Let’s face it; everyone wants a telescope at some point in their life; the sky is such a mystery to us; no wonder there is a constant need to explore it. But then again, people oftentimes have misconceptions about telescopes and simply give up the idea of owning one once they grow up. Telescopes are both intricate and complex, but they become pretty simple once you actually dive a little deeper and get to know them. So if you are a bit interested but can’t decide if they are a good investment for you, here are 8 things to know before buying a telescope!

1. Know the purpose

Before anything else, you need to understand what telescopes are used for and the variety of uses as well! It’s fine if you want to point it at the sky and look, but there is more to it than just looking at the sky. But different telescopes have different features, thus changing the purpose completely. Some are restricted and can only reach so much, some have different focal lengths and ratios, some have fewer features than others, and so on; the bottom line is, you need to know what you are buying the telescope, to know what kind of telescope to buy in the first place!

2. Different types of telescopes

Nowadays, thanks to ever-evolving technology, telescopes are available to everyone. Some are small and for amateurs, while others are meant to revolutionize astronomy and change it forever. Different telescopes can reach different things, don’t expect a miracle with basic telescopes, but if you are handy enough, you might be able to see amazing things! There is no universal telescope, so make sure you read up on different types of telescopes to determine what suits your abilities and interests the most!

3. Budgeting is key

So once you determine what kind of telescope interests you, it’s time to start saving up! Obviously, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a telescope for it to be a good one, especially if you are a beginner there are affordable telescope options for you. This is one of the main misconceptions when it comes to buying a telescope; many people shy away from the idea of owning one due to it being too expensive, while the reality is way different. You need to find a good telescope for a reasonable price and start from there; you can always upgrade once you get seriously into astronomy!

4. Learning the theory first

If you want to make the best out of your future purchase, make sure you are well informed about the matter before making the investment! Getting to know astronomy and different things you can spot in the sky whale using your telescope is a must, especially if you have no clue about telescopes in general. You need to know the different aspects of it and the sheer ability, this way, you won’t have any unrealistic ideas in your head and won’t be disappointed whilst taking a peek with your telescope. 

5. Know how to use it

Another important thing you need to consider is learning how to properly use the telescope – and no, you don’t just place your eye on it and see the stars, there is more to it! This correlates with the fact that there is more than one type of telescope and the fact that you use the telescope for different reasons. So knowing how to manage the hardware and the theoretical knowledge in practice is key! So make sure you are watching lots of tutorials and read useful books on the matter before jumping into it!

6. Buy a binocular first

If your initial thought is that telescopes are too complicated, you might want to get a binocular first, This way, you can practice and apply the theoretical information you gathered as a perfect practice before getting the real thing! There is an obvious difference between a binocular and a telescope, but you can also see the similarities. This is a lesser investment, perfect for beginners who are unsure of getting a telescope but still want to try peeking at the sky!

7. Borrow someone else’s telescope

If you are still unsure if you truly want a telescope or not, it’s best to try it out at first and see if your interests hold up. You can borrow a telescope from a friend or even find a place where they rent them – try networking and joining astronomy enthusiasts, they will be more than happy to offer help! Getting a telescope is not a small thing, both financially and time-wise, you want to get the best out of it, and you don’t want to use it twice and leave it to collect dust in your home. So try to borrow it and see if it’s truly something you want to invest in!

Astronomer with a telescope watching at the stars and Moon. My astronomy work.

8. Depending on your interests

Telescopes are a lot of fun, but you need to see if getting one is something you truly want or not. This will also determine how much money you are willing to invest in it and how serious you are planning to be at it! In order to grasp the telescope fully and to get the best use out of it, you need to invest both money and time, not to mention all the necessary information and theory you’ll need in order to properly use it in the first place. Make sure that you are ready for all then and only then jump into buying one that suits your needs and expectations! 

The sky’s the limit, as they say, and the same goes for owning a telescope…quite literally. If you want to see the stars and what the sky has to offer, you need to put in the work, invest your time and resources into it, and it will all be worth it! Owning a telescope is quite valuable, and you can always pass it down to your children or bring it out at special gatherings with friends and loved ones, looking at the stars is always wonderful!