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Explore The Space And Cosmos: Here Is What You Need To Know Before Buying Your First Telescope

First Posted: Nov 28, 2016 02:31 AM EST
Telescope
There are many types of telescopes and choosing the perfect one may take time to research and canvass.
(Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

When it comes to the supermoon, meteor showers and other astronomical phenomena, many people feel left behind simply because they do not have an efficient telescope at home. A telescope is a person's personal window to the universe and buying the right type may become a very daunting task.

However, there is not one perfect telescope. It is always better to choose a telescope based on observing interests, budget and lifestyle. To make things easier, here are a few tips to help in choosing the right telescope.

Do Not Buy On Impulse

Telescopes do not come cheap. A telescope should not be purchased on impulse.

"Don't expect a lot from the majority of telescopes costing less than $200, and certainly be wary of anything sold in a toy shop or department store," Sean Walker, Equipment Editor of Sky & Telescope magazine, said in a press release by Sky & Telescope.

"Do some research before buying, and then go to a reputable store or online dealer that specializes in telescopes or related products, such as cameras or consumer electronics," he added.

Pick A Type Of Telescope That Fits Your Viewing Needs

There are many types of telescopes depending on their shapes, sizes and prices. However, all of them fall into just three main types -- refractors, reflectors and compound telescopes.

Refractors are telescopes that collect light using lenses. They have a lens in front of the tube. Generally, these telescopes are low maintenance but can become pricey as the diameter of the lens increases.

Reflectors, on the other hand, use mirrors. They gather light using an accurately shaped curved mirror.

Lastly, compound or catadioptric telescopes are those that use a combination of lenses and mirrors.

According to Noozhawk, buying a telescope depends on one's budget and viewing preferences. For those who want to explore the Moon, planets or daytime terrestrial scenery, a small-diameter telescope would be perfect. Otherwise, they can purchase a larger light bucket to see fainter star clusters and galaxies.

Always Consider The Budget

The ultimate question is, what is your budget? Telescopes vary on their prices, depending on the brand, materials used and sizes. Quality telescopes are not toys and they do not come cheap. In fact, these telescopes may cost more than $300.

Look For Important Characteristics

When planning to buy telescopes, it is important to look for certain characteristics and features such as aperture, focal length and magnification, finer, mount type and computerized scopes.

Buying a telescope is not like looking for toys because they are expensive and delicate. Regular maintenance is important to ensure that it stays in top shape. Now, if you have decided which telescope to invest on, make sure you mark your calendar for the next meteor shower or supermoon to have a rewarding experience.

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