A short story about frustration
A story about telescope frustration? What Kurt did wrong when he bought his telescope, and how you can do better in the future.
Anyone who has ever bought a small telescope from one of the big supermarkets will probably understand the frustration that often arises with these devices. We don't want that to happen to you.
After this brief introduction, we will come to the actual observing instruments, but first imagine the following scenario.
Kurt's done it: he’s hooked on astronomy. When he was on holiday recently in Tenerife in Spain, he stepped a few meters into the "pampa" near his hotel complex. When he looked up into the sky, it happened. He was completely taken aback, because he had never seen such a beautiful dark sky covered in stars. He discovered thousands of stars and bumped into a cactus, which didn’t bother him in the slightest.
When he arrived back home in Germany, he immediately bought an astronomy book, which he completely devoured. Of course, he had to have a telescope as quickly as possible. A few days later, a leaflet from a very well-known food discounter dropped onto his doormat. They were offering a telescope with a 50mm aperture and 600-times magnification. Brilliant.
He bought it immediately. He admired the wonderful images of Saturn and Jupiter displayed on the box. Yes, that must be exactly how he’s going to see them. He put the telescope together. Actually, it seemed a little wobbly. But it was probably meant to be like that. The next clear night, he set the telescope up outside and tried to find an object. He tried and tried; it really wasn’t so easy.
Finally, he did find something. Saturn was in the eyepiece. But it kept shaking, even as he just looked at it. Somehow, he couldn’t seem to get it to focus either. Frustrated, he packed everything up again, pushed the telescope off his balcony and the next day he buried it in the garden together with his astronomy book. He’d had enough of astronomy.
In order to avoid such an experience, in the following pages I would like to give you some tips about different telescope systems and their advantages and disadvantages. Every telescope has its own part of the heavens, but there is also a lot to pay attention to, in order to ensure that the telescope finds the right owner.
You may also find these articles interesting:
Aperture, resolution and magnification: the vital knowledge you need to successfully choose a telescope.
The most important telescope design types, how they differ from one another, and where their strengths lie: refractor, reflector, Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov.