Can you give me advice on buying a telescope? (Beginner)

I would like to learn a lot more about astronomy. I'm a beginner. Could you give me some advice on a reasonable telescope to buy?

It depends on (a) what kind of observing you are going to do and (b) what your budget is. If your aim is primarily to observe the Moon/planets, then get a refracting telescope. Otherwise, get a reflecting telescope. If you are going to be doing astrophotography, then get a Schmidt Cassegrain telescope. If your aim is to get the largest aperture for your money, then probably the best choice is the Dobsonian. Here is an example website that gives you some advice: http://www.my-spot.com/whatkind.htm

Edit by Michael Lam on August 2, 2016: There's a lot of differing opinions on this but it is often suggested that as a beginner, you should get a good pair of binoculars rather than a telescope. You can see a lot of objects with a pair of binoculars, they are easier to use, they are cheaper, and you can always upgrade to a telescope if you find you are really enjoying observations and want to get into it more.

About the Author

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep D. Pandian

Jagadheep built a new receiver for the Arecibo radio telescope that works between 6 and 8 GHz. He studies 6.7 GHz methanol masers in our Galaxy. These masers occur at sites where massive stars are being born. He got his Ph.D from Cornell in January 2007 and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Insitute for Radio Astronomy in Germany. After that, he worked at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii as the Submillimeter Postdoctoral Fellow. Jagadheep is currently at the Indian Institute of Space Scence and Technology.

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