1. Start by learning the night sky. You can download inexpensive or free planetarium programs like Star Walk, Star Chart (iPhone/iPad), or Starlight on your portable device to show you in real time the sky above and help you learn the constellations. These programs are simple and fun to use as you scan the night sky. These programs will point out the locations of the planets and deep sky objects above you.
2. Try binoculars. With your planetarium program you can now use binoculars or a wide-field telescope to get a closer look at objects like the moon, nebulae, and star clusters. Get out to a dark sky location. You will be amazed at how many stars are above and how awesome open clusters and the Milky Way appear in your binoculars. The advantage is that binoculars are readily available; the disadvantage is that you are limited to low power.
3. Purchase a wide-field refractor with good optics, a stable mount, and tripod: Having learned the night sky and several constellations, you are now ready to get your first telescope. The advantage of a good wide-field telescope over binoculars is that you can select different eyepieces to boost the power and see much more. It is possible to make out the moons of Jupiter with a good pair of binoculars, but you will never see the planets’ surface features or the rings of Saturn.
4. Which Stellarvue telescopes are recommended for beginners? The Stellarvue SVX80T-25SV is an 80mm f-6 apo triplet made using our deluxe 2.5″ dual speed, rack and pinion focuser, hand-figured in our own facility in Auburn, CA. This high-Strehl instrument is recommended for those not ready to jump too deep into our other SVX refractors. This version of our 80 mm apo triplet is designed primarily for visual use. This telescope can be used with our SFF3-80 flattener when ready to begin your imaging path.