Whether it is you or one of your children who are fascinated by the stars above, you will at some point have to buy a telescope in order to keep up the interest. That means you will have to navigate the quagmire of ads and brands that populate the telescope market, which is no easy task if you are new to the topic. If such is the case, read on for a list of what to keep in mind as you shop around for the telescope you want.
Most important is the telescope’s aperture, or objective. The larger the aperture, the clearer you will distinguish fainter object. You want a telescope with at least 80 mm in diameter, though as low as 70 mm could be acceptable depending on what you are planning to use it for. Pay no mind to the magnifying properties of the telescope, as given how images become fuzzy and unclear beyond a relatively low level of magnification, there is a limit to the practical use one may put it to.
Of secondary concern is the type of telescope you buy. Choose between refractors, which come with a lens at the front of the telescope tube; reflectors, which are inexpensive and gather light through a mirror at the rear of the tube; and compound telescopes, which use both methods. Of these refractors are expensive but low maintenance, whereas reflectors are cheaper but need to be recalibrated more often. Compound telescopes are somewhere in-between the two in price, but are more notably lighter and more compact than the other models. Unless you are looking to travel with your telescope, in which case the Compound version is just right for you, you had better simply choose which kind to buy in accordance with your budget.
Finally you need a tripod or mount with which to support your telescope. Be sure to purchase one that was built to support a telescope, as although some telescopes have single screw blocks that allow them to be fastened to a photo support, the photo support itself might not be stable enough to hold up the telescope. Choose between manual or motorized versions of telescope mounts, of which the latter category naturally is the pricier option.
If you keep the above information in mind as you shop around for telescopes, you will sooner or later find an option that is worth every penny.