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FAQs on Telescopes

If you are wondering¬†about what brands to buy, what to avoid, how much to spend and on what, check out the FAQ’a below. If you don’t find your query in the FAQ’s, just leave us a message and we will get back to you.

Are telescopes at Ebay worth buying? I have seen one at Ebay which is cheap but it does not have a brand name?

I have received a large amount of e-mails about eBay from unhappy people who have purchased telescopes. I have seen on many occasions the scopes that are being sold and can tell you that 98% are total rubbish. Never buy a telescope from eBay.

My question is simple. What brand telescopes do you NOT recommend?

That’s a good question. First is the Tasco range. They went out of business in 2002 and with good reason. Their scopes were poorly built and with low grade optics. Most people who purchased a Tasco were left very disappointed and many were returned for refund.

The other is Bushnell. The lower priced Bushnell is simply rubbish and a waste of your hard earned money. The higher priced Bushnell doesn’t have good optics like most other top brands like Meade, Orion, Celestron, and TeleVue. In fact you will get much more for your money from the top brands.

I want to buy an 8″ Dobsonian but they don’t have a drive and I will have to track manually. My question is, will that be a problem as I have never used a telescope before?

No not at all. You will surprise yourself by how quickly you pick this up. After a couple of nights viewing you will be tracking objects in the night sky like a pro.

I know you must get asked this question all the time. I want to buy a really good scope but I only have $200 to spend. What can I get for that?

I’m glad you have asked me this question. Unfortunately not much I’m afraid. You could look at the 4.5 Orion Dobsonian which is only $199 which is not bad. The thing that many people don’t understand is that you are buying a scientific instrument and not a toy. You would really be much better off and much happier in the long run if you simple wait until you have saved up the extra money.

Then go out and buy a better quality telescope. There is no point buying a cheap telescope if, when you get it home, you find that you can’t see much or that the objects appear fuzzy and so small that you need glasses. Don’t waist your money.

I want to view the mountains and valleys in my area much more than viewing the stars. My question to you is what type of telescope would you suggest?

You would be better off buying a spotting scope. There are many excellent scopes on the market such as Meade, Orion, and Celestron. They are simple to use and can easily be carried around

I have the opportunity to purchase a Bushnell Voyager 8″ Dob. It is only $250. I think it is a really good buy. What do you think?

Take your $250.00 and put it back in the bank! The Bushnell brand have a poor reputation for their poor quality optics. This type of scope is what I call a “hobby killer”.

I have been reading reviews and everything I can get my hands on about telescopes. I now find myself more confused than ever. I realize you must get asked this question all the time so here we go again. What do you recommend?

Yes, I do get asked this question all the time. First I recommend that you stop trying to read everything. Some times people do too much research, let’s not over-kill the research. Sit down and write a list of what you want from your telescope. What size aperture? Do you want to view deep space or the planets? Must it be portable? How much do you want to spend?

Then when that’s all done, take a look at the top brands such as Meade, Celestron, Orion, and TeleVue. And ask yourself which of these suit your needs. If you want to check back with me before you buy, then please do. But please, NO MORE RESEARCH.

I’ve found a really cheap telescope at my local toy store. Do you think it would be a good buy?

If all you want is a toy then yes. But as you are looking for a telescope, which is a scientific instrument, you won’t find them at toy stores.

I purchased the telescope that you advised me on. But when I tried to find the Orion Nebula, Jupiter, Saturn, and I couldn’t find them anywhere. What’s the point of having this great scope if I can’t find anything. I tried looking at star maps and they were very confusing. My question is now what do I do?

First let me reassure you that Jupiter and Saturn are still there. I get a lot of e-mails from people who have done all this research on telescopes only to find that when they get their new scope home and start viewing they don’t know where anything is in the sky.

Don’t worry, there is some excellent software called Starry Night. This software will show you where you can find objects at any given time of the night. You will surprise yourself by how quickly you will learn where everything is up there.

I found a Galileo telescope on the home shopping network for only $129.00. What do you think?

That’s a good question and one I want to answer before you waist any of your hard earned money. The home shopping network is not the place to buy a scientific instrument. Other places where you should never buy a telescope are at department stores, Ebay, and toy stores. The telescopes you should avoid are Galileo, Bushnell, Tasco, and any other cheap and nasty telescopes priced under $300. Don’t waste your hard earned money.

You should buy a telescope from a business who specializes in telescopes. The people in these businesses know about telescopes. The sales people at department stores have most likely never used a scope in their lives – they are only trying to part you from your money and make a sale.

I want to buy a good telescope for my 3 children. What do you think would be a good choice?

That’s a good question. If all 3 children are going to be viewing together then I would recommend a computerized scope. The reason is – with computer control when viewing an object, it will hold in the field of view for up to 25 to 35 mins. This will give everyone time to see the object.

If you do not have a computerized scope you will find that when viewing an object it will zoom across your field of view and you have to constantly keep making adjustments just to keep up with the object. I think any child would get sick of standing around waiting for you to find an object. And most children are better at handling computers than many adults are. The brands I recommend are Meade, Orion, and Celestron.

I hope this is not a silly question. I have purchased a new Meade telescope and want to know if it is ok to take it out in the cold weather. I live in an area that gets snow all winter long. Will anything freeze on my telescope?

No question from a beginner is silly to me. The only thing that’s going to freeze is you. Don’t worry your scope can take it, it’s just you I’m worried about!

I want to buy a telescope for around $100. I am only looking for a cheap telescope for now. Do you have a suggestion?

I think you should find another hobby. You either buy a good telescope that will give you great views or buy a cheap scope with no views. You would be better spending that $100 on a good night out!

I’ve been trying to find the answer to my question all over the net so I hope you can help me. I live in a tower in Los Angeles and want to buy a telescope to view planets. But someone told me that I can’t view through glass. Is that true?

Good question. Yes that is true. The glass will distort the image and reflect light. You need to go outside if you want to use a telescope.

I want to buy the Orion 8″ Dobsonian. But this does not come with a tripod. What tripod do you recommend I get for this scope?

You don’t have to buy a tripod for the Dobsonian telescope. It comes with what is called a “rocker box”. This scope is an all-in-one unit. You simply take it outside and sit it on the ground and you’re ready to start viewing. The Dob is one of the simplest scopes to use. There is no setting up of tripods to worry about.

My question to you is, when it comes to putting money in aperture vs. drives/electronics, where do you stand? That is, if money were equal and you could get a 4″ with electronics or a 8″ without, which would you choose?

That’s an excellent question and here’s the answer. I would go for the 8″ every time. Because all the electronics, Go-To, AutoStar, and all the rest are not going to give great views. And the whole point of astronomy is to be able to view the planets and other objects. So, I would definitely go for aperture over all the wiz bang gadgets anytime.

I want to buy a Dobsonian because of the large aperture you can get for so little money. But I also want a motor drive and to be able to do photography but I can’t find any info on this. Can you advise me?

That’s a question I am asked a lot. Unfortunately you can’t get drives for the Dob and if you want to do photography you are going to have to set up something yourself. The Dob is a very simple scope in its construction, that is one of the reasons you can get so much aperture for so little money. If you want the drives etc, I would advise you take a look at the new Orion Apex range. However they are more expensive that the Dobsonian.

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