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Choosing Your First Telescope - A Beginner's Guide by Stevie Beasant & Eamonn Keyes

A question which keeps popping up over and over again on the NIAAS forum is "How do I select a telescope"?

Usually, this question will be asked by those who are beginning to take an interest in astronomy.

They may have seen or read an article about some aspect of astronomy, and want to investigate further.

Astronomy is a vast subject, with many different aspects.
Observing is only one aspect of the subject, although it is a very important one.

There are hundreds of books, several monthly magazines and literally millions of articles on the internet about astronomy, and it would be possible to build a detailed knowledge of the subject from these sources alone.

Indeed, many people do just this and never look through a telescope, but for most amateur astronomers the most enjoyable aspect of the hobby is to get out on a dark, clear night and have a look at the beauty of the heavens.

However, there is one thing which must be said right from the start. Books, magazines and the internet are full of fantastic colourful photographs of things like planets, stars, galaxies and nebulae taken by cameras on which the lens has been left open for several seconds or minutes, or which have been created by layering many images on top of each other to build up the image.

The ordinary backyard observer will not be able to see these objects just as they appear in these photographs, as the human eye is incapable of doing this.

Having said this, there are countless, wonderful sights to be seen with an ordinary telescope, more than enough to last a lifetime.


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