Best Buy Telescopes For Beginners [UPD]
Reflector telescopes use mirrors to focus the image into the eyepiece. Some maintenance is required because mirrors can get out ofalignment, especially if the telescope is being moved around a lot. Thetubes of reflector telescopes are open, so dust can get inside,requiring cleaning. Something else to consider is that the mirrorsurfaces need to be recoated with aluminum every 10 to 20 years.
best buy telescopes for beginners
Although reflectors require a bit more maintenance, mirrors arecheaper to make than lenses, so reflector telescopes are often a bettervalue for your money. You can get a reflector telescope at the sameprice point as a refractor telescope, but with a bigger aperture.
This type of telescope uses a combination of lenses and mirrors tofocus the image into the eyepiece. They tend to be a little moreexpensive but their design allows them to have more magnification in amore compact tube. These telescopes also offer a widerfield of view for their size, making them ideal for viewing larger objects like galaxies. This means youcan get a powerful telescope that is still portable. Cassegraintelescopes make great tabletop telescopes, which can be verykid-friendly.
You can attach a smartphone to most backyard telescopes using a simple adapter to hold your phone's camera lens in front of the eyepiece. This works best for bright objects like the Moon or Jupiter and its moons. Newer Apple and Android phones even have night sky modes that can bring out colors of the brightest deep sky objects like the Orion Nebula!
With telescopes, you get what you pay for. Anything too cheap (lessthan $100) might be too frustrating to use and not give you much viewingsatisfaction. The starting price range for a good quality beginnertelescope is around $200 to $400 with the upper end being for thecomputerized mounts.
Bigger and more expensive telescopes will allow you to see fainterobjects but remember that the smaller the telescope, the easier it willbe to transport, use and store when it's not in use. Smaller telescopesare usually cheaper too, so you don't have to break the bank to get agood view of the cosmos!
Most entry-level and mid-range telescopes come with a bundled mount, but the quality varies enormously. A good mount will give you stable views even at high magnifications; with a wobbly one, it may be hard to keep far-off objects in the frame.
The most important aspect of choosing a telescope is to ensure that you buy an instrument that nurtures your desire to observe and enjoy the night sky. A poor user experience may hinder your enjoyment of the hobby overall, so be wary of the cheap telescopes that deliver underwhelming results.
I have been immersed in the world of amateur astronomy for so long, I often forget to slow down when rhyming off the technical terms associated with telescopes. The following list of telescope terms must be comprehended to understand why I think a Dobsonian reflector is the best choice for beginners.
Here is a list of satisfying targets to observe using a beginner-level telescope such as a Dobsonian reflector. I have organized the items into two lists, solar system objects, and deep-sky objects. I have numbered the targets from best (most gratifying to least).
Telescopes come in many different optical formats, such as; reflectors, refractors, and compound telescopes. Each type of telescope has its own strengths and weaknesses. Although I personally favor refractors from an astrophotography perspective, they may not be an ideal choice for a beginner. Newtonian reflectors offer a much larger aperture at a lower price point.
I think this is a great telescope for beginners that could use some help finding objects in the night sky if you are willing to add an element of tech to the manual, hands-on experience of the Dobsonian telescope. This telescope also comes in a 10-inch version for those looking for even more light-gathering power.
Some of these telescopes come as a bundle, which is a nice perk if you do not currently own any telescope equipment (such as eyepieces and filters). For a true comparison, all of the models listed below include the mount necessary to operate the telescope.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these telescopes, in fact, they may fit your lifestyle better than a big Dob. Where all of these telescopes fall short, is the aperture. If big views are your ultimate goal, the Dobsonian always comes out on top.
It is possible to take pictures using a Dobsonian Telescope, using the eyepiece projection method. Large, bright objects like the moon and Jupiter offer the best chance at an impressive shot. You simply hold your point-and-shoot digital camera or smartphone up to the eyepiece manually.
The downside of refracting telescopes is their cost versus size. Making lenses is only cheap when they are small, which is why so many entry-level telescopes are refractors. As lens size increases, they quickly become expensive to manufacture, especially as the quality of glass used to make them improves.
Refractors make great entry level scopes (where they are much cheaper) and are arguably the best telescopes at the top end of the quality scale, especially for astrophotography. However, in the mid ranges, you run the risk of having the worst of both worlds: smaller aperture and inferior quality glass.
This model reveals a huge number of celestial objects under a dark sky. As with any smaller scope, brighter objects in the sky work best, so the Moon, rings of Saturn, and the crescent of Venus are all great candidates for study.
As amateur telescopes go, this is a great option. If you just want to get started with backyard astronomy, have a limited budget but want the best view of the night sky possible for the price, then this is the scope for you!
What compound telescopes like this one do very well is offer a light and compact telescope package. This is small enough to store just about anywhere and light enough for any adult to move around on their own.
As refracting telescopes go, this is one of the best available in 2022. In combining aperture with quality, Orion have created a refractor capable of seeing incredible detail with very little aberration. If money is not and issue for you, or you just want some of the best astro equipment available today, then this could be the model for you.
Celestron have equipped this top of the range computerized telescope with their best optics. The optical system is a mirror/lens combination that corrects aberration and curvature for fantastic imagery and pinpoint stars to the edge of the field.
Many beginning astronomers start with computerized telescopes since they offer many advantages, like requiring less (but contrary to popular belief, not zero) knowledge about the night sky to find objects, hands-free automatic tracking, and the ability to move the telescope with a button, which induces fewer vibrations than manual pushing.
Except for the Celestron NexStar Evolution telescopes, almost every computerized telescope requires a portable power supply, either a 12-volt lead-acid rechargeable DC battery or lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Either adds cost to your scope and has to be hauled around. Some telescopes can use AA batteries as backups, but they will quickly guzzle them within a few observing sessions, and continually replenishing them is expensive. So, always budget at least $50 for a power supply.
Also look out for stargazing events near you. Most local astronomical societies will organise a few of these a year and they are a great way to learn more about the night sky and a chance to look through different telescopes.
The key spec for any telescope is its aperture, or the diameter of its lens or mirror. The bigger the better because a bigger aperture can collect more light and distant objects appear brighter. But this comes at a price, and bigger telescopes are also much less portable. Consider whether you want to be able to load your telescope into the back of your car for stargazing field trips before splashing out on that 10-inch aperture telescope.
Small f-ratios of f/4 to f/5 are best for wide-field observing and deep space objects such as galaxies. Large f-ratios of f/11 to f/15 are better for narrow-field, high power views of the Moon, planets, or binary stars. Medium f-ratios f/6 to f/10 work well for either.
Many amateur astronomers are partial to the good value and sturdiness of a Dobsonian mount. This is an alt-az mount that supports larger telescopes. Its design is so simple that it can even be made at home.
Meteor showers are best viewed with the naked eye. These bright streaks of glowing dust and rock cover a huge area of sky and are gone in an instant, so no specialist equipment is needed, just a bit of patience.
But if you really want magnifying power and portability, then you may need to invest in a compound telescope such as a Schmidt-Cassegrain or Maksutov-Cassegrain. These telescopes have the maximum magnification for the smallest body size, and can easily fit in the boot of a car.
Attend a meeting or stargazing party with your local astronomical society. These friendly groups have a huge depth of expertise on telescopes and astrophotography, and can be an excellent way to get tips and ideas for stargazing.
Finally, catadioptric telescopes combine both lenses and mirrors. Light first passes through a large front lens, called the corrector plate, and on toward the primary mirror at the back of the tube. The corrector plate reduces or eliminates aberration caused by the mirrors. After bouncing off the primary, the light reflects toward a secondary mirror at the front, then back through a small hole in the middle of the primary and into an eyepiece.
If you're looking to pick up a bargain on one of these scopes, check out our telescope deals guide. And if you're looking for more stargazing equipment beyond a telescope, we've got you covered with our guide to the best binoculars for stargazing and the best astrophotography cameras too. 041b061a72