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Christmas Recommendations

 

Christmas Gift Recommendations at Telescope House

 

 If you’re thinking of buying a first telescope for someone else, we’d definitely encourage you to ready our “How To Choose” section, so you get a better idea of what different telescope designs can offer the end user - this will take a little while, but people often feel more confident in their choice once doing so.  The first few questions we ask people when thinking of buying a telescope is to think of the person you’re buying for and where they will be most often using a potential purchase from? If they are under the age of 10, then something smaller and easier to handle like a tabletop Dobsonian, or smaller refractor, is probably a good choice - likewise the same can be true for buying for someone of more mature years.  We at Telescope House have always believed that the best telescope for a person is one they will use the most and also be enthused and motivated to look through on a regular basis.  You also have to decide if you want a telescope with a full tripod, or a more compact design, such as a smaller Dobsonian Newtonian reflector, which can be used from a garden table - again, there’s no wrong or right answers here - you have to weigh up the convenience of a tripod, which allows a telescope to be used from virtually anywhere, with the fact that a tripod inevitably makes a telescope a little less straightforward to store when not in use.  The other major point of debate is do you go for a “Goto” system - a computerised, driven telescope that will help you find and track objects after a relatively straightforward alignment procedure, or do you go for a good, old-fashioned manual telescope, where you’re in charge of locating and tracking targets in the night sky?  Again, there are definite bonuses to both: a Goto system will speed up the process of observation and it’s very convenient to have a telescope that tracks objects through their path in the sky, but these have the potential to keep an observer rather passive in terms of their own sky knowledge.  A non-Goto system will require the user to find their way around the sky, building up their knowledge of where various objects are - this knowledge can last a lifetime and it’s often very rewarding to have “discovered” various targets yourself.

 

Below are a series of telescopes at differing levels of investment, which we think represent the best in performance and value for money at their respective price points.  Likewise, if you’ve seen a particular scope that you’d like an opinion on, you’re welcome to contact us by phone or email and ask our advice.  Click the links below the telescopes pictured to find out more information on each of these scopes.

 

Tabletop Telescope for children under 10 years:

 National Geographic 76/350 Compact Telescope - a very portable, relatively inexpensive scope which comes equipped with two eyepieces and a Moon filter.

 

The National Geographic 114/500 Compact Telescope is the "big brother" of the 76/350 mentioned above.  It has greater light gathering power and longer focal length so is more powerful and able to resolve more detail.  Again, like the 76/350 it comes well-equipped, with two eyepieces, barlow lens, Moon filter, LED viewfinder and a built-in compass on the mount's base.  This scope has graduated degree markings around its base and on its altitude axis, which can be aligned to the north/south transit line at a particualr observing location, in order to use Altitude and Azimuth references on many planetarium apps to help find the locations of objects in the sky.

 

Telescope for children over 10 years old:


The Bresser Classic 70/350 Refractor Telescope a compact, highly portable rich field refractor telescope.  This is not the most powerful telescope we sell, but very easy to use and transport on its camera-style tripod (with bag).  With this telescope you get a good range of three eypieces, a small optical finderscope, a smartphone holder for taking photos through the scope with a phone and importantly an erecting diagonal, which corrects the image and also allows the 70/350 to be used as a terrrrestrial spotting scope for birdwatching, nature observation etc.  A very versatile choice at a good price!

 National Geographic Refractor Telescope 70/900 AZ - tripod mounted refractor, with slow motion geared controls for easy following of objects at high power.  Comes with three eyepieces, optical finder and erecting lens for terrestrial observations

 

Bresser Solarix Telescope  - a compact Newtonian reflector, which comes on a full height tripod, with two eyepieces, Barlow lens and even a full aperture Solar filter, for safe observing of the Sun (adult supervision recommended for all solar observations).  While this isn't the most powerful of telescopes, it is very easy to use, but we must stress that the solar filter be used with great care and supervision!

 

Tabletop Manual Telescope for adults:


The Bresser Messier AR-80/640 AZ NANO Telescope - a high quality and compact refracting telescope.  This is our best selling telescope for adults at the present, as it delivers good build quality and ease of use below the £200 mark.  The telescope comes with a good quality Stainless steel tripod with accessory tray, a Bresser Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece, a Red dot finder, 1.25" star diagonal, a Smartphone camera adapter (for taking pictures throught the telescope with your phone camera, plus Star chart software & rotatable star-map.  There's also the added bonus of a Camera-Adapter Ring T2 (M42x0.75mm) for attaching a DSLR camera to the telescope for more advanced photography - though you will need a camera manufacturer-specific T-ring in order to do this.  All the reguar manufacturers are represented on our camera adapters page - though do contact us if you're not sure which T-ring to pick.  We'd also recommend an additional eyepiece for use with this telescope.  The Bresser 10mm Plossl is a good choice, as is the Revelation 2x Barlow, which will help bring this up to a reasonably high power magnification for use observing the Moon and brighter Planets.


 BRESSER Messier 5" Dobsonian or the slightly larger BRESSER Messier 6” Dobsonian - two excellent Dobsonian telescopes.  Probably our best value manual telescopes, these two instruments come with two eyepieces and LED reflex (non-magnified) finder and are ready to observe pretty much out of the box.  Crucially, it is possible to use the tubes of these telescopes on more advanced mounts at a later date for long duration astrophotography.  Most Dobsonians don’t allow cameras to come to prime focus for the most efficient type of astrophotography - whereas these telescopes do.  Subsequently, these Messier Dobsonians have a built in upgrade path that many of their rivals don’t.  The 6 inch will show slightly more detail than the 5 inch model, particularly when it comes to deep sky observing. As with the Bresser Messier AR-80/640 mentionned above, the standard supplied accessories include a Bresser Super Plössl 26mm eyepiece, a Red dot finder, 1.25" star diagonal, a Smartphone camera adapter (for taking pictures throught the telescope with your phone camera, plus Star chart software & rotatable star-map.  There's additionally also the added bonus of a Camera-Adapter Ring T2 (M42x0.75mm) for attaching a DSLR camera to the telescope for more advanced photography - though you will need a camera manufacturer-specific T-ring in order to do this.  Just like the Bresseer Messier AR-80/640, we'd also We'd also recommend an additional eyepiece for use with this telescope.  The Bresser 10mm Plossl is again a good choice, as is the Revelation 2x Barlow, which will help bring this up to a reasonably high power magnification.

 

Equatorially-mounted manual telescope for Adults:


The Skywatcher EVOSTAR-90 (EQ2) 90mm f/900 Refractor Telescope has been around in terms of a design for many years and is a great value choice.  It's a reasonably powerful instrument that comes with a couple of eyepieces and is mounted on the EQ2 German Equatorial tripod.  This is a bit of a challenge for the uninitiated to set up, but once you've got used to doing so, provides the abiltiy to track a target in one single axis as it moves through the night sky.

 


 Bresser Messier NT-150L/1200 Exos-1 Equatorial Telescope - a classical Newtonian telescope on a sturdy heavy duty German equatorial mount.  This telescope puts the emphasis on quality.  It only comes with a single high quality 25mm Plossl eyepiece, so don’t forget to budget for another higher power eyepiece.  We recommend the Revelation 6.0mm eyepiece available here.

 

Goto Telescope for adults:


 Under £400 - Skywatcher 130PS AZ-GTi  or the Skywatcher 102 AZ-GTi - a good quality 5-inch Newtonian and 4-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope respectively  Skywatcher continues to excel at designing excellent, user friendly “Goto” telescopes, which give the user a fantastic platform with which to explore the heavens.  These Wifi-controlled telescopes are both mounted on the same portable and easily set-up AZ-GTi mount, which connects to Android and Apple Phones and Tablets to run a Control App, which can be dowloaded for free.  After a simple alignment procedure these scopes will find and track any of the 10000+ objects in the App's database.  Both systems comes with two reasonable eyepieces, though we'd recommend the purchase of the 2x Revelation Barlow for the Newtonian version.  Both mounts have internal battery boxes, which take 8x AA (non-rechargables).  The SkyWatcher/Celestron Compatible BC168 Power Supply gives you the option of powering from the mains, so is also recommended for both versions.

 

£400-£500 - Meade ETX90 Observer’s Edition.  The Meade ETX90 Observer’s Edition is the latest iteration of the classic Meade ETX90.  Well mounted on a double tined fork mount, this telescope comes with a case (a rarity), two good quality Plossl eyepieces and the Audiostar handset, which will even talk to you about many of the objects you’re viewing and guide you through the alignment procedure.  An excellent quality tripod, with built in equatorial wedge, is also supplied as part of the system. It’s easy to connect a camera to ETX’s the rear photographic port (you will need to purchase a DSLR T-ring and a Meade 64 T adapter to do this).  All-in-all and excellent choice for the astronomer on the go.

 

£500+ - Meade ETX125 Observer Telescope.  If you have a bit more budget, the Meade ETX125 Observer Edition is a larger version of the ETX90 and well worth exploring.  Although this version doesn’t come with a case (unfortunately), it is still supplied with the two high quality 1.25” Plossl eyepieces, excellent tripod with built in equatorial wedge and Audiostar handset, complete with 30,000+ object database.  As a powerful, yet compact “Goto” system, the Meade ETX125 is hard to beat.  Highly recommended.