Stargazing or land watching are great hobbies. While the first one will provide amazing pictures of the galaxy, the other one can help you see amazing landscapes or animals. However, you will need a telescope to do these things. While you might think that a telescope is a big investment, there are a lot of devices which cost more than you might expect.
In this article, we are going to show you the most important things you should consider before you purchase a telescope. Make sure to read more about the product on a review specialized website like TelescopeReviewer. There you will find more information about different types of telescopes, which will help you choose the right device that suits your needs. Now, let’s see what you need to consider before buying your first telescope.
Types of Telescopes
First of all, let’s start by showing you what types of telescopes are out there. Knowing this, you can decide which type of telescope is the best one for you.
These are the most common telescopes. The eyepiece of refractor telescopes is located at the bottom and they use lenses to form the image. These telescopes are similar to scopes and binoculars. Unfortunately, these telescopes form mirror images. Despite this fact, the image can be corrected by using an erecting prism.
One great thing about these telescopes is that they are simple to use. Also, they are better for stargazing and they are low maintenance. These telescopes also come with some cons. They have smaller apertures which means they offer poorer viewing of distant nebulae. If you find a refractor telescope with good aperture it is going to be a lot more expensive.
Unlike refractor telescopes, reflecting ones use a mirror to form images. The eyepiece is located at the side of the main tube. One of the best things about this type of telescope is that it has a great aperture which helps you see distant objects. Also, it offers brighter images compared to the refractor telescopes.
Unfortunately, these telescopes can’t be used for terrestrial applications. Also, dust can set on the optics because the tube is open to air. These telescopes require more maintenance. This is why it is better to opt for a refractor telescope if you are a beginner.
3. Catadioptric (compound)
This type of telescopes uses both lenses and mirrors to create the best images. They combine the tech from refractor and reflecting telescopes and offer better and sharp images. These telescopes are versatile which means that you can use them for terrestrial or planetary observance.
These devices can be a little more expensive compared to reflecting telescope with the same aperture. Also, they don’t have the same appearance as the other two types of telescopes. However, most of these devices are more portable than reflecting or refracting telescopes.
The most important thing when you look for a telescope is the aperture. The aperture is the diameter of the main optical component. This is very important because the size of the aperture indicates how much light enters in the telescopes. The bigger the aperture, the more light it captures. It also affects the quality of the image.
When you choose a telescope with a big aperture, you get better and sharper images. Also, these images have more clarity. Since telescopes are used in poor light conditions, a big aperture maximizes the amount of light that enters the telescope. However, a large aperture means that the telescope is bigger which makes it harder to carry around. So, if you want a portable telescope go for a powerful scope with a medium aperture.
Although you might think that the aperture is the one that determines the magnification, it is actually wrong. The eyepiece is the one which actually magnifies the image. However, the aperture of the telescope also plays a big role in the magnification process. Also, you need to take into consideration the atmospheric conditions.
Look for a telescope that includes powerful eyepieces like the Meade ETX 90 which comes with a Plössl eyepiece. Also, this telescope is great for beginners and it has a good aperture. You also need to take into consideration the aperture when you purchase an eyepiece for your telescope. You can’t get one that offers too much magnification because it can damage the quality of the image.
For instance, you can also get an eyepiece that magnifies 50 times the size of the aperture of your telescope. So, if you have a 4-inch telescope you can only get an eyepiece which offers 200x magnification. If you get anything bigger than this, you will get fuzzy images.
4. Focal Length
Another important thing you should consider before purchasing a telescope is the focal length. The focal length is the distance the light goes from the mirror to the optic. This can also influence the length of the telescope. For instance, a 12’’ telescope has a focal length of 60’’. However, the focal length is not as important as the aperture.
5. Focal ratio
The focal ratio is obtained by dividing the focal length and the objective diameter. When you choose a telescope with a long focal ratio you get higher magnification. Despite this fact, you also receive a narrower field of view. This is better for observing planets and the Moon.
If you want to focus on the Milky Way, galaxies, and star clusters you should search for a telescope with a lower focal ration. Despite the fact that you get less magnification you will be able to see more of the sky.
Of course, we do have a page that details the top telescopes for sale. These are some of the most important things you should look for in a telescope. Also, make sure to choose a telescope for beginners if you are purchasing your first one. Devices for beginners are easier to use but they come with less extra features compared to the telescopes for advanced users.
Another important thing you should consider is the price of the device. While you might be looking for a telescope with great features and specs, the price might not be covered by your budget. However, nowadays, there are a lot of telescopes with good specs and affordable prices.
If this is of interest to you, you’ll also want to check out our spotlight reviews.