Many people run out and buy a telescope on a whim, or as a present without really knowing what use it will be put to. We have presented out products in 3 broad categories to help you narrow down your choices. As the old saying goes, the best telescope is the one that gets used the most, so decide what your primary use will be, and consider the comments below for each category. Click on a picture to see associated products.
For outdoor use on your deck or in your backyard, you can't beat the portability of binoculars. They are also a good start for observing the night sky.
They are available in a variety of apertures and powers and that is how they are shown - 8X42mm - ie: 8X magnification with 42mm objectives. Larger objectives perform better in low light. Higher powers are harder to hold steady -10X is about the max for hand held viewing.
Spotting scopes are low power telescopes designed to be mounted on a tripod. They usually feature dedicated zoom eyepieces for a variable magnification range and are typically 'ruggedized' with resilient armor coating and waterproof designs for outdoors use.
Like binoculars they are described the same way. ie: 20-60X80m, the 20-60X indicting the zoom range. Spotting scopes need a very sturdy camera tripod to support them without undue vibration.
There are many choices available but it is particularly true of optics, that you get what you pay for. A cheap price means cheap views..
Due to the nature of astronomy - ie: looking for smaller, dimmer objects - astronomical telescopes are available in the larger apertures (diameter) necessary to acquire faint objects and are capable of high magnification and resolution.
Mounts intended for astronomical use have to be very rigid to prevent vibration at these higher magnifications and are often motorized and/or computer controlled.
Larger telescopes require larger mounts, so portability of larger telescopes is a factor to be considered. We list the weights for most of our products.
Astronomical telescopes are available in refractor, reflector and compound lens/mirror designs (catadioptric).
Please see the 'Articles' tab for more information on the various types of scopes and their accessories.
If you're a little interested in the night sky but not sure if you want to dedicate a purchase souly to this pursuit, then a crossover product may be the way to go,
Crossover products are essentially lighter duty astronomical telescopes with an emphasis on portability and lower power/wide field viewing. Because they are initially designed for more demanding higher power astronomical use, their translation into terrestial use results in crisp, bright images not typically seen in spotting scopes.
Crossover mounts are typically of the up-down, left-right variety - termed Alt Az, and are much sturdier than camera tripods, but still retain some easy portability.
They provide vibration free viewing at the higher powers these telescopes make possible and also also permit a much higher degree of pointing accuracy and control.
Lastly, these cross over products allow an entre into the world of astronomy as they use industry standard accessories.So any accessories you acquire for use with your crossover scope will be compatible with future purchases..