No need for expensive equipment to start astronomy
Astronomy practiced as a hobby can be confusing for the beginner. There are so many types of telescopes, not to mention mounts, eyepieces and filters, that you can easily get lost. Here are some tips to make choosing the right instrument a pleasant experience.
Binoculars are an affordable option to consider
Many people think that to be an astronomer, you need a telescope. This is far from being mandatory ! You can observe constellations, the Moon and bright planets only with the naked eye. Binoculars are an affordable option to expand the scope of what you can see. We generally recommend a 10×50 pair which, with a lens of 50 mm diameter and 10x magnification, allows you to admire the moons of Jupiter, craters of the Moon, galaxies and the brightest stellar clusters, even the stars of the Milky Way.
Astronomy binoculars have a minimum size and magnification of 7×40, which may be suitable for older observers : as you get older, the diameter of your pupil decreases, which means that some observers will not benefit from the advantages offered by the binoculars with wider diameter.
Focus on the aperture of the telescope, not the magnification
If you choose to buy a telescope, the most important feature is the aperture diameter and not the magnification. Beware of inexpensive “toy” telescopes that claim “x500 magnification” ! To see faint objects, your telescope must be able to collect as much light as possible. So the larger the aperture (that is to say, the bigger the diameter of the telescope tube), the better you’ll be able to see the less bright objects.
The minimum aperture is about 100 mm for a refractor telescope and about 100-150 mm for a reflective telescope, such as a Dobsonian. The refractor telescopes use lenses to focus the light and reflectors of the mirrors. You can invest in a GoTo telescope equipped with a computer and equipped with a manual control. A good quality telescope for beginners costs between $300 and $800. You can find them at reputable manufacturers such as Celestron, Meade and Sky-Watcher.
3 great telescopes for beginners in astronomy
Refractor telescope Celestron AC 90/910 AZ GoTo Astro Fi
Price : approximately $572
You will be able to see great images of the Moon and planets, as well as many deep sky objects. Once you have completed the alignment of the telescope at the beginning of your observing, you can use the computer control (GoTo) to observe the highlights visible on that night. >> Read more and Buy
Refractor telescope Meade StarNavigator 102mm with AudioStar
Price : approximately $539
You will learn a lot with this GoTo telescope which contains a database of more than 30,000 objects and AudioStar, with digital sound technology Astronomer Inside, which, using built-in comments, allows you to listen to interesting facts about more than 500 celestial objects. >> Read more and Buy
Dobsonian telescope Meade LightBridge Plus DOB
Price : approximately $855
This reflector telescope makes it easy to find objects thanks to its red dot viewfinder with four different reticles. The brightness is adjustable. With an integrated fan powered by batteries, the ideal temperature is maintained even when you observe galaxies at 50 million light-years ! >> Read more and Buy