The Most Common FAQs When Buying A Telescope

Our Telescopes Lab has received from our clients a series of queries sometimes quite repetitive, so we decided to place them as a compendium of questions and answers.

In case you cannot find an answer to your questions, please send it to us through our contact page.

What to look for in a telescope?

The diameter, the focal distance, the quality of its optics, the resolution, and the luminosity are the aspects to be valued of a telescope.

How to compare telescopes?

As mentioned earlier, check the diameter, the focal length, the quality of your optics, the resolution, and the brightness. These aspects will help you to decide which telescope you need.

What is the best telescope brand?

To say that one person is superior to another is to enter into an endless discussion. All brands of telescopes have excellent equipment for certain situations and bad for others.

What we can say is that you have many options available in the market. Among the most known are Celestron, Meade, Orion, Sky-Watcher, and Omegon.

What is the price of a telescope?

That depends on the features and accessories you want the telescope to have, to get started with an investment starting at $ 200 is a good start. Surely, after a while, you will opt for a more powerful device, but you will require around 600 $. If you are even more demanding, the price of a telescope can be raised to $ 2000 or $ 3000, which guarantees you great images of the space.

What type of telescope should I buy?

If your observations will be to observe the Moon and the planets buy a refractor telescope. If you plan to observe the constellations and galaxies, then a reflecting telescope is your best option. But if you want to observe both planets and galaxies, then to the catadioptric telescope is the one you should buy.

What is a telescope made of?

Basically, a telescope consists of two elements: hardware components that allow the maneuver and focus thereof, these are made of steel, zinc alloys, aluminum, and plastic (for less sensitive parts).

The second element is the optical system that is composed of mirrors or lenses. The material of lenses or optical glass is silicon dioxide. For its part, Pyrex is generally used for mirror telescopes.

How much is the magnification of a telescope?

When you go to a store that offers telescopes for huge increases, completely discard that equipment. It is feasible to find equipment of 600x or higher, which offer excellent results, but for this, their sizes and prices will also be much higher.

To give you an idea of what we are talking about, a 1000x telescope should have a diameter of around 500mm. These sizes exist but they are very expensive and for professional use. So finding them in any store is not easy.

It is recommended that you review the maximum increase that the telescope can support and thus you can validate it with the magnification that the store or manufacturer offers. Remember that when you exceed the maximum limit when you increase the zoom, the image will lose sharpness, that is, the increases achieved will not help you at all.

Should I include a tripod in an astronomical or terrestrial telescope?

Without a doubt! The tripod allows making observations stably.

How important is the amount of a telescope?

It is extremely important because it prevents the equipment from falling to the ground due to an imbalance.

Which mount is better azimuthal or equatorial?

Because of their ease of use, both mounts are recommended for beginners, because they are easy to use. However, the equatorial mount is more complex, but its advantage is that it allows precise tracking of the objects.

Should the mount be motorized?

To observe stellar objects, a motorized mount is not essential; they can be followed using a regular telescope. For astrophotography, we recommend that you have a GoTo system (GoTo Telescope).

Does the mount work on its own?

To begin with, these mounts can tilt one of their axes in the same degrees as the observation site, which facilitates the tracking of any celestial object.

So for the mount a follow-up, first the telescope must point towards the north celestial pole or, towards the south celestial pole in the southern hemisphere.

The resolution of the telescope, what is it for?

The resolution indicates the ability of the team to show as two separate points that are very close. The lower the value, the greater the separation capacity.

What indicates the luminosity of a telescope?

It is also known as a focal relationship and is symbolized by an f. The lower its value, the brighter it will be.

Telescopes with higher luminosity are better for deep space observations and low luminosity telescopes are used to observe the Moon and the planets.

How do I choose the best telescope?

The quick response is to be guided by the opening (diameter) of the telescope. Greater openness means more light gathering, and therefore better images.

What telescope should I buy?

It’s a very common question by amateurs who start in astronomy. But more data is required to answer, depending on what you want to observe in the sky, we will tell you the telescope that best suits your needs (and budget). But as a general response, it would be a catadioptric telescope, so you can see planets and deep space objects.

Does my telescope require maintenance?

Taking care of your telescope from dust, moisture and falls is the best remedy. Take special care in your optics. If you have a reflector, at some point it will be necessary to collimate its mirrors.

Is a telescope damaged if it is not used?

Your device will not be damaged, if you have it protected from moisture, dust, falls, and blows. So try to keep it in a safe place, at a low height, and away from elements that can hit or knock it down.

Would it be enough to buy a small telescope?

We are all going to want an 8-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, or 16-inch telescope to see many details, but with smaller equipment, we also achieve acceptable images. For example, for many amateurs, a 4inch or 5inch telescope is enough for good planetary observation.

How much will I see with a large telescope?

For certain diameters and types of telescope, we have certain references; For example with a refractor telescope that is between 2.5 “and 4” in diameter, you can see Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s belts, and make good lunar observations.

On the other a 6-inch reflector telescope (Newtonian telescope) allows you to see more clearly Jupiter’s belts and make good observations of deep space. With 8-inch reflector telescopes, you get fabulous results in astrophotography and deepspace observation. It also allows appreciating the Cassini division of Saturn, and with better detail to the galaxies.

Reflectors above 8inch are considered powerful telescopes because they allow observing many details.

What disadvantage can a large telescope have?

Its weight and difficulty to transport. Therefore, it is recommended that they be installed at a fixed point of observation. If you are an amateur, avoid the hassle and consequent laziness due to the transport of the equipment, this will help you to never cancel observations.

What is a Dobsonian telescope?

A Dobsonian telescope has a Dobsonian mount (as the name implies). It is a reflector telescope mounted on an azimuth mount. Due to its simplicity and low cost for large diameters, many fans have been inspired to manufacture this type of mount for their devices.

What is a Catadioptric telescope?

It is a telescope of great power and quality because it combines the characteristics of a reflector telescope and a refractor. Within the catadioptric, the most known model is Schmidt Cassegrain and secondarily Maksutov.

Catadioptric, reflector, or refractor telescope which is better?

To summarize, under similar sizes refractors are the most appropriate for observations of the Solar System while reflectors are better for observing faint objects such as galaxies or nebulae. On the other hand, the catadioptric telescope is very good for astrophotography and all kinds of observations: planets and galaxies.

What are the advantages of a Schmidt Cassegrain telescope?

Its main advantage is its compact design for easy transport, which makes it very popular for amateurs of astronomy. This telescope combines easy manufacture of the spherical surfaces to create an instrument with the long focal length of a refractor to lower cut by opening the reflector telescope. Among the best-known brands in the construction of this type of telescope are Celestron and Meade.

What is a Maksutov telescope?

These telescopes are characterized by the use of a spherical main mirror simple to manufacture and a concave correction lens with a negative meniscus. What allows to correct problems of spherical and chromatic aberration.

These devices provide good magnification power but with a relatively narrow field of view, making them excellent for observing isolated elements.

What can you tell me about a Ritchey Chrétien telescope??

The Ritchey-Chrétien telescope or RCT provides a wide field of vision compared to its original design (Schmidt- Cassegrain) because it eliminates the comatic aberration. RCTs are commonly found in large professional observatories. For example, the Hubble telescope has a variant of this system.

What are achromatic refractor telescopes?

An achromatic refractor uses two pieces of glass of different optical properties to correct chromatic aberration. This correction is achieved by focusing two colors on the same point. Their configuration makes them the cheapest refractor telescopes in the market.

What qualities do apochromatic refractor telescopes have?

Apochromatic refractor telescopes (APO telescopes) have a better correction of achromatic and spherical aberration than achromatic lenses. So, you will get a clearer view of the night sky. APO telescopes are very sought after by amateur astronomers although their price is quite high.

I live in a city, what is the telescope to buy?

I’m sorry to disappoint you, if you’re in a city observing objects such as galaxies or nebulae will not be as good. In the city, you can mostly use your telescope to make planetary observations. If you do not have many exits to use the telescope, then buy a more powerful telescope. For example a 6″ refractor, an 8″ reflector, and a catadioptric above of 8 “.

What is the best telescope for a place of low light pollution?

This tells us that you live outside of a city, so you do not need to move with the telescope. So you have two options, the first if you just want to have regular observations without so much detail, buy a small telescope. The second option is to buy a large telescope and use a site as a home observatory, where you can enjoy its entire splendor to our wonderful universe.

What is the best focal length?

I’ll clarify, that depends on the consumer. If you want deep space observations, your choice should be a telescope with a short focal length. If you like to observe planets, then you should opt for a telescope with a high focal length. Also, if you want versatility in your observations, a medium focal length of around 1000mm to 1200mm is recommended.

What is the meaning of a telescope being fast or slow?

These are quite confusing terms since this feature does not indicate that one telescope is superior to another. Slow telescopes are those with a high f (greater than 6), ie the lens requires a longer time to capture the image correctly, which does not make them ideal for astrophotography

What function do the eyepieces have?

The function of the eyepieces is to modify the magnification in the telescope.

What is the purpose of the finderscope?

The finder is used to aim the telescope at the object to be observed. In addition, it allows focusing on the stellar object. The same is a “mini telescope” with low power that is on top of the telescope.

Why are the images inverted?

They are inverted by the path of light inside the astronomical telescope. In the same way, there is no greater importance in this, because in space there is no up or down. To correct the image an additional lens is required; as a negative point is that the images will look less sharp.

Can I build a telescope myself?

If you do not have the haste to make observations of space, it can be rewarding to build a telescope. Remember that building a telescope will require time and money.

As for the construction costs, we tell you that they do not get too cheap about buying it in a telescope store.

Can you build a powerful home telescope?

As we commented, the difference in the price-quality ratio between a homemade telescope and one made in optics can make you go backward in building a homemade telescope.

However, with patience, good investment, and good technique, you can have one similar to those offered in-store telescopes.

What accessories should the telescope have?

Not many, if you are initiating a pair of eyepieces it is enough for you to observe both planets and stars and galaxies, so it is enough with one eyepiece of high magnification and another of low magnification.

Consider buying a Barlow lens with good optics, because it will be very useful.

To see the planets, do I need to buy color filters?

If you are an amateur astronomer who recently began his observations, you will not need to buy these accessories, it is sufficient to have a good eyepiece. With some experience, you will notice the benefits of color filters once you have purchased them

It is useful to buy light pollution filters?

You should know that to make observations the ideal is that you go to a place of little light pollution. The filters improve the image of planets a little but they do little with galaxies and star clusters.

Do not be fooled, these filters significantly improve the observations but they are not magical.

Should I consider buying it with special coatings?

The numbers speak for themselves, the light transmission increases by 15% with these coatings, and already know greater light has better images. So it’s an excellent idea to buy them!

Will it be easy to perform astrophotography with my telescope?

Neither easy nor difficult. Consider that astrophotography does not consist of pointing the telescope, click and go. The form corrects it requires a motorized telescope and a good camera. Of course, then there is the work of image processing and editing.

In addition, to perform astrophotography with your telescope, you should also consider that the motorized mount has different speeds: solar, lunar, and sidereal.

I want to start astrophotography, what do you advise me?

Use the Moon to get started in astrophotography. This natural satellite is very easy to locate and has very good luminosity. With this Astro, the learning curve will be shorter in terms of the operation of the telescope, operation of the camera, and image editing.

Can I use a webcam for astrophotography?

Yes, you can! but you should know a few electronics to make adaptations in its circuit.

Are terrestrial telescopes good for astronomy?

Spotting scopes are not a good option for astronomy, mainly because you will not be able to observe with good detail and clarity what you intend to observe. Even in some terrestrial telescopes changing eyepieces is not possible.

I need versatility, a telescope that is used for astronomy and terrestrial observations
A starting point would be to consider a pair of binoculars 20×70 or similar. If you still want it to be a telescope, discard the reflectors and look for a refractor of no more than 4 inches.

How much does a good telescope?

From $ 400 you can buy equipment that reflects images of a certain quality for the observer. However, for experienced observers, the costs will be considerably higher.

Where do you buy a good telescope?

The first thing you should do before buying a telescope is to inform yourself of the general characteristics of a good telescope and then compare it with specific models. After that, it will be easier to search for stores that sell good telescopes. Do not even discard purchasing second-hand equipment, which you will surely get at a better price.

Are second-hand telescopes good?

Evaluate your lenses (or mirrors) and the general integrity of the equipment, if it is in good condition then it is a good option to buy it.

What is the best telescope to buy for a beginner?

To be honest, there is no “the best telescope”. We consider that with the exposure until now you already have formed criteria. Ideally, you must first know the use you intend to give it.

What is the simplest telescope to start in astronomical observations?

The short answer is a refractor with an azimuth mount. The minimum price to pay is $ 150, avoid them below this value, they are not worth it. If you do not have enough, for now, save a little or buy some astronomical binoculars.

What telescope should I buy for my son?

For children, it’s recommended a refractor telescope because of its ease of use. Make sure that its opening is 4 inches and with an azimuth mount.

How can I start my son in astronomy without a telescope?

First of all, take it to an astronomy club and planetariums. Encourage your child with books and movies that awaken their interest in astronomy. Another good option that does not involve much expense is to buy a good pair of binoculars of 10×50, they are not very heavy and you can get good images of the Moon and some objects of the deep sky.

I have a Meade tube, is it possible to use an Omegon mount, or a Celestron mount, or a Skywatcher mount, or any other brand?

The short answer is yes. But sometimes they are not 100% compatible, and you will need additional accessories that allow a perfect fit between the tube and the mount. So to save yourself headaches, try that the tube and accessories are from the same manufacturer.

What is the best telescope to see the stars?

If you prefer to see a specific star, we inform you that you will only see a bright spot. On the contrary, if you want to see a cluster of stars, buy a reflector or catadioptric telescope.

What is the best telescope to see planets?

Refractors are the best to see planets. Make sure that your focal relationship is high to obtain more detail in the observations.

Can I try telescopes before buying one?

Yes! Go to an astronomy association. Many amateur astronomers can give you tips on handling telescopes and mention very specific problems that brands have with their models.

What are the cheap telescopes?

This is a general and confusing question. For example, the word cheap is short for a 20-inch telescope that is worth $200. If you mean telescopes that are good and worth less than $100, unfortunately, there are none.

Where to buy an astronomical telescope?

In specialized stores, or online stores where you can read the valuation of users for the purchase of this equipment. For example, in our online store of telescopes are already classified and selected for an easy choice.

What telescope do I buy for lunar observation?

A small telescope is enough and you also save a little money. Look for a portable 4-inch refractor.

Which is better a reflector or refractor telescope?

At the same diameter, the reflectors are better for astrophotography, while the refractors provide planetary images in greater detail. But as we say, everything depends on what you want to observe on the horizon.

What are the best quality-price telescopes?

In this aspect, Celestron telescopes offer quality optics and affordable prices.