© Galloway Astronomy Centre 2016
All images are copyright – M Alexander unless otherwise stated
As well as being bought by the user many telescopes are bought
as a present by a partner or family member. With all good
intentions they person often knows little about them and makers
of some telescopes take advantage by claiming their telescopes
provide absurdly high magnification, such as "525x" or "675x"
and with boxes illustrated with unobtainable images.
It sounds and looks good, however, this is a sure sign of a poor
quality telescope. They can often be found in Department Stores
If you already have a telescope like the one on the right all
is not lost.
There are some easy modifications which will help improve
it. Click HERE for the page
The main purpose of a telescope is NOT to magnify, but to gather
faint light into the eye. Therefore, the larger the lens or mirror of
the telescope (known as aperture) the better the view will be. But
there is much more to choosing a telescope than this.
It is not possible to give you a complete guide in just one web
page - this is why we run a 2 hour course on the subject, but
here we will point out the important things you need to know.
Three points are
1) The child is looking at the wrong end. This is a Newtonian
Reflector you view through the side.
2) The tube cover is still fitted on the front
3) It is a poor telescope for many reasons
Buying the right telescope need not be
a gamble. Take advantage of my years
of experience and possibly save
yourself hundred of pounds by
ensuring you buy the right telescope
first time. That way you will get many
nights of enjoyment not ones of
A principle aim of the the Galloway
Astronomy Centre has always been to
give the beginner help to get a good
start in the hobby. We carry that same
principle into selling telescopes. Since
the GAC opened I have given advice on
telescopes to many guests which lead
us to become a dealer for Skywatcher
We have a unique offer for you - stay at the Centre and under
our beautiful dark skies and try out examples of popular beginner
telescopes such as the Skymax 127 Maksutov or Explorer-130P
with Synscan™ AZ Goto.
I have been observing the wonders of the night sky for over 40
years and in that time I have used many different types of
telescope. I am impressed with Skywatcher telescopes as
throughout the comprehensive range they consistently offer very
good quality at competitive prices.
At the end of 2013 we were approached by Celestron to become
their only Scottish specialist dealer. They also produced very good
telescopes many with unique features.
It is important to remember that even though we are a dealer,
this does not mean I can only give advice on Skywatcher or
Celestron telescopes. If another manufacturer best fits your
needs I’m happy to say so.
For first class service and advice please phone or e-mail we are
only too pleased to talk through your requirements.
A Guide to Buying a Telescope (Apologies that it is long,
but it’s stuff should know)
If you cannot see at least three things
wrong in this image you definitely need
See bottom of page for answers.
Naming of Parts
A telescope has 4 main parts -A poor
mount even with a good telescope will
wobble too much
Telescope - often called Optical Tube
Assembly (OTA) - Refractor, Reflector or
Mount - there are two main types Alt Az or
Finderscope (or Red Dot Finder) used to
locate the object you want to look at.
Eyepieces, these ultimately effect how large
the object looks.
ALL four items are important.
A poor mount even with a good telescope will wobble too much to
be of use. Cheap small aperture telescopes are simply not worth
buying. If you have less than £175 to spend then the best advice
is to buy a good quality pair of 7x50 or 10x50 binoculars and a
star chart (we can advise on or supply these). Use the time you
take to save more money by learning more about the night sky.
Often misunderstood by new buyers is that the planets are very
small and need at least 120 to 150 times magnification to give
reasonable views. However, Galaxies, Star Clusters or Nebulae
are much larger and often viewed at 50 to 150 times
magnification. One telescope may not be able to achieve both
What is There to See?
Most beginners start out looking at the Moon
and brighter planets (Venus, Mars, Jupiter,
Saturn, Uranus). For these objects the focal
length of the telescope is most critical to allow
sufficient magnification of the image.
Later the beginner starts to look for star
clusters, gas clouds (called nebula) and
galaxies collectively known as Deep Sky
Objects (DSOs) scattered across the sky. Too
late they discover their scope's lens or mirror
is too small to show these well. For these
objects the aperture of the telescope is most
If you want to see Deep Sky Objects and you live in or close to a
large town or city consider either a larger aperture telescope or a
portable one (so you can take it away from the lights). The Moon
or planets are less effected by light pollution.
Next - The Basics
Tel: 01988 500594