Stargazing is a very interesting hobby. Nothing compares to seeing all the twinkling stars that can decorate a dark sky on a clear night even with just the naked eyes. Double or triple that pleasure when you are able to see the stars and constellations closer, and track distant planets with a telescope.
A telescope helps you enjoy the view of the night sky more. And a reflector telescope is the most widely used kind. Even the Hubble telescope is a reflector.
A reflector telescope uses a primary parabolic, concave mirror located at the bottom of the telescope tube. This primary mirror gathers the light then directs it to the secondary flat mirror. This in turn reflects the light to the focal plane located near the eyepiece on top of the telescope. The first reflector telescope was invented by Niccolo Zucchi in the early 1600s. His design was correct but it was difficult and laborious to grind the mirrors using crude instruments. Through various designs and experimentation, Sir Isaac Newton was able to engineer a way to align the diagonal secondary mirror for the first reflector telescope. It became the choice of early astronomers like Lord Rosse, Sir William Herschel and Charles Messier. Up to this day this type of telescope is called the Newtonian reflector telescope in his honor.
If you are interested in buying a reflector telescope, you can read reviews and recommendations at some of the websites listed below.
- Scope Reviews - This site is owned by Ed Ting, an astronomy enthusiast and a contributing editor to Sky Magazine, one of the magazines focused on astronomy, devices and optics. His site has a big collection of reviews of almost all types and brands of telescopes, recommendations, tips and learning tools for budding astronomers. It also provides links to other sites with great reviews and recommendations.
- Spotting Scope Reviews - The website provides in-depth reviews of telescopes by brand, particularly those he recommends and had used/liked over the years. The website also has reviews and ratings on different types of telescopes based on most popular features.
- Yahoo Shopping - Here you can view pictures of the different telescope brands, the product descriptions, prices and ratings. The site also directs you where you can buy the telescopes.
- Optics Planet - This is an authorized distributor of several brands of telescopes and offers product information, guides on buying telescopes, as well as reviews of different brands and types of telescopes, offers suggestions and tips.
- Review Centre - You can read a number of telescope reviews here, as well as the ratings the products receive from the reviewers, the best prices that are available and like Yahoo Shopping directs you where you can buy your desired telescope brand.
- Consumer Guide - The website is part of the How Stuff Works company. The site offers telescope reviews done by expert reviewers as well as guides on telescopes.
Be an informed consumer and take the time to shop around, browse the sites, compare prices and read expert suggestions, recommendations and user tips before you decide on buying a telescope. Buying a telescope is a big investment. You should also take into consideration where you live, where you are going to use your telescope when you go stargazing and your general surroundings. Pollution, dust particles and smog will greatly affect the performance of a telescope.