You may be surprised to hear that binoculars can be a very effective tool for the aspiring or accomplished astronomer.
Buying an expensive piece of kit when you are just beginning with a new hobby can make people apprehensive. This is understandable. For parents with children taking up astronomy as a hobby, they may have seen this interest in other things before and then watched in dismay as the interest dies and the ballet shoes, guitar or pony is forgotten.
While astronomical telescopes aren’t usually as expensive as ponies, they are still a formidable outlay of money. This is where binoculars come in.
Far cheaper than astronomical telescopes yet just as effective – even more so in some cases – binoculars should be the first optical tool embraced by would-be astronomers (and their parents) whatever their age.
It isn’t just the price that makes compact binoculars a good starting point for novices. They are usually lighter than telescopes and easier to use – telescopes usually require assembling before they can be used and then disassembling before they are put away again.
Binoculars are actually superior to astronomical telescopes in that they offer a wider field of vision. And of course, they can be used to view a variety of other things, not just planet and shooting stars.
Once a commitment has been made to the study of astronomy, the time will come where a telescope is a required purchase.
Even then, a pair of binoculars will be a good piece of any astronomer’s viewing kit and will complement a telescope nicely.
If you are looking for astronomical telescopes for the first time, the chances are that you or the person you are buying it for will be relatively new to stargazing and are likely to be overwhelmed by the amount of equipment on offer.
Luckily for you, we’ve done all the hard work for you so buying astronomical telescopes can be less daunting. Read on to discover about the three main types of astronomical telescopes available today.
The refractor is the first type and takes its name from the long tubular piece of the telescope. They have their pros and cons. A refractor has the benefit of protecting delicate optics and is therefore a good bet for those who don’t want to have to be too careful about their equipment – kids for example. However, they can be bulky, may require a tripod, and are invariably more expensive.
If a refractor doesn’t sound like much for the money, then perhaps a reflector would suit you better. Using mirrors, reflectors provide great visibility but do need regular TLC in terms of being kept clean and adjustment.
Catadioptrics are the third possible option and are seen as an ‘in between’ to refractors and reflectors. They are compact and lighter, making them easier to handle.
Buying astronomical scopes doesn’t end with choosing which type to go for. You will also need to consider size of the aperture (the lens or mirror which defines the clarity of your vision through the telescope), telescope mounts and finders.
If you are just starting out, choose sensibly: go for quality and ask lots of questions. Happy stargazing!
According to the Cambridge dictionary, a telescope is described as “a cylindrical device for making objects that are far away look nearer and larger, using a combination of lenses, or lenses and curved mirrors”.
Neat as this description may be, there are distinct types of telescopes within this which we shall examine here.
Optical telescopes collect and focus light mainly from the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Using one or several optical elements such as glass, lenses or mirrors, they also gather light to affect the size and brightness of distant objects.
Instruments found in this group include theodolites, spotting scopes, monocular, binoculars, camera lenses and spyglasses. Particular telescopes found in astronomy are refracting, reflecting or catadioptric; and infrared, submillimetre and ultraviolet.
As if that wasn’t enough, telescopes can also be used to measure and observe things not discernable to the eye – for example, naturally occurring radio emissions and microwave radiation from stars, galaxies and other astronomical objects. These telescopes are called radio telescopes and are built with dishes made from conductive wire mesh to collect information.
Radio telescopes are also used to search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.
High-energy telescopes make up the final group of telescopes, and they are (unsurprisingly) used in high-energy astronomy. Objects studied in this group are those which emit EM radiation of highly energetic wavelengths: black holes, neutron stars, active galactic nuclei and supernovae. Some high-energy telescopes use mirrors while some do not focus at all and use coded aperture masks, while others still have no image-forming optical system.
We have a quantity of CelestronSLT 60 telescopes, which we are selling through at £120 a great saving over the RRP. Not only is it a great way to gain entry into the ‘GOTO‘ astro market for someone with a fancy to look up at the heavens, but it is also makes for a great budget way to ‘GOTO‘ some smaller existing astro scopes. So if you have purchased a smallish astroscope and have never gotten to grips with the setting up of the equatorial mount, now may be the time to dig it out, dust it off and give it some new legs !
Simple to align the SLT mount guides you effortlessly around the night sky without you needing any prior knowledge of what or where, no charts or maps needed. If you need to know more or want to check if your existing scope will fit on give me a call.
The Spring promotional price on NexstarSE’shas now come to an end but it doesn’t seem to have dampened demand for what is our best selling range of ‘GOTO‘ scopes. We currently have stock of the full range although we are told that some are out and in short supply at the importers and more stock is not due in from the US until mid September. So if you are in the market grab one before they are gone. We are still offering the mains power supply for free along with a set of batteries to get you up and running clear skies allowing !