Best type of astronomy telescope?
My husband and I have always loved looking at the night sky using our eyes only, so now we think its time to invest in a decent telescope.
Only problem is we are complete novices.
We want to be able to view the planets clearly, nebulae , maybe comets if possible & other galaxies (not asking much!).
Should we be looking at refractors or reflectors?
Any example telescopes would be great, maybe at different prices ranges?
- Anonymous2 years ago
This isn't exactly what you want, but you should consider starting out with binocular astronomy. You will get a lot more satisfaction while spending less than a $100 When you do graduate to telescopes, you will do much better with them.
Start with a pair of small binoculars just to get acquainted with brighter objects such as the Alpha Persei Moving Cluster, The Coathanger (Cr399), and M32 The Andromeda Galaxy.
A great pair of starter binoculars are the Celestron Skymaster 15X70s or 25X70s. These will show the Moons of Jupiter, craters and mountains on the Moon, and many Messier objects. Even in a light-polluted sky, you can see globular clusters such as M5, M22, M13, and nebulae such as the Lagoon, Trifid and Eagle nebulae, see the inner dark lane in the Andromeda Galaxy, and some great star clusters (M7, Ptolemy's Cluster is my favorite summer star cluster, and its smaller neighbor M6, The Butterfly Cluster, is also a great binocular object). These binoculars are heavy (3 pounds) and especially with 25s, you will need a tripod. These binoculars are sold with a mount for tripods.
After a few months experience with binoculars you will do much better with a telescope. Even with a good telescope, without experience you will be disappointed. Good views are difficult to come by.
I had something in common with the late Geoff, in that my first telescope was the Edmund Scientific Mini-Palomar, a 3-inch reflector with a simple wooden alt-azimuth mount. This was a wonderful starter telescope and there is no currently manufactured equivalent. It provided excellent views of planets, the Moon, star clusters and nebulae.
Astronomy involves navigating through star fields, finding unfamiliar objects, contending with light pollution, haze, discomfort, and frustration. Binocular astronomy is the best way to start.
- NyxLv 72 years ago
The first thing to know about telescopes - there is no "best" telescope. Just the one that works well for you.
Past that ominous sounding statement - Do two things before looking at purchasing a scope.
1) Get his book. It's a great introductory guide to the hobby of astronomy. and it has a nice chapter on equipment selection.
2) If at all possible, find and join an astronomy club. A club can be your best single source of information for all sorts of astronomy related things, including equipment selection. Stuff like what to look at (and how to look at it), where to go for truly dark skies (usually with other club members, for a night or longer), speakers on various topics, and just meeting up with other folks who enjoy the hobby.
The other bit of advice - don't go cheap. Those scopes you typically find selling for under $200, aren't worth the price. Lots little screws to lose in the dark,complicated assembly to do in the dark, wobbly mounts, mediocre optics, and after a brief while, it gets shoved in to a closet on in the trash.
An example of what to avoid -
Instead look to spend at least $300 (and up) for something of quality.
An example of something better.
The above scope has two moving parts, and is quite portable. But this is where joining an astronomy club comes in handy. The club might have outings call Star Parties, where the club members set up their scopes for the public to look through, and ask them questions. This way, you can look at (and through) all the various types of scopes, and ask all sorts of questions.
Or, if you want to dive into the deep end (not recommended for a first scope), this is what I use. I have it permanently setup in a small observatory on a friends property. It's been a workhorse for me.
- JoeLv 72 years ago
I'll second Michael's thought about a local astronomy club. You might even find somebody selling their "starter" telescope for cheap.
But I'll also point out that binoculars, especially with a decent tripod, are a good step up from naked eye observation. You'll get a much wider field of view, which makes aiming easier.
- Michael ELv 72 years ago
Planets and comets are one thing, deep sky objects are another.
A ball telescope is good in that it stores and sets up easily.
You could also find a local astronomy club, go to one of their public viewings and see what kind of telescop suits you.