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Best Telescopes For Astronomy - 4 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Telescope
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Best Telescopes For Astronomy  -  4 Factors to Consider When Choosing A Telescope

When looking for the best telescopes for astronomy there are several factors that you should consider when making your choice.. There are several different telescope sizes and configurations available and it can be confusing picking the one that will be best for you. Which one will be best for you depends on your astronomy goals and what you hope to accomplish. Examining the following factors can help you make the best decision for you.

Aperture size - What you can expect to see

Performance, or what you can expect to see is an important factor when choosing the best telescope for you. The aperture size or diameter of the telescope is what will determine this. The larger the aperture size the more light the telescope will collect and more detail you will be able to see in the night sky. Also, a larger aperture size telescope can be pushed to an even higher level of magnification than a smaller aperture size telescope through the use of accessories.

Telescopes with a 2-3 inch aperture size will give you good views of the Moon, bright planets and some of the brighter nebulas and star clusters. With a 3.5 - 5 inch aperture you will have an even more detailed view of the same objects plus some of the dimmer objects like galaxies, and fainter nebulas and start clusters.With apertures of 6 inches or higher you can get very bright and detailed views of objects in the solar system and most deep space objects. In other words, every increase in aperture will have an exponential effect on what you will be able to see. But, the larger the aperture the bigger and heavier the telescope will be. You will have to weigh your aperture size choice against the next factor: size and transportability.

Telescope Size and Transportability

The size and transportability of a telescope will have a big effect on how much you will use it. Although telescopes with a bigger aperture will give you the chance to view more night sky objects, this also makes the telescope much bigger and bulkier. If a telescope takes too long to setup or makes it more difficult to transport to a different location this may discourage people from using it and it may end up in your closet collecting dust. If this is the case you may want to consider starting with a smaller model first and invest in a larger size down the road. On the other hand, others find the effort of setup worth it to get a better view of the objects available for viewing.

Telescope Design

Another factor when choosing a telescope is design type. There are basically 3 types of telescope designs: refractors, reflectors and Cassegrains. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Refractors are the oldest design and most recognizable and for those reasons are usually the first choice for a beginners telescope. They are a good choice if you will be doing your viewing from the suburbs or city where you will have to deal with light pollution. Since their optical elements are fixed they require little or no maintenance and with accessories can be used for daytime viewing as well. They are also the priciest in terms of inches aperture but are the most user friendly.

Reflectors use mirror based optics to collect light. You will probably get more performance for your money with a reflector than the other designs available. This type of telescope may require occasional re-alignment of the mirrors if it is roughly handled but this adjustment is relatively simple to do.

Cassegrains are a more recently developed design that uses both characteristics of refractor and reflectors to collect light and offers a convenient telescope in a compact package. If you are going to spend most of your skywatching viewing highly detailed aspects of the Moon and bright planets this might be a good choice for a beginning telescope.


Of course, price is very important to take into consideration if you're first starting out. If you are not sure you or your family will have a long term interest in astronomy they are dozens of reasonably priced beginners telescopes to choose from which will help you get started and narrow down your areaa of interest. On the other hand, if you think your enthusiasm for astronomy will last, investing in a more expensive telescope with more features could be worth it for you.

So, choosing the best telescopes for astronomy can bring can bring a lot of future joy and excitement to you and your family. Just remember to examine the factors of what you can expect to see, size and transportability, telescope design, and price and this will help you get started with astronomy and years of fun and enjoyment. Thanks for listening!

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