One of the most daunting challenges for amateur astronomers is the choice of a telescope.
There are countless to choose from and too often there is minimum information on selecting the best one for your specific needs.
Fear not, you can get a good reliable telescope with all accessories and a long warranty, for under $400.
Astronomy is a fun hobby in which numerous enthusiasts just enjoy looking up at the sky. But if you are more serious than that, then you will need to pick out a telescope. Books and magazines about amateur astronomy are written which can be a good source of information.
Some of the additional popular magazines are Australian Astronomy Magazine, Astronomy Now, and Popular Astronomy.
You will find clearly-written, authoritative, and scientifically sound articles that will cover both science and hobby activities in amateur astronomy. But you will need a reliable telescope to enjoy the fascinating hobby of stargazing.
In addition to books and magazines, you will be able to get acceptable advice at a local retailer that sells telescopes.
Beware, however, that the thoughts you get at a retailer will be biased towards the products and brands that they carry.
Another interesting thought is the astronomy club in your local area. Membership is usually open to all those interested in pursuing astronomy as a hobby. And they’ve got some big scopes too!
A new beginner or intermediate handbook for stargazers is the Guide to Stars and Planets by Patrick Moore. The best sky objects are laid out in this book and you’ll find tips on what telescope to buy and how to set up an observatory for yourself at home.
So, realistically, what can you see this spring?
The Moon will be dazzlingly bright and sharp.
The planets will look very small, even with high power, but if you’re patient you’ll be surprised how much colour and subtle detail will be revealed.
All of your observing will be easier and richer with the help of good over-the-counter sky software like Starry Night.
Here’s a tip – if you go to www.stellarium.org you can download a program almost as good. I use it all the time. It’s easy to use, and free to download.