Although we tend to think of astronomical telescopes as being the ideal equipment for stargazing, you can also use binoculars. In fact, if you’ve never used a telescope before, you might even be better off using a pair of binoculars if you are new to stargazing.
Astronomical telescopes can be a little tricky to get your head around at first if you are not used to them, as you have to learn to master the equipment itself while also working out where to look in the vast night sky. While you learn to navigate the inky blackness of the night sky, you should probably use a pair of binoculars to get some experience before moving on to a telescope. While binoculars certainly won’t be as powerful as using a telescope, they will still give you the light gathering power you need and a much greater magnification than using nothing at all. A good pair will give you a magnification somewhere between 10 and 30 times (depending on what power you buy), which will allow you to see some detail on the moon, as well as many of the planets, although you won’t be able to see detail on them.
At Sherwoods, we have a wide selection of astronomical binoculars by different well-known and respected brands such as Opticron and Helios. If you are looking to buy a pair of binoculars specifically for astronomical purposes, then choose a pair with at least a 50mm across as the aperture is most important for this purpose.
Buying your first telescope is an investment we want you to be happy with and so we’ve come up with some pointers for you to follow to help you to choose the right kind. Unlike binoculars, telescopes are not supposed to be solely for magnification, but instead to collect light which will then provide you with detail. Of course, magnification is also necessary in order to be able to see things which are far away, but it is only the amount of light collected that will affect how much detail you see.
Therefore, when buying any kind of telescope, but in particular astronomical telescopes you should focus on the aperture of the instrument rather than the power. The aperture is measured through the diameter of the main lens. The eyepiece is what determines the power and telescopes generally have optional eyepieces available to increase or decrease the power and magnification. You should generally have three eyepieces in your kit – for low, medium and high magnification.
There are three kinds of telescope: refractors, reflectors and catadioptrics. All three have their advantages and disadvantages for use as astronomical telescopes, so it really depends on what exactly you want to look at with them. For a beginner’s telescope, the best all rounder is a catadioptric and these are very compact and portable for carrying around. They are also generally cheaper than refractors and are also the best suited for any near focus work as well, should you want to use your telescope for that purpose also.
If you are thinking about getting into astronomy then a good start is to go and observe with someone else first. They will help you to get used to astronomical telescopes and learn how to navigate the night sky with one too. They will also help to show you what you will be able to see. You should be able to see the moon and all the planets (except Pluto), but some with more detail than others. On Jupiter, you should be able to see the bands and Red Spot, while you should also be able to see Saturn’s rings.
Many people recommend that beginners start off learning how to spot the planets and the constellations using a pair of binoculars first. This is indeed a good way to get started, and you may prefer to stick with your binoculars for a while longer even once you’ve got used to spotting the night’s sights. What’s more, if you find that astronomy isn’t for you, you won’t have invested a large amount of money in buying a telescope.
Astronomical telescopes are affected by weather conditions. The equipment needs to cool down to the outside temperature to give clear and focused images and this usually takes around 20 minutes, but could take longer depending on the temperature difference. Conditions are also affected by seeing conditions and this is down to both the weather and where you live. Large cities are heavily affected by light pollution which will decrease visibility due to excessive amounts of outdoor lighting.
Sadly, money is pretty tight for everyone these days. Indeed, most people have been forced to economise where possible and go for the cheapest options whenever shopping for new items. However, as necessary as personal austerity measures may be, there are some instances when going for the cheapest option can work out to be a bad move.
If you buy a telescope that is not of a sufficient standard, you may well end up with a poor performing product that will prevent you from enjoying your star gazing and which may even break.
Therefore, it is always wise to spend a bit more cash so that you can invest in a branded telescope of guaranteed quality. Although this may mean waiting longer and saving harder; it will be worth it in the end as good quality branded telescopes deliver a performance and reliability that really is second to none.
Naturally, recognising a brand name is not where you selection of telescopes begins and ends. You will also need to consider other important aspects such as the specifications you want and the size of device you require. However, once you have done a little research, you will soon find a good choice of astronomical telescopes to suit your needs; if not your immediate budget.
So don’t get frustrated if you have to wait a little longer than you’d like – it really will be worth it in the end!
It’s nearly that time of year. That time when you dust off your riot gear and get the painkillers ready for when you return – that’s right; the time has come for you to go Christmas shopping.
In all seriousness, choosing presents that those close to you will actually like is a far from easy task. However, there is a very good option available to you if you know one of your recipients has an enquiring mind and an interest in “the bigger picture”.
Astronomical telescopes can provide people with existentialist leanings with many hours of entertainment as they can open a whole new world (or worlds) for them. Indeed, star gazing really can be quite mesmerising and intoxicating for those who like to look outside of their own little bubble now and again.
Purchasing astronomical telescopes can also be beneficial in another way too. If your recipient really likes their telescope, you can buy them associated items when Christmas (or their birthday) next comes around. For example, you could buy them a poster with the star formations on it to help them identify what they can see through their fascinating new instrument. Similarly, you could also buy them books or DVDs that provide information about star gazing and telescopes in greater detail.
So, if you want to buy a gift that’s much better than socks, telescopes are a very good option. And forget the riot gear – you can buy online with us here at Sherwoods!
Apparently, many more people are taking up amateur astronomy these days. The night sky is a source of natural fascination,and this increase in interest may well have something to do with Professor Brian Cox’s exceedingly entertaining programmes for BBC Television.
So, if you are one of the many new initiates into the world of star gazing, chances are you will be looking to buy a telescope that will enable you to gaze up at the heavens and study the stars, moons and planets in far greater detail. Although the prospect of this is very exciting, you must curtail your enthusiasm somewhat when shopping for new telescopes.
Indeed, as tempting as it may be, you should resist the urge to rush down to your local supermarket and buy the first telescope you see within your price range. This is because these “off-the-shelf” astronomical telescopes are often lacking in performance capabilities and are designed to be used more as toys than as serious astronomical equipment.
Instead, the best way to purchase a new telescope is to look online and find a knowledgeable and reputable retailer of astronomical telescopes like us here at Sherwoods. Although telescopes bought online may cost a little more than those at your local supermarket, you can be sure that they will do the job in hand, last a long time and most importantly, enable you to take pleasure in gazing up at the stars.
The festive season can provide a great opportunity to spend time with family and friends, and to enjoy some much needed relaxation and revelry. However, it is also a time of gift sourcing and this can sometimes prove to be tricky. After all, many of the items available in shops and online are clichéd and may not show a great deal of thought.
However, there is one option that is perfect for certain individuals and that is binoculars. These come in many different styles and they can be great for anyone, ranging from youngsters who have never held such instruments to seasoned wildlife observers and so on.
Of course, to choose the right product, you will have to put some thought into what would suit the recipient best.
Luckily, here at Sherwoods we offer a fantastic range of such devices, including superb bird watching binoculars. These items are ideal for individuals who love nothing more than getting out and about and seeing nature in action. Of course, they can also be used from back gardens if people do not fancy heading off on trips to the countryside.
Meanwhile, for those who prefer gazing at the stars, astronomical binoculars could be perfect. These offerings can reveal a world of celestial bodies unobservable by the naked eye.
And if you want to go one step further and add to the gift you purchase, you could also hand over an informative book to help the recipient make the most of their new viewing instrument. For example, if you get bird watching binoculars, you could add an ornithological tome to the offering.