Anonymous asked in Science & MathematicsAstronomy & Space · 2 months ago

What’s a good telescope for an adult beginner? ?

What telescope should I get my father for Christmas? He’s really interested in looking at planets. The only kind we ever had was a simple National Geographic one that he got me when I was a kid. I’m certainly looking for a step up from that, but hoping not to spend more than $175. 

5 Answers

  • 2 months ago

    Look into a Dobsonian, best bang for the buck. maybe go $200, that will get you one that you can see most of the planets with.

    Rule #1--don't buy anything made in China.

    I kept my 5 inch Dobsonian over 50 years, Made in Japan and a very good scope for moon and planets.

  • 2 months ago

    Getting someone else a telescope is doomed to failure. It will move into the back of the nearest coat closet quite soon. A telescope is something that should never be bought as a gift, in my opinion; it should only be purchased by the person wanting a telescope.

    There are at least 4 quite different things regarding interest in planets.

    1) observing planets (i.e. hey look over there, it's Jupiter. Beautiful!)

    2) studying planets (i.e. reading all you can get, about planets)

    3) you're an astronomer who occasionally has a scheduled time to use a hundred million dollar telescope to observe something about a planet.

    4) you're a person in love with your telescope, and/or in love with the hobby of locating astronomical items in the night sky, and going out on a cold winter's night to set up your $3000 telescope to find, and then focus on a white dot in the sky, to look at a magnified white dot in the sky, and maybe see a couple of fuzzy stripes on it, or a couple of its moons.

    Don't make the common mistake of confusing a person's interest in items 1) or 2) above with someone like item 4), except imagining that they'd find joy in a $175 junk telescope that will simply frustrate them.

    If you feel you MUST buy an astronomical gadget, that might end up being more than a forgotten coat closet item, buy the person a $175 20x80 (or 20x70 or 30x70, etc.) binoculars.

    Such "astronomical" giant binoculars can be fun to use to find items in the night sky, and also look at birds, other animals, waterfalls, fireworks, etc., and amaze your friends, for fun. You could even accompany it with a book on astronomical things to observe with a binoculars.

  • 2 months ago

    Any telescope under $250 is either a toy, or junk, or both.  There are a number of good telescopes for beginners starting around $300.  Any telescope requires a firm mount, as a loose one will result in vibrations blurring the view.  Sky & Telescope magazine has an essay on its website with suggestions for an initial telescope.  You could also seek advice from a local astronomy club, planetarium (which probably can't give shows during the pandemic and would be delighted to be useful), or college astronomy department.

  • Nyx
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Plan on spending at least twice as much for a decent telescope. 

    The price that you're asking about is for telescopes that are little more than toys - seriously.

    Those "cheap" telescopes are simply not worth it. Loads of tiny screws that you need to fiddle with in the dark - and invariably lose. Wobbly mounts that bounce around whenever you touch the scope. Narrow field of views with poor optics. These kinds of scopes have done more to turn people off from astronomy than anything else.

    Instead, do these two things first.

    1) Get the book below. It's a good introductory guide to the hobby of astronomy and has a nice chapter on equipment selection.

    2) If at all possible - find, and join an astronomy club. A club can be your single best resource for all sorts of astronomy-related information.

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Celestron makes some very nice telescopes.

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