Our ability to think and ask questions is as far as our fascination with the stars goes as humans. For years now, we have been limited to having a quick peek at the heavens with just the vision that our eyes allow. A couple of years back, we were able to see a little bit more of the heavens because light pollution was non-existent; however, putting together a detailed observation was practically impossible. Thanks to the invention of the microscope which paved way for the telescope innovation it is now possible for people to explore the larger universe and at close range at such. With advances in technology, telescopes got bigger and even better. Their reach and the details resolved by them became broader and even more elaborate. Such advances undoubtedly led to questioning of certain doctrines that were thought to be unquestionable, and doubts to institutions that were otherwise considered unfailing.
Over the years, viewing the skies through the telescope has become something that a good number of us are interested in or what we would consider a hobby. There are those of us who want to take it to the next level by using the best available telescope. If this is you, and you are a beginner, then allow me to take you on a journey into the world of telescopes. There has never been a more exciting time to becoming an amateur astronomer given the vast array of telescope accessories to help you pursue your hobby as s stargazer. This without saying presents the burden of choice; a baffling variety makes it quite difficult for anyone to make the right decision regarding what telescope to buy. Let us dive right into some five useful tips that will help you narrow down on your options when it comes telescope features.
- Aperture and focal length
- Support Systems
Having stated the above tips, let us delve into them; one by one. Each of the above tips will with no doubt help you get to know just but a few basics, making it so much easier for you to choose the telescope that best suits your budget, lifestyle and observing interests.
- Aperture and focal length-
Aperture can be considered a telescopes most important feature. This is basically the diameter of a telescopes light-gathering lens, mirror or rather the objective. The aperture is usually measured in millimeters. The larger it is, the brighter the images will appear and better yet the deeper into space you will see. The focal length, on the other hand, is a measurement (in millimeters as well) from the objective or main lens to the eyepiece. This distance affects the telescopes’ magnification potential directly when paired with the eyepiece. The Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope comes with a 5.1- inch aperture that has amazing light-gathering abilities. You can visit the following link to learn more about the features of this telescope in comparison with others available.
This is the number of times an object appears in size when compared to looking at it with the bare eye. For instance, a magnification of 24x means that what you are looking at will appear 24x bigger than if it were to be viewed unmagnified. You can calculate magnification by dividing the telescope focal length by the eyepiece focal length. As such, the longer the telescope focal length is and the shorter the eyepiece focal length the higher the magnification. Notably, with increased magnification comes lower image brightness and shortened eye relief which makes it difficult to view in the darkness. As such, low to moderate magnifications are ideal for a beginner; they give smaller images but are brighter and sharper. Higher magnification comes with experience. The Celestron 114LCM Computerized Telescope has a magnification of 60x which is relatively good.
Coatings on telescopes are usually microns-thin. They are usually applied in multiple layers to a scopes’ optical surfaces to increase its performance. If you apply these coating to lenses, they help prevent incoming light from being reflected and thereby lost from the surface. This will in return be optimized for viewing of celestial bodies during the nighttime and therefore help accentuate specific wavelengths thereby giving improved viewing. Coatings can be applied to mirrors as well and this helps to increase reflection with the overall intention of achieving the best reflection, say 100%.
Any mount you choose is essentially as important as the optical tube assembly. There are two categories of mounts; Equatorial and Alt-Azimuth. Each of these mounts helps you move your telescope in order to track objects in the sky. As we all know from basic science, the earth rotates; as you observe any given objects, it will appear as though it is moving across the field of view. This will mean that you have to move the telescope in accordance with these movements. Learn more about telescope mounts here .
- Support Systems-
The support Systems are as important as the mount and is the platform where you place your rig. They give your scope stability and determine how vibrations from the wind or ground vibrations from moving cars, people or equipment affect your telescopes’ performance. When settling for a support system, do consider where and how you will be using it. one such Support System is the tripod whose experience can be enhanced and improved by way of using anti-vibration pads. For telescopes that are permanently set up in observation locations, a pier would be a much more stable platform. This is typically a large mount that is usually bolted to a concrete footing or pad.
There are several types of telescopes which would be considered as ideal for meeting your star-gazing needs. Each of these would be considered fantastic as they all enable us to view the sky and underlying planets. The above features are just but a few that you would consider in making your choice for a telescope.