No matter what you purchase today, you need to know the ins and outs of it, is it fit for my purpose? Is it easy to use? And so on. When you purchase your telescope these and other factors come into play. The key attributes to check would be the lens – a crucial component, the actual aperture of the lens/mirror – distance and clarity are bought about by the lens so the larger it is the better the resolution you will get. So the rule here is the larger the lens/mirror the more clarity and sharpness of objects you will be able to view. Like a camera, a telescope uses “F numbers” which alters the focus etc of the object being viewed. Generally speaking, F5 scopes will be fine however for more precision F10 or more is far better, the latter will be more expensive but the rewards are clear to see – please pardon the pun. Leading brands are your best bet as these tend to have quality in mind whereas budget telescopes promise more than they can achieve and often disappointment is the order of the day.
Assembling and mounting
Its crucially important you have strong, steady mount on your telescope, basically a telescope with a poor mount could be deemed as useless as it plays such an important part as without it your viewing pleasure would be pretty much awful and create unbalancing in the optics thus distorted vision. There would be little point buying a telescope if there was no mount or if it says sitting on books or had a DIY arm, my advice goes for a steel mount every time and even if it’s a little more money you will be more than pleased with the results. The 2 types of mount available are Ataz(altitude) and Azimuth(left, Right) Assembly instructions are generally included with your telescope when you receive it however if you run into trouble there are many forums available to assist you on this and answer any questions you might have, but by and large its relatively simple.
The Finderscope explained
On the barrel of your telescope, you will see a small mini scope, this is called a finderscope (as illustrated above) it gives a wider view than your main scope and is used to help line up your main telescope to the target to view.
Cheap versus premium Telescopes
Investing in a leading brand telescope will pay big dividends with regards to quality, workmanship and reliability, costs tend to vary however on this site we feature low cost leading brands for under £200 which are great to get you started and for the advanced user, we have more upmarket models depending on your budget. The old saying “you get what you pay for” applies here. You might run into cheaper, plastic models I would advise you to steer clear of these. Not only will they be disappointing, but you will also find they will suffer in quality and tend to have a short shelf life – they will break.