How to Choose a Good Telescope

This is actually a review of a particular brand of Telescope. I find it top of the line.

It seems like yesterday, but it was almost 43 years ago. I had a fascination with Astronomy.The thought of man on the moon, life on Mars – I had memorized the 9 planets and the information about the 33 moons of the solar system (How many is it now?) and the orbital years of the planets before I had entered school.
And that was when I bought my first telescope. It seemed like a fortune, but I had saved what I needed and purchased the telescope. Over the next 20 years, heavy use and poor storage took its toll, and the telescope wound up vanishing, never to be seen again.

I still have a fascination with astronomy. I had looked at new telescopes and wanted a new one. That is when I hit upon a marvelous stroke of luck. One of the telescopes I had investigated was on sale. When it reached “clearance,” I snatched it up. What I got was a Meade ETX-60.

It has some very nice features. It comes with two eyepieces My pieces are 25 MM and 12 MM. You don’t even have to change the pieces to get a better view: You can use either one with only the turn of a knob. And there is another knob that can be turned to double the magnification.

My first telescope had a wooden tripod. This one is made of light weight metal, possibly aluminum which makes the scope a little heavier than wood, but it seems to add to stability of the whole telescope.

Do you ever have trouble lining up your viewing? And keeping it in view while you are focusing? Fret no more. This telescope comes with locks to hold your plane of view.

Oh, but this telescope is wonderful. This model is motorized. It’s connected to a handheld box which is a computer! Want to observe the space station? A few buttons pressed on the box will give you time it will pass over and the scope will “Slew” with the station until the station is out of sight. I noticed more than 10 satellites listed in the memory of this little computer.

Want to observe Sirius? Alderbaran? Polaris? The push of a button will automatically move the scope to the desired position. But be informed: You must know which way is North. You must have it set to true North, and you must set it up to point at the horizon before you start.

You might have to make some minor adjustments to the positioning, but they are minimal.

Want to observe Saturn? Uranus? Mars? This will calculate the position of the planet, but if it’s not visible you will get a message which will tell you it is not visible (That it is below the horizon)

You can use this telescope anywhere, just change the “site” position in the box. In the US, you can use your Zip Code, Or you may need to use your nearest city, but be sure you have idea how far you are away from it. That information will be needed to calibrate the telescope.

Want to know when the next solar eclipse is? Or Lunar Eclipse? Sunrise, or moonset? That information is right in the little handheld computer.

The telescope needs batteries to use the box. But you don’t need the box. But 6 “AA” batteries, or a 9-volt (It’s your call) doesn’t strain the budget. You might get up to 20 hours of use from the batteries, so keep a spare pack handy.

One word of advice: READ THE MANUAL. It’s the only way to be sure you are doing things correctly.

The telescope retails at about $200.00. If you are on a budget, watch for a clearance sale. But the ease of scope’s use, the features, and the fun you can have- It is truly worth the cost.

Happy Viewing! And be careful: The sun will damage your eyes!