I'm very much an amateur when it comes to telescopes. My husband wants one for his birthday. I'm willing to spend up to $900 on one. Can any of you gurus give me advise as to which one I should buy?

Thank you so much in advance!

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    $\begingroup$ I'll provide some links for similar answers but with different budgets: around 500 USD (beginner), 300 USD (cheaper) and 2000 USD (more expensive). Nevertheless they should provide you some useful hints. Hopefully, somebody with more knowledge than me might help you further. By the way, can you please edit your question and tell us if your husband already has a telescope (and which one) and if he uses binoculars to watch the sky at night? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 8:34
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    $\begingroup$ Also see astronomy.stackexchange.com/a/2198/16685 Will this be his first telescope? Is he a member of an astronomy club, or does he have a friend who owns a telescope? What's the light pollution like where you live? $\endgroup$
    – PM 2Ring
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 8:43
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    $\begingroup$ How dark are the skies where you live? Constant high level cirrus? Round here, light, dust and Cirrus make portability a major factor. I would not waste money on auto pointing hardware. A good lens/mirror and eyepieces with stable mount are more important. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 16:06
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    $\begingroup$ Let him choose something himself, and give cash. He may have a better idea exactly what he wants (technical requirements) than you will. It will also give him a chance to learn what he needs if he does not already know about these things. If you buy one, it may not do what he'd really like. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 18, 2019 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG this is definitely the right answer! $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Sep 21, 2019 at 5:05

2 Answers 2


I saw this link earlier and remembered you were looking for a telescope. This web site is titled 'Telescopes 101'. It has pictures of the insides of Refracting, Reflecting, and Catadioptric telescopes. It also lists other things you may need to know before buying a telescope. The web site, as you'll see when you visit the site, was on the Astronomy.com web site if link doesn't work for some reason.

Here is an image from the report.

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Video Astronomy or as some refer to it as Live or Near Live Viewing is a growing field of interest that lies between traditional viewing with an eyepiece and Astro Photography.

Eyepieces are substituted with cameras and the viewing is done on a screen. In general the cameras are more sensitive than the eye and often reveal more detail and color.

That being said it is a field that some love and others hate. The individual needs to decide for themselves. There are extremists in both groups. An open mind helps but have a few grains of salt on hand just in case. :)

In general, the electronic viewers prefer telescopes with a faster f ratio than the eyepiece viewers. Because of the increased camera sensitivity, many claim smaller aperture telescopes can work as well as those with double their aperture. Better to find out what type of viewing is more interesting before buying any equipment.

My suggestion is to see what the electronic viewers are doing with their equipment.

Many electronic viewers broadcast their viewing sessions on the NightSkiesNetwork. Anyone can join in on these broadcasts at


Most broadcasts originate in North America but they could be from anywhere in the world. Check for clear weather in the Eastern time zone at nightfall in the East. If the weather looks clear take a look at the NightSkiesNetwork site then look again occasionally as nightfall passes across the continent. It is all weather dependent. In general you will find a broadcast sooner rather than later.

Most viewers of the NightSkiesNetwork started out with traditional eyepiece viewing and like astronomers everywhere are more than willing to give people advice whether it be for viewing with an eyepiece or a camera.

I use several Mallincam cameras, but there are other cameras available.

Google "Video Astronomy" or "Electronic Assisted Astronomy" for more information.

For what it is worth I viewed with eyepieces for fifty years before going electronic. In the ten years since going electronic I have had no desire to use my traditional eyepieces. Even when my eyesight was at its best and with telescopes up to 14" aperture I have never seen as much as I do now with an electronic eyepiece on my 5" and SCT's 10". That may make me sound like an extremist, if so be prepared to deal with a few more like me. :)


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