How to Choose Your First Telescope
24 January 2023
Before purchasing any scope, we strongly recommend that you read the guide below if you are new to telescopes!
This guide focuses on visual noticing, rather than astrophotography. Before beginning astrophotography, it is wise to acquire a solid foundation in visual astronomy if you are new to the field.
Like a perfect automobile, there is no such thing as a “perfect” telescope. There are two essentials to the telescope you want: top notch optics and a consistent, easily working mount. However, portability and ease of use should not be overlooked; the best scope for you will be the one you actually use.
The aperture: A Telescope’s Most Important Features For Newcomers, the Market’s Most Popular Apertures Are: 70mm, 80mm. Opt for 80 mm if your budget will allow it. Based on my personal experience, 70 mm should only be used by children and is too small for adults.
Does this imply that you should purchase the largest telescope you can afford as soon as possible? Necessarily not.
If you don’t want to use it, a telescope that can see the faintest of objects is useless. Large telescopes typically have heavy and bulky mirrors or large lenses. That will be more difficult for novice astronomers to use. In this instance, you would do much better with a portable, smaller telescope.
Additionally, the greater the aperture, the more expensive it becomes to manufacture a high-quality lens. So, check your spending plan. You will be able to see fainter objects with larger and more expensive telescopes, but keep in mind that smaller telescopes are easier to transport, use, and store when not in use. In most cases, smaller telescopes are also less expensive, so you don’t have to break the bank to see the universe in detail!
The market’s most popular apertures for new players are: 70mm, 80mm. Opt for 80 mm if your budget will allow it. Based on my personal experience, 70 mm should only be used by children and is too small for adults.
The magnifying power of a telescope sold at a department store typically reads something like “200x” or “400x.” Move on if you see a telescope promoting this. A marketing ploy for low-quality instruments is to magnify power.
Power refers to the degree to which a telescope expands its subject. It is the product of the eyepiece’s focal length and the telescope’s focal length. Depending on the eyepiece you use with your telescope, you can achieve almost infinite magnifications with it.
Therefore, you can adjust the telescope’s magnification with different eyepieces. However, you shouldn’t think that having superhuman abilities will do you much good.
The amount of power you can use productively with a given instrument is limited by two main factors: aperture and atmospheric conditions once more. Even at a high magnification, the aperture determines how much detail you will be able to see. You won’t be able to see any more detail with a small telescope with a large magnification because your telescope won’t be able to collect enough light to zoom in on a blurry image. The amount of detail you can see can also be limited by the atmosphere. Our atmosphere obscures detail, so magnification only goes so far, even under the clearest skies.
The maximum useful magnification of a telescope, in millimeters, is equal to twice its aperture. Also, that is assuming the extension has amazing optics and the night air is uncommonly consistent. To put it another way, a good 80-mm scope shouldn’t go much beyond 160 (assuming ideal atmospheric conditions). Therefore, if you see a 80-mm telescope at a department store with the claim that it provides “more than 160 power!!!,” simply leave. Again, steer clear of telescopes whose magnification is advertised.
The Focal Length A Common Mistake I saw numerous 80- and 70-mm telescopes with focal lengths of 400, 500, 600, or even 900 millimeters. Is it possible that the longer the better? NO, that is yet another marketing ploy. It seems like another way to use magnification—the longer the exposure, the higher the magnification.
Let me explain what will happen if you increase the focal length of a 400mm refractory telescope with an 80mm aperture to 600mm:
The 600mm tube is 1.5 times longer than the usual 400mm tube, making it even more difficult to travel with and camp in.
Referring back to the finder scope section, the longer the focal length, the more difficult it is to locate the star.
The best choice for novice astronomers is a focal length between 300 and 400 mm. It will be simple for you to use. Again, a scope that is frequently used is always superior to one that is rarely or never used.
The Mount, Number 4, The Most Undervalued Asset of a Telescope Another aspect of a telescope to consider is its mount. This is the thing keeps the telescope consistent and permits you to easily go it to see various pieces of the sky.
Frail mount (single screwed, photograph underneath) will be too baffling to even think about utilizing and not give you much survey fulfillment. I can assure you that a solid mount will save your life.
What is the significance of a sturdy mount? As you can imagine, our eyes keep touching the eyepiece as we observe. The telescope will continue to vibrate indefinitely if your mount is weak (single screw). I have thrown away a lot of things like this. It is an utter squander of money.