Telescope Types Available For Amateur Astronomer

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All amateur astronomers need a telescope of some kind sooner or later to make the study of stars and other planets more easier and more interesting. Of course, you could, and maybe should start observing with binoculars, but the right optical equipment will expand your view remarkably. Those are not only a great help to advanced astronomers but also for beginners. However, most new users would like to get these essential equipment at a low cost.

Here we at go through the factors that determine the cost, and we will take a look the ways to minimize the price without compromising quality too much.

Do not buy cheap equipment from eBay or local mall

The cost of a telescope is related directly to its features. Astrophotography equiment are costly, and it is difficult to get it at a low price, even used ones. However, telescopes for beginners which are used for viewing landscapes, in addition to the cosmos, are much cheaper.

There are sites on the internet that market almost unusable products for beginners. Cheap optical equipment on eBay and department stores are usually very low quality, almost unusable for their purpose, and those can lead false impressions of planets and other objects.

The best telescope for the beginner is, for example, small refractor telescope with aperture up to 90mm as it is very convenient for the new user. They are easy to handle and requires very little maintenance. They also take less time to set-up. These provide a clear view of the deep sky.

The different types of telescopes for beginners

Refractor telescopeRefractor

It is most commonly used and traditionally designed model. It has a lens or mirror in the front to gather light and capture an image.

It is a little expensive, but the cost depends on the aperture so that small refractor could be a good option for the first telescope. Because of their simple design, they are generally easy to use and more reliable as their optics are permanently fixed and aligned.

Newtonian reflector telescopeNewtonian reflector

How reflector works is similar to reflectors, but uses mirrors to reflect light making it possible to make more compact. It can be viewed using an eyepiece.

Reflector are fairly compact and portable which is great for transportation and storage. Generally more affordable. Mirrors can produce less optical aberrations. Larger apertures of reflector telescopes are available but at the expense of portability.

Catadioptric telescopeCatadioptric

These equipment use a mixture of lenses and mirrors and are of two types, the Schmidt-Cassegrain and the Maksutov-Cassegrain.

The important feature is their compact tubes, which is a half reflector and half refractor, making catadioptric extremely compact. These features are not always found on beginner telescopes.

Alt-Azimuth and Equatorial mounts

The mounted telescope comes in two types: the Alt-Azimuth and Equatorial.

Altazimuth mounts are generally easy to set up, lightweight and offer intuitive movement. Disadvantages of Altazimuth mounts are for example quite a poor tracking ability, they cannot be motorized, and there are no aiming aids. A Dobsonian telescope is a type of Alt-Azimuth. It is made for large reflectors.

Equatorial mounts’ advantages are for example that those can be used to track objects with a small adjustment. and can be motorized to track, also setting circles can be used to help find objects. But there are also some disadvantages such as much trickier to set-up, unintuitive movement methods, and heavyweight.

GOTO telescopeGOTO Telescope

In amateur astronomy, “GoTo” refers to a type of mount with motor and related software which can automatically point a optics to astronomical objects. This kind of GoTo telescope is one of the most advanced as those comes with computerized technology.

You can just set the system to “Orion Nebula,” and you’ll be viewing it in seconds. However, as easy as it sounds to use, it is a good idea to start with a basic type and learn basics about star charts, before going ahead and buying GOTO enabled equipment.

amateur telescope domeConsider telescope dome

For many of use the difficulty of finding time for stargazing is one of the biggest problems. Therefore, expensive eqipment are left in storage for weeks and months. The difficulty is that it takes always time to set up.

However, there is a simple solution. You never need to worry about time anymore as there are domes for sale! When you buy one of these and install it in your backyard, you could set up your equipment in it and use it at any time when you wish, it’s always ready to use. When you are not using the telescope, the dome will protect it from the elements. However, unfortunately not everyone has an own backyard.

Types of Domes

When you look at the available domes for sale, you will find that there are two types of them. One is for professional use, and the other is the one that is designed for amateurs. Normally, professional domes are custom built while the amateur ones are available ready-made. You only need to order it from a reputed company to get it installed in your backyard. You also could buy one and install it yourself.

Setting up of a dome and using it

When you visit a shop where there are domes for sale and buy one, it is only a case of deciding where to install it and doing the installation. These domes are easy to install, and the job never needs a lot of tools to complete. The instructions are provided by the manufacturers when you buy your dome online.

Once it is installed, it is just a case of mounting your telescope in it and using it whenever you find the time. When not in use, you could leave it inside and close the lid. Until your next session, the dome will protect your equipment meanwhile.

Hopefully, you found some helpful ideas from this post! If you have any questions or comments about different tetypes, please leave a reply below!

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