A Clear And Cosmic Future
Now that you made the decision to purchase a telescope—it’s time to consider your objective.
What do you expect to get out of your experience? Do you feel like perusing the lunar terrain? Taking a peek at gaseous giants? Exploring the Milky Way? Splitting double-stars? Spying on spirals? Perhaps all of the above?
Once you have an understanding of your astronomical expectations, then you have to find the right tool for the job.
Any respectable telescope will reveal the surface of the Moon. Yes…even Little Jimmy’s StarBlaster 5000.
Refractor, reflector, or any breed of catadioptric will be able to resolve lunar detail. A long focal length telescope is better adapted at viewing the Moon (or planets) due to its ability to produce higher magnifications.
A 1300mm telescope has the capability of providing a decent boost in magnification. Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s equatorial bands, and, of course, it will also give you an eye full of crater.
Not everything needs power to be appreciated.
Some astronomical objects, like galaxies, are best viewed with minimal power, but their low-surface brightness means it’s favorable to have a large mirror to collect the dim light.
Keep in mind, as long as the telescope you chose has a decent size mirror or lens (4 inches and up), it will be able see everything previously described.
Some are more suitable than others depending on the situation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use a long focal length telescope to view galaxies or any other object. You certainly can, and some people prefer it.
You Missed A Spot
Once you have a real telescope—it’s important to take care of it. Hey! Telescopes are not toys! They’re scientific instruments that can last a lifetime.
Didn’t you read the instructions?
- Keep all optical surfaces capped (or covered) when not in use
Cigarette ash, cat hair, skin particles…glass doesn’t like those things.
Don’t clean your telescope every day. Here’s why:
Many optical surfaces are coated with a layer of magnesium fluoride which helps with light transmission. Constant friction will wipe away any special coating if you’re not careful.
Use It Or Lose It
Many people succumb to frustration, or bury their telescope inside the nearest closet after a few nights.
Learning the night sky takes dedication, and with the right telescope, the journey can last a lifetime.