Originally posted by lbndhr
to look at planets up close,
That points at a refractor-- with a relatively high focal length.
see through the galaxie at other galaxies with as clear an image as I can afford, wide lens for a wider view.
That points at a reflector, with a relatively short focal length.
I think a good lens can range from 6 to 10 ? What about the telescope length, does it need to be lonjg to get the best image or can it be small in
length I saw some nice telescopes that can mount onto a tri pod. my price range is around $350.00 or lower.
6 to 10? You mean millimeter? Those small mm optics (the technical term for the "eye-piece," which some call the lens) will be very powerful for
magnification, and not well suited for deep sky objects because with magnification comes darkness. Galaxies will be so dim as not to be seen.
If you mean 6 to 10 inches of telescope aperture-- that would be a huge refractor and a medium sized reflector.
For deep sky (e.g., galaxies, clusters, nebula), I generally worked the sky with a 32mm on my reflector (17.5" primary mirror), and switched to no
lower than 18mm for detail-- that was my preference. Comets, also, are best viewed with reflectors because they are usually quite dim. Magnification
is not really an issue for most deep sky objects.
For planetary viewing, you will find increasing magnification will also lower the contrast so what you see is bigger, but with even less detail--
especially with low-end quality and price optics.
Planets and lunar observing are suited for refractors. And magnification does become a consideration-- because they are so bright. You can easily
magnify beyond the abilities of your telescope-- so do not let that be a major sales point. A well known department store brand has long advertized
on the magnifying "power" of their telescopes. But that "power" is useless unless in bright sunlight, looking at a deer a mile away-- even though
they show pictures of galaxies and planets on the box.
Mind you, the craters of the moon, the rings of Saturn and the bands of Jupiter get pretty boring. Deep sky objects never are boring to most. I
rarely saw refractors at any club gathering, and at large star parties, the owners also had reflectors.
For very casual viewing, a really good pair of binoculars on a tri-pod fits your price and has the ability to pull in most if not all Messier objects
as well as allow some fun with planets and moon. The few beginners who take that advice are pleased, but rare.
As for the length of the telescope-- it tells you very little about the scope. How much light can get through the big end is a major factor-- and the
quality of the primary lens or mirror is the other primary factor.
Earning my Messier Certificate kept me out in the field at nights-- because I had a goal, because I learned the sky, and because it pushed me to learn
my scope and its limits-- to know what optic (eye-piece" I wanted to buy next), and was simply FUN.
I would not a buy a telescope that could not pull in the faintest Messier objects..
Here are some links I stumbled upon:
You need to do some more research to find what you want.
Look for a local club offering an observing session (also known as a "star party") where you can look through a variety of different types and find
what you want. Your budget is right at the low end of the serious small amateur astronomy telescopes.
You'll want to look into what size optics can be used-- the serious amateur typically uses 1-1/4" or 2" receptacles. If you buy a good instrument,
you can start with cheap-ish optics and improve as you have the money with the better optics.