I’ve never been a great fan of science, and I kind of blame my parents for that. They were so focused on me getting good grades at school that they left out explaining things to me. For instance, one of the subjects I’ve always loathed was physics. I couldn’t understand the least thing about all of the normal phenomena happening on Earth, and the fact that the teacher had little to no patience probably didn’t do me any good.
I tried convincing myself that physics was important and that I had to somehow pique my own interest in the field. While that did not happen on the whole, I did find myself passionate about particular areas such as optics and the physics behind the working of a lever, for instance. That helped me out in the future because I went on to study veterinary medicine and I had to use a microscope. If I had had little to no interest in optics, I wouldn’t have known how the device worked, although most of the models available these days are rather user-friendly.
Of course, my higher education didn’t start out while I was in high school so for some time, I had to limit my hobbies and try to do as much as I could out of these interests. Being in school, I didn’t have that much money, so it would have been impossible to get a high-quality telescope or microscope.
In the course of a year, I managed to save enough for a telescope, but since back then the power of the Internet wasn’t all-encompassing, it was difficult for me to make a good choice. So, finding a good telescope for beginners was my goal and I had to ask around, call various magazines and ask for catalogs and use pretty much any resource I could come across at the public library.
Eventually, I decided that I had to focus on three major things. One of them would be the aperture, as it pretty much defined the magnification and the array of celestial objects I would be able to look at. The other would be the focal length, although I found this factor to be of minor importance when compared to the aperture. Finally, I wanted a model that came with a good-quality mounting system that would allow me to use it both from my room and from the middle of a field.
I’ve recently started to look for a beginner’s telescope for my son, and much to my surprise, things have changed a lot since I was a teenager. You have all the info you need at the tip of your fingers.
If you wonder why I wrote this post, here you go. It’s an old article, but I just found it.