Astronomy can be one of the most rewarding hobbies on the planet, no pun intended, but in order to enjoy it to its fullest many hobbyists need to purchase a telescope. Telescope prices and quality vary drastically with telescopes for beginners usually, but not always coming in on the lower end of the price scale.
First and foremost, make sure that the hobby is something that you truly enjoy. Make a small investment in some astronomy software before you leap in and purchase a telescope. Even telescopes for beginners can be quite expensive, so ensure that before you take the leap and start perusing telescope prices and reviews that you know what the hobby is all about.
Second, and this may sound strange, but the best beginner telescope isn’t a telescope at all, but a set of binoculars. You can see amazing things with a simple set of binoculars and in general binocular prices are lower than telescope prices. You will also use your binoculars to scan the sky for objects that you want to train telescope on. The best beginner telescope is worthless if you can’t find the object that you wish to look at.
Third, join a local astronomy club if possible. If you are like me and prefer to learn astronomy online or away from the crowd then that is OK too, but astronomy clubs do have their merits. I didn’t take my own advice and I’m doing just fine, so it really comes down to whether or not you want the social aspect and the hand-holding that a club can provide.
Best Beginner Telescope
When people ask about telescopes for beginners or ask which is the best beginner telescope they are usually under the impression that they need to purchase a telescope to make things look larger when they really need to understand that a telescope is built to gather light. The more light that a telescope can gather the better off you as the astronomer will be. Box stores and toy stores sell telescopes based on their magnification. Avoid these at all costs. Yes they are inexpensive, but frankly they are more frustration than they are worth. If telescope prices are an issue then see below for some good economical choices for telescopes for beginners.
The best beginner telescope must also be easy to use. If you are like most hobbyists looking at telescope prices isn’t going to tell you which are telescopes for beginners. More expensive does not always equate to easier to use when you purchase a telescope.
Here is the low-down in a nutshell. The best beginner telescope is easy to carry and easy to use. Telescopes for beginners our of necessity cannot be huge and cumbersome. A telescope that you won’t use is a waste of your money and given the state of telescope prices that could be considerable.
When it comes to ease of use, nothing beats a Schmidt-Cassegrains type telescope. There are arguments for using a refractor telescope and Newtonian reflectors are also very popular, but for sure ease of use the best beginner telescope is in my opinion a Schmidt-Cassegrains. The difference in telescope prices between the flavours is relatively small, so go with portability and ease of use.
My recommendation from the thousands of telescopes for beginners out there would be the Orion XT8. It is portable, easy to use and perhaps the best beginner telescope at a reasonable price.
Remember, I recommend checking out some virtual astronomy first to ensure that you are truly ready to take the plunge! You can try out 3D Astronomer risk free for 60 days.