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How to Choose a Telescope

If you only learn one thing from this site let it be this phrase. You may have seen this before but any books or articles on telescopes all stress the same thing. DO NOT BUY A SCOPE FROM A DEPARTMENT STORE. Buying this type equipment turns most people away from astronomy than anything else. The equipment is cheap, flimsy and unstable. If you see on the box 525X Power don't fall for this marketing trick. Power is not as important as you may think. The aperture (size) of the scope determines how much one can see. The larger the aperture the more you get to see. My scope is an 8" and I mainly observe with no more than 125-150 power. Rule of thumb is no more than 50-60 power per inch of aperture under ideal conditions. The more power the larger the object but the dimmer the object and a narrower field of view. With those cheap scopes you won't see anything using that kind of power. Don't believe the pictures either. For the most part, you won't be able to see in color. Color will only show up on film. Please ask as many people you can and learn as much as possible before buying.

There are many places you can find good equipment. Many places will be through catalog or the Internet. Look at the advertisements in the astronomy magazines. Astronomy and Sky&Telescope are the two most popular magazines. Stick with the name brands such as Meade or Celestron to name a few. There are other fine brands as well.

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