Buying a Telescope , guide me.

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In summary: before anything else...is to decide what kind of observing you want to do. is it just looking at the moon and planets? or are you interested in deep sky objects? once you know that, you can start looking into what type of telescope would be best for you. in summary, if you're just starting out and are looking for a telescope that's affordable, you can get a decent beginner scope for around $150.
  • #1
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hi
i am completely naive when it comes to astronomy, telescopes and all that stuff. I'm looking forward to buy a telescope. What would you suggest ? I'd like to keep it under 150$.
oh and ya, i just got a copy of "deepsky astronomy software" ! so i'd like to get a telescope that's compatible with that software.
thank u
 
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  • #3
that looks good
also could you tell me the most important factor that determines whether a telescope performs or not ?is it magnification , aperture or somthing else ?
i've read in some other post that its not all about magnification but the light gathering capacity that determines the quality of the image, well that does make sense...now the question is what denotes this light gathering capacity of a telescope ? is it the aperture alone?
 
  • #4
As a novice, you'd be better served by a good pair of binoculars that are specifically intended for astronomical viewing. Telescopes often just intimidate and confuse novices. You can buy a nice pair of 7x50 binos (and a good star map) for less than $150, but you really cannot buy a telescope worth owning for $150. :frown:

- Warren
 
  • #5
Aperture and optical quality are what you want in a scope. Depending upon the type of observing you'd like to do, focal ratio may also be a critical concern. Magnification by itself is irrelevant. At this stage, I'd suggest you hold off on buying a telescope, and either buy a nice pair of binos, or (even better) find an astronomy club in your area and go out and do some observing through their 'scopes. This way, you'll get a handle on how to use telescopes, what to expect from them, and what kind of quality your dollar can buy you.

- Warren
 
  • #6
Ditto what Warren said. Find an astronomy club, attend some star parties and look through some telescopes before you spend a dime. Show up early, so you can watch (and maybe help) people set up their gear. If you don't live in a place with dark skies, pay special attention to how the people pack and transport their gear, because you're going to have to do the same to get to better skies. Do not be shy about telling the members that you 1) want to learn what type of scope might best suit you and 2) that you are definitely in the market for a scope. Some of the members will almost certainly be gear-hounds, constantly looking to upgrade, and you might get a great deal on a used scope that way. Best of all, you'll get to try before you buy.
 
  • #7
As usual, I'm the contrarian on this issue. I started off with a cheap 60mm refractor on an equatorial mount (for about $150) when I was in high school. Seeing the moons and Great Red Spot on Jupiter and the rings of Saturn were what lit the fire for me and you can't do that with binoculars. I'm wholly uninterested in constellations, I want to see objects, and there are only a handful that you can see with binos - mostly just open clusters.
 
  • #8
Russ, binos are an essential part of my astro-gear, and I would never go out observing without them. That said, until a newbie gets a chance to look through a variety of scopes with a variety of apertures and magnifications, he or she is not going to have a clue about what will interest them.

Some of the people that have had their first looks through my 6" Astro-Physics APO have been really stoked by the Orion Nebula, the Lagoon, Tiffid, etc. Some got really excited to see that Epsilon Lyra is actually a double-double star. Others loved low-power views of the double cluster, while others swooned over M31. Until you've experienced a range of views, you won't know what most grabs your interest, and therefore you won't have a clue what type of telescope/EP setup will help you get there.

I recommend binos and charts for newbies because a good pair of binos will stay in your astro-kit forever, and with a decent set of charts, they can help you learn the night sky. I ran through any number of 'scopes (at great expense) until I decided that I needed a high-quality refractor, and have never regretted that purchase, nor the price, nor the year-long wait to have the scope built (Roland's company was new and small at the time).
 
  • #9
thank you all
i think the first thing to do is join some astro club nearby & learn stuff hands on.
 
  • #10
tictac said:
thank you all
i think the first thing to do is join some astro club nearby & learn stuff hands on.

I think we can all agree that that's a great idea! Let us know if you need any help locating such a club in your area.

- Warren
 

1. What type of telescope should I buy?

The type of telescope you should buy depends on your interests and budget. There are three main types of telescopes: refracting, reflecting, and catadioptric. Refracting telescopes use lenses to gather and focus light, reflecting telescopes use mirrors, and catadioptric telescopes use a combination of lenses and mirrors. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to do some research and consider your needs before making a decision.

2. Should I buy a telescope online or in-store?

It's generally recommended to purchase a telescope in-store so that you can see and test it before buying. However, if you are unable to find a local store that carries the specific telescope you want, purchasing online can also be a good option. Just make sure to read reviews and do your research to ensure you are buying from a reputable seller.

3. What is the difference between aperture and magnification?

Aperture refers to the diameter of the objective lens or primary mirror of a telescope, while magnification refers to the increase in apparent size of an object when viewed through a telescope. Aperture is more important than magnification when it comes to the quality of your view, as a larger aperture allows more light to enter the telescope, resulting in a brighter and clearer image.

4. How much should I spend on a telescope?

The amount you should spend on a telescope depends on your budget and your level of interest in astronomy. There are telescopes available at various price points, ranging from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. It's important to remember that a higher price does not always equal a better telescope, so do your research and consider your needs before making a purchase.

5. Can I use a telescope to see planets and galaxies?

Yes, a telescope can be used to view planets and galaxies. However, the quality of your view will depend on the size and type of telescope you have, as well as your location and atmospheric conditions. In general, larger aperture telescopes and those located in darker, less light-polluted areas will provide better views of planets and galaxies.

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