Start Gazer: The Next Frontier

Start Gazer: The Next Frontier

Joel Pirela
Nov 4, 2010

We are all fascinated with what is out there. Stars, planets, possible UFO's, our neighbors. From ultra cheap to uber expensive, we've gathered a selection of telescopes that will let you peer far beyond your normal range. A telescope is a useful tool - but only if you know what to do with it. Before you decide to purchase a telescope, you should spend a little time reading about how they work to get a better idea of what they can do, and to better understand your own needs.

If at all possible, find an astronomy society or club you can visit to get some personal experience using different telescopes. Too many people spend a lot of money on a scope with unrealistic expectations of what they'll be able to see. Others get discouraged when they find they can't just point the scope heavenwards and see amazing sights.

Sky-Watcher Capricorn-70
This great telescope comes with a tripod and a small price tag of $200. This refractor unit is probably as good as you are going to get for that price range and it's ideal for urban areas polluted by light. A finder scope and equatorial mount, make it easy to focus on your target and track it thru the sky (or living room!) The included additional eye pieces and the low price, makes the package exceptional value for the money.

Meade LX200-ACF
If what you want is to blow the budget, look no more. At almost $5000, this is the creme de la creme. Using a similar optical design to the Hubble Space Telescope, this Ritchey-Chr├ętien reflector uses advanced mirrors to squeeze a lot of imaging power into a small package. The latest computerized mount which includes a GPS, means that you never need to spend any time making calculations to search your favorite body of light. This unit makes astronomy really easy on the eyes but hard on the wallet.

Galileo's Telescope by Odoardo Fioravanti:
This last one is for those looking for a decorative piece that also happens to offer 67x, 80x, 100x magnification. More for peeping than serious star gazing, but definitely one of the most decor-friendly telescopes you'll find out there.

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