Last nights Gadget show on Channel 5 saw Jon Bently (presenter), star gazing with Will Gater News Editor of The Sky At Night magazine. The three scopes that they choose to test were the Meade 80mm Goto Refractor, Celestron’s Excelent Nexstar 4Se and the Skywatcher Explorer 200 on the EQ5. Not surprisingly the outcome of the mini test led them both to agree that the Celestron was the better out of the three, offering quieter easier operation and a better view. A recap of the mini review can be found here. The Celestron Nexstar and Skywatcher scopes can be found on the website.
Telescopes were first used in the early 17th Century. They collect and magnify light from faint and distant objects, allowing us to look further into space than can be seen with the naked eye. The image produced can be viewed through an eye-piece or the light collected by a detector for analysis.
There are three main types of telescope. These are refracting telescopes, Newtonian telescopes and Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes:
Refracting telescopes use lenses to gather light and focus it to a point. The images produced are upright, making refractors very good for ground based observations. These telescopes give the best quality image, and are very good for photography. However, they are also very expensive for their size.
Newtonian telescopes are reflectors. Rather than a lens, they use a mirror to focus light from distant objects. They use a curved mirror to focus light onto a second flat mirror, from which the light is directed to the telescope eyepieces. Reflectors are the least expensive telescopes for their size and large reflectors are easier to build than refractors of the same size.
Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes use a series of mirrors to fold the light path giving them the distinct advantage of being much smaller than other types of telescope. Because of this, all professional telescopes, including the Faulkes telescopes, are now of the SCT design.
For more information and to view a comprehensive range of telescopes, telescope eyepieces, mounts and more, visit Sherwoods Photographic, a family owned company who specialise in telescopes and binoculars.
When browsing telescopes in order to find the best model, there are several kinds to consider.
There are three main different types of devices used for viewing long distances and starry skies. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses – for instance, some offer greater clarity, but particularly delicate internal mechanisms that can break more easily. We can supply the most commonly used instruments, which are called refractor, reflector or catadioptic telescopes.
Refractor devices have a traditional cylinder shape that contain lens. They are so-called as they bend light entering the instruments towards the telescope eyepieces, which rest at the end of the device. Two lenses are needed to make sure that the different wavelengths combine to produce one clear image. These types of telescopes rely on carefully placed internal mechanisms that may produce rings of colour around objects if they get dislodged.
However, well-cared for instruments can last a lifetime and give superior clarity. Those shopping for affordable devices may like to consider our reflective range. This product line consists of items that feature internal mirrors that bounce light and images to telescope eyepieces located along the length of the telescopes’ cylinder.
The main advantage of these devices is their price, which tends to be less than those charged for refractive types, although care needs to be taken when moving them so mirrors are not misaligned. Finally, catadioptic devices are thought of as a combination of the previous two kinds of instruments. They incorporate mirrors and lenses in order to squeeze light into a small space and wider cylinder, which works well with cameras.
When investing in astronomical telescopes, it is a good idea to put some money aside to buy products that keep devices in tip top condition.
Instruments often contain delicate lenses that are used to bring in light and magnify images. Spots and specks on glass can severely affect viewing experiences, but with the right products, users are able to clean and maintain their scopes and ensure they are free from blemishes. Manufacturers of such products are constantly improving their range of items created to care for astronomical telescopes, and we have an array of them in stock.
Cleaning accessories for instruments get rid of marks and spots without negatively affecting scopes. Consequently, it is advisable to purchase goods made specifically for this purpose, to limit accidental damage. Telescopes and binoculars that are used outside may attract all kinds of grime and pollen. Specialist cleaning fluids are available to remove these from delicate surfaces and should be chosen over homemade detergents.
To avoid scratching surfaces, owners of telescopes may like to purchase soft brushes that effectively pick up dirt and lint particles, so images remain clear. Others may prefer to invest in blowers, some of which run on gas. These are used in many industries to keep lenses clean as they remove the need to touch surfaces, reducing the chance that they may be permanently marked during the sanitising process.
As well as individual accessories, device users are able to invest in entire cleaning kits that contain many of the items needed to keep instruments working well. These may include blowers, detergent and specially-made cleaning cloths.
Telescopes vary in their sturdiness, although they will all need to be stored in the correct way in order to function for a long time.
Reflective and refractive devices differ in their internal mechanisms, as the former uses mirrors to gather images, while the latter relies on lenses. Alignment of mirrors can be affected by knocks, although it is possible to reset these more easily then correcting lenses that have become damaged. Consequently, finding a spot in homes where telescopes are less likely to be accidentally pushed over is imperative.
When they are not in use, owners of both kinds of instrument should place them in protective hoods if necessary. Lens caps are also a good idea, as these can prevent dust settling on delicate surface, which can leave scratches on glass. In addition, caps can protect fragile parts of the scope from fingers that may appear clean, but are likely to transfer oils and particles on to lenses.
Dust is less likely to settle on telescopes if they are kept in a downward position when not in use, and this is the angle many people choose to leave devices at after using them. In addition to these basic techniques to prolong the life of the devices, it is recommended that accessories are also stored correctly. To protect telescope eye pieces and additional lenses from particles and damp, they can be placed in special sealed bags. They should also be cleaned and maintained using items designed for fragile mechanisms and accessories.
After deciding which telescope to opt for, it is recommended that shoppers buy the best mount for their needs.
Experts in the astronomy field tend to share the same view that buying a good support for scopes is imperative for getting great views of the night sky. Shoppers keen to get their devices home to indulge their hobby ought to first take time to buy suitable telescope mounts before they rush to assemble their devices. Some stands may appear as complicated as the mechanisms making up telescopes, as they have become increasingly complex over the years.
Our range consists of more basic and expert kinds, which suit novices and experts alike. Motors can be attached to the tripods, in order to find and view celestial objects. Alt-Azimuth mounts swing in a left to right and up and down motion, and are normally more affordable than other types. Due to their movements, tracking objects across the sky during long observation sessions is tricky as the view rotates in a manner the stands find hard to catch. In this instance, owners of telescopes may like to choose an equatorial tripod.
These mounts have an extra axis of movement, meaning they are better positioned to follow objects throughout the sky as they move through the heavens. These tend to be preferred by users of telescopes who wish to take photos via the devices. Despite the kind of stand purchased, they all need to be well-positioned and set up in order to get the best use from them. Effectively utilised mounts provide still images of the starry sky without vibrations, in addition to being able to locate celestial objects.
Fans of telescopes who wish to buy a device that is a combination of past and present designs may like to browse our supply of brass instruments.
Manufacturers realise that some stargazers are keen to purchase items that hark back to earlier times, but also feature all the hi-tech internal mechanisms found in modern-day astronomical telescopes and other products. Brass devices are appealing to many shopping for this kind of product due to their antique design and ability to show celestial objects with great clarity. Instruments made from this metal mainly consist of refractive telescopes, which are slim and cylindrical in shape, with eyepieces fixed at the end of the tubing.
Scopes of this nature are considered by many to be the archetypal telescope shape, which makes them popular for those looking for classic designs. These telescopes depend on lenses to catch light, rather than mirrors, such as those found in reflective devices. Despite their delicate appearance, refractive types are sturdily made, as their fixed lenses are embedded within the cylinders, although care should still be taken to make sure they are not knocked over accidentally.
As well as producing brass scopes to a high quality, creators of the devices also tend to pay great attention to the stands they rest on. Most of the instruments are sold with Alt-Azimuth mounts that are manufactured to blend in with the telescopes. These ensure that the instruments have telescope mounts on which to rest, so users can take in great views of the starry skies or terrestrial landscape if they prefer.