Thursday, May 20, 2010

Starter Telescope Models for Beginners

What to consider ?

There are a wide rang out there you can pick from. And I will try here to review and show you some of these models which are recommend for a beginner, compared to the cost.

Orion Observer 70mm Equatorial Refractor Telescope

With its very fair price (about $169), it is a very nice telescope for a novice or even an intermediate person who want to observing bright objects (only bright objects). It will show you a wonderful sight of the moon and its craters in details, Saturn and its rings, Jupiter with its moons, Venus, some double stars, and a number of bright nebulae, galaxies and star clusters in a dark night, don’t expect it to show you deeper sky objects, due to its small aperture, but the quality of the optics is quite impressive. The packing is very good and comes with all you need to get started, including two 1.25” 25mm and 10mm Explorer II eyepieces, Equatorial mount and a steady aluminum tripod. Of course optics is a bit limited compared with high-end scopes, but for the price, I must say it’s a very decent telescope that will make you amazed by the sights it will show you.

Meade ETX-70

To be honest, I’ve never owned any refractor ETX model, I have a Maksutov ETX-125 and I’m a very satisfied owner of it. Some of my friends have the ETX-70 and ETX-60, I tried them several times on several double stars and planets and it seems good and the view is quite sharp, the fork mount is very reliable, and the go-to system is steady and make it easy to hunt down any object, but in the other hand I guess any beginner will not benefit from its large database, because the scope itself is a bit limited, although they will if intend to use it for astrophotography. Anyway you will enjoy a fair number of bright deep sky gems beside the planets and the moon, almost like the “Orion observer 70mm” above, and a little more performance thought, beside the mighty go-to system which makes it really fun and easy to observe(especially for a beginner), and to track moving targets. Price is around $200, but it’s hard to find these days, only refurbished or a good used condition, you can get good deals if so, even under $100. The only disadvantage you will encounter is the tripod, it contains a “table tripod” only, and you will have to purchase a “real” field tripod separately for using outdoor.

Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope

A step up from small aperture, the reflector design will expand the limit of the objective piece, so you will find mostly all greater apertures to be reflector. This particular scope will make you familiar with these designs, and you will enjoy it every time you use it. You won’t notice this “huge” difference, but you will experience a little brighter view, thought. The mount is simple and very reliable also, and works very well will the scope’s low FL.

Celestron 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ Reflector Telescope

Now we are talking, with this price-for-aperture (130mm), you will really get what you paid for, and maybe a little more. A great starter scope which you will enjoy for years and years. Even if you move forward to larger models, it will remain a great unit in your arsenal. It come with only one 20mm eyepiece, but you can add something like 9mm later on, the mount is equatorial, and it weighs about 28 LB, a bit heavy but fair for its mount and size. The price is around $250. I highly recommend this telescope.

There are other models which I prefer, and you will see a lot more in the market, but you should put in mind that buying from a good reputable manufacturer like I mentioned before is absolutely peace of mind on the long term, and always remember that getting a telescope for you or your kid for the first time is something you will never forget for all your life, so choose wisely and let the fun begin.

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