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Thinking about buying your first telescope or binoculars?

We’re frequently asked about choosing a telescope suitable for beginners.   There’s a huge range of equipment to consider, and also some excellent advice already available on the web —  study the list of websites below.   Before reading them, think about the following —

How much do you want to spend?  There is a huge range of astronomical equipment, much of it very expensive. Equally, if you spend too little that may be money wasted.  There are many cheap but poor telescopes on the market.

How portable must the equipment be, and how easy to set-up?  If you live in a town or city you may want easily portable equipment so you can take it into the countryside away from light pollution.  Some kinds of telescope and mounting can be quite tricky for a beginner to set-up.

Binoculars may be a better choice for your first investment in astronomy.  You can get a lot of value for your money and they will be very easy to transport and handle.

Go talk to other amateur astronomers in your local society, and get advice from a reputable retailer.  Check the listings in a UK magazine like ‘Astronomy Now’.

Study these resources for excellent general advice —

Flamsteed Beginners’ Guide to Telescopes

Flamsteed Guide to ‘Painless Astronomy‘ by Martin Male

Telescope ‘Facts and Figures‘ by Martin Male

Finding Stuff!‘ by Martin Male

The Royal Astronomical Society on ‘Getting started in astronomy’

Jodrell Bank on learning the night sky with advice about equipment

The Society for Popular Astronomy

Sky & Telescope mag’s “How to start right in astronomy”

and Sky & Telescope on choosing your first telescope

Have fun!