How to Buy a Telescope
There are actually some technicalities that you need to consider when learning how to buy a telescope.
Many times what people think they want and what they really want are two very different things. Just like with any other large purchase, you have to ask yourself two simple questions:
1. What do you really want to do with your telescope?
2. How much money do you want to spend?
Knowing how to buy a telescope often depends on these two simple questions. It’s often a good idea to start out small and work your way up to
“bigger and better”. If you don’t have much money to invest, you may want to start out with a pair of binoculars. Even the cheap ones will amaze you with how much you can see of the night sky.
The main thing you’ll want to do before you rush out and plunk down a few hundred dollars is to do some research.
Look at what kinds of telescopes are available and what they each have to offer. Check out different aspects of the telescope and find out what’s most important to you so you know you’ll be spending your money wisely.
Knowing how to buy a telescope entails knowing what parts of the telescope are most important. The eyepiece is probably the most important part of the telescope itself since that’s what you will be looking through to see the skies. Ideally,
you’ll want a telescope that will have an adjustable eyepiece so you can adjust the magnification. The eyepiece should have a crisp, clear view and little to no chromatic aberration or little halos of color around bright objects.
You will also want to consider where you will be doing most of your star gazing. Will you be in a highly populated area or a desolate part of the country?
This makes a difference because if you have interference from outside factors such as pollution or noise, you will want to have a telescope that can overcome these factors.
A telescope’s main function is to gather light. If you don’t gather enough light, you won’t see anything,
no matter how much magnification you throw at it. The aperture, or opening through which skylight passes, is what matters.
Every telescope has either a primary lens or mirror that is used for collecting light. This is called the telescope’s “objective” —
and the width of that objective’s aperture is key. In the world of telescopes, size — or at least proportion — matters, because a telescope’s light-gathering power is proportional to the objective’s surface area, not its diameter.
The general rule you should keep in mind when considering how to buy a telescope is to buy something that will meet your basic
criteria without going overboard too much on price. Never buy a telescope on power alone. Make sure all the elements work together to give you the best view for the least amount of money, but don’t do too cheap or you’ll be disappointed!