For many of us, the opportunity to look up into space and explore all it has to offer is a dream that we never get enough time for. With work, family obligations, and other responsibilities, some of us might not even be able to find the time at all. Luckily there are telescopes on the market that are designed specifically with people like you in mind.
These telescopes will allow you to see things in space that would have been impossible before. The process of buying one, however, can be daunting. This blog post will help you in finding the right telescope with proper considerations and detailed information about different telescopes.
Factors to consider when choosing a telescope for your needs
- Size of the telescope: The size of your telescope will depend on how far away you want to see. The higher magnification telescopes are smaller and more portable, but they can’t reach as high an altitude as other models because their lenses are shorter. If the area is a constraint for you or portability is important, you should consider purchasing one with a lower magnification instead.
You’ll also need to consider that a bigger one may require more time to set up and use properly. Whichever model suits your needs best, though, make sure it’s not too heavy and easy enough for just about anyone in the family to handle – particularly when children become interested as they grow older.
- Price Range: Telescopes range in price from about $400-$2000. If you’re unsure how much to spend, the general rule is that bigger telescopes will cost more than smaller ones. However, suppose your budget can’t afford an expensive telescope. In that case, it may be worth investing in a less expensive one instead as long as you can find quality models at lower prices with features close enough to those on higher-end products for what you want them for (i.e., astronomy).
- Understand what aperture is and why it’s important: Telescopes differ greatly when it comes to magnification and aperture, so make sure they have these numbers displayed prominently in their product descriptions or specifications like many do now. For example, 150mm-450mm should indicate how high up into space the telescope has been tested and certified by its manufacturer to be able to see.
This is a good number of inches for telescopes with magnification over 300x but will classify as “low magnifying power” in the telescope world if it’s under 150mm-450mm aperture and has less than 3000x magnification like many are now.
- Learn how to read the specs: The key factors on any telescope you’re considering buying should include its light-gathering ability (Aperture), lens focal length (Focal Length), and what type of mount or tripod it comes with, as this will change how well it can work in different situations on Earth or when exploring space; whether that includes standing up on the shaky ground at night without tipping over from windy conditions or being set down securely during daytime observations while sitting on the top of a mountain.
- Usage: You can get Dobsonian for serious deep-sky and planetary exploration (after all, that’s where they are most popularly used). At the same time, some people will be happy with any sturdy tripod-supported optical tube as long as it has enough magnification. For instance, if you want to see Venus through a telescope or any other planet, then make sure the telescope covers the planet’s image to a large enough exit pupil so that it can be seen.
- Stability: It is essential to consider the stability of your telescope while your telescope is in use. You might place it on different terrains, and it would be important to know how stable the telescope is in such conditions. Some telescopes are very heavy, and they might not have a fully rigid structure which makes them less than desirable for terrestrial use. Still, these can provide stability on rocky terrain or high altitudes that other types of mounts cannot handle.
- The telescope mount: The type of mount you want for your telescope will depend on what kind of observing experience you prefer. There are three basic types to choose from – tabletop, Dobsonian, and equatorial mounts.
- Tabletop Mounts – These work best when the observer wants to observe objects close up with high magnification or stay at one place as they view different celestial bodies throughout the night sky. This is because these mounts allow movement in all directions without much effort, which makes them ideal for those who like to point their telescopes towards any object within seconds.
- Dobsonian Mounts – They are also versatile but less so than a tabletop mount since it has limited flexibility, making this not quite suitable for observers who have a preference for wide angles. This type of telescope is ideal for those who plan to travel with their mount or have a need for portability since they are usually lightweight and can be taken apart without much effort
- Equatorial Mounts – They offer the best stability out of all mounts, so it’s perfect if you want to observe celestial objects in more detail, such as clusters, nebulae, and galaxies, which require long exposure. These telescopes also work well on either side of your hemisphere, giving observers options when observing from different latitudes. Furthermore, these mounts allow easy movement through altitude but tend not to move laterally (to point towards any object) easily.
Types of telescopes available in the market
- Reflecting Telescope: If you are looking for a telescope with the lowest price tag, then this is your best bet. These telescopes use mirrors instead of lenses for magnification and are also fairly compact. The Reflecting Telescope works by reflecting light from an outside object to get it inside the telescope’s tube. The main advantage is that these scopes can be made very large without incurring heavyweight penalties because they do not require any form of the lens to magnify the image.
- Refracting Telescopes: Refractor telescopes work similarly as reflector models but have one defining difference- they use optical glass lenses, which make them easier to set up than their counterparts. This type offers better clarity, brightness, and contrast when viewing objects in space, thanks to its lenses.
- Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes: Schmidt Cassegains were designed to combine what is good about reflector and refractor telescopes into one package. They use a combination concave spherical mirror to gather in light and then a secondary convex lens that provides image magnification necessary for viewing astronomical objects.
- Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope: They are also a combination of both reflector and refractor telescope technology but use two mirrors instead of lenses for gathering light.
- Newtonian Reflecting Telescope: Newtonians are the simplest type of reflecting telescope that uses a concave mirror to gather in the light, which is then magnified by an eyepiece lens located at the top end. These models work best with low power magnification so they can provide wide views while still being able to capture details.
If you are eagerly looking to buy a telescope, the tips in this blog post should be able to help you find the right one.