Gaze through beyond – why you need a beginner telescope
If you’ve never done anything like this before, you’ll want to know the best way to observe the night sky—and that’s through a beginner telescope. The specificity of the fact that these products are made for beginners can make a huge difference in the short and long run because they are more tailored for those who are now learning and want a firsthand, first experience of the night sky.
Not only are these products tailored to your budget, but they also vary in aperture and f-ratio, as well as other features that can help you decide which one best fits the description you may be looking for.
Know your main star – types of telescopes
Before you buy, however, it’s best if you get to know a bit of the background of certain types of scopes and the information you may need to get you the one that best fits you.
To help you out, here are the different types of telescopes:
Refractor Telescopes: Like the Gskyer EQ901000, this type of telescope is the least expensive on the market. They are low in price because they are basic in design and simple in features. They normally use the lens as its objective to form an image, which is simple to understand. If you want a type of telescope that offers little-to-no maintenance, this type if for you. However, they are usually quite heavy and cannot view images in so much detail.
Reflector Telescopes: These telescopes use curved mirrors to be able to form the image you want to see from the skies to your eyes. You’ll want this type of telescope if you’re looking to be able to check out deeper objects in the sky and need high-high-quality images. However, if you are going to be ordering this telescope, you’ll need to know that it will require a lot more maintenance than other low-powered telescopes.
Catadioptric Telescopes: You want the best of both worlds? Well, these type of telescopes are reflectors and refractors, which use not only lenses but also mirrors for making an image. You can get either a Schmidt-Cassegrain or a Maksutov-Cassegrain, which is much thicker and smaller than the Schmidt-Cassegrain.
Maintenance tips for beginners
Once you purchase your telescope, you’ll want to know how to best maintain and care for it—to do so, these tips can help you with caring for your telescope for beginners:
First and foremost, know that dust and moisture threaten to build upon the lens or on the mirror of your new product. Normally, you should reach for a camel-hair brush for some light brushing. These can easily be found in camera shops.
You can also use pressurized air to spray the glass surface so that all the dust air particles are then removed. Top it off with an optical-cleaning solution, and most of the debris will be removed, as well.
Always keep the lens covered while the telescope is not in use—this will help keep it protected from scratches, dirt, and dust. Of course, you won’t be able to totally eliminate all the dirt from the telescope, but the more you can, the better
Definitely avoid storing in a hot place like the car—instead, store your telescope in a safe, cool place that keeps it away from moisture, dust, and accidents.
Especially since astronomy isn’t exactly the cheapest hobby, you won’t want to go broke just by purchasing a telescope. So, make sure that the price tag is within your budget.
There are certain telescopes that will meet a price tag of under $100—however, most of these types of telescopes are simply made for kids and extreme beginners.
However, the most beginner scopes out there, including those on this list, will be in the price range between $300 to $800. However, if you are going to be planning on buying a telescope, you might as well know ahead of time that you’ll be investing.
A portable, lightweight telescope, like any of these on the guide will also be a bit lower on your budget, as well.
Features to consider while buying the perfect telescope for beginners
Before you buy, it’s important to consider a few features that can help you sort out the best from the rest.
Here are some of the features of the best telescopes on the market:
This might be a very foreign concept for you. Aperture, however, although you might not have ever heard of the term, is a very important concept. The aperture is one of the most important parts of the telescope—it is the diameter measured between the mirror and lens of the model. This is important to know because it will make a difference in how much light is being shone on the image and how sharp the image will then be.
This can make a huge difference because it is coherent with the power of the telescope and how clear the image is—no matter how far the object is away. Unfortunately, most people think that bigger telescopes are always better, but that is simply not the case. Bigger means a more expensive price and a bulkier build.
The aperture you desire is based on what you want to see—and how dark or clear the skies are around it. If you have a larger aperture, you will be able to get a lot of starlight—helping you see much fainter objects. However, especially for a beginner, you might not need such a large aperture.
Focal length and ratio
When you hear the word “focus” in relation to a telescope, you might think that this is the most important feature. If you have a longer focal length, you’ll be able to see celestial objects in a much bigger appearance.
The Celestron NexStar 5 SE is one of the telescopes with the largest focal lengths in our guide today with 1250 mm. However, you will also notice that the majority of these telescopes will have about 700 to 1,000 mm in focal length on average.
Also, when you think of a telescope, the term for “magnification” might run through your mind. That’s because you’ll want to have the object on point as magnified as possible—and the ability to do so.
To take a look at the magnification of telescopes, we will have to focus on two different terms—focal length and the light point. Both of these play large determining factors on the overall magnification of the lens.
Contrary to popular belief, however, magnification doesn’t always necessarily mean a clearer image. You might be able to magnify an object and make it a lot larger than it normally is in your lens, however, the quality might not be the best.
The eyepiece of the telescope also plays a major roll in magnification. The focal length of the telescope and the eyepiece are the two components that determine this final number.
After having checked out all possible details of the magnification and of the focal lengths, the mount is another determining factor of a telescope.
Like most of the telescopes offered here, like the Celestron 21063 AstroMaster 90 is alt-azimuth. The type of mount will be the most important system that helps determine the motion of the telescope and how smoothly it moves while tracking a celestial object.
For example, an altazimuth or an alt-azimuth mount will move vertically and horizontally without the shaking or go-and-stop movement. This is the type of mount you should be looking for if you’re a beginner since it is much easier to use than others and can help work coherently with the included programs that help with tracking celestial bodies—like in the Orion 10015 StarBlast.
Another very important feature in choosing the best telescope for your expert level and desire is the finder scope.
This is the part of the telescope that is mounted on it already when it comes to you pre-assembled. This is the part of the telescope that has that red dot or crosshairs that help with alignment and centering of objects. This will help you pinpoint and locate what you want to see at any given time.
With telescopes, there are various types of scopes, like the refractor scope, which has the light passing through the lens from the front of the scope and moves to the back through a mirror. You can check out objects on earth and in the sky.
The auxiliary lens system is what is wedged between the eyepiece of the telescope and the actual telescope itself. The lens is what is responsible for determining, decreasing and increasing the focal length and magnification of the image you’ll be seeing in your view.
With the lens, you’ll be able to double or triple magnification, however you see fit.
Interestingly enough, the smaller the lens, the more magnification it has.
From telescope to telescope the number of eyepieces available will often change. For example, the Meade Instruments Infinity has three different eyepieces available, which can help you when trying to sport and track an image.
Not only do they differ in number, but they also change depending on magnification and field of view. Fortunately, with the proper maintenance and care, the eyepiece—no matter how many you have—can often last a lifetime and will never have to be replaced.
Size and weight
Especially for beginners, the weight of the telescope can make a huge difference. You’ll want to be able to easily transport the telescope outside and along with you on whatever trip you may be going on. Especially if you are not only carrying it from your car to the ideal spot, you’ll want the set-up process to be simple.
The DoubleSun AZ Telescope is one of the lightest ones on this list, weighing only 6.8 lbs, which is ideally the lightest weight to carry. However, most of the beginner telescopes won’t weigh more than 25-30 lbs at most, which is quite light for a tool to be used to observe and study the night sky.
Depending on the use being served by these telescopes, certain accessories can be ideal for the ultimate viewing experience. An aluminum tripod, for example, that comes along with the DoubleSun AZ Telescope or the stainless steel tripod that holds the Celestron 21063 AstroMaster 90 can be great accessories that come along with the telescope.
Other accessories also include number of eyepieces, a table top base, tripod, and a case.
Most of these telescopes—on the guide and in the market—come with a 1-2 year warranty backed by the manufacturer. Especially since these telescopes are for beginners, they don’t come with all the special materials and equipment used for more advanced models that will most likely increase the warranty.