Successfully reported this slideshow.
You’ve unlocked unlimited downloads on SlideShare!
Points to Consider
Buying your First Telescope
Bangalore Astronomical Society
• Though Astronomy is the oldest science the telescope was invented only 400 years ago.
• It’s common for us to gets the impression that a telescope is required to start astronomy
and for learning about the night sky.
– Most of the times astronomical news is shown with a great telescope or a colorful
picture in media and the viewers get carried away with such photos.
• Take a moment and think what did astronomers do before the telescope was invented?
Didn’t they study stars and night sky ?
• One would require a telescope only after he/she has planned for their needs. Most of the
first time telescope buyers make the mistake of rushing out to buy a telescope, without
knowing the most basics of telescope and it’s operations.
• More over without any preparation the investment into your first telescope can go waste.
• Usually the expectations while buying the telescope is to see Saturn with it’s rings as shown
in the photos. Or see the galaxies and nebula with great colors, you will soon learn that this
expectation will go for high disappointment.
• Many first time telescope users end up spending most of their time with telescope without
successfully pointing to a planet or galaxy. Later with these disappointments you would
eventually loose your interest in observations and astronomy.
• I have spent some time to explain you the basic things you need to know before you decide
to buy your first telescope.
Level 1: Unaided Eye (Naked Eye)
– Every amateur astronomer should first start his hobby with naked eye observations.
– Learn about the stars and their position, the constellations, directions, identification
of Alt/Atz, RA/Dec, and rise time / set time of different stars and celestial bodies.
– Learn to use the star charts, virtual observatory software, astronomy magazines.
These tools and techniques come handy when you go for the next level of
– While some people think they cannot learn anything with Naked eye observation,
and desperately want to buy a telescope to start their astronomy hobby. – Well if
you are not aware of what’s where in the night sky, the best of the telescope will
not be able to show you anything.
– Naked eye observation is recommended for at least 3 to 6 months before one goes
for the next level.
Recommendation: This method is strongly recommended for all Amateur
astronomers, this gives a strong foundation to observational Astronomy.
Age Group: All, in fact there is no age limit on this.
Level 2: Binoculars.
– While you get good knowledge about the night sky by naked eye observations,
before you think of telescope, you will have to experience the power of
– Beyond doubt Binoculars can treated as "first telescope". They show you a wide
field of view, making it easy to find your way around. Binoculars show a view
that's right-side up and straight in front of you, making it easy to see where
you're pointing. Binoculars are also relatively cheap, widely available, and a
breeze to carry and store.
– Your first investment to 7X50 or 10X50 binoculars will eventually turnout to be
life time worth. You would require skills of Naked eye observation and Binocular
observation to go for next level.
Recommendation: This method is highly recommended for all Amateur
astronomers after their initial 3 months of naked eye observation.
Age group: 8 years and above. There is no upper limit.
Level 3: Telescopes
– By the time you come to level 3, you would have eventually spent about one year
observing the night sky, and in the mean while you would have seen most of the
Messier objects visible through Binocular. With your Astronomy club buddy, you
would have also peeped into the telescope and had a good understanding of how
different objects look.
– You will also learn the use of telescope and binoculars, various types and their
working. After gaining all this knowledge which usually requires over 1 years,
decide on your first telescope.
– You'll know the different kinds of telescopes (reflectors, refractors), what you can
expect of them and what you'll do with the one you pick. (Planetary or deep sky
observations, astrophotography) and any advanced activities.
Recommendation: Recommended for Amateur Astronomer who what to
continue Astronomy as serious hobby. You may find it good to join an
Astronomical society and use the telescope from the society.
Age: 15 years and above
Know about night sky
• The biggest problem with new scope owners is
– they rush out and buy scope,
– They're able to point the scope at the Moon, and not much else. but then can't find
– They believe they can find something in the sky by pointing the scope at random.
– But this really doesn't work, as they soon find out.
– So they look at the Moon a few times, and after that becomes a bore, the scope
disappears into the closet forever. I've seen it happen a many times.
• My recommendation is, you should not invest money into a telescope until
– you first learn a couple of constellations. The constellations are your "road map to
– Without the constellations, you won't be able to find anything since you won't
know where in the sky to point your scope.
– Too many people in our generation expect it to be easy one the very first day of
• So be patient.
• Telescopes are not cheap for everyone to own.
• The astrophotogphs which attract most of the people to the fascinating world of
astronomy shouldn’t be your first expectation. If not you will be disappointed soon
• First time buyers usually expect that their first telescope can be used for
Astrophotography. Most often your first buy will not help you with
astrophotography. It is difficult, expensive, and requires a lot of time to master with
some of the best optics, mount, camera and software. You might want to invest over
1.5L for a good astrophotography telescope with mount
What can you expect from your first telescope?
• Usually the small first timer telescopes can basically targets at
– The Moon,
– Jupiter & Saturn.
– Bright Nebula and open clusters
Saturn in small
telescopes – Is
First Time Telescope buyers
If you are a first time telescope buyers
– Do you have a binocular?
• If not then you are better off to buy binoculars than telescope.
– Have you seen through the telescope couple of times?
• If not then telescopes are not your starting point.
– Do you know what your needs and expectations are from
• If not then you better understand it before your buy
Points to Consider.
TELESCOPE ads with high POWER
Most first timers fall for 3 reasons
• Low Telescope cost with high expectations
• Power of the telescope like 650x, 475x
• Colorful photos on the telescope boxes and ads
Balance your selection
Most first timers don’t know the basic telescope equation
• Aperture/optics quality + stable Mount + Portability
= good telescope + value for money
• The below options are good for first time telescope buyers.
– 6 inch Newtonian reflector on Dobsonian mount
– 6 inch Newtonian reflector on good-quality Equatorial mount
– Good quality 3" or 4" refractor, on good-quality Equatorial or Alt-Azimuth mount
These questions don’t make any sense
• Which is the best telescope for me?
– There are many variety of telescopes and each telescope is for unique need.
– The telescope that suites your NEEDS are best for you, and only you know
your needs well.
– The size, mount, cost all this matters.
• Where do I buy the telescope?
– By now you will know that good telescopes are sold only through authorized dealer and
the stores which are not authorized will simply “fool” you.
– Once you have done some research on your needs and telescope model, you will find
the best dealer to purchase.
• Can I gift my kids / spouse a telescope for their birthdays?
– Yes you can gift and let your kids/ spouse keep your gift as a “show” piece in their room.
– Don’t be silly to gift a telescope for someone who doesn’t know how to use the
– Instead gift a pair of binoculars 10X50 is a good.
• If I own a telescope will I learn astronomy or enjoy night sky?
– NO ! Owning a telescope doesn’t teach you astronomy. It might keep your motivation
for a few days till you discover that your telescope is of no use and you loose your
• You don’t need telescope to start your astronomy as hobby, I always
recommend that a you obtain a bit of experience with astronomy and
telescope before plan to buy a telescope
• Learn about night sky,
• Objects in the sky,
• Telescope types and models
• More important your need for telescope.
• until the appropriate time save your money from an unprepared first telescope buy.
I started my astronomy in 1994 and Purchased my first telescope in 2006 !
Join the Bangalore Astronomical Society www.bas.org.in and
participate in the observation session/ star parties. Learn about
telescopes, peep through different telescopes and talk to various
experts, then you will discover which is the best telescope for you.
Please feel free to join us @ www.bas.org.in
You can reach me by email
Information and guidance for people who want to buy telescope for the first time.