Read these 6 Amateur Telescopes Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Telescopes tips and hundreds of other topics.
Many experts recommend a good quality Dobsonian telescope for the novice user. They are relatively affordable, gather a lot of light, and they are simple to operate, which is a plus for novices. Plus, they are heavy duty so new users don't have to worry about breaking their scope the first night they use it.
Generally, experts agree that most telescopes priced under $300 are less than adequate even for the amateur or backyard astronomer. These cheaper scopes simply don't gather enough light and will disappoint the amateur sooner or later. Look for an amateur telescope that costs more than $300, and buy it from a reputable dealer, not at the mall or in one of those "nature" shops. Those amateur telescopes are really little better than toys.
Kids and telescopes just seem to go together, and buying your child a telescope is an excellent way to get them interested in science. There are many beginner level telescopes geared to children, so look for a sturdy model that your child can learn on, and then move up to a more sophisticated telescope as your child grows.
You bought your first telescope, you've put it together, and now, what do you do? First, read the manual that came with your telescope! Before you take the scope outside, familiarize yourself with all it's features, so you won't have to struggle with them in the dark. Then, make sure you place your scope on level ground, and you have a good, clear night to begin your telescope experience. Pick a large, familiar object, like the moon, to begin with, and work your way to smaller stars and planets. Soon, you'll be stargazing like you've done it forever!
An amateur telescope is usually pretty different from the professional telescopes (even small ones) used in observatories. Amateur telescopes are portable, smaller, and do not have the light-gathering ability that professional scopes have. Amateur telescopes are meant mostly for home and hobby use, and not for serious exploration of deep space.
The Main thing telescopes are designed to do is gather light. So, when you buy your first telescope you should look for a scope that has the largest aperture you can afford, because the size of the aperture indicates how much light the telescope can gather. There are variables, such as reflecting or refracting (see above), motor drives, and many other bells and whistles that can make your stargazing more enjoyable. Before you buy your first telescope, read up on the newest technologies, subscribe to a couple of astronomy magazines, and look through some telescopes to see what you like the best.