Buying a Telescope
… now you wish to purchase a Telescope? NOOOO – do not do it, just yet – hold your horses and your wallet!
Do not build your hopes up about thinking of getting images or observing as good as the Hubble images – just forget that!
First of all, being in a urban area your night sky will be more likely to be light polluted and reduce the chance to see the faintest objects. Check with your eye to see what you actually see.
Remember to adapt to dark for at leas 15-20 minutes.
Second, the neighbours’ lights which mostly waste energy and illuminate the sky and not the ground
Third, remember to agree with your neighbour about them not being used while you are observing and possibly convince them to change the type of light too – talk about the wasted energy, it may help.
Also, generally most people fit those lights on their building, while it may help to have them fitted on a out building or extension (like a kitchen side wall) and point the other way around or side ways and ‘down’ !
You will be amazed by how much you can see in the night sky, even in polluted areas using a few tricks and possibly some filters.
Now, buying a telescope.
1. how much can you spend? if you have less than £. 200 you better off buying large binoculars made for Astronomy and start saving!
2. if you have a budget of £.300 or more, you may be able to get decent ‘small’ diameter telescopes – like a decent 110mm or so
3. if you have a budget of around £. 500, well you have two ways here: either go for a good 150mm Refractor (mostly for planetary as shorter refractors F/6 and under will create other problems!) or go for a standard quality Dobsonian manual Skywatcher Telescope of possibly 200/250mm in aperture – as in above image.
A Dobsonian of that size but lower quality, will give you a broad range of objects to watch with a not-very-much lower quality image compared to more expensive ones, you will enjoy the night sky.
You will be surprised at how large and good images you could get at high magnification after a series of observation.
After you have started to get the hang of it, you will be able to observe at the right times, the right objects, with the right observing conditions.
The more you get experience, the more you will fine tune your observations and the more accurate they will be – using the same standard quality telescope.
Do not rush and buy a telescope, especially from Toy shops or Supermarkets or any other shop but a established Astronomy Telescope Retailer – you will get far more for your money
But, please remember to start with Binoculars first – 8×40 or 10×50 – before you splash out your cash.
You need to get the hang of it first and broadly learn where everything is, what it is called and to do that you will need to buy books – a yearly published astronomical guide is a good start and a Philips adjustable map of the night sky too with a RED light torch – you can always buy a RED plastic document pouch or bag and cut a circle of it (or two!) and place it on top of a standard torch to make the light red – it is not perfect but it helps to see in the night sky without ruining your eye adaptation.
You may also join a Astronomical Society, but … in ‘my experience’ these days you get mostly people ‘showing off’ their ‘unnecessary expensive gear’, rather than learning and maybe selling their old one to you.
Sorry if I insist on binoculars, but it is the best way to learn fast and without spending too much initially.
Also, the binoculars will be a companion with the Telescope in the future.
You will always use them anyway, more or less and during the day too.
In fact I would suggest you to do a whole year with the binoculars and take them with you when you know you are going to stay overnight somewhere other than you house and with a good star chart or your phone and an app of your choice – you never know.
I suggest you to prepare a small bag with all you need and take it with you – keeping it in the car (most of us have a car these days).
It is a bit like a professional photographer, they always keep their camera in the car wherever they go, because you never know what could happen and you could get a wonderful shot that will make your career.
The same is with astronomy.
Mentioned Costs may vary with times – obviously!
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Note: I will NOT be responsible for any injury or anything else possible )!) due to this script or anything else in this or other websites of mine – these are personal views that come from practical experience