. If you buy a nice pair of binoculars and a decent set of charts, you can see a lot of objects, and learn your way around the night sky. My advice is to get a pair of no-frills binoculars from a high-end optics company. While you won’t get the options available on their pricy models, you’ll get binoculars made with the know-how and quality-control of the high-end company, so the quality of their basic instruments is often impressive. It’s a bit of a cliche, but 7×50 binoculars (7 power with 50mm objectives) are great for general use. They are with me during every observing session and are the go-to instrument for quick peeks.

If you still decide that you do need a telescope, what are your options?

The best bang for the buck comes in the form of alt-azimuth-mounted Newtonian telescopes. You can get a pretty impressive aperture for reasonable money. Newtonians on German equatorial mounts are no better optically in general, but cost more because of the extra expense of producing the amount that can be polar-aligned and driven to compensate for the rotation of the Earth without field rotation. Another choice, though generally more expensive still is one of a wide range of catadioptric telescopes. These are relatively compact telescopes with folded light paths. These can be made fairly portable (compared to Newtonians of similar aperture) but are generally slower (longer focal lengths) which gives images that are not as bright as those of the (usually) faster Newtonians. At the higher-cost end of the field are the refractors. Not the cheap department-store refractors, but high-quality instruments often made with exotic high-dispersion lens materials. Such refractors can deliver very high-contrast views in part because there are no central obstructions in the light path, unlike the Newtonians with their diagonal mirrors or catadioptrics with their central secondary mirrors. Each type of telescope has strengths and weaknesses.

Next, learn a bit about optics, if you can.

Many inexpensive Newtonian telescopes hit a price/aperture price point by compromising on mirror quality. This means that you will be paying for spherically-figured primary mirrors and not the more difficult-to-figure parabolic mirrors. Google on “spherical aberration” to see why you might want to consider paying a bit more for better optics.

To add to your confusion, there is a dizzying array of mounts and automation. It is possible to buy simple alt-azimuth mounted Dobsonians equipped with encoders that can help you find objects. Many German equatorial mounts and fork mounts come equipped with encoders and computers, some loaded with tens of thousands of objects. These “aids” can be very attractive to a newcomer to the field, but in my opinion, it is not worth the money to get trapped into automation. When the encoders fail, the computers fail or get corrupted, how will the purchaser get service? Pack up a delicate scope, ship it somewhere for service, and hope the manufacturer has a stock of the failed parts and can fix the instrument?

I may be anachronistic, but my advice is to buy an optical tube assembly that is suitable for your purposes on an amount that is no more complex nor automated than absolutely required. I have a 6″ apochromatic refractor on a German equatorial mount. The mount has electric drives on both the right ascension and declination drives. Top-quality optics on a really basic mount. I don’t need automation and computerized slewing to find objects, because I learned my way around the night sky with charts and star-hopping. When someone asks “what’s that star?” I have a catalog of them in my brain – no computer required.

OK, got a telescope?

Next, you’ll want to consider accessories. Please do not buy an assortment of eyepieces right away. Use your association (hopefully membership) with the astronomy club to figure out what eyepieces work well with your telescope. Most amateurs are pretty stoked about their favorite EPs and will pop them into the focuser of your ‘scope to show you what the buzz is about.

If you’re a beginner on a budget, please be aware that some well-heeled members may have some exotic EPs that cost more than your entire ‘scope, with accessories, so be polite if they are a bit hesitant to hand them all around. I have a well-corrected f:8 refractor and it performs well with Plossels, and I have only one Nagler. People with high-end short focal-length reflectors often gravitate to very expensive exotic EPs to get top performance, negating some of the economic benefits that can come with sticking with big reflectors.

Find out what works well with your telescope, and let that experience guide your eyepiece-shopping. Next, you’ll need to consider EP focal lengths. You WILL want to buy a Barlow lens to let you use your longer EPs (with a better field of view and eye-relief) for high-magnification observing. Before you pick a Barlow, consider what EP focal lengths you might want to use. If you have a 10mm and a 20mm EP, and you buy a 2x Barlow, you’ll end up with only one extra unduplicated magnification. Stagger the focal lengths of your (planned) EP upgrades to give you a good spread of magnifications. Remember that you should spend money wisely on a high-quality Barlow, because you’ll use that critter more than you think, and it will allow you to get a lot more flexibility out of your rig if you plan properly. Consider Barlows of 2x, 2.5x, 3x at a minimum and spread-sheet the resultant magnifications with EPs that you might have on your wish-list. You can waste alot of money for little effect if you don’t plan.

Good luck, no matter how you proceed.

141 replies
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  1. sophiecentaur says:

    A good tripod is probably the best incremental value if you have a good pair of binos. Nearly all of them have a fixing hole for a cheap adaptor.
    Choice of telescope depends on your money, your strength, transport situation and suitability if your garden.
    Don't even consider the rubbish that's on sale in non-specialist stores. Ugh- nasty.
    Read a lot of different opinions before choosing. Your personal formula is very important.
    I thought a lot before my choice and no regrets (for me). I got an 8" Newtonian (Dobson mount) which will (they tell me) allow me to see loads of stuff. Still waiting for right conditions and my learning process.

  2. Thomas McGuigan says:
    EternusVia

    Wow! Thanks for the great post. I only recently started thinking about astronomy. Binoculars are great, but I have trouble keeping my arms steady enough to get a good look at anything. Any good ways to keep binoculars steady?[/QUOTE
    Me too. I need to find a good telescope.

  3. sophiecentaur says:

    In the UK. Saturn is a bit too low on the horizon and is too much on the fuzzy side*. I may have too high expectation, I suppose. The rings are very visible (as a single one on X150) and I was v. chuffed to see it, first time. Jupiter, being much higher, is much more stunning from here.
    My commercially minded 'man at the shop' tells me I need to launch into astrophotography if I want better pictures. But that is a potential money pit.
    *Much better in the southern hemisphere, I guess.

  4. jim hardy says:

    There are plenty of compact film cameras about in the junkshops. I've been known to disassemble one and mount its lens in a plastic pipe fitting for an eyepiece, in a pinch.
    Want to try one of those with zoom ….

    Saturn is spectacular now.

  5. sophiecentaur says:
    davenn

    but if mounted on the truck, then there his the huge advantage of being able to drive to a darked site :)

    For some playing around at home and to keep the local light out of your eyes, it would take very little effort to make a frame to fit the
    truck deck and secure a black material to the frame. If out of aluminium tubing, you could make it fold up and the material permanently
    attached to the frame.

    DaveMobile observatory sounds cool! I was wondering about a suitable design for a helmet, too!! I wouldn't mind betting that some Victorian geezer has got a patent on something like that. :biggrin:

  6. PAllen says:
    DaveC426913

    AND – since the best viewing tends to be in very cold air, such as winter – you won't freeze your Plossls off.
    :wink:But what about your naglers?

  7. DaveC426913 says:
    davenn

    but if mounted on the truck, then there his the huge advantage of being able to drive to a darked site :)But but but…
    you can do that whether or not the scope is mounted or simply stowed… :sorry:

    davenn

    For some playing around at home and to keep the local light out of your eyes, it would take very little effort to make a frame to fit the
    truck deck and secure a black material to the frame. If out of aluminium tubing, you could make it fold up and the material permanently attached to the frame.Yep, and now you got yourself an actual observatory.

    AND – since the best viewing tends to be in very cold air, such as winter – you won't freeze your Plossls off.
    :wink:

  8. davenn says:
    DaveC426913

    The other problem with being on a truck is that you won't be able to easily position yourself to block sources of light pollution.but if mounted on the truck, then there his the huge advantage of being able to drive to a darked site :)

    For some playing around at home and to keep the local light out of your eyes, it would take very little effort to make a frame to fit the
    truck deck and secure a black material to the frame. If out of aluminium tubing, you could make it fold up and the material permanently
    attached to the frame.

    Dave

  9. DaveC426913 says:
    sophiecentaur

    There are several local spots (including my garden) that are not bad for light pollution when I turn our own house lights off.I've done scoping from my backyard here in the big city. Planets are bright enough that it's not an issue. But if you're looking at anything else, you'll want your full night vision, which takes a half hour to kick in. And any light source is enough to destroy it, even a streetlight a mile away, or light from a neighbor's windows.

    sophiecentaur

    But the extra height will take me above hedges and things.Frankly, I prefer an area where the horizon is high for two reasons.
    1] It hides a lot of light pollution. If you're high up, any light within ten miles will destroy your experience.
    2] The viewing near the horizon is dreadful anyway. Air disturbances, sky glow and the shear thickness of the atmo make it very poor viewing.

    sophiecentaur

    Talking of light pollution, I have a feeling that I could benefit from a blackout sheet over my head like old photographers. I'm surprised that I haven't seen something like that on suppliers' sites.Your night vision takes more than a half hour to reach optimum, and less than one second to be destroyed. You'd need to wear a sheet over your head for the entire night.

  10. sophiecentaur says:
    DaveC426913

    The other problem with being on a truck is that you won't be able to easily position yourself to block sources of light pollution.I wondered about that. There are several local spots (including my garden) that are not bad for light pollution when I turn our own house lights off. But the extra height will take me above hedges and things. At the moment, Mars and Saturn are too low in the sky for me to see them from my garden (especially as the Dobs is so near the ground). I shall just have to experiment. It's the little practicalities that make hobbies fun. I just ended a long and involved relationship with a Sailing Cruiser and she was crammed full of practical problems to solve (never pay someone to do something that you can do yourself, of course). :smile:
    Talking of light pollution, I have a feeling that I could benefit from a blackout sheet over my head like old photographers. I'm surprised that I haven't seen something like that on suppliers' sites.

  11. DaveC426913 says:
    sophiecentaur

    Yes, I did try it and it was noticeable. But the Hilux has very stiff suspension and it wasn't too bad when I wasn't dancing about. A couple of scissor jacks could solve that problem. All this stuff is about problem solving and feeling smart when it works! :smile:
    At the moment, we have wall to wall cloud and rain stopped play in the UK. It should be so much better now that the Moon has gone on holiday on the sunny side of Earth but . . .The other problem with being on a truck is that you won't be able to easily position yourself to block sources of light pollution.

  12. sophiecentaur says:
    Drakkith

    Enjoy the shaking of the entire truck as you shift around. :wink:Yes, I did try it and it was noticeable. But the Hilux has very stiff suspension and it wasn't too bad when I wasn't dancing about. A couple of scissor jacks could solve that problem. All this stuff is about problem solving and feeling smart when it works! :smile:
    At the moment, we have wall to wall cloud and rain stopped play in the UK. It should be so much better now that the Moon has gone on holiday on the sunny side of Earth but . . .

  13. Drakkith says:
    sophiecentaur

    haven't travelled with it yet but I plan to use it on the back of my truck, which would be more pleasant than scrabbling around on the ground in some random open field.Enjoy the shaking of the entire truck as you shift around. :wink:

  14. sophiecentaur says:

    I bought a s/hand 200p Dobs recently and immediately got myself a couple of good eyepieces. Using such a crude mount makes you learn fast about finding things up there. 8" is very good for dim objects but it does require some effort to get it out into the garden. I haven't travelled with it yet but I plan to use it on the back of my truck, which would be more pleasant than scrabbling around on the ground in some random open field.
    As people have already said, the best one to buy depends on individual circs. I think I made a good choice 'for me' and the views can be stunning.
    Start cheap and you can always sell it on for a better chosen upgrade. (Sell before buying another. Be strong!!)
    Go-to is all very well but, like sat nav in cars, it doesn't give you a clue where you are or how you got there. It's something to aspire to when you have learned a bit about the business.

  15. newjerseyrunner says:
    Keiran OConnor

    Why can't I see anything from my telescope ? The moon looks great but besides that I can't find anything ? It's really cheap think it was Around £200.How dark is your sky? I can see very little from where I live near NYC with my fairly powerful telescope, but if I bring it to my mother's up in the mountains, I can see much much more.

  16. russ_watters says:
    Keiran OConnor

    Why can't I see anything from my telescope ? The moon looks great but besides that I can't find anything ? It's really cheap think it was Around £200.What else have you tried to find? Jupiter? It's pretty easy to spot right now and looks great even in a cheap telescope.

    [edit] And FYI, there are two moons transiting in front of Jupiter tonight. You should be able to see the shadows with even a cheap telescope.

  17. hemlok says:

    One word of caution – telescopes are like any other gear, from computers to cars to metal detectors. A lot of people develop very strong 'religious' opinions about what is good and what 'sucks'. These people will often lead you to a very specific set of fairly high end gear, often in very specific combinations. You might end up with something really nice, but you will almost certainly pay much more for these kinds of objects of worship. Talk to a lot of people, and if they start frothing at the mouth or baying at the moon you might want to try somebody else…

  18. jim hardy says:

    From Sky and Telescope, probably for US observers
    cloudy here this morning
    http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/astronomy-podcast-april-2016-04012016/
    Get up before dawn, and you'll be rewarded with a bright triangle of beacons in the south that's roughly the size of your clenched fist held at arm’s length. The red-supergiant star Antares, marking the heart of Scorpius, is at the bottom of the triangle. To its upper right is Mars, and to its upper left is Saturn.

  19. Keiran OConnor says:

    Hi thanks for the message, I over-shot the price lol. Must have been more near £100 unless the price has dropped over the years. Here's the exact one I have :)

    http://www.harrisoncameras.co.uk/pd/Danubia-Merkur-60A-Refractor-Astro-Telescope_567065.htm

    I feel like I am getting close to seeing something because I can see the shades of black getting lighter when am moving it through the sky looking for things, it's a improvement from total darkness anyway lol.

  20. davenn says:
    Keiran OConnor

    Why can't I see anything from my telescope ? The moon looks great but besides that I can't find anything ? It's really cheap think it was Around .hi Keiran
    welcome to PF :smile:

    £200 (~ AU$350 – 400) isn't really a very cheap scope, it should be quite reasonable results

    learning to find other objects much fainter than the moon takes a little more effort and learning to find your way around the sky
    Programs like Stellarium ( free download) is an awesome starting point

    but for a start, lets take a step backwards …. you didn't even tell us the make and model of the scope you purchased
    maybe also give us a link to where you got it from

    Dave

  21. jim hardy says:
    Keiran OConnor

    besides that I can't find anything ?Be aware the telescope only shows you a very tiny piece of sky. It is hard to find things at first when learning , and impossible at high power . Start at lowest power , find something, then swap eypieces to higher power..
    Might be as simple as aligning the finder.
    Orion Nebula is a good practice target.

    I first saw Saturn with a really cheap one-inch 10-30x zoom terrestrial scope on a camera tripod. Stumbled across it by accident. Was so excited i ordered Petersen's Field Guide to the Stars and Planets…

    Sky and Telescope magazine has a good website and i really enjoyed their publication – one of the few magazines i ever read cover to cover as soon as it arrived..

    if you're way advanced – No offense meant , just i assumed you're a beginner

    old jim

  22. DHF says:

    The really cheap telescopes are not very good at seeing dim objects because they have really small apertures and do not collect a lot of light. my first telescope cost around 100 quid and the moon was really the only thing I could easily see.

  23. Keiran OConnor says:

    Why can't I see anything from my telescope ? The moon looks great but besides that I can't find anything ? It's really cheap think it was Around £200.

  24. Yashbhatt says:
    ayush solanki

    The funscope is similar to my telescope(celestron firstscope).there is no difference between them except the company.in my opinion it is perfect for an amatuer.I myself am yet learning.and firstscope seems to be a decent scope to start with and so is funscope.What sort of objects have you seen?

  25. ayush solanki says:

    The funscope is similar to my telescope(celestron firstscope).there is no difference between them except the company.in my opinion it is perfect for an amatuer.I myself am yet learning.and firstscope seems to be a decent scope to start with and so is funscope.

  26. Yashbhatt says:
    Chronos

    The best scope for you is tne one you enjoy using. Sounds like a success on that point. Beyond that you must decide what will please you in the future. Don't worry about getting down to magnitude 20. Eyepieces are your best friend. A good eyepiece makes a scope your slave, not master- and they are aperature insensitive. The best views for any aperature size comes from high quality low mag eyepieces.So, in your opinion is the Orion Funscope fine?

  27. Chronos says:

    The best scope for you is tne one you enjoy using. Sounds like a success on that point. Beyond that you must decide what will please you in the future. Don't worry about getting down to magnitude 20. Eyepieces are your best friend. A good eyepiece makes a scope your slave, not master- and they are aperature insensitive. The best views for any aperature size comes from high quality low mag eyepieces.

  28. ayush solanki says:

    My first telescope and the only one I have and ever bought till date is the celestron firstscope.its a 76 mm dubsonian type reflecting telescope.it is pretty amazing actually.the moon looks awesome through it and you can see Jupiter too.I absolutely love it.I am looking forward to buy an advanced telescope than it but I think that firstscope is a perfect beginners telescope.

  29. jim hardy says:

    My first telescope was a cheap department store 10X to 30X 1 inch zoom handheld with a tripod mount.
    With it on my camera tripod i stumbled across Saturn. It only looked like a black-eyed pea , but even that was thrilling.

    So i took next step and ordered a Celestron "Comet Catcher."
    It is a small Schmitt-Newtonian , not very expensive .
    Using just a camera tripod i had a lot of fun with it.
    It did a great job on last visit of Halley's Comet before the tail fizzled out .
    http://www.telescopebluebook.com/other/celestron.htm [Broken]
    http://www.telescopebluebook.com/other/cometcatch.jpg [Broken]
    I never progressed beyond that little beginner's scope. Still use it.
    The Schmitt lens at end is nice because it keeps dust off the main mirror.
    It'd make a great finder for a serious telescope.

    Dad's 70th birthday was coming up. Retirement getting tedious, he was tiring of making birdhouses for the neighbors..
    He'd wanted a telescope since he was a kid so i ordered him an 8 inch Meade mirror and mounts.
    We built a redwood tube for it. It became the darling of local astronomy club.

    Advice given above regarding a hookup with local enthusiasts is most excellent. Do-It-Yourselfer's are always eager to help out.
    The guys at Southern Cross club showed us how to improve our mirror mounting scheme
    and how to make an equatorial mount from plumbing fittings.

    I found Petersen's Field Guide to the Stars and Planets a pretty good starter-out book.

    old jim

  30. turbo says:

    I have not had the opportunity to observe through any of those instruments, nor try out the mounts. Orion is quite a popular company, so if you join a local club, you may get to try some of these instruments and compare them to others. That is the best way to make your choice before you spend a dime. Good luck to you.

  31. Yashbhatt says:
    turbo

    We often have questions about what telescope an aspiring amateur astronomer should buy. The "correct" answer can be elusive and is highly dependent on a lot of variables, including the expectations of the questioner, budget, storage capacity, available transport, etc. Rather than type all this advice over and over, I'd like to offer this post in the hopes that it can be made "sticky" so others can add to it, and it can remain near the top of the astronomy forum.Hello, nice thread for beginners.
    Can you tell me how are these for beginners:
    http://www.telescope.com/Orion-SpaceProbe-130-EQ-Reflector-Telescope/p/9851.uts?keyword=spaceprobe 130

    http://www.telescope.com/Celestron-SkyMaster-20×80-Binoculars/p/9117.uts?keyword=20×80

    http://www.telescope.com/catalog/se…&keyword=astroview+90&refinementValueIds=4508

  32. Drakkith says:
    wabbit

    Agreed, but 8" f/12 is a bit of a beast (and a specialty item, not found so easily I think), and decent parabolic mirrors are really affordable esp. Chinese ones. Good or even great starter scopes like small (say 6"f/8) dobsonians are available for $300 or so.Certainly. Newts are cheap to buy at almost any aperture.

  33. wabbit says:

    Agreed, but 8" f/12 is a bit of a beast (and a specialty item, not found so easily I think), and decent parabolic mirrors are really affordable esp. Chinese ones. Good or even great starter scopes like small (say 6"f/8) dobsonians are available for $300 or so.

  34. Drakkith says:
    turbo

    Next, learn a bit about optics, if you can. Many inexpensive Newtonian telescopes hit a price/aperture price point by compromising on mirror quality. This means that you will be paying for spherically-figured primary mirrors and not the more difficult-to-figure parabolic mirrors. Google on "spherical abberation" to see why you might want to consider paying a bit more for better optics.One thing to note here. A spherical mirror is just fine for either small apertures or long focal ratios. For an 8-inch aperture, the f-ratio needs to be about f/12 in order to be diffraction limited with a spherical mirror. Anything faster than f/12 with an 8-inch aperture will not be diffraction limited. For smaller apertures you can move to a faster f-ratio and still be diffraction limited with a spherical mirror since the airy disk increases in size with decreasing aperture.

  35. CalcNerd says:

    I have a moderately priced Newtonian that I bought at a steep discount (maybe because it didn't have the auto tracking motors and other high end toys, but still costs some bucks) that I bought to replace a much lower end Newtonian that I had earlier. And it magnification and quality are really good. And I sometimes take it out and set it up. I'm glad I have it. But 90% of the time, I use binoculars. Aside from viewing the Jupiter and Saturn, I get no other real value out of it. If I use my Barlow adapter and lens to get the supposed 250 X magnification, I am constantly adjusting as the object is running out of my field of view. That is the one nice thing about buying a unit with a tracking motor. But that would require even more effort to set up. I am a 5-15 minute observer. I don't attend all night (or even a couple hours) events. Hence the Good pair of binoculars.

    I might even get enough enjoyment out of a spotting scope of 50-60X (I don't have one, but I rarely use my telescope above these ranges either, due to keeping the object in my field of view). Very simple, point and look. Primitive, down and dirty. But then I don't hang out with the amateur astronomer crowd. You really might enjoy that.

    About binoculars. Money doesn't always buy the best set of glasses. I have several pair, my most expensive are actually my poorest for night viewing. It is a high end name brand 7-21X50 variable magnification set (I think Bausch, but I don't use them enough to even remember). I couldn't pass them up at 50% off. They're ok, but color is dulled out (made for the deer hunter or possibly winter viewing during the day on snow, which might explain the less that stellar performance??). My best set is a modest 10X50 (some cheap set that I pick up and marveled at how clear the image was) and my most used is a 7X40 due to its much lighter weight and good optics. The 7X40 was my first set and wasn't expensive but a good brand name that I still use. The reason I have a few sets of glasses is so I can share with my guests if anyone wants to join me (once in a while the wife, but she would rather see something in the big telescope, looks and is almost always disappointed aside from Jupiter and Saturn).

    So my advice isn't as an enthusiast but a casual user.

  36. DHF says:

    most tripods have a hook on the bottom, you can by small sandbags from any video or photography shop like BHvideo.com
    just mount the sandbag on the hook and it will increase the tripod's stability and keep your binoculars extra steady. Just make sure the Binoculars you have come with a screw mount so you can attach them to a tripod.

  37. DaveC426913 says:

    Tripod? Or even monopod.

    Really cheap ones can go for < $30, but you get what you pay for.

    I'll bet if you ask around your fam & friends, someone will have an old tripod they don't use anymore.

  38. EternusVia says:

    Wow! Thanks for the great post. I only recently started thinking about astronomy. Binoculars are great, but I have trouble keeping my arms steady enough to get a good look at anything. Any good ways to keep binoculars steady?

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