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Astronomy Telescope-Seeing Stars With Your Children By Linda Vissat

An astronomy telescope is a scope that allows individuals to see the planets and stars in greater clarity than they can see them with the naked eye. It is not only fun to do, but it can be an activity that both adults and children can share in interest and enjoyment. But, how do you know which telescope to buy? There are so many different kinds, sizes, magnifications, and prices that it can be very intimidating to purchase your first astronomy telescope without some information and education first. Here are some basic guidelines that you can follow when making your choice:

Reflective, Refractive, or Compound? These terms refer to the types of lenses and the way that the images are collected. A reflective scope uses mirrors to collect light and focus the images while a refractive uses curved glass lenses, and the compound astronomy telescope uses a combination of the two.

The cost of a reflective telescope makes it an attractive choice. Mirrors are inexpensive and easy to replace. It is also good for deep space viewing. The disadvantage is that it the mirrors sometimes do not provide the clarity of the refractive scope and sometimes the mirrors are jostled loose.

The refractive astronomy telescope is good for viewing planets and stars. It has very clear images and is easy to maintain. The cost is the main prohibitive factor to most beginning astronomers.

The compound telescope is also on the pricier end of the astronomy telescope family. It is used most often by serious astronomers and those who make a career of astronomy because of the clarity of images and the ability to see images in deep space. This is probably not the best choice for novice star-watchers.

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