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Choosing the Right Telescope for You: Part 1

March 25, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 104

Buying a telescope for the first time can be quite intimidating. There are hundreds if not thousands of products to choose from, and distinguishing what you need from what you don't can be challenging. However, doing the research is well worth it; a good telescope can offer satisfaction for a lifetime, while a bad one can cause frustration after only a few minutes.

There are three major types of telescopes: reflecting, refracting and hybrids. Reflecting and refracting are by far the most common types, but hybrid telescopes are also frequently used. I will go into the details of each in the second part of the article.

Each telescope is defined by three attributes, the ability to gather light, resolution power and magnification. Most cheap telescopes advertise super high magnification, DO NOT fall for this. Of the three attributes magnification is the least important and without proper light gather and resolution power, high magnification will ruin the view.

The most important aspect of the telescope is its light gathering power. This is based off of how large around the telescopes mirror or lens is; it is referred to as aperture. Aperture dictates how much of the night sky you will be able to see, a high aperture means very faint objects will be visible, while a low one means they won't. Resolving power is the ability to see small dots instead of a blurry smudge, it is also based off of aperture, the higher the aperture, the higher the resolving power. Finally, magnification is determined from the focal length of the telescope and the focal length of the eyepiece, the smaller the focal length of the eyepiece the higher the magnification and the larger the focal length of the telescope the larger the magnification.

Before you buy your first telescope you might want to consider getting a pair of nice binoculars instead. With a pair of good 10x50 binoculars you will be able to see a lot of the things you would with a telescope. Binoculars are also a lot easier to use, so if you are unfamiliar with the sky they are an excellent way to start learning about it, plus they are a lot cheaper than a telescope. The view through binoculars can also be much more thrilling. Telescope views often look 2 dimensional while binoculars really pull the third dimension into the picture. However, even if you buy binoculars you will eventually want to view more distance objects and for that a telescope is the only option. To read about the different types of telescopes click the link below.

Riley Troyer is a science enthusiast, if you enjoyed this article you can view his website here

Source: EzineArticles
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