Q:

How do you choose telescopes for beginners?

A:

Quick Answer

Telescopes.com notes that there are many factors to account for when choosing a telescope for beginners, including cost. Cost factors into choosing the telescope itself as well as the equipment purchased for that telescope.

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Full Answer

Telescopes.com advises against focusing too much on the telescope's magnification. Unscrupulous merchants often claim their telescopes have 500x magnification, and even if that claim were true, it would be very difficult to make out details on objects viewed through that scope. Instead, shoppers should focus on the aperture size of the telescope. A larger aperture allows the telescope to gather more light. It also makes it easier to view more of the sky. Because aperture size affects the size of the telescope itself, a significant factor to consider is how portable the telescope needs to be. Many city residents need to drive away from the city's lights to get a good view of the sky, and a bulky telescope may not easily fit into a car's trunk or backseat.

There are three basic types of telescopes. Refractor telescopes are easy for beginners and require little maintenance, but they can be more expensive per aperture inch. Reflector telescopes have a low cost per aperture inch and are easily portable, but they are better for seeing far-away galactic phenomena than closer planets. Catadioptric telescopes are versatile for gazing at stars and planets, and they are very durable. However, they are both more expensive and more unconventional in appearance than other telescopes.

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