Weber State University > Physics Department > Ott Planetarium > here about us | contact us

Ott Planetarium - Buying a Telescope

Part 1: Don't Buy a Telescope
Part 2: Buy Binoculars
Part 3: But I Really Want a Telescope
Part 4: A Guide For The Serious Buyer

But I Really Want a Telescope!

Go to a star party first! Look at different types of telescopes, try the different types of telescopes. Ask the owners of each telescope to tell you about telescopes. Ask if any of the people have a telescope for sale. You can contact your local planetarium and/or astronomy club to find out where and when any local star parties are scheduled. Finally, find out as much as you can first.

The internet has numerous web sites with information about buying a telescope. I have a suggestion below and have written a page on that topic too. Here are few of the better sites:

My advanced site for first time telescope buyers.

Sky and Telescope Magazine has a page that is a good introduction to getting started in astronomy. This page has links to their pages on buying telescopes and binoculars.

The Clark Foundation's Winter '98-'99 Project ASTRO Utah newsletter (pages 3-6 are the related pages) contains an excellent intro to buying a telescope. This is a pdf file, so you will need to have the adobe acrobat reader installed.

The Perkins Observatory has an excellent Frequently Asked Questions page that is extremely detailed. (Make sure you start with the "read this first" section.)

Hansen Planetarium has a page about choosing a telescope and why magnification is the last item of importance when considering the purchase of a telescope.

The Ott Planetarium director's opinion of what is a good first telescope:

If push comes to shove and you really want a recommendation, I'd suggest a 6 to 10 inch Dobsonian reflector with a Telrad(TM) (or similar) finder, and with a set of two wide-field plossl eyepieces having focal lengths of approximately 40 mm and approximately 15 mm. Did that sound like Greek? If so, you should check out the information in the previous five paragraphs.

This telescope will provide many years of enjoyment and will allow the owner to expand the telescope's capabilities for only small increments in cost as they become more and more skilled. (And, if you don't have a good set of binoculars, I'd STILL recommend buying a pair of binoculars as described above.)

NOTE: I have written a web page that gives complete and careful detail to what I think a first scope should be.

Don't Buy a Telescope | Buy Binoculars | But I Really Want a Telescope | A Guide For the Serious Buyer

Weber State University > Physics Department > Ott Planetarium > here about us | contact us