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How To Choose The Right Telescope For Your Astronomy Interests
by Gregg Hall

If there were one kind of telescope that was the only kind of telescope worth getting, there would be no market for any others. Yet, there are many different kinds being sold. This leads to the fact that not all are right for all people. When you are shopping for a telescope, it is wise to consider your particular needs.

The first thing to think about is what you want to look at. For example, the moon is seen best with certain refractor telescopes. Bird watching is also a good hobby for those with refractor telescope. However, if you want to do explorations into the deep sky, refractors are not a good choice.


A Newtonian reflector telescope is a good general telescope, but you would not have much luck using it in daytime situations. The best one for deep sky observation is the 6"-25" reflector telescope. It is not a good overall telescope, though, and it does not work well for daytime viewing.

One of the best general telescopes is the compound telescope, which uses both lenses and mirrors. It is also good for astrophotography. If you want to record your celestial finds for posterity, taking photos of them just makes sense. Many of the sights you see will never come around again in your lifetime, if ever. Take a picture of the object in the sky and you can share it with your grandkids someday.

There are also accessories that can help you use your telescope for just the purpose you choose. A star diagonal can help you look at an object that is high in the sky without making you hold your body and neck in an uncomfortable position. An erecting prism can bring images right side up if you are looking at daytime objects such as birds.

Another point to consider is where you will be when you view the sky. If you are in the city, you will be faced with overcoming light pollution. Without a dark place to observe from, you need the best telescope for the job. Compound telescopes and refractors are the best. If you have a reflector telescope, it will be overwhelmed by the urban light.

If you live in the suburbs, your landscape is probably somewhat polluted with lights, but less so than in the city. This moderate light can accommodate all types of telescopes equally well. In this case, use other means of deciding which telescope to choose.

If you live out in the country, the skies can get very dark. It would seem that this is a good thing when looking at the night sky. Refractors sometimes do not gather enough light for you to see the objects you want to see, though. Compound and reflectors bring the light into your telescope where you want it.

If you want to choose the best telescope for you, it is important to understand what the options are. You also have to go into it with an idea of what your needs are when it comes to using a telescope. Knowing these two things can help you get one you can enjoy for years.

Gregg Hall is an author living with his 18 year old son in Jensen Beach, Florida. Find more about astronomy as well as telescopes at

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