Astronomical telescopes are a feat of modern engineering. Even the lower budget models are capable of treating you to the fantastic sights the universe as to offer. Telescopes work by collecting electromagnetic radiation in the form of visible light that has travelled across the universe to reach us. Various techniques have been developed over the hundreds of years these instruments have been around to increase their capabilities and allow us to see further into the universe, and consequently, further back in time. It is important to note that each telescope has particular capabilities largely determined by its size and power. The aperture is one of the most vital aspects of the telescope because it is the diameter of this lens that will impact the eventual image you see. Larger apertures are capable of collecting more light and will therefore allow you to see more distant, fainter objects such as galaxies and clusters so it is always important to consider what you want to see and how much money you have to do it. Typically, the larger and more powerful the aperture, the more you will have to pay for the telescope.
At Sherwoods Photographic, we have a fantastic range from some of the world’s best telescope manufacturers such as Celestron, Meade, Skywatcher and Tal. The refractor is a type of telescope that uses an objective lens and an eyepiece to create its image, but because of the optical equipment required they are often the most expensive to create due to the apertures. They do have their use however since they can form images that have a high degree of contrast which makes them perfect for lunar or planetary observations.
If you are looking to save money when making observations then the reflector telescope is the most cost-effective when talking in terms of apertures. It has the advantage of not introducing any false colourisation to the image that you are trying to view. Since both systems have their own advantages, modern the telescope builds on both methods. The Catadioptric telescope can be identified by its relatively short length physical length while also presenting a long focal length. Exploring what is on offer and understanding what it is you are trying to image will ultimately inform which telescope you ultimately buy.
It is worthwhile remembering that even binoculars can offer a window on the universe. While they may not have the same magnification capabilities as a telescope, they can make up for this with portability. This can allow opportunists sights that other astronomers and observers would never be able to take advantage of without planning ahead first. Travelling through the countryside at night for instance can reveal the majesty of the heavens as the light from cities and lampposts dies away. We have a great range including equipment from Celestron, Helios, Opticron and Ostara. Astronomical equipment like this are very handy and are as affordable as you want. They are also great for beginners who want to observe relatively close objects like the moon.
Plans to build the largest optical telescope in the world have been given the green light.
Called the E-ELT – the European Extremely Large Telescope – its primary mirror will be around 40m in diameter, and the device will be constructed on a Chilean mountain top, where it can take advantage of very arid conditions of the Atacama Desert.
Support was given by members of the European Southern Observatory (Eso) organisation, although the total funding (£0.8bn) is not yet in place. That could become possible when the council next meets in December.
By then, Brazil should have become the group’s 15th member, making the project more affordable.
It is thought that the telescope will be ready for use from around 2022, and it is set to become one of the twenty first century’s most important pieces of astronomical equipment.
The E-ELT will spot things with a 39.3m main mirror, four times the width of the best modern optical telescopes. And its resolution and sensitivity should make imaging plants outside our solar system a possibility.
At the same time, it should be possible to gain important insights into galaxy formation, black holes, and a lot more. The sharpness of images and the size of the collecting area also make this piece of kit very exciting and powerful.
The telescope and its housing alone will be the size of a football stadium.
Buying your own Telescope
Of course, if you’re buying your own telescope, you don’t have to go for the biggest one in the world! But the sheer variety of models on offer can seem overwhelming.
In fact, many experts suggest power and zoom and a telescope should not be among your priorities when you are making your choice.
Instead, it is often thought better to concentrate on the aperture – the main lens or mirror’s diameter.
The bigger this is, the more light will enter the telescope, and the more you will be able to see.
One thing to bear in mind is that, for every inch of aperture or main lens size, the device will magnify 50 times. Or, if you are working in mm, then magnification is twice the diameter of the aperture.
How Sherwoods Photographic can Help
Whether you’re looking for binoculars, night vision telescopes or any other kind of optical equipment, make Sherwoods Photographic your first port of call.
We’re a specialist independent company, and very much a family affair, with 70 years’ continuous experience in the business. Our showroom is based in Warwickshire, but order online and you can look forward to next day delivery on some of the many items we have in stock.
We can help whether you’re into bird spotting or gazing at the night sky, and whether you’re already an expert yourself, or an amateur looking for their first piece of optical kit.
Use us and you can expect equipment of the highest quality from leading brands, and guidance and advice that’s second to none. After all, we’re the ultimate specialists, with unbeatable knowledge to help you find what you need.
If you keep finding yourself gazing at the skies, you’re not alone. The world has gone astronomy mad after the successful landing of the NASA rover Curiosity on Mars.
Major accomplishments in space like this can be enough to inspire entire generations to pursue an interest in the field. After all, it’s hard to think of anything more exciting than exploring the universe looking for signs of life. Of course, before you turn to the heavens, you’ll need to make sure you have the right astronomical telescopes. Thankfully, getting your hands on products like this is now quick and easy.
Earlier this month, a team at NASA waited nervously as their $2.5 billion (£1.6 billion) robotic landing mission unfolded on Mars. Scenes of jubilation were transmitted from the agency’s base as the most nerve-wracking part of the mission – the descent through the Red Planet’s atmosphere to its surface – went without hitch.
The equipment involved was even able to beam back images of the manoeuvre. NASA has provided nearly 300 thumnails from a sequence of pictures that will eventually be run together as a high definition movie.
Touchdown took place at 06.32 BST on Monday August 6th and the probe landed in a deep equatorial depression called the Gale Crater.
Wasting no time, scientists got to work examining images and one of the most striking snaps taken so far features the 5.5km-high Mount Sharp. Many people around the world have been captivated by the images.
Meanwhile, the team involved are looking to see whether ancient environments on Mars were ever favourable for life. Satellite data has indicated that sediments located at the base of the rocky structure were laid down in an abundance of water.
Unsurprisingly, Curiosity represents the height of technology. It is equipped with ten instruments to study the rocks it encounters and it many years of diligent design and construction to complete.
Of course, a career at NASA isn’t for everyone, but if you’re determined to enjoy the skies and learn about them, you’ve come to the right place.
By taking a look around our website here at Sherwoods, you can find a range of telescopes that can help you explore the planets, stars and moons.
Choosing the perfect telescope
Before you hand over any cash for these items, you’ll no doubt want to be sure that they are perfect for you. We provide many different telescopes designed for amateur astronomers and so you won’t suffer from a lack of choice.
All of these items can be categorised into three different types. There is the refractor, the reflector and the catadioptric.
Sticking to your budget
As well as choosing products that tick all boxes in terms of their specifications, it’s also important to take your budget into account. After all, there’s no point in overspending on the items. If you’re a beginner, it may make sense to start off with the simpler versions and eventually work your way up.
To find out more about what we have to offer, including our night vision items and so on, just take a look around our website.
If you’ve just bought a pair of binoculars, you’ll need to look after them pretty diligently to keep on getting the best results from them.
Using your equipment for the first time
Once you have bought your kit, set the eyepieces at the right distance apart for your eyes by shutting or opening at the hinge. Then, while looking through the, to something at least seven metres away, alter the middle focusing wheel until the image on the left hand is sharp.
At the same time, move the dioptre ring, on or behind the eyepiece on the right, until your right hand image is clear. Once you’ve got this process down to a fine art, it shouldn’t take longer than a few seconds to focus each time.
Use the 60 to 70 Scale
You’ll often find a scale around the hinge’s small front cover screw, displaying numbers 60 through 70, referring to the distance between the centres of left and right eyepieces in mm. Once you’ve adjusted this so that it’s right for your eyes, remember the number.
Caring for Your Binoculars
Especially if you’ve been using them in sandy or dusty places, you will find a blow brush comes in very handy for cleaning your binocular set. If you get gritty particles in your bird watching binoculars, just using a cloth could scratch and badly damage the lenses.
Always clean and dry this piece of equipment after use, before putting away in the case. This gets rid of any potentially corrosive condensation which can occur if you’ve used your eyepieces in very damp conditions, and if they are not waterproof. Leave to dry out for about an hour.
It may sound obvious, but repeated dropping will misalign the lenses and cause the image to lose focus, so be careful.
And clean with a special lens cloth made from microfibres, never just a regular cloth, which could leave marks and scratches on the glass surface. You can also buy special lens cleaning fluids.
What Sherwoods Offers
At Sherwoods, we’re a third generation family with 70 years’ experience in the industry, and a leading UK optical specialist for telescopes and binoculars, as well as night vision and other products. And we supply some of the country’s leading brands, with one of the largest selection of equipment for bird watchers, astronomers and others.
Can’t get to our showroom in Studley, Warwickshire? We have full mail-order facilities for next day delivery on many of the products we hold in stock.
We can help whether you want marine binoculars, bird watching scopes, tripods and clamps, monoculars, portable radios or laser rangefinders. And we’re an excellent place to look for presents for an aspiring astronomer or a budding birdwatcher.
The brands we stock include Meade, Skywatcher, Celestron and others. It’s always worth ensuring we have the product you need before making a journey to our showroom.
As a collective race, it can be said humans are unique in how we view the celestial world around our world. No other animal looks to the stars for answers, and certainly no other being uses astronomical telescopes to glimpse the heavens. So just what is it about the great sky that fascinates us, and why is it important to nurture enthusiasm with telescopes, space shuttles and star charts?
Putting Ourselves into Perspective
What are we here for? How long can the earth’s resources support us? What’s our place in the vastness of space? Is earth really so fragile? From space, the earth is a tiny, fragile little thing, and perhaps a clearer perspective of our home might lead to greater respect for it.
The Story of the Universe
The human thirst for knowledge is about more than just astronomical telescopes and orbiting satellites. We want to know how long we could survive, what came before us, how the great machine of the universe ticks, and what effect the celestial objects we view through our telescopes from our back gardens have on our lives.
Beauty and Love
American astronomer, Carl Sagan, said of space, “For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love. ” The beauty and intrigue of the stars unites us as a species. We’re reminded that our universe – our ecosystem – is virtually immeasurable. To see the Milky Way or even our own planet in a photograph – containing us all – is humbling.
For hundreds of thousands of years, human beings have been fascinated by the night sky. People of ancient cultures looked to the stars to navigate their way across the land and sea, to calculate seasons, to explain their lives, and to support their religious beliefs. Stars and constellations were even worshipped as deities as part of some ancient religions. In more recent times, advances in technology have allowed human beings to travel to and explore space, but for most people stargazing with good astronomical telescopes or binoculars is the closest they will come to the stars.
Camping and stargazing go hand in hand. Spending the night outdoors, it is natural for campers to find themselves paying more attention than usual to the skies above. As most campsites are located away from the light pollution of towns and cities, it is easier to see stars and constellations and many campers – particularly those who are not accustomed to rural environments – will find themselves sitting out under the night sky, struck by how many stars they can see. Indeed, sitting around a campfire, admiring the view of the stars above is something that most people associate with camping holidays and it is one of the many ways urban dwellers find themselves getting back in touch with nature while on a camping trip.
Interest in the night sky has been growing recently, partly due to television programmes such as ‘Stargazing LIVE’ (an interactive BBC series which encouraged viewers to get involved in ‘star parties’, astrophotography and other astronomy-related activities) and science-led programmes such as Professor Brian Cox’s ‘Wonders of the Universe. This desire to learn more about space and the movement of the stars and planets has seen more and more people go on camping trips with the sole purpose of stargazing. On such trips, people may want to spot constellations, witness solar or lunar eclipses, observe planetary movements or simply take in the stunning view of the sky at night. To do so with success, they may decide to invest in special equipment such astronomical binoculars or high power telescopes.
Celestron telescopes are a brand of astronomical telescopes that are useful for anyone wishing to go on a stargazing camping trip, as Celestron offer a wide range of scopes with special features for better viewing the night-time sky. For example, the Astromaster is a range of dual-purpose telescopes appropriate for both terrestrial and celestial viewing and the NexStar SkyProdigy is a range of telescopes with an in-built intelligent computer and a digital camera, as well as instant alignment technology. Celestron also provide a range of binoculars that are appropriate for night sky viewing such as the 15×70 Skymaster, which has a four-element objective lens for ultra sharp focus or the 9×63 Skymaster, which is large 9x magnification binocular capable of meeting the demands of extended astronomical or terrestrial viewing sessions. With such technology available, the night sky is becoming more accessible to amateur and seasoned astronomical campers across the country.
Trying to get your child interested in specific subjects can be hard work. However, in many instances it will not actually be your child’s fault that they are struggling to get enthused or struggling to truly understand certain work that is set, but instead the way in which the lessons are taught.
When it comes to science, ensuring your child understands and enjoys the subject can be even harder since the lessons they are given will only scratch the surface of the available information, often rendering it rather dull, when the subject should actually be by far the most interesting one on offer. When you add to this the fact that different people learn in different ways and that the majority of syllabi will be taught in a way that is very rigid and will not be easily bent to accommodate those who learn in a more tangential manner, it is easy to understand why many people struggle to get enthused.
However, it is also easy to boost your own child’s interest. Not only will astronomical telescopes help you to hook their interest in physics and the inner workings of life and the universe, but even a simple pair of binoculars and a trip into the countryside could be enough to help you to boost their interest in biology too. Science deals with very big theories and extremely complicated events and, as such, it can be hard for a secondary school syllabus to really explain these ideas in the way that they should be explained.
By using astronomical telescopes to see the universe and in turn learning more about quantum theories about reality and life, your child may suddenly find that they see physics in a whole new way. Likewise, by going out and seeing animals in their natural habitat, they are likely to have far more interest in the biology of both animal life and even plant life.