If you’re selecting your first ever telescope, as you no doubt appreciate, it’s a pretty big decision, and it’s not the sort of thing you buy every week, so you need to make your choice carefully. Here are a few pointers to help.
Some of the factors that will affect your decision are the same as for buying anything else. You have to know, for example, how much you can afford and what exactly you want to use your telescope for, and where you will be using it. How much space do you have?
But, equally, some factors are a bit more specialised. For instance, you need to understand how portable you want your equipment to be, and appreciate the two main areas of interest for telescope users – deep sky and the planets.
For the latter, you need a piece of kit that will provide excellent views at high magnification, while for looking at deep-sky objects, large aperture is more of a consideration that magnification.
While most astronomical telescopes will in practice show you both kinds of object, if you do want to specialise a lot depends on where exactly you are doing your stargazing. Light pollution still means you can see the moon and other planets, but densely populated areas are generally not ideally suited to deep sky viewing.
Even in the countryside, if trees block your view of the southern horizon, planet viewing may be hard with a fixed-in-place instrument, so you may want to go for something portable.
Power isn’t Everything!
It may surprise you to learn that power isn’t always the prime consideration when choosing your stargazing kit. Instead, the capacity of the telescope to gather light, also known as the aperture, is the determining factor in how much you will get to see. And, in fact, the clearest, sharpest images are often experienced at much lower powers.
A small, quality achromatic refractor with an aperture of between 60 and 80mm is a greater beginner’s telescope if it’s the main planets and the moon you want to see.
These telescopes are affordable, maintenance-free and easily carried around, making them ideal for first-timers trying out their new hobby. However, you may not see as many deep sky objects or be ideal if galaxies and nebulas float your boat.
They’re also well-suited to areas with moderate light pollution.
A 90 or 100mm refractor may be a better option for seeing more, but these tend to be more expensive as well.
Telescopes and more from Sherwoods
With seven decades’ experience, Sherwoods offers unparalleled specialisation in products like telescopes, night vision optics and a wide range of binoculars. Based
in Warwickshire, we offer the largest range in the Midlands of optical products, supplying brands from the world’s leading manufacturers.
We have a range of special deals on offer, and many of the items we have in stock can be with you the day after you place your order. Browse our selection online – we’re ideal if you’re looking for unique gift for a special someone.
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