Backyard astronomy on a budget
All About Space brings you all of the fun of observing the heavens… without breaking the bank
When it comes to first choosing and purchasing equipment to observe the night sky, there’s a lot to take in. “Which telescope should I get?” “Which magnification is best for my first pair of binoculars?” “Do I need to buy extra eyepieces?”
These are possibly just some of the questions that you may have found yourself puzzling over. It may be that the daunting task of selecting a telescope or pair of binoculars has put you off pursuing a hobby in astronomy. Maybe you bought a telescope that doesn’t meet your requirements or is too complicated for you to use. If you took the plunge before you were ready, it has most likely left you feeling frustrated and disappointed, with nothing to show for your efforts other than a piece of equipment gathering some dust in some rarely visited corner of your home.
Blunders like this aside, it certainly is possible to take part in backyard astronomy without having to spend an incredible amount. The trick is to do your research; that could involve reading up on your hobby in stargazing books, or getting some advice from a seasoned amateur astronomer at your local astronomical society before you make your first purchase. It is also essential that you shop around to compare prices, making sure that there is a satisfactory trade-off between how much you can afford and what your potential piece of equipment can actually offer in terms of observational performance. Lastly, you should always think ahead – will your equipment still be usable a year into your backyard astronomy hobby?
Where first-time astronomers often get lost is not being able to figure out what they should be looking for in an ideal piece of equipment, and thinking that bigger and more expensive is better. This is not always the case. It is always down to the individual, and a telescope that allows you to do what you want at a reasonable cost is definitely a step in the right direction.
Still at a loss? We’ve put together this guide to ensure that you get the experience that you want with minimum fuss.
“It is also essential that you shop around to compare prices”