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There’s an appealing allure that revolves around telescopes — both antique and functional. You might want to accentuate a travel- or nautical-themed room with the addition of a spyglass or beautiful brass telescope. If you’re a beginner stargazer, you might angle your lens toward the moon each night.

For those wanting to get serious about looking out into the great beyond, here’s some basic information to consider when purchasing a new astronomical telescope:

What kinds of backyard telescopes are there?

While some professional astronomers recommend starting out with a pair of binoculars instead of a full-fledged telescope, there’s something almost romantic about peering out across the universe with a lens and tube design that’s been around since the 1600s. Keep in mind you’ll want to weigh quality over power when deciding between telescopes.
• Refracting telescope: The original design conceived by Galileo in the early 1600s, this style features a sealed tube and a convex objective lens. Just as Galileo peered out across the rings of Saturn, you can identify celestial bodies easily thanks to this style’s high image contrast. A quality refracting telescope is one of your more expensive options, but it will be well worth it when you spy the moons of Jupiter speckled across that celestial landscape. Beginners should aim for a 2.4- or 3-inch size.
• Reflecting telescope: If you’re looking for a more affordable option for the beginning astronomer, a reflector is the way to go. Unlike the refractor, it features a tube that’s open at one end and a concave mirror instead of an objective lens. If you’re just starting to delve into the wonders of space, look for a 4- or 6-inch model.
Catadiotropic telescopes: If you can’t decide between a refracting or reflecting style, you might want to consider a catadiotropic model. These tend to combine some of the best qualities of refracting and reflecting telescopes and are great for dark skies. A beginner should aim for a 3.5- to 5-inch model, which tends to be highly portable so you can take a peek at the night sky on that camping trip.
Dobsonian telescope: Another popular choice thanks to their ability to squeeze in a huge mirror and gather light from dimly light celestial objects. For the amateur sky gazer, a 10- to 18-inch model will do.

What power levels I can choose for my telescope?

Most telescopes come with multiple eyepieces that change the amount of magnification, or power. A general rule to follow is that you want no more than 50 power per inch of aperture, though you might be surprised to discover that some of the best views can be found with lower powers. As an example, if you have a 6-inch reflector, you’ll want to go no higher than 300 power.

Are there any safety tips for telescopes I should know?

It’s very important to never look directly at the sun with your telescope, even if there’s some amazing solar activity occurring right this moment. Instead, project the image of the sun onto a white card or screen so you can safely view its beauty and power.

Some telescopes come with a dark glass filter that is supposedly for viewing the sun, however you should not use them. Why? Of course, looking at the sun with your bare eyes is painful, so why would you want to view it with a lens that’s magnifying that same brilliance? Also, the heat from the sun is intensified when your telescope is pointed toward it and this could cause that dark glass filter to crack. The worst-case scenario if this happens is partial or total blindness, which is not something you want to toy around with!

Get inspired with our curated ideas for Telescopes and find the perfect item for every room in your home. With such a wide selection of Telescopes for sale, from brands like Handcrafted Nautical Decor, Levenhuk Inc, and Explore Scientific, you’re sure to find something that you’ll love. Shop from Telescopes, like the the Telescope With Stand- 18 Inch or the Floor Standing Brushed Nickel Anchormaster Telescope 65'', while discovering new home products and designs. Whether you’re looking to buy Telescopes online or get inspiration for your home, you’ll find just what you’re looking for on Houzz.

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