If you are a beginner in the field of astronomy, buying your first telescope can be a challenging experience. There are all sorts of technical jargons, multitude of options and confusing features. Additionally, telescope mechanics are tend to be quite complex. This means that you can easily find yourself buying the wrong telescope. This can lead to disappointments, as well as money wastage. To help you during the telescope buying process, here are certain features to take into consideration.
This is the most important feature to look out for, whenever you want to buy a telescope. Any astronomical telescope, regardless of the size is designed to undertake two major things; to magnify and brighten your views of celestial objects.
Aperture refers to the main optical component of the telescope’s diameter. The size will therefore, determine the amount of light that it can capture. With more light, there is better clarity. However, you also need to think about portability and convenience.
Magnification and power refer to the same thing. Many people will tell you that you should purchase a telescope based on its magnification. However, it is not that important, as some people may want you to believe.
Magnification can be changed as much as you want, since you just change the existing eyepiece. What you should note is that magnification is worthless without a large aperture. This means that magnification should always be considered together with the aperture size. Don’t be too excited when you come across those departmental stores telescopes with a magnification of x500.
Next on the list of importance, is focal length. For example, if you have two telescopes with different focal lengths and equal aperture size, the one with a larger focal length will produce a high magnification viewing. Longer focus eyepieces are preferable, since they are easier to use and perfectly suited for people wearing glasses.
Additionally, telescopes with low focal length are harder to manufacture, which means that you might end up with fuzzier or unclear images. However, if you mainly target to view the stars, moon or planets, then you should go with those, which have a longer focal length. If you intend to view the galaxy milky way, the best telescope would be the one with a shorter focal length.
A Stable Mount
The next thing you should consider is the mount. This feature is often overlooked. However, it is very essential in providing stability to your telescope. Telescope mounts are available in two main types. These are the equatorial mounts and the altitude-azimuth (altazimuth) mount.
An equatorial mount allows the telescope to rotate in different direction.
This means that you can easily follow movement of the planets and other celestial objects. You only need to position your telescope along a Polaris, and then track celestial objects along this axis. On the other hand, the altazimuth features a much simpler design, where it moves up and down or even sideways. It is cheaper than the equatorial type, but limited when it comes to following rotational movements of celestial objects.
Now that you can differentiate one telescope from the other, buy a telescope that aligns with your budget, as well as your precise hobbies and needs. Sometimes, you can spend slightly more than your planned budget, and you will get a better one that will last you longer, instead of a cheaper one that needs frequent replacement.