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Preferred Astronomical Telescope For Starters

Very often people with great interest in astronomy are often confused with the choice of telescope they should use as a starter.

Most telescopes today are made in China. It’s not a news to many people but most of the telescopes are made in just a few factories. So while one sees different brands of a similar telescope with slightly different features, they all probably originated out of the same location in China. So the brand itself very often does not matter. So one should not focus on the brand but on the types of telescopes. Today , the optical element of most telescopes is pretty good be it the lens in a refractor or the mirror in a reflector, the odds are that they are above average quality for most astronomical telescopes one would find from most reputable dealers. However marketers of the telescopes know that people are looking at buying a telescope that is under a very specific price point. So what has happened is that almost all the other important elements of the telescope, at least in the very inexpensive models – for example , the stability of the tripod, the quality of the eyepieces , finderscope, the smoothness of the motions to aim the telescopes , they are all compromised on telescopes below a certain level in order to meet the price they know people want to pay. That’s not very good for the person getting the telescope.

Here are some of the ​best telescope for the money

  • 6” f/8 reflector – It’s a bit lighter and therefore easier to move around. A reflector must have a good collimation in order to provide a good image at the eyepiece. An f/8 focal ratio is more forgiving of slight mis-collimation than f/6 and that 8” f/6 is a bit more difficult to collimate is not going to be as good for the uninitiated user. So the small mirror is balanced out by being able to achieve better images at the eyepiece with a more forgiving focal ratio. A 6” f/8 has a 1200mm focal length. If it comes with a 9 mm or 10 mm eyepiece, the views of the moon and planets would be adequately decent not to mention deep sky objects in that or a longer focal length one. It costs around $300 but it is an investment that can easily last 10 years or more with a little care. So that’s $30 a year ! It’s well worth that money. And finally an f/8 system will provide good views, even with very inexpensive eyepieces.

  • If one needs to go a little smaller or inexpensive , consider a 4.5” / 114 mm f/8 Dobsonian reflector. The base may need to be set on a small crate to get it high enough up for easier viewing , but with a 900 mm focal length and a 10 mm eyepiece , one would be able to see the rings of Saturn and the Andromeda Galaxy too in a longer focal length eyepiece. Proceed at around $250 from several retailers , it’s a solid option that won’t wobble is also forgiving on collimation and has enough aperture that many younger eyes will see some colour in the Orion Nebula as well.
  • Considering someone who is a little younger, 76 mm tabletop Dobsonian reflectors would be a good option. One need to buy 3x Barlow lens either immediately or in the

future in order to get up to about 90x magnification. It’s easy for small hands to pick up and move.

One must avoid computerized telescopes as the first one.

So either bite the bullet and spend a little extra or go with the small, steady , easy to use telescope and learn more about what might really work for in the future.


Paola Garcia lives in Jakarta Indonesia. She is an associate professor in University of Indonesia and also managing Scoopinion at the same time. She is also fond of watching theatrical plays.

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