Buy a Telescope

Basic Tips to Buy a Telescope

Basic Tips to Buy a TelescopeNo matter whether you are looking to buy a telescope for children, buy a telescope for your own use, or whether you want to upgrade and buy a better telescope, the message is the same.  Do the research about the technical aspects of the telescope rather than simply choose a telescope base on the price alone.

Buy a telescope for kids

When it comes to choosing a telescope for kids, it is important not to get tricked into looking for a toy telescope.  This is a simple mistake to make, both in terms of the advertising and functionality.  Toy telescopes look like a convincing alternative to a proper telescope, but in fact, they are not made from proper components.  Toy telescopes also look attractive in terms of the packaging and the price, but in actual fact, is just a waste of money.  It is important that telescopes for kids work properly, because this is the most important moment in an aspiring astronomer’s life – their first look at the stars and planets.  It is far better value for money to buy a junior telescope for kids that is made from realistic optical components to give your children the best possible start in this fabulous hobby.

Buy a telescope for beginners

Likewise when it comes to making a decision to buy a telescope for beginners, it is important to understand exactly what you want to achieve from your first telescope.  If you just want an introduction to astronomy, and maybe have a bit of fun with friends, then it is not necessary to buy a telescope that is too expensive or complicated.  The best way to get started is to buy a telescope that is capable of producing good clear images, and is also portable so that you can take it with you on vacation, or to share the fun with friends and family.  The more you use it, the better value it will be no matter how much it cost!

Buy a telescope for advanced astronomy

When it comes time to upgrade your existing telescope, the decision to buy a telescope is dependent on how much you can afford to spend.  The best telescopes will obviously cost more money, but there are other factors to choose from.  For example, are you happy to do manual adjustments to the aim and focus, or do you want to buy a computerized telescope to do the hard work for you?  The decision to buy a telescope for advanced applications comes down to whether you need to biggest aperture for the money, or do you want to have the additional features to make your life easier?

For some useful information for those looking to buy a telescope, check out the following video:

Buy a telescope – How to choose which type?

Refractor Telescope:

Buy a TelescopeThe Refractor Telescope was the basic design of the earliest telescopes in history.  The pioneers of astronomy back in the middle ages created the first design of the refractor telescope.  The simple eyeglasses were developed into much longer optical devices that were refined and developed to the modern day form of the telescope.

The front end of the refractor telescope is made up of a large optical lens known as the aperture, which gathers light that enters the front of the telescope tube, and focuses the light as it travels through the telescope tube.  When the focused beam of light reaches the smaller end of the tube, it is magnified through a smaller lens known as the eyepiece.

Advantages of Refractor Telescopes – The resulting image is greatly magnified

The eyepiece of a refractor telescope receives the enhanced and magnified image, which we can then observe through the eyepiece.  By simply changing the eyepiece for a range of different sizes and lenses, it is possible to further magnify the image and hence to increase the effective range of the telescope.  This essentially allows the user to view distant objects with incredible clarity, and to study a range of different objects as desired.

Disadvantages of refractor telescopes – colorization

Refractor telescopes are very clear and accurate, but due to the refraction of light through the multiple lenses, there is a tendency to have slight colorization through the image.  When you buy a telescope of higher quality, this effect is reduced by better quality optical components.   Still, it is important to look out for this feature when looking to buy a telescope.

Reflector Telescope:

Basic Tips to Buy a TelescopeAs the design of telescopes was further developed and refined, it was Isaac Newton who first used reflectors to magnify an image of distant objects.  Although the concept proved challenging for the earliest inventors, the original concept led to the development of the modern day reflector telescope. Obviously, a reflector telescope is based around the concept of an aperture lens at the front of the telescope, but it uses an internal mirror to focus and magnify the image.  A reflector telescope is much shorter and wider , because it contains a large internal mirror which reflects and focused the image back inside the tube.

The reflector telescope has internal mirrors that will capture an image and then reflect an image into a telescopic lens. It’s the preferred choice when viewing astrological sights, such as star constellations, other planets and the moon. The process of obtaining light and images through a reflector telescope is both ingenious and simplistic.

Advantages of Reflector Telescopes – bright and clear image

With a wide aperture at the front and a large reflective mirror at the end of the telescope tube, the reflector telescope captures a lot of light. The width of a telescope aperture determines how bright and how large an image that the telescope can produce, so this is why people like to buy a telescope that has a wide aperture.

The other advantage of a reflector telescope is that the viewing eyepiece is at the top of the telescope and not underneath it!  This becomes apparent when you want to aim the telescope at an object that is directly overhead.  A reflector telescope allows you to stand up beside the telescope and view in comfort.  This is in contrast to a refractor telescope would require you to get your eye down underneath the telescope, which is far from comfortable!

Disadvantages of reflector telescopes – collimation

Having said this, before you go to buy a reflector telescope, there can be some disadvantages to look out for.  A common problem is known as collimation, where small mis-alignments of the delicate optical components can cause distracting shadows and internal reflections which detract from the clarity of the final image.  Collimation can be rectified by careful maintenance of the telescope to keep it in top working order!

Compound Cassegrain Telescope

Buy a TelescopeThe latest development of the design of telescopes involves a combination of reflector and refraction lenses, known as the compound telescope.  There are many different variations on the basic compound telescope, and these are named according to the original inventor, with names such as Cassegrain, Schmidt-Cassegrain, and Cassegrain-Maksutov telescopes.

Using the best features of each of the various types of telescope has allowed inventors to come up with increasingly better designs.  These latest inventions are worth doing the research when it comes to buy a telescope, because there may well be something that attracts your attention.

Advantages of the compound Cassegrain telescope

The various designs of the Cassegrain telescope allow for improvements of the various disadvantages of the earlier designs.  For example, the colorization due to refraction lenses can be reduced in the compound telescope.  Also the internal reflections caused within the early designs of the Reflector telescopes has been reduced by more advanced designs within the latest compound telescopes.

Disadvantages of the compound Cassegrain telescope

One factor to be aware of when you go to buy a telescope such as a Cassegrain model is a narrow field of view.  This may only be apparent for close up objects, such as the Moon, whereas a Cassegrain telescope is ideal for looking at distant objects in clear focus.

What size Aperture to buy?

Without a doubt, the most important element when it comes to buy a telescope is the size of the aperture.  The aperture of a telescope is the size of the lens at the top end of the telescope.  The larger the aperture of a telescope, the more light that is gathered and magnified within the telescope.  In order to obtain a bright and clear image, you need a telescope with as large an aperture as possible.  The issue when it comes time to buy a telescope is that the larger the size of the aperture, the higher the price of the telescope.

Mount

The type of telescope mount is also an important decision to make before you buy a telescope.  The telescope mount is important to make it easier for you to operate the telescope, and to enhance your viewing pleasure.  A sturdy telescope mount is important to stabilize the device which means you don’t have to worry about bumps and vibrations spoiling the image.  Some elaborate telescopes can suffer vibrations for up to a minute after being moved, and these devices are extremely sensitive to being bumped or even touched, and these should not be contemplated unless you are an experienced operator.

The telescope mount is also used to control the movement of the telescope, so when it comes to making delicate adjustments and smooth control movements, it is important to buy a telescope mount that provides you an easy and controlled way to adjust the telescope.

For more advanced astronomers, or even for beginners, we recommend to buy a telescope mount that is computer controlled.  These controllers are capable of completely automating the aiming and focusing process, and all you need to do is select and dial in a particular object, and sit back while the computer does all the hard work for you.  A computerized telescope is more expensive, but is still an important consideration when it comes time to buy a telescope.

Basic TIPS for buying a telescope

Buy a telescope with the best lensesbuy a telescope

The secret to making the best telescope is to use the highest quality internal optical components.  The purpose of using the best optics with high quality non-reflective coatings and so on is to reduce the effects of stray internal reflections.  These internal reflections act to spoil the final image at the eyepiece, and distract the viewer with stray particles of light.
The problem when it comes time to buy a telescope is that the buyer cannot see inside a telescope to appreciate the quality of the internal components.  So you basically have to trust the manufacturer.  This is why we have provided detailed reviews of quality telescopes from the most renowned telescope manufacturers.  We have tried to assist your decision to buy a telescope by presenting the highest quality telescopes, made from the highest quality components.

Buy a telescope with the best image

When you buy a telescope, the temptation is to rush to start using the telescope without taking the time to read the instructions before use.  It is best to get a proper understanding of how to use the telescope before encountering disappointment when something doesn’t go right.  Take the time to set up on firm level ground, align the reference coordinates, charge the batteries, and find a nice dark location before you begin!  It is a common mistake to be disappointed when you buy a telescope and don’t set it up properly or don’t wait for a dark night or the best viewing opportunity.

Maintain your telescope

Even when you buy a telescope, you need to know a how to maintain the device.  For example, the delicate mirrors and lenses may have been bumped during transport and the alignment may be out.  This is known as the collimation.  In the first instance you should seek advice from the distributor or manufacturer, when you buy a telescope under warranty, before attempting to alter anything yourself.  But it is necessary that you understand what might be wrong just in case.  Collimation can be adjusted manually when you need to adjust the alignment of the telescope using a collimator device.  Or see your local dealer for assistance to adjust the collimation, and to ensure you are getting the best images possible.

Conclusion – how to look after your telescope

The other thing to be aware of that the expose lenses and optical components are likely to have been coated with delicate optical materials.  This means that you should take utmost care with not to touch or scratch the exposed surfaces wherever possible.  Over cleaning can actually be a cause of damage to a delicate lens coating, so take care not to cause damage if it is not entirely necessary.  When you buy a telescope of your dreams, always take care to clean and maintain it in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

But above all else, when you buy a telescope – make sure you use it – often!

 

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