Buying Guide

Buying a telescope can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be overwhelming. With so many options on the market, it's important to know what to look for in a telescope to ensure you get the best value for your money. Here's a buyer's guide to help you navigate the world of telescopes.

  1. Types of telescopes: There are three main types of telescopes - refractors, reflectors, and catadioptric telescopes. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to know which type is best suited for your needs.
  • Refractors: These telescopes use lenses to gather and focus light, and are generally low-maintenance and easy to use. They are ideal for observing the Moon and planets, but may not be suitable for deep-sky objects such as galaxies and nebulae.

  • Reflectors: These telescopes use mirrors to gather and focus light, and are generally better suited for observing deep-sky objects. They can be more complex to set up and maintain than refractors, but offer a larger aperture for a lower cost.

  • Catadioptric: These telescopes use a combination of mirrors and lenses to gather and focus light. They are more compact than other types of telescopes, making them ideal for traveling, but can be more expensive than refractors or reflectors.

  • Cassegrain: These telescopes are a relatively recent design compared to refractors and reflectors. Cassegrains are a more advanced and specialized telescope design that uses elements of both refractors and reflectors to bend and reflect collected light. This gives a Cassegrain telescope a very long focal length in a conveniently compact telescope tube.

Catadioptric Telescope

  1. Aperture: The aperture of a telescope is the diameter of its main optical component (lens or mirror). A larger aperture allows for more light to enter the telescope, resulting in a brighter and clearer image. However, larger apertures also mean larger and more expensive telescopes. Consider what you want to observe and how much you're willing to spend when choosing an aperture.

  2. Mount: The mount is the tripod or base that holds the telescope. A stable mount is crucial for getting a clear and steady image. There are two types of mounts - altitude-azimuth (Alt-Az) and equatorial. Alt-Az mounts are easier to use, but equatorial mounts are better suited for tracking objects as they move across the sky.

  3. Accessories: Some telescopes come with accessories such as eyepieces, filters, and finderscopes. Consider what accessories you may need to get the most out of your telescope, and factor in the cost of any additional accessories when making your purchase.

  4. Budget: Telescopes can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. Set a budget and stick to it, but keep in mind that a higher quality telescope will provide a better observing experience and last longer.

  5. Brand and reviews: Finally, do some research on the brand and model of telescope you're considering. Read reviews from other users and astronomy forums to get an idea of its performance and reliability. Choose a reputable brand with good customer support.

By considering these factors, you can choose a telescope that is right for you and your observing goals. Remember, a good telescope is an investment that can provide years of enjoyment and discovery.

If you get stuck along the way, we're here to help you with any questions. Just send us an email or give us a call 716 503-1536 and we'll help you find the right telescope!