As any stargazer will know, the bigger you go, the better things get. And it now seems that amateurs are taking this ethos to the extreme by building their own behemoths in their own back gardens.
Whilst most backyard telescopes will measure somewhere between 3 and 12 inches, one American amateur has decided to go that little bit further, building his very own telescope, with the primary mirror measuring 70 inches and the casing around it measuring up to 35 feet. Whilst this doesn’t beat the record-breaking 72 inch home telescope made by Lord Reece in the 19th century, it is certainly a very worthy contender.
The sheer scale of this telescope goes someway to prove just how popular amateur stargazing is becoming, and just how far those passionate about studying the sky will go to get the perfect view of the stars.
For most, however, financial, spatial and storage constraints will mean that dreams of 70 inch mirrors will indeed remain just dreams. However, with new technology appearing on the market all the time, even very affordable astronomical telescopes will now give an extremely good view of the cosmos, and all without the cost, hassle and indeed logistical nightmares that will accompany the task of building your own.
Yet, the extremes that people are willing to go to in trying to get a better view of the cosmos remain inspiring, and those who wish to use the best telescope or any other form of modern technology to see the universe in unique ways and in all its glory should always dream big. However, knowing where to start is also important and the more you can learn about how a telescope works and what makes a certain type perfect the better, and such an approach will certainly help those who do one day want to branch out and create their own stargazing monster.
For retailers selling telescopes and binoculars, sales generally stay steady throughout the year. But every year there are specific events in the night sky which might result in extra sales, particularly of astronomical telescopes. To help you prepare for such occasions and perhaps even leverage them to your advantage, here’s a quick run-down of some of the most significant celestial events visible in UK skies over the next couple of months.
Peak of the Leonids meteor shower – 16th-17th November
Though meteor showers are of course best viewed with the naked eye due to the limiting field of view of binoculars and telescopes, they are events that provoke interest in the night sky. Those watching the meteor shower may be inspired to purchase astronomical telescopes or binoculars to view further celestial events. The annual Leonids shower is visible this year from the 6th to the 30th of November, with a peak of around 15 meteors per hour on the night of the 16th/17th. December meanwhile sees the more dramatic Geminids meteor shower, peaking on 13th/14th December.
Comet ISON – 28th November
Late November sees the closest approach of comet ISON to the sun. The comet was discovered just last year and has since caused quite a stir among skywatchers. Though early speculation suggested that it might be visible at dawn with the naked eye, this is now seen as unlikely. For astronomers though, ISON is certainly one to watch well into December.
Good views of the Andromeda Galaxy
Those with astronomical telescopes should get a good view of the Andromeda galaxy in November, with it appearing high in the sky at around 20:00 GMT. This spectacular galaxy is our nearest celestial neighbourhood and can also be seen with the naked eye, but would-be astronomers may prefer to view it through binoculars before graduating to a telescope.
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.
It may be easy to assume that you do not like physics. After all, in school, physics lessons were often enough to drive the majority of us to sleep, scratching at the surface of many different areas, but without really going into the depth needed to actually pique the interest. Likewise, quantum physics is often used as a metaphor for anything that is hard to grasp or generally unfathomable and, as such, the majority of people assume that the truly interesting areas of physics will simply be above their heads.
This, however, is not true. Physics covers a huge range of different areas from the creation of the universe itself through to the way in which the planets themselves work. In many ways, simply buying yourself astronomical telescopes and studying the night sky will give you a far better physics lesson than you will have ever had in school.
Learning about the universe through self-study is extremely easy too. Whether you work things out for yourself using those telescopes or whether you have a helping hand with one of the many science magazines or books available to buy, even just a slightly improved knowledge of physics can often make one look at the world in a whole new light. From multiverse theory to what really kick started creation, whilst much of physics remains theory (until proven 100% accurate), you may well be surprised at just how much reality has in common with your favourite sci-fi movies.
After all, what they don’t teach you in school is that it is physics that gives the base to science fiction and, as such, physics should really be the most interesting lesson going. However, with just the right telescopes and a little bit of background knowledge, you may well be able to put those memories of dull science lessons to bed forever and start to understand not only more about the universe, but also possibly more about yourself too.
Being able to really look at the night sky can make anyone feel incredibly small, but it’s also a captivating experience that can leave you in awe of everything else out there. But, the only way to really experience the night sky in all its glory is to get the right telescopes to suit, and if you’re looking for the best you’ve come to the right place.
We can help you find any astronomical telescopes you’re looking for, because with such a fantastic range we’re confident you’ll have no need to look anywhere else. Our extensive catalogue covers some of the best makes available to ensure there’ll be plenty of telescopes that could meet your needs, and with exceptional prices on everything in stock you won’t need to spend a fortune to get the level of quality that you’re after.
But, we realise that it can sometimes be difficult to make your decision. The sheer range of choice on offer (not to mention the often mind-boggling specifications) could leave you wondering where to start, and that’s why we don’t expect you to go it alone. If you want to discuss the options just get in touch and one of our specialists will be pleased to advise—we’ll help you make sense of the huge array of options out there, ultimately ensuring you’re left with the astronomical telescopes that perfectly meet your needs. So, why go anywhere else? Our product knowledge and extensive range means we’re bound to have what you’re looking for, so take a look around and you’ll soon see for yourself.
The annual Lyrid meteor shower is set to take place later this month, and that means it’s the perfect time to get those astronomical telescopes out to make sure you’re ready for it. The Lyrid meteors, known as April’s shooting stars, can produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds with there usually being around 10-20 sightings per hour, although uncommon surges of as many as 100 in an hour have been known. It’s this unpredictable nature that makes the Lyrids so tantalising, because the possibility of such a huge number of them means they could make for a truly spectacular show.
And, this year offers something extra special — the meteor shower is set to coincide with the new moon, guaranteeing a dark sky so the meteors themselves will be far more visible. There won’t be any moonlight to obscure your view which will make the show even more spectacular, and if you want to see the shower at its best then get out there on the night of April 21/22 (meteors should be visible between the 16th and 25th of April, but it’s this night that the shower should peak).
The Lyrid meteors will be visible with the naked eye so everyone can enjoy the show, but the only way to really experience it in all its glory is to get the right astronomical telescopes to suit. Doing so will ensure maximum vision to bring the night sky to life whilst ensuring you can make the most of this astronomical event, and if you’re looking for the scopes to suit just get in touch and we’ll happily advise.
Here at Sherwoods we offer a great range of high quality astronomical telescopes for the amateur astronomer, including both Computer Controlled Telescopes and Goto Telescopes.
All our different telescopes can also be categorized as either the Refractor, the Reflector or the catadioptric. If you are unsure which type of telescope you are after, you can read our “Telescope Basics” page to learn more about all three of these types, as well as how to use your telescope properly.
On our we b site, you’ll find a great range of choices for astronomical scopes in top brands like Bresser, Celestron, Meade, Skywatcher, and Tal. Here are just a few examples of some really great telescopes we think you’ll love.
The Celestron NexStar SLT Telescope Range offers telescopes designed for affordable entry level or mid level computerized telescopes. They are designed with easy set up in mind too, which means you won’t need any tools to put them together.
This line is really ideal for those just getting started in stargazing and astronomy, so if you want something affordable that’s still high quality, you know where to start.
Yet, I you prefer something a little smaller and more portable, you might like of our mounted scopes from Sky-Watcher. They offer super high power and magnification in a smaller product.
We even carry beautiful ornate brass library scopes that are just as practical as they are beautiful. They are ideal for the formal drawing room or library, or placing in a conservatory. They also make lovely gifts.