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I need a telescope- Help

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I don't know what features to buy in a telescope. I know when I was buying a microscope someone linked a page on Paula'sArchives that had some great information on how to pick one. Is there something similar for purchasing a telescope?


Is anybody here knowledgeable enough to give me some recommendations or tips? What am I looking for? I am looking for a good beginner one that will get us through high school level studies.


Definitely needs to be under $300

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My wife has been interested in Astronomy since she was a girl. In 1997, a man in the Physics department of the public university suggested that we buy a Dobsonian telescope for her. The university used Dobsonians, to demonstrate Astronomy to school children, they are rugged, and you get a "lot of bang for your buck" with a Dobsonian


We bought an 8" Dobsonian, made by Celestron, for her. I don't know what they sell for now, and I hope you can get one within your budget. Enjoy!


I believe we bought ours from Focus Camera, in New York, but am not positive that was the company we bought it from. We had them ship it to Miami and then the Freight Forwarder sent it to Colombia and got it through Customs for us.


Try to buy the latest copy of "Astronomy" magazine and read the ads and look on the web sites of the companies that advertise they are authorized dealers for the brand you want to purchase.


I believe my wife has 3mm and 6mm lenses for her telescope, but am not positive about their sizes. GL and enjoy it when there are clear skies where you are.

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I hope Jean in Newcastle will chime in -- she knows a lot about astronomy.


My first thought would be to consider whether or not you really need a telescope. You can see quite a lot with a pair of good binoculars or a pair of astronomy binoculars plus a good tripod. Using binoculars is a good way to learn the constellations, and there are a number of books/articles on binocular astronomy.


But for a telescope, a lot of people (like pp) would recommend a Dobsonian -- Orion makes several that have got excellent reviews and are in your prices range. Telescopes for the most part will require some set up time and also maintenance. And Dobsonians will take up some storage space.


Another thought, a bit off-the-wall, is to build your own telescope -- I think the Galileoscope scope is still sold. The optics (plastic) are not the reason to get this -- it's more about history of science at a low cost.


Some resources: books by Terence Dickinson, Star Ware (a book of telescope reviews), Sky & Telescope reviews (in many libraries), or the website, Cloudy Nights.

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