Every hobby has a cost of investment, and funnily enough, astronomy is no different. Astronomy, like any other hobby, requires that you invest time and money into it.The first step to success, is to know how much you can invest into astronomy. The telescope is one part of the puzzle, and as time goes by, you may want to invest into magazines, more lenses, and even possibly bigger telescopes!For your first telescope, you will find that there are 2 major versions that you can go with. The first is the refractor versions, and the second is the reflector versions. They operate slightly differently, and have different benefits.
Budding star gazers, inspired by the hugely successful BBC2 programme Wonders of the Solar System, have sent telescope sales soaring.Department store John Lewis has seen a 50 per cent rise since the airing of the show in which former rock star Professor Brian Cox visits the most extreme locations on earth to look at the natural wonders across the solar system.
You've enjoyed the stars, just looking at them when you step outside. Curiosity has led you to dig out the binoculars for a closer look. Sooner or later, you may decide to buy a telescope. Which one?Longtime star watchers -- often called "amateur astronomers" -- differ in their opinions, perhaps in part because of the varied experiences they have had. Some say it is better to buy a larger telescope offering better views to keep the beginner interested. Others, like myself, find value in starting small and working up.
I recommend the Star and Constellation Finder, about $45, from Edmund Scientific at http://tinyurl.com/ylnwnsa.So far we've spent about $50, yet I haven't even mentioned a telescope. There's a reason. Unless you're already a veteran observer it's the last thing you need to buy. Good ones cost a lot of money; buying bad ones is a waste of money. I'll mention telescopes briefly before we're done. But for now what you really need is a good 7x50 pair of binoculars.That will give you a nice wide viewing field.
The telescope changed our lives, and this book is about how it happened. Seeing and Believing tells only a fraction of a 400-year-story, and - since it was written in 1998 - it cannot even hint at the last decade of eye-opening discoveries. It is furthermore a very short book, so its scope is constrained. If you want to know how to design, fabricate and use your own telescope, this book will be no help.
Beware of claims on the box for massive magnification. Such words emblazoned in large, bold, letters stating, "Magnification up to 600 power" really mean nothing. In fact, the 600 power magnification claim may be over-magnification for the scope. If that is the case all you are going to see is a dark, fuzzy image in the eyepiece.As a general rule, the practical maximum magnification limit of a telescope is about 2X per millimetre of aperture or 50X per inch. Thus an eight inch telescope will have a maximum magnification limit of 400X. Any claims of magnification beyond this limit will be useless and produce noting but frustration for the user.
My first piece of advice is to avoid buying telescopes at most brick and mortar stores, especially the big discount and warehouse stores. They're notorious for junky telescopes. Now, I have nothing against these stores. I shop at most of them on a regular basis. I want to save a buck like anyone else. The trouble is that the buyers for these stores have so much on their plates that there's no way they can possibly research telescopes to distinguish bad telescopes from good ones. The sad result is they look for the best wholesale deals and as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I hate to see you buy a cheap telescope as a gift for someone, especially a kid. It can make the big difference as to whether or not that young mind continues his interest in backyard astronomy or throws in the towel.