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The Question

(Submitted November 30, 1996)

I am an absolute beginner in astronomy, and I would like to install a telescope in my home. What would you recommend me to purchase?

The Answer

We cannot give you specific recommendations, partly because you have to decide how much you want to be able to do with your telescope.

To learn about various issues to do with purchasing your first telescope, we recommend the following:

  1. The Dec 1995 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine had an article on "Two Affordable Beginner's Telescopes". If this is not available to you, you may want to look through the back issues of whatever popular astronomy magazines that are in your local library. They are likely to have articles on this subject from time to time, as well as advertisements by those who sell them.
  2. The book "Turn Left at Orion" by Guy Consolmagno and Dan M. Davis (1989, published by Cambridge University Press). This is a guidebook for finding a hundred deep sky objects visible to small aperture (2" - 3") telescopes, and includes information about the Moon, the planets, and a chapter entitled "How to Run a Telescope".
Jesse Allen, Jim Lochner, and Koji Mukai
for Imagine the Universe!

Questions on this topic are no longer responded to by the "Ask an Astrophysicist" service. See for help on other astronomy Q&A services.

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