Friday, May 21, 2010

Telescope Accessories for beginners

There are some essential accessories and gadgets that you should consider buying with your telescope. Like extra Eyepieces set, although a complete package includes mostly two, you will need to purchase longer(eyepiece FL number) and shorter set to have a better control on your telescope power, for example you can find in any package a set of 10mm and a 25mm (which are very common), now move a few steps down to “6mm”, it’s a very good eyepiece for both planets and moon, and a few steps upward and pick the “32mm” eyepiece(don’t go further if you have focal length lesser than 600mm, and in most cases you won’t need more). Another useful part is a "Barlow lens", which attach right “between” the eyepiece and the telescope, this multiplies your magnification by the number written on it(ex: 2.3 Barlow lens will multiply a power of 100X to 230X on the same eyepiece), so that will double your eyepiece set with just one extra accessory.

Moon filter is a wise choice either, actually you will find yourself looking at the moon (along with a few planets) with any small sized telescopes more than any other celestial object, and you will find that it is very bright through the scope without something that “limit” its glare and allows you to see its details clearly, it attach inside the eyepiece. The same concept goes to a Sun Filter, with it you can witness it's stunning flares and dark spot, but unlike the moon filter this one will be attached on the scope's end, but be caution to target your scope to the sun without a well designed and good quality filter, and always keep your eyes on your kids when they observe the sun.

One of the most useful purchases will be Books and Star Maps (or sky charts), it will help you find your way around the night sky, you can find them anywhere in your nearest hobby store or just order online, there are some good titles out there that i recommend like Patrick Moore’s “A Buyer’s and User’s Guide to Astronomical Telescopes & Binoculars”, “Turn Left at Orion”, “Sky & Telescope's Pocket Sky Atlas” and “NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe”. Also Magazines like "sky & telescope" and "SkyNews" will be great and effective way to know upcoming events, astronomy related news, and show you the latest gadgets in this field.

Personally I like another simple accessory, which is a nice and colorful Poster, why not, if you are an enthusiast and star-dreamer like i do :) you might always want to keep your eye on your favorite and beloved targets, even in your room walls, any astronomy poster will be chilling especially to your kid as a gift with the telescope, a sky map poster also would be handy when planning your night schedule and planning for your next stargazing trip.

Planisphere also might come in handy especially if you take your telescope out in the backcountry where you don’t take you pc, it will show you what is up there at anytime, it’s quite easy to use so you can track down your desired targets easily, but it is not necessary in your own backyard or if you have a laptop, because there are many planetarium and real-time star maps softwares you can use instead. But it’s fun and educational to get familiar with it, most planispheres will costs around $10, so it will be a nice and cheap addition to your navigation tools.

You can see my other topics about accessories for both beginners and amateurs, as I try to cover most of the stuff you will need.

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