Telescope Advice for Beginners

You have taken the plunge and purchased a telescope. Now what do you do with it? Astronomy can be a wonderful hobby, but here are some tips to make sure you get started on the right foot, or star as the case may be.
Look up the night sky without the aid of a telescope. Can you spot and name any constellations? Can you spot the moon or the planet Venus or Jupiter? If you can’t do this, you might have some trouble spotting other heavenly objects.
There are many magazines out there that follow astronomy and can give you sample pictures and sky charts to go buy. The most common are SKY, TELESCOPE, or ASTRONOMY.
Join an astronomy group or a star watching society. These groups usually have telescopes you can borrow for a look to see if it is really what you want. They also have advanced members who can teach you where to look for certain objects.
As any experienced astronomer will tell you, a pair of good binoculars can become your first telescope. They are relatively affordable, and if you decide astronomy isn’t for you, there are a dozen other uses for the binoculars. If you get a good pair the first time, you may not have to buy anymore, they last for a lifetime.
The biggest telescope is not always the best. Most amateurs like to use the six inch Dobsonian reflector type telescope. It is cheap, simple to use, and you can learn a lot from it before you move on. Instead of having to play around with controls, you will spend most of your time trying to aim and focus with this telescope. A six to eight inch aperture is large enough to view bright images of heavenly objects.

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