After seeing the starry pictures from NASA, you may be wondering how to buy a telescope, and explore the universe for yourself. There are many department stores selling telescopes, however, to buy a telescope which will help you with looking at objects clearly in the night sky, you will need to know some key points.
Most people, who think about buying a telescope, either go to a local department store or toy store and buy any telescope they have for sale. Usually these kinds of places will only have 1 or 2 models. You buy the telescope and go home, put it up and go to look at the Moon. You position your telescope to look at the Moon, you see craters, and find that soon as you go to call someone to take a look, they take a look and it is gone.
When you look at objects in the night sky, they are constantly revolving in its path, this makes objects move in the night sky. Exactly how you can see the Sun rise in the east, and set in the west; and how you can see the Moon whizzing from one part of the sky to the other, when you take a look at the Moon in a telescope it moves fast. With a cheap telescope, this will be of no use to you, as it will be hard to keep up.
Soon frustration kicks in and the department store / toy store telescope is put in the attic, and never used again. For some people this would be the whole of there astronomy hobby, but for some dedicated people, they soon pick up the drive, and buy a telescope which is suited for astronomy and looking at objects in the night sky!
There are specialist telescope sellers. These outlets generally sell only telescopes, and things related to astronomy. There telescopes may be priced higher then a toy telescope, however, a good telescope will last you a long time, and in fact it can last a lifetime with good care.
For most people being able to travel to a telescope shop is a pilgrimage, as there are not that many places available. The next best thing is to shop online. Shopping online for a telescope has many benefits. One of the biggest benefits of buying online is that you can find the best telescope for your needs, and you can also get the best prices for telescopes online.
A great benefit with buying from specialist telescope sellers is that they can give you advice about what telescope is best. They will look at your aspirations for owning a telescope, and what you want to get out of the telescope. How much room do you have to house to telescope? What things do you want to look at with your telescope - deep space, local (our solar system) or both?
You can even achieve getting advice about telescopes online, you can look at reviews, you can email a telescope seller or you can give them a quick call if you have there phone number. Always make sure that you buy from reputable sellers. Most online sellers are safe, however, one way I have found that helps is to contact the seller and see how long there response is. If they answer how to buy a telescope and give you advice within a day or two, then you can be sure that you are getting service from a company that has your best interests at heart.
There is nothing like owning your own telescope, and being able to direct it through the sky to uncover a sea of beauty. The question how to buy a telescope is not a big one, more what you want out of the telescope. There is much more to astronomy then buying a telescope. You will also need to buy an atlas of the sky suited for astronomy, and a guide. The best one I have seen is Turn Left At Orion, and details can be found on our site or online.
How Different Are Telescopes?
When someone mentions a name like Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, and Sir Isaac Newton a bell is sure to ring. The brilliant minds of our past that changed the world in the field of Astronomy as we now know will never be forgotten. Each one of these men made amazing discoveries about the cosmos that is the universe and with the exception of Copernicus; the findings which changed everything were done with a telescope. Fast forward to today, in the 21st century, with the incredible advancements in the astronomic telescopic field and with so many options on the market it is difficult to make a choice to choose the right telescope for an aspiring amateur astronomer.With a wide selection to choose from such as the reflecting telescopes, refracting telescopes, Catadioptric telescopes, and Dobsonian telescopes and many more variations it can be difficult for budding amateur astronomers just starting out to select which type of telescope is right for them. This brief intro into the history of the main 3 telescopes on the market today should give the aspiring astronomer what to expect, however this is not a guide for the best telescope, but rather so more of a dressed down history lesson of each telescope
Refractor telescopes, also known as refracting telescopes or dioptric telescopes bend light to make parallel rays converge at a focal point. The refractor telescope design was predominantly used in spy glasses before its use in astronomical telescopes. The refractor telescope was the first kind of telescope invented. It utilises' a glass lens as a medium to refract the rays of light to form an image. Incidentally, the first refracting telescopes invented was by none other than Galileo Galilei. He invented the first refractor telescope with one large glass lens as the objective and a smaller lens as the eyepiece or focal point. In order to be able to refract light the glass lens had to be shaped perfectly depending on the desired size of the image. The focal point would have a glass lens shaped in the opposite fashion of the objective to keep the image from being seen upside down. This design, being one of the first refractor telescope, has come to be known as none other than the Galilean telescope.
As brilliant as the Galilean telescope was, there is always room for improvement, hence in 1611, another astronomer by the name of Johannes Kepler created another variation of the refracting telescope based on the designs of the Galilean telescope. The Keplerian Telescope, as it came to be known, used convex lenses as opposed to Galileo's version which used convex lenses.
This in essence gave the viewer a much wider field of view and much needed eye relief. The downside however being that the image would have been inverted. Other disadvantages of the refractor telescope was its' lack of ability to filter aberrations of the non converged rays. These shortcomings sparked the invention of an achromatic refracting telescope and apochromatic refractors. Achromatic refractor telescopes are pretty self-explanatory. They are intended to display the image without color to mitigate aberrations. Apochromatic refractor telescopes on the other hand, are designed to bring three colors. The viewer would be able to see red, green, and blue wavelengths with minimal aberrations making the apochromatic refracting telescope highly preferable for its time.
Fast forward to the 21st century and refractor telescopes have advanced to such an extent that with the right telescope, viewing a picture clear Pluto through the lenses is not impossible. Also with the advent of technology, computerised goto refractor telescopes are now the norm.
Reflector telescopes were a major improvement upon the refractor telescope which reflected light instead of refracting it. This was because Reflector Telescopes used curved mirrors to capture an image as opposed to the Refractor Telescopes which used lenses. Reflector telescopes were considered to be superior to the refractor telescope design because of the enhanced chromatic quality and potential for an enlarged viewing diameter. There were many proposed designs for a reflecting telescope in the 17th century but Sir Issac Newton is credited with the invention of the first successful working Reflector Telescope, which became known as the Newtonian Telescope
With the success of the Newtonian Telescope arose a number of notable reflector telescopes, albeit with a little variation, that emerged that continues to flourish to this day such as The Cassegrain, The Gregorian, The Ritchey-Chrétien and The Dall-Kirkham. Many of these designs and its' variations are still applied in today's' more advance astronomical telescopes. The Gregorian reflector telescope design in particular can be found in famous modern telescopes such as the Magellan telescopes, the Giant Magellan Telescope, Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope, Large Binocular Telescope, and common assault rifle or sniper scopes. The most famous of them all being the mighty space telescope, Hubble.
Reflector Telescopes are some of the least expensive telescopes and a good starter telescope for today's' wannabe astronomers. It is the choice of scientists and professional astronomers alike.
Dobsonian telescopes were developed in the 1960's by John Dobson, an amateur astronomer. Having been fascinated by the Universe, John Dobson built his telescope, based on the Newtonian reflector telescope, out of every day common materials such as plywood and cardboard and is mostly, if not always alt-azimuth mounted. This simply meant that it had a simple two-axis mount for supporting and rotating the said telescope. This type of modified reflector telescope came to be known as the Dobsonian Telescope. Dobsonian Reflector telescopes are known for being great "deep sky" telescopes, mostly due to its' large aperture. Not only are they efficient for viewing the deep skies of the universe, they are also very light in terms of mass in proportion to the diameter of the objective, in other words, the viewer will have a very large image without an immovable giant telescope. In addition, Dobsonian telescopes are very simple to put together, with the altazimuth mounts typically compact, light-weight, and easy to point, making it a preferred choice for astronomers of all levels. However, for every positive there is a negative and the Dobsonian telescopes is no exception. Due to its large aperture and its design which was optimized for deep sky penetration, an equatorial mount was left out of the design equation, thus a user must move the telescope manually every few minutes or so in order to compensate for the rotation of the Earth. Additionally, it also suffers from balance issues, this is due to the fact that since the Dobsonian Telescope is usually in a fixed relationship to its altitude bearings, an addition or subtraction of equipment's such as finder scopes, and heavy eyepieces can render the unit useless until recalibrated. However, due to its' ability to penetrate the deep dark skies, The Dobsonian Telescope still remains a firm favourite in the Astronomy community for the amateur and professional astronomers alike.