I am a complete novice in this world and I would like a telescope where I could have enough power to view the moon's surface, I don't expect to see the flag or the hover sending signs to me, but perhaps enough to view cliffs, and other details from the surface of it and perhaps from other places.

I honestly don't even know what kind of telescope to purchase. I live in a capital city, so there is a lot of light around here. My apartment is high with a balcony, which is where I would place it and there is nothing in front of me from there.

  • What kind of telescope would fit my needs?
  • Are there reputable online stores that I could consult?

I have a $500 budget for this and honestly, I have no clue about specs or anything, I am a completely novice in this field.

  • $\begingroup$ @called2voyage thanks and done, do you often purchase from online stores either the telescope it self or parts? do you know some store I could look at for reference and such? $\endgroup$
    – Prix
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ I would trust an online store, but I haven't shopped for one in years and wouldn't know what to recommend. This post has a couple of vendor suggestions, but they may not stock the type of telescope that you're looking for--I'm not sure. $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 16:27
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I have a 4.5" reflector that costed <500$ 15 years ago, and I easily see cliffs/mountains on the Moon from my apartment in the middle of Copenhagen. They're most easily seen where it's evening on the Moon. $\endgroup$
    – pela
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ Even a small telescope will be good against the Moon, so you should raise your sights - planets? Some deep sky objects? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ @adrianmcmenamin yes I would like to be able to go as far as possible with that budget :P $\endgroup$
    – Prix
    Commented Sep 13, 2016 at 22:11

1 Answer 1


The main things to look for are:

  • Decent optics (nearly anything except those with plastic lenses).
  • A steady mount that points where you want to, and moves smoothly. An altitude-azimuth mount is fine because with practice you can guide at high powers.
  • The eyepieces should be 1 1/4 inch size or more expensive 2 inch. The older 0.96 inch are very hard to find. This lets you upgrade eyepieces later.

The larger the aperture the better. Don't worry about magnification.

Hint: find your local astronomical society, ask there, go to one of their "star nights", they may even have telescopes on loan.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer, in particular the part about finding a local astronomical society(which I am still pending to do, lack of time, but seems the best option for me as I lack a lot of knowledge on the equipment and how good they perform). $\endgroup$
    – Prix
    Commented Oct 4, 2016 at 17:21

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