What telescope should I buy this Christmas?
Want to reach for the skies or look for the man in the moon? A telescope is what you should focus on...
The Man in the Moon Christmas advert touched us all, and we totally agree that Christmas is a great chance to show someone just how much they’re cared about. Getting a telescope and looking to the stars is a hobby that’s ideal to share with a loved one. Together you can plan what you’re going to look for, help each other recognise constellations and work out where to aim the telescope. It’s a quiet time you can spend chatting with your loved one, enjoying a co-operative, relaxing and educational pastime.
There are an astronomical number of telescopes out there, but it’s not always easy knowing which one to focus on.
What makes a telescope good for star gazing?
Telescopes have a major advantage over binoculars for astronomy. Because they’re mounted on a tripod or stand, they’re much more steady and easy to aim. When you’re trying to focus on something thousands or millions of miles away, any tiny movement will be magnified enormously and it’ll be almost impossible to see anything worthwhile.
With a mounted telescope, the only times you need to touch it are when you’re adjusting the aim or focus. It’s important to look for a mount that allows you to make subtle adjustments easily without the telescope becoming so loose it loses its aim. You want the mount to be steady and allow for smooth movement.
In order to see fine detail in the night sky, your telescope will need to be very sensitive to light. Depending on the type of telescope you choose, the light will be captured by either a lens or a mirror. The larger the aperture, the better you will be able to see faint, distant objects in the night sky. If you live somewhere where there are lots of bright lights at night, such as a busy city, you may need to choose a larger aperture, as light pollution can affect the detail you’ll be able to see.
For astronomy, we would recommend an aperture size of at least 70mm.
Four great telescopes for new astronomers: