BeginOur guide to buying the right telescope for you

Which ScopeThere are lots of telescopes available on the market, and for the beginner, selecting one can be a bewildering experience. Selecting a telescope for both astronomy and land viewing  will usually be a compromise. However, once you have decided on the telescope’s main purpose, choosing one can become much easier.

If you have decided that your telescope will be used primarily for observing the night sky, the instrument required does not necessarily need to give a right side up image and is not required to focus on nearby objects. With the exception of the moon, planets and close star clusters, interesting night sky objects are faint, in fact most are very faint.

As a new observer you may be mainly interested in viewing the moon and planets, and if this is the case, a telescope with a small objective (primary mirror or lens) may be sufficient. However, most observers quickly graduate to galaxies, nebulae, globular clusters, open clusters etc. To view these objects you will require a telescope with the largest aperture that is possible for your circumstances, which will include things like cost, weight, portability, etc.

Newtonian reflector telescopes are a popular choice for astronomical use because they have the lowest cost per inch of aperture. Observation of faint deep sky objects, such as nebulae and galaxies, can be achieved at a relatively reasonable cost by reflectors having mirror diameters of 150 to 200mm (6 to 8 inches). Refractor telescopes are good for achieving high power and contrast when viewing the planets and the moon. They have a reputation of providing crisp, sharp-quality images. Since they are virtually maintenance free, they are easy to operate, but due to high costs for the large aperture scopes, most beginners will choose a Newtonian reflector as a first scope for all round astronomy.

Short-tube refractors are now another low cost option for beginners. Their smaller size makes them an excellent choice for a portable telescope and the beautiful wide-field star vistas which they provide, are great for learning your way around the night sky. Astronomy can be an expensive hobby, but it doesn’t have to be.  There are ways to start enjoying the night sky without a lot of expensive equipment.  In fact you may aready own a pair of binoculars which is a great way to enjoy the sky. For a few dollars you can get a planisphere, a sort of rotatable star map that can show you the positions of the constellation and major stars in the sky for a given date and time. You can go to the public library or explore the internet for all kinds of information about astronomy and celestial events. There are pitfalls when starting out with astronomy.

Many department and toy stores sell small refractors (usually 50-60mm) that advetise 500, 700 or 1000 POWER!  They have colorful space images on the box.  These should be avoided.  They can become an exercise in frustration, with their inadequate optics and shaky mounts. It’s best to start simply. Find a local astronomy club if available.  Astronomy Clubs are great places to learn and to meet people who can answer your questions.  Also find a reputable store that sell telescopes.  Ask the folks at the astronomy clubs who they recommend. Start learning the sky with your eyes or with a pair of binoculars.

As you start to learn about telescopes and astronomy, you’ll discover that “Aperture” is more important than “Power” and a surprisingly large aperture telescope, like a “Dobsonian Telescope”, can bought with relatively little expense. A telescope provides a very narrow view of the sky, typically around one degree and can provide a lot of aperture and magnification.  Binoculars can provide wider views of the sky, around 4-10 degress and have the advantages of using both eyes.



A Dave-headshot-reverseOk, you’re new to all this and you just want to buy a telescope to poke around the sky. You don’t want confusion – heck, all this is confusing enough if you’ve got this far! You don’t want to get ripped off, or worse, pay too much for a telescope with features you’ll never use,  right?

Look, I”ve been there, it’s worse than trying to find a good used car with no mechanical knowledge. SO, with all this in mind I’ve taken the bull by the horns and put together this ‘recommened list’ of telescopes to suit most levels and most age groups. Remember, this is just a guide, it’s impossible to tailor one specifically for you, but we’ll come mighty close! There are hundreds of telescopes out there,

BUT it’s a guide based on 40 years of experience and 40 years of consoling many Dads who’ve come to me after Xmas with an el-cheapo scope that won’t work, wobbles in the breeze and has lousy optics. (it’s usually a department store special) and he wants me to “fix it.” Uh Uh! Can’t do! Dad’s dejected because he’s tried to do the right thing, the kid’s lip is on the ground and the scope ends up in a garage sale a few years later selling for a fraction of what it cost. The hardest thing to sell is a used telescope!

As a beginner amateur astronomer, you may feel overwhelmed trying to choose the best starter telescope. The enormously wide range of telescope kits available in the market may add to your confusion. Try to learn at least something of the night sky with your very first telescope, regardless of its inferiority before you upgrade.

You can use practically any telescope, even a terrestrial spotting scope, in conjunction with a star map and binoculars to learn how to star hop. Your first telescope will not be your last telescope and you should not expect it to be. Do not buy a first telescope expecting it to satisfy your observing needs for the rest of your life. As nice as that would be, it is an unrealistic expectation. Learn how telescopes, eyepieces and mounts work. Learn how to quickly align your mount, at least close enough for casual visual observation.

Alignment is not difficult and should not take a lot of time. Achieve this modest level of expertise before you upgrade to an intermediate level telescope, so that you can make an informed decision.   I highly recommend the following makes and models.   As always, need advice or information on your scope? Email me



This page will help guide you through your beginning steps.  It”s the full guide to choosing a telescope, what to look at, how and where to buy, etc. This will give you a BIG head start – THEN come back here to look at a some examples of telescopes to buy. You”ll find a number of ideas to help you enjoy your hobby more so CLICK HERE

Special Offer – Not Available In Stores!  

We are Specialists – Not Just a Salesperson In a Shop. Now, all these scopes are available from me and delivery is quick. Full warranties and guarantees apply PLUS you get FREE membership to my ‘advice/help’ line where I’ll answer your astro questions or supply good advice. A FREE newsletter is alSo available if you want it (sign up on my home page)

Our Telescope Range Is Set In 3 Main Levels


Level 1 – Beginner: Telescopes suited for beginners are easy to set-up, use and maintain. Very good optical and mechanical quality. A great first telescope that will show you the moon, planets, star clusters and nebulae. Great for families, young people and folks who don’t want to mess with equipment, but just want to take a look. The refractor versions are good for land use, including whale watching!

Level 2 – Intermediate: Telescopes for the intermediate user are more robust in features and performance. Excellent quality in optics and mechanics, but more complex in use than Level 1 telescopes. They typically take slightly longer to set-up because of the added features but well worth it. An intermediate telescope will allow an enthusiast to “grow” in the hobby. The refractor versions in this level are good for land use too including whale watching!

Level 3 – Advanced: Advanced telescopes are high performance, with exceptionally fine optics and mechanics. They may require a longer set-up time and more skill to master and appreciate. Some advanced telescopes are easy-to-use, but large and heavy. Technically inclined folks will love these scopes. An advanced telescope is a purchase for a lifetime. Excellent for astro-photography work as well.



Due To The High Number Of Weekly Enquiries


Cris is now my business partner. We work from our large metropolitan Melbourne Showroom & Telescope Workshop located in the suburb of Bentleigh. We are one of the largest suppliers of optical products in the Southern Hemisphere, and hold the largest stock of telescopes of any supplier in the Southern Hemisphere

**NB/ I am STILL available to you for initial enquiries before ordering

Phone 02 6585 2260  Mobile 0400636 363  or via Email:

      BEGINNER        INTERMEDIATE              ADVANCED 

Astronomy AliveAbout Astronomy Alive

Cris Ellis is founder & proprietor of Astronomy Alive, a division of Ellis Marketing (established 1987). His astronomy experience spans decades of continuous innovation & growth and his astronomy knowledge is exceptional, even by global standards. We only supply quality telescopes that actually perform, we do NOT supply low quality units that disappoint.

Cris’ strategy in selecting optics with customers is simple – Do it Once – Do it Right, using Exclusively the best products.

Image result for astronomy alive

Did you know that Astronomy Alive is 100% Australian owned, 100% Australian located and 100% Australian operated?

Our telescope showroom and workshop is located in the Melbourne suburb of Bentleigh. We are Melbourne’s  ONLY  specialist supplier of telescopes. Our competitors are: Camera stores, Department stores or Webpage suppliers only – all with limited/ no specialist knowledge in telescopes & astronomy.

We recommend you use caution when buying. Australia’s most advertised telescope business in most internet searches – aren’t Australians, aren’t owned or managed in Australia. They may use a very Australian sounding business name, but are a foreign business.

We are available via phone – 8am to 6pm – 7 days a week Phone: 03 9576 5325 or 0412 318 125  We accept customers by appointment between 8am and 6pm weekdays, and via personal arrangement on week ends

International customers: Country code 61 Area Code 3
Number 9576 5325 – OR –
Mobile: Country code 61 Number 412 318 125


.    free counter

Page Rank


Read previous post:

[wp_cart:test Product:price:200:end]

Astro Travels

Astronomy Tours/Presentations 2010 Doing Astronomy for over 40 years you...

Dave on Radio

   'Astro Dave' Reneke on Radio  Dave Appears 'LIVE' On...