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What To Look For In A Telescope

Updated on October 11, 2010

What To Look For In An Astronomy Telescopes

Buying the right telescope is essential if you are into astronomy and want to explore the stars in more detail as viewing the stars without a telescope isn't the best thing to do, although on a clear night sky you can see some stars, but with a telescope the star gazing enters a new level of interesting.

I've always been interested in astronomy and even UFO stuff too and I have also said that I would buy my own telescope so that I could look at the stars on a clear nights sky, but I haven't done so yet, one day I will and with doing a little research into the subject of good telescopes I will hopefully know what to buy.

So before you buy a telescope you need to work out what type you may need for you to look at the stars with as an amateur astronomer and now we will go through three types of telescopes to consider.

The Refractor

The Reflector

Or a Schmidt Cassegrain

Obviously the first 2 are indications of what type of lens you use within your telescope and so this may be an easy decision for you if you have already been told which one is best.

The refractor lens uses a convex lens to focus the light through the eye piece and so the main use of a refractor lens is in how it is able to view planets within our solar system, where as the reflector lens is used to view distanced objects with a concave lens and the use of specially fitted mirrors which focus the viewing image that you can see through it.

The Schmidt Cassegrain is considered as the all in one that can do both of the other telescope lens types job and has a more complex arrangement of internal mirrors to view the intended image.

One of the things that I have done in the past is to visit shops that deal with telescopes specifically and to get some advice from those people who may look at you suspiciously out of the corner of their eye, so ask them first and they won't do that, good tip eh? You'll find that they may demonstrate how to use a telescope or they may explain a bit about them in detail and that's what you want, you want specifics that you can use to weigh up your buying decisions.

Buying An Astronomy Telescope

Astronomy Telescopes to buy.    Image taken from copyright 2010.
Astronomy Telescopes to buy. Image taken from copyright 2010.

Research Different Telescopes


Do your research into telescopes, as there are many other makes of them if you look in the right places and maybe join an astronomy club to gain some insider information on the best telescopes you could buy, a club will be filled with experts and hobbyist astronomers who certainly know their stuff and they will be able to give you much greater advice than this article ever will on the telescopes buyers choices.

Clubs and societies for astronomy may already have some of the telescopes that you may buy later on down the line, so try before you buy whilst you are learning about telescopes at your hobby club and see how you can set up a telescope like they do, this is useful as you can try without paying any deposits or anything before you buy, much sneakier.

Of course you may have other things to think about, such as are you going to have your telescope set up in one primary location? or are you wanting to go mobile with your scope and check out open spaces that would be excellent for viewing the clear sky at night, so a tripod may be neccessary for your requirements as will the up keep of your new tool.

Seeing the stars with a telescope is a great hobby and I remember seeing Mars through a really powerful telescope when I was a kid and that to me maybe made me want a telescope myself even today.

Buy the right telescope!

Galileo Reflector Telescope To Buy On Amazon

Celestron Smidt Cassegrain Telescope To Buy From Amazon (Only for serious astronomers, look at the price!)

Astronomy Telescopes

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    • larryprice5372 profile image

      Larry Wade Price 7 years ago from Long Beach, California

      Hope you decided to buy one for yourself.

      You are right, you must learn a little about the heavens and the difference between telescopes before you buy.

      In that learning, it is a good idea to buy a small refractor telescope, a 3" will do. Buy a star chart and learn to use it first. Using a small scope you can then chase down and view near earth objects. You need to learn where the objects are on any given month. That learning must come first.

      Astronomy clubs are great too, as you have said.

      All around, a good article with a lot of honesty.

      Good luck, and have fun in this hobby. It's really fun and rewarding.

    • waynet profile image

      Wayne Tully 8 years ago from Hull City United Kingdom

      Cheers Sweets!

      My new years resolution was to finish some of my unpublished hubpages and have still over 60 to publish.

      I used to have a plastic pirate telescope when I was a kid.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Wow Waynet, you are like a hubber machine. Sounds like an interesting telescope for those who like to look at the stars. I used to have a real cheesy telescope when I was little, and I remember trying to spot Hailey's commet with it, but we never saw it in the sky that year.