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Buying Your First Telescope

How much do i need to spend ?
How much you will spend depends on a number of factors.
You may have just suddenly developed an interest in Astronomy and want
to test the water and see if the hobby really is for you!
In which case you might want to spend a little and purchase a Telescope that will
get you started in a small way with the idea that if you reaally take to the hobby a larger
more expensive Telescope can be bought later, perhaps sellling on the smaller
one to pay towards it or even keeping it as a second handy scope to use casually when the big one
is not needed (For example when just having a qquick look at the Moon)
or you may have nurtured an interesst for many years and think that the time has come to now invest in some decent equipment. in this case it is safe to say that you will want to get a Telescope that will do everything that you want it to do and give you results thaat will keep the interesst going without having to spend again on a larger one in too short a time.
I would say that under £70 is not worth considering other than a childs infinity 76P and it would be better to invest in a good pair of Binoculars to start with instead
Is a Refracting Telescope Better than a Reflecting Telescope?
A reflector and a Refractor are just two types of Telescope design and they both acheive the same end results. One uses lenses and the other a Mirror that is surface silvered.
Generally pound for pound you can buy a bigger reflector than a refractor for the same money, making a Reflector Telescope often better value for money especially at entry level
Can you reccomend a good make of Telescope?
Skywatcher Telescopes have over the last decade attained an excellent reputation for Quality and value for money. I would highly reccomend all the range.
I have seen other Telescopes in High street shops with much more Magnification, Does that meaan that they are better?
No! most certainly not. The magnification is not the mosst important factor and the rule is that the maximum magnification should be 50x per inch of object lens or mirror diameter.
All Skywatcher Telescopes for example have the correctly worked out magnification ranges and will give good results.
What type of Mount is best?
An Equatorial mount will enable you to track objects and find them eaasier using setting circles but they are a little more complicated than a simple altazimuth mount and heavier due to the counterbalance weights needed to balance the telescope tube.Also an Equatorial mount can usually be motorised later to track automatically which is a must for long time exposure astrophotography
I wanted to buy a Reflecting Telescope but someone told me that the mirrors need a lot of care and that they can oxidise and become unusable and need resilvering. Is this correct?
Absolutely not these days as the Mirrors are electronically Silvered and coated in a Silica overcoat which stops oxidisation. Therefore unlike the earlier produced Reflecting Telescopes that had their mirrors chemicaly silvered, they will last far longer before any attention is needed.
(Typically many years or even decades if looked after)
I want to buy a Telescope that can be useed for Astronomy and Birdwatching! is this possible?
It is always a bit of a compromise when trying to do both but there is no reason that both hobbies cannot be enjoyed greatly by the use of a general instrument.
The best way forward is usually a Spotting scope of an angled design mounted on a simple photographic type tripod. An 80mm Objective lens will be better as it gathers more light than a 60/65mm lens model.
The advantages are portability and ease of use although you will need to start learning your way around the night sky.

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