Telescope sales ballooned last year because of the pandemic. NASA’s Mars exploration also helped fuel sales, with some stores reporting increases between 60% to 400% over 2019.
If you’re among those just getting started with telescopes, you’ll want to know the basics. You’ll need to know what to look for in a telescope and how to use a telescope.
Keep reading because this is the perfect telescope for beginners to get started.
Choosing the Right Telescope
Before you run to your nearest store to get a $50 telescope, you need to do a little research. Ask yourself what you want to use your telescope for.
Do you want to enjoy the night sky with your kids and teach them about planets? Do you want to see galaxies and nebulae? Astrophotography is also an option, where you hook up your camera to the telescope and take amazing pictures of the night sky.
The other consideration is portability. A tabletop telescope has different features than a standard telescope that sits on a tripod.
The next step is to set a budget. How much does a good telescope cost? You can get a decent beginner’s model for about $200. The price range goes all the way up to $10,000.
Yes, it can be an expensive hobby, especially if you include photography gear. Have a budget in mind to get the telescope for your needs.
As you do your research, get familiar with terms like refractor and reflector telescopes. These are categories of telescopes that contribute to the cost.
Get Ready to Use a Telescope
How do you use a telescope once you have it? Prepare for the weather and night sky conditions. The best viewing is when there’s little to no cloud cover and it’s a new moon.
The new moon is when the moon is at its darkest, which makes it easier to pick out stars. The best conditions often happen in the fall and late winter/early spring months. Be sure to dress appropriately for the cooler weather.
If your telescope has an equatorial mount, you need to calibrate it with the North Star. That allows the telescope to track stars and planets as the earth and planets move.
The easiest way to get started is to point the telescope at close objects, such as the moon. You can get Mars and Jupiter on the right night, too.
Play with the different lenses to see how the focal lengths impact the viewing experience. As you get more experience, learn about the constellations and galaxies.
It takes time to master the telescope, and there’s a huge universe to explore from your backyard. Be patient as you develop your skills.
How to Use a Telescope for Beginners
This is the perfect time to get a new telescope. You need to consider things like your budget and the type of things you want to see.
Take the time to learn how to use a telescope. There is a lot more to viewing the night sky than just pulling a telescope right out of the box.
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