The night sky is fascinating. Spending some time studying the stars and planets can be extremely rewarding. However, for an absolute beginner, choosing a telescope can be extremely difficult. There’s a huge range, all at dramatically varying in price. It can be a good idea to research telescopes before you make a purchase so you don’t end up with an expensive toy that you don’t know how to use!
There are two main types of astronomical telescopes – refractor telescopes and reflector telescopes. Refractor telescopes use lenses to magnify space, bringing the image to your eye with an eye piece at the end of the telescope. They are extremely effective at viewing planetary bodies. Reflector telescopes are used more for viewing deep space. They use a mirror to reflect images to a focus point that is then reflected to your eye via an eyepiece.
For astronomy beginners, it’s best to start with a refractor telescopes. They are comparatively low maintenance and more affordable than reflector telescopes. Also, they are generally smaller, meaning that you could take your telescope with you if you go travelling. Although refractor telescopes are fine for beginners, refractor telescopes generally offer superior quality and less distortion. If you find that you are enjoying your new hobby, you can then invest in a reflector telescope at a later stage.
It’s possible to get an excellent quality beginners telescope for around £100. Starting your hobby with an inexpensive telescope will help you to decide whether astronomy is right for you.