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Tips For Buying For First Telescope

Sep 16, 2008
So now you've decided that you want your very own telescope. What kinds of things do you have to remember even before you buy that wonderful instrument of astronomical observation? First off, you have to know about telescopes before you can even think of buying one. To not do so would result in poor choices; or frankly expensive ones. First recommendation therefore is: know your needs. What level of observation are you planning on doing? Would this be a long term thing? What kinds of celestial bodies or celestial phenomena are you intent on tracking and observing? Make a list of these needs, finalize the list, and bring them to the telescopes dealer when you finally find one near your place. This would aid the dealer in determining what kinds of telescope would be able to please you.

Now, what options do you have for information? You can go at it two ways: first choice is you can join an already existing community or organization that focuses on astronomy or amateur telescope making. These communities or organizations would then be able to make informed advice on how to make the most of the value of your money when you finally buy the telescope. You can also scan the information available in the organizations and you can probably have an easy time of it, because the information would probably have been already arranged.

Now, before you buy that telescope and start the hobby of stargazing, you must also familiarize yourself with the celestial heavens. So another recommendation would be to buy yourself a good reference to stargazing. These publications come in book form, or you can consult regular, peer-reviewed journals on the topic. Doing so would also increase your awareness and knack for using the telescope, because you would also be aware of how celestial coordinates work, et cetera.

Another recommendation: avoid buying from that swanky new mall half a block away. Chances are, the telescope you would be buying would be overpriced and over-rated. Buy a telescope from a dealer, from a store that specializes in the equipment. Remember: telescopes are not toys. They are equipment. And you don't buy equipment from a mall; you get it from a specializing store where you can get better deals, and better guarantees. Having a specializing store would also allow you to have someone who can repair or bring your equipment back to the manufacturer in case something happens to it.

Now, you might be thinking about the telescope mount right about now. The Alatazimuth variety or the equatorial variety? The answer lies in the steadiness of the telescope mount that you find. Just make sure that the one you are buying for your telescope is rock steady. If you have a wonderful new equatorial telescope mount with all the beeps and lights, but moves about like an unsteady baby when you begin using it, then it's a bad deal; you won't be able to observe the skies at all.
About the Author
Jesse McKenna is an telescope enthusiast of 12 years. For more information on telescopes, check out the practical stargazing tips and beginner telescopes at www.TheTelescope.net.
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