Beginners' lessons?

  • RepublicOf-Dave
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8 years 11 months ago #104364 by RepublicOf-Dave
Beginners' lessons? was created by RepublicOf-Dave

I'm interested in getting a telescope but have no experience. Before I go ahead and purchase one I'd really like to know how to use a beginner's telescope, get an idea of what I can expect and perhaps get some tips on when and where to go stargazing.

Is anyone aware of practical tutorials or lessons in this regard that take place in or around Dublin and that dont require bringing your own telescope?

Thanks a lot!

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8 years 11 months ago #104366 by michael_murphy
Replied by michael_murphy on topic Beginners' lessons?
Hello David,

The Dublin Stargazers meet regularly in dark sites through out the winter.

The Irish Astronomical Society meet in Sandymount and Clontarf once a month from September to May.

If you are in the Meath direction you could check Meath Astronomy Club .


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8 years 11 months ago - 8 years 11 months ago #104369 by stevie
Replied by stevie on topic Beginners' lessons?
Hi David

As advised by Michael, find your local astronomy society and go along to one of their observing sessions or meetings. Amateur astronomers love to talk about their telescopes and eyepieces almost as much as they enjoy using them, and will be happy to let you have a look through them.

If you see a telescope you may like to buy, ask for advice here first. There are a lot of telescopes sold as "beginners" telescopes which are not very good, and will possibly give you a disappointing view. Just because you are a beginner, it does not mean you need a "beginners" telescope.

A pair of binoculars and a good guide book would be a useful start. Most people have access to binoculars, and they are a good way to "learn the sky". You could maybe invest in this book, it is an excellent guide for beginners and will serve you well for years to come.


Invest in one of the monthly astronomy magazines, Sky at Night magazine or Astronomy Now are particularly good. They have sky maps, suggested objects to view, equipment reviews and many other interesting articles.

You should think about a few things in the meantime.

Firstly, and probably most importantly, what is your budget. Astronomy is not necessarily an expensive hobby. But, if (and when) you do buy a telescope, you will soon want to buy accessories for it, better eyepieces, red dot finders etc etc.

Secondly, what sort of things do you want to see? Moon, planets, deep sky, or general all-round. This may dictate the best type of scope for your purposes.

Thirdly, what age are you, are you fairly fit, what storage capacity do you have at home? These factors will also help to determine your choice of scope.

Fourthly, are you thinking about astrophotography (hereafter known as AP for short)? This is, in many ways, a different hobby to observational astronomy, and it is not one to enter without some thought. Simple AP can be done with a camera and tripod, but,, if you are thinking of taking photos like you see in the astronomy magazines, then be prepared to hand over some serious money. For serious AP, the mount is more important than the telescope.
I am only saying this because beginners often come on to the astronomy forums saying they want to buy a telescope and start taking photos with their DSLR's, and you can sometimes almost hear their sighs of disappointment when they are told what the costs will be just to get started.

Now, having said all that, I think it is right to give you some idea of what you may be looking for. You want something reasonably priced, with a decent number of accessories, and which will give a you a good view of most objects. I would recommend that you consider one of these.


Dobsonian telescopes are the simplest of all telescopes for a beginner to use. Almost all the money is in the mirror, and consequently, bigger mirrors can be supplied. An equivalent 8 inch telescope with, for example, a go-to system, will cost you 400 or 500 euros more. They do not take up a lot of space, and are fairly light to carry. They come in sizes ranging from 6 inch up to 16 inch (although there are bigger ones) and obviously, the larger they are, the more they cost. This link is to KTEC telescopes, and the owner, Stephen, is a thoroughly good guy who will be able to advise you further.

Good luck, and feel free to ask any questions you want answered.
Last edit: 8 years 11 months ago by stevie.
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