Astronomy Telescope Question?

I am thinking about adding astronomy as a hobby of mine, but in order to do so I need to get a telescope. Which telescope would you recommend for a beginner just starting?

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  • suitti
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    None. Visit an astronomy club first.

    http://www.skyandtelescope.com/community/organizat...

    I borrowed every scope my club had available for loan. I got looks through dozens of member's scopes. I saw lots of stuff. Then the correct, optimal scope came on the market, and i bought it. Well, i waited until i had the money again, then i bought it.

    Step 2: binoculars.

    Many people recommend that you buy binoculars before buying your first scope. Any binoculars will do. I'm into bird watching, so i already had several pairs. The 8x42's were awesome, but i settled on bringing my 8x21's everywhere. They fit in my pocket and don't take much to hand hold to the sky. I have a 60 mm spotting scope on an awesome tripod. It's not very good for astronomy, as it's straight through, and you end up looking nearly straight up with it much of the time. I was able to adjust the height so i could stand fairly normally. Still, as it's on a great tripod, it's better than any astronomy telescope you'll find under $180. That's because it's a $500 instrument. $250 for the scope. $250 for the tripod.

    If you look around, you can get good binoculars for $25. I find that it's difficult to hand hold 10x binoculars, and a good tripod starts at $100. But 8x binoculars are fine as is. Cheap binoculars have good optics. They're a little more fragile than expensive binoculars, and may not have close focus. Close focus is good for butterfly watching. The only astronomical object where you need close focus is the Earth. You don't need binoculars for anything you can taste. Treat them like fragile glass artwork, and they'll last decades.

    Step 3: Figure out your budget and buy a scope.

    $200

    The Starblast. At the low end, and I'm talking under $1000 here, the only real choice is a dob mount. It's stable. It's cheap. The Starblast or the SkyQuest 4.5 are the low end scopes. The Astroscan is even simpler to use.

    http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category...

    http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category...

    http://scientificsonline.com/product.asp_Q_pn_E_30...

    $400

    http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category...

    This scope has a computer to help you find things. IMO, the computer is worth it's weight in gold. OK, so it doesn't weigh that much. But it will show you about 10 objects an hour, instead of 2. It will help you learn to navigate in the most painless way possible, short of having a real live tutor. It fits in your car, sets up quickly, and so on. Notice that i don't know what kind of car you have. Any car. It has great optics, and the dob mount is solid like a rock. The finder is usable. It comes with a great set of eyepieces. Stick with them for a year or so.

    http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category...

    $700

    The xt10i is the big sister to the xt6i. It has the computer, fits in your car, has quick setup, and so on. It's just bigger. Bigger means more light. It also means bigger. The heaviest piece is 27 lbs. It's the scope i picked. It's performance has been stellar.

    http://www.telescope.com/control/product/~category...

  • eri
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    That depends on what you want to look at and what your budget is. I suggest joining a local astronomy club - those guys usually have pretty nice telescopes and will be more than happy to help you choose a telescope that will do what you want for a price you can afford.

  • David
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Look up your local astronomy clubs and visit them for a couple of star viewings. They occur around new moons, usually Sat nights. That would be this weekend coming up. The people are happy to share and welcome the public without any obligation.

    The best scope for a beginner is a Newtonian/reflector scope on a dobsonian mount. A minimum mirror diameter of 8" will give you lots of great viewing and will also be easily resellable if you ever want to upgrade to a larger scope. Go to telescope.com to look. You may even find club members with a scope for sale. Often clubs have loaner scopes too.

    Source(s): Astronomer for 2 years.
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