Astronomy Telescopes

astronomy telescope

Astronomy Telescopes


Stargazing and exploring the universe

Astronomy is a popular hobby with all ages. Being outdoors at night watching the skies for planets, comets and even the space station brings a greater meaning to who we are and where we are in the universe.

TV programmes such as Sky At Night have long been popular and inspire us to look outwards. Buy a telescope can really bring a new outlook on all things. A weekend at a Dark Sky Park in the UK can be a really rewarding experience.

We highlight a range of everyday telescopes for the average star-gazer through to the more serious home astronomer. Browse through our range for telescopes that start at budget prices for the beginner.

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FAQ when buying a telescope

What is the first thing to consider when buying a telescope?

Basically, the most important thing to consider is the aperture. This is the diameter of the main lens. The size determines how much light gets into the telescope and hence the brightness of what you see. The larger the aperture the more light. This means you can see things further away and closer items appear brighter.
A minimum useful aperture size for beginners will be 70mm. That is the minimum, its useful for the Moon and closest planets. For more in depth star-gazing you'll need larger.

What types of telescopes are there?

There are three main designs of astronomy telescopes.
1. Refractor scopes - these have the main lens at the front and light passes through the telescope in a direct way until it is redirected by the eyepiece. These are effectively maintenance free but can get expensive at higher magnifications.
2. Reflector scopes - these are probably what you would consider an astronomy telescope to be. In this telescope, the light enters the main lens and is magnified by bouncing the light from the back to the front and then to the eyepiece. They are more affordable but do need occasional re-adjustment and maintenance.
3. Compound - uses lens and mirrors to magnify the image. They tend to be shorter than reflector scopes and lighter to carry.

What's the most important accessory for telescopes?

After the telescope itself, you need to consider the mount and tripod. Astronomy telescopes work at high magnifications and a weak tripod will spoil the viewing experience. Even the slightest vibration and cause a lack of stability of what you are looking at.
The mount itself also needs to be carefully considered. You need to be able to move your telescope smoothly without it wandering off target. A mount that can be lined up with a compass and have markings can help to quickly align your telescope into the correct portion of the sky.
Where cost is not an issue, a computerised mount can automatically find things in the sky and also track moving objects such as the space station.

What's the best way to learn about the stars and galaxies?

Star-gazing and astronomy is a great hobby to have. There are always things to discover. To stay ahead of what's in the sky take the opportunity to join a local astronomy group. Most cities and towns will have at least one.

 

Buying a telescope video guide