A well-chosen telescope can provide a lifetime of discovery, but a poorly chosen one gathers dust in the closet. There’s no best telescope it all depends on your interests, observing location, need for portability, and budget. Planetarium astronomer Scott Young has selected a pair of telescope packages which provide good starting points for beginning astronomers of all ages.
For basic information on what telescopes do and how to choose the right one, check out our Telescope Primer. For more in-depth information, you can sign up for our "How to Choose a Telescope" workshop on December 1st, and our "How to Use Your New Telescope" workshop in February.
In summary, here are the recommendations provided by Scott Young, Manager-Planetarium and Science Gallery and active backyard astronomer:
- Intro: For younger astronomers or for an inexpensive and portable starter scope, check out the GoScope 80mm refractor . This little scope will show you craters on the moon, the rings of Saturn, and the brighter star clusters, galaxies and nebulae.
- Intermediate: For serious beginners, the StarBlast 6" Dobsonian reflector is a powerful yet portable telescope. This is our recommended starting point for an adult observer.