Your Christmas Telescope Buying Guide

To make sure this doesn’t happen to you read our guide OK?

What’s number one on your Christmas list this year? Maybe a telescope? I get a lot of people asking me about the best telescope to buy, and the short answer is buy the dearest one you can afford and the one you will use the most.

Price vs Quality

I’ve got some good tips for you so listen up OK? Telescopes today are a compromise between price and quality and any telescope in this country under $300 is not going to do any serious work for you. Don’t buy from a department store, they generally don’t have the experience to advise you. Buy from a private dealer who knows about telescopes, a camera shop for instance, or a telescope retailer.

The best way to get into astronomy is to first learn the constellations and then use a pair of binoculars to find your first ‘deep sky’ objects, like planets star clusters. Binoculars can really show quite a number of interesting sights in the night sky. I still use mine every session. Another great way to start in astronomy is to visit your local Astronomy Club.

An Easy Target

One target that will show tremendous detail, even in a small telescope, is the Moon. Even a small telescope will reveal a wealth of detail. You’ll be able to see craters, mountains, ‘seas’, and a number of other fine details.

Image result for reneke, choosing telescope

The advertising says, “Light weight and reasonably compact, this Reflector Telescope is junk!

Remember, the quality of the view you will have through your telescope depends to a very large degree on how much light pollution you have in your area.

Tonight we’re just past a special full Moon, known by ancient native tribes as the Hunter’s Moon because of its extreme brilliance. Rising around 8.30pm its glow is strong enough to was out half the night sky so get in early OK?

Trashy Scopes

As far as beginner telescopes are concerned, there are many junk telescopes out there, but decent starter scopes are not too expensive. Expect to pay at least $300 for a quality beginner telescope in Australia.

You can find scopes for around $100 or less, but beware. They often make claims that are preposterous, and are of very poor mechanical and optical quality.

Don’t expect a small telescope to show images like those you see in magazines, or worse still, on that big colourful box the telescope comes in. Those pictures are likely from the Hubble Space Telescope or some other large professional telescope, placed there to entice you to buy.

Perhaps the second most important part of a telescope is its mount. Make sure the one that comes with the scope you’re considering is smooth, stable, and solid. If you can pick the entire scope and mount up with one hand it will wobble in the slightest breeze and you’ll invent words never heard before. Better to avoid them!

I don’t Know How To use It

If you already have a telescope and are having a little trouble using it, don’t worry. It takes a bit of practice to point the telescope at objects you want to see. Make yourself comfortable and relaxed when you observe. Relax your eyes and try an eye patch over the eye you’re not using, it removes the distraction of a second image to your brain.

Image result for telescope in camera shop

Focus on brands you recognise…and buy from telescope or camera shops who stock scopes

If you will be buying this Xmas and trust me, then on my website I have a couple of nice telescopes specially reduced that will suit most beginners. Normally much dearer they are well under $300 so go to www.davidreneke.com.

Hey, did you know Galileo’s first telescope was only as powerful as a cheap $20 pair of binoculars? Really! And with that he discovered craters on the Moon, the rings around Saturn and saw the moons of giant Jupiter. How’s your humble telescope looking now then?

  • SEE our range of telescopes and buying info starting HERE


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