Do you want to buy a telescope, but don’t know where to start? You might consider using a pair of binoculars first, to become acquainted with the night sky. You can see a lot with just binoculars, and it will help you become familiar with the constellations. There are several advantages: they’re cheap; they’re easy to use (when compared with a telescope); and they’re easy to set up.
You should also consider finding another person who has a telescope. Go out with them, and after you’ve tried a couple of different telescopes, you’ll be better able to make a selection. The monthly skywatch that RAS holds at the Science Museum, on the front lawn, will give you a chance to look through five or six telescopes in one night.
There are three general types of telescopes, refractors, reflectors, and Cassegranians (sometimes referred to as SCT’s), and you will generally see some of each at the SMV skywatches.
You’re also welcome to come to one of our monthly club meetings, where you’ll find that members of the club will be happy to assist you with any questions. Meetings are held on the second Tuesday of every month, at the Science Museum, 2500 West Broad, at 7:30pm.
You can find good information about telescopes at cloudnights.com, skyandtelescope.com, and astronomy.com. You can also ask via email to the club.