Astronomy can be a really addictive hobby. It provides you with a window into the universe. You get to explore the vastness of space and get an up-close look at objects in the sky that are literally lifetimes away from us. Now, if you are someone who has developed a fresh interest in astronomy, then you are probably scratching your head right now. Astronomy is a rather complicated hobby. You need to invest in costly equipment and learn how to use it. Picking the best telescope to see planets and stars may seem challenging. This is why we are here to help you out. Today, we’re going to cover all the basics of buying an astronomical telescope.

When it comes to astronomy, half of your viewing experience depends on the scope that you buy. A well-made telescope will really enhance your stargazing experience. A bad one will give you a headache and may even possibly make you hate stargazing. One of the biggest barriers to the world of astronomy is picking the right scope. People have a hard time figuring out which scope to buy and which one to avoid. There are loads of options in the market that offer a variety of specs. Along with specs, you also need to choose between different types of scopes. There are even multiple kinds of mounting options available. Entering the astronomical telescope market without research isn’t a good idea at all.

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Top ​​12 ​Best Telescope to See Planets And Stars

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Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope
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Gskyer Telescope, AZ70400 German Technology Astronomy Telescope,  Travel Refractor
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Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope
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Meade Instruments 209006 Infinity 102mm AZ Refractor Telescope
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Orion 10014 SkyQuest XT4.5 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
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Celestron Astro Fi 102 Wi-Fi Maksutov Wireless Reflecting Telescope, Black (22202)
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Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope
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Celestron NexStar 4 SE Telescope
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Orion 9827 AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
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Sky-Watcher 10' Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope
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Sky-Watcher ProED 100mm Doublet APO Refractor Telescope
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Celestron NexStar 6 SE Schmidt-Cassegrain Computerized Telescope Wifi Kit - with Skyportal Wifi Module
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Celestron NexStar 6 SE Schmidt-Cassegrain Computerized Telescope Wifi Kit - with Skyportal Wifi Module
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Buying ​Guide

Before you go out and buy a telescope for yourself, you should ask yourself the following questions first.

  • What is my budget?
  • What kind of objects do I want to see?
  • How serious am I about becoming an astronomer?

Answering all of these questions will help you identify your needs and requirements. They will also put things into better perspective for you.

When it comes to astronomy telescope prices, the sky is the limit. You can find scopes that are literally worth more than a car. A higher price usually translates into a better quality scope as well. However, this doesn’t mean that astronomy is a hobby for the rich only. Once you develop a better idea about these devices, you can shop for them wisely. And by wisely we mean that you can purchase a telescope that offers decent performance without burning a hole through your bank account.

What to Look For in a Good Astronomy Telescope?

There are several elements that come together in order to make a telescope. Knowing what each of these elements does can really improve your ability to pick the right scope.

A telescope has two major parts; the Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) and the mount. The OTA is the main body of the scope and houses its main lens and eyepiece. This is where all the light capturing, image creation, and magnification takes place. One of the most important elements in an OTA is the aperture of the main lens. The aperture of a lens determines its size. The bigger a lens, the more light it can capture. And more light equals to brighter images. Telescopes with larger apertures perform better and can view fainter objects with more clarity.

Apart from the aperture, the size of the OTA matters as well. Telescopes can get pretty heavy. Usually, bigger telescopes perform better since they have larger lenses. However, you also need to keep portability in mind. There is no point of having a telescope if you cannot even take it around with you. The size that will suit you will be determined by how you intend to use the scope. If you are into outdoor stargazing then you’ll want something lighter than 20 Lbs. If you plan on gazing at the sky from your backyard then you can opt for something a bit heavier.

Another important element of the OTA is the focal length of a scope. The focal length is the second most important element of a telescope. It plays a big role in determining the quality of the image produced by a telescope. The focal length is basically the distance between the main lens and the point where light converges to form an image. The point where light converges to form an image is called the focal point.

There are a number of other aspects of an OTA that need to be considered when buying a scope. However, these three are the main points that a beginner should keep in mind. After picking the right OTA, you also need to consider what mounting options are available to you. Astronomy telescopes have very high magnification powers. This makes using them quite sensitive to even the smallest movement. One needs a really stable surface on which the telescope can rest. Otherwise, even the slightest jitter can ruin your viewing experience.

There are two kinds of mounting options available to astronomers. You can even buy an alt-azimuth mount or an equatorial mount. Both mounts are ideal for astronomers since they are designed to operate smoothly. Alt-azimuth mounts are simpler while equatorial mounts are more complex. The latter are designed to move on two axis and mimic the movement of our planet’s rotation. These mounts are usually used by people who get into astro-photography. An equatorial mount can be equipped with a motor. This allows one to track a single object for several hours.

Conclusion

Whether you’re a beginner or an adept astronomer, you have a ton of options available to you. The market is teeming with a large variety of telescopes. Picking a telescope with the right specs can ensure that your astronomy experience becomes enjoyable. The two factors that you should focus on the most are; a telescope’s aperture and focal length. These two have a direct impact on the image production capability of a telescope.

Astronomy is a slippery slope. Once you develop a taste for this hobby, you will find yourself spending a lot of time looking at the sky.

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