If you are in the market for a telescope, you may be tempted to purchase one from a department store. After all, they are convenient to buy and can be affordable. However, there are several reasons why telescopes sold at department stores are not the best option for aspiring stargazers.
Firstly, department store telescopes are often poorly made with cheap materials. The mounts are typically small and unstable, making it difficult to use the telescope effectively. Additionally, these telescopes often have a limited magnification range, causing objects to appear blurry and out of focus when viewed at higher magnifications.
Furthermore, department store telescopes often come with inadequate instructions and support. This can make it difficult for beginners to set up and use the telescope properly, leading to frustration and disappointment. In this article, we will explore the various issues with department store telescopes and provide alternative options for those looking to explore the night sky.
If you are looking for a telescope, you should be aware that department store telescopes often lack the optical quality that you need to see the celestial objects you want to observe. Here are some reasons why:
One of the most significant differences between department store telescopes and high-quality telescopes is the lens coatings. High-quality telescopes have multiple coatings on their lenses, which help to reduce glare, increase contrast, and improve the sharpness of the image. In contrast, department store telescopes often have single-layer coatings or no coatings at all. This means that the image you see through the telescope may be blurry, washed out, or lack contrast.
The aperture size of a telescope is the diameter of the mirror or lens that collects light. A larger aperture size means that the telescope can collect more light, which results in a brighter and clearer image. However, department store telescopes often have small aperture sizes, which means that they cannot collect as much light as high-quality telescopes. This results in a dimmer image that is harder to see and less detailed.
In summary, department store telescopes often lack the lens coatings and aperture size necessary to provide high-quality images of celestial objects. If you are serious about astronomy and want to see the stars and planets in all their glory, it is worth investing in a high-quality telescope with excellent optical quality.
Mounting and Stability
One of the most important things to consider when buying a telescope is its mounting and stability. A shaky mount can ruin your observing experience and make it difficult to see anything clearly. Department store telescopes often come with mounts that are not suitable for astronomy, and this can be a major problem for beginners.
Altitude-azimuth mounts, also known as alt-az mounts, are the most common type of mount found on department store telescopes. These mounts are simple and easy to use, but they have a major drawback: they are not suitable for tracking objects in the night sky. Alt-az mounts move in two directions, up-down and left-right, but they cannot compensate for the rotation of the Earth. This means that objects in the sky will quickly drift out of view, and you will have to constantly adjust the mount to keep them in sight.
Equatorial mounts are more complex than altitude-azimuth mounts, but they are essential for serious astronomy. These mounts are designed to compensate for the rotation of the Earth, and they allow you to track objects in the sky with ease. Unfortunately, equatorial mounts are rarely found on department store telescopes, and when they are, they are often of poor quality.
The tripod is an important part of the mount, and it is responsible for providing stability and support. Unfortunately, department store telescopes often come with flimsy tripods that are not suitable for astronomy. These tripods are often made of cheap materials, and they tend to wobble and vibrate, even in a light breeze. This can make it difficult to see anything clearly, and it can be frustrating for beginners.
If you are serious about astronomy, it is important to invest in a good quality mount and tripod. A stable mount will make it easier to see objects in the sky, and it will make your observing experience much more enjoyable. Look for mounts that are designed specifically for astronomy, and make sure that they are sturdy and well-built.
When it comes to telescopes, accessories can make all the difference in the world. Unfortunately, department store telescopes often come with subpar accessories that can hinder your viewing experience. Here are some of the most common issues:
Eyepieces are one of the most important accessories for a telescope. They determine the magnification and field of view of your telescope. Unfortunately, department store telescopes often come with low-quality eyepieces that can cause blurriness, distortion, and other issues.
Instead of settling for the eyepieces that come with your telescope, consider investing in higher-quality ones. Look for eyepieces that are designed for your specific telescope model and that offer a wide field of view, good eye relief, and crisp, clear images.
Finderscopes are small telescopes that are mounted on the main telescope and used to locate objects in the night sky. Unfortunately, department store telescopes often come with finderscopes that are difficult to use or that don’t work well.
If you’re having trouble with your finderscope, consider upgrading to a better one. Look for finderscopes that offer a wider field of view, that are easy to align with your main telescope, and that have clear, bright images.
Barlow lenses are used to increase the magnification of your telescope. Unfortunately, department store telescopes often come with low-quality barlow lenses that can cause blurriness, distortion, and other issues.
If you’re looking to increase the magnification of your telescope, consider investing in a higher-quality barlow lens. Look for lenses that are designed for your specific telescope model, that offer good eye relief, and that produce clear, crisp images.
If you’re in the market for a telescope, it’s important to beware of the pitfalls of purchasing one at a department store. While it may seem like a good deal, these telescopes are often of low quality and can lead to frustration and disappointment.
When shopping for a telescope, it’s important to do your research and invest in a quality product from a reputable brand. Look for telescopes with sturdy mounts, high-quality optics, and good customer support.
While it may be tempting to opt for a cheaper option, keep in mind that a low-quality telescope will likely not provide the same level of enjoyment and satisfaction as a higher-quality one.
Remember, a telescope is an investment in your passion for astronomy. By taking the time to do your research and make an informed decision, you can ensure that you get the most out of your stargazing experience.