A Beginners guide to Buying your very first Telescope!

It can be overwhelming to look at all of the different types of telescopes and make a decision on what to buy. We understand this and have outlined a guide to solve this problem based on three simple ideas.

Before we go any further, if you have not yet heard or understood that Magnification is not the #1 thing you are looking for in a telescope then lets break this down now.

So magnification is always a trade off, whatever telescope you may own it will always and forever only gather all the light that hits the front lens or mirror.  Whatever that amount is, will always be 100% of what it gathers.  Now when you change eyepieces in a telescope you are changing the effective magnification of the instrument.  At lower power the telescope is having to work less hard to bring all those photons into focus for you, leaving you the brightest image.  When you change the eyepiece to a higher magnification (which is correspondingly a lower number on the eyepiece) this higher magnification will make the object look closer but now the telescope is having to work harder (more bending of light) so your view will be more dim.  Also at higher magnification the whole background sky will appear more grey with less contrast, not horrible likely as you probably didn't set up in a parking lot with street lights right next to you but less difference between the object and background sky exists.  So it is often a balancing act of trying to get the eyepiece that will give you the most magnification (biggest image) that does not magnify it so much as subtle detail in the Galaxy or Nebula starts to disappear while still maintaining enough contrast in the background sky (this is where Light Pollution filters or Ultra-High Contrast filters can help) so you can see the edges of the faint objects you are looking at!
Whew !

1. The best view. In a few words this can be described as the telescope that will give you the best light collecting capability. Generally speaking, the larger the telescope the more light it can collect. More light collection gives a better image.

2. The best price range. In contrast to our first idea, often the best view is unfortunately the most expensive. We have provided a list of telescopes under $500 below that we recommend to beginners everyday.

3. What you are willing to learn, and move. Astronomy can be very simple or very complex depending on your level of interest. We found that most beginners simply want to be able to observe the moon and planets. This is great because they are the brightest objects in the night sky! The telescopes listed below can be moved easily, setup relatively quickly, and be used within minutes. The best telescope for you is the one that is used regularly.

Based on these three ideas we have provided a short list of a few different beginner telescopes that are the best view, for the best price, and are easy to learn and setup.