A brief synopsis of the conventional wisdom:

  1. Make sure you really want a telescope.  Many beginning astronomers would be better served by a good quality binocular (7×50 or 10×50 are the types most often recommended).
  2. Visit or join your local astronomy club to try out different telescope types and get advice from owners.
  3. Avoid department store telescopes, or any telescope advertised as providing unreasonably high magnifications (e.g., a 675x, 60 mm refractor).  50x per inch of aperture is a good, rule-of-thumb, maximum useable magnification.
  4. Aperture rules–light gathering capability is far more important than magnification.
  5. A steady mount is as important as any other part of the telescope.
  6. Make sure you have enough money left over to get a few good quality eyepieces or a good barlow lens.
  7. You get what you pay for.

First section is for buying a new telescope, Second is for Reviews, and the Third is for Use (This organization is still in the works!)

For all the information you could ever need, visit the following websites:( = highly recommended)

Original Author: Michael Mills

Updated by Chris Lee on 13 May 2014 and working on adding more links to replace all the old dead ones… If you have things you would like added or changed email webmaster @ novac dot com