Recommended beginner scopesWe often hear the question: „Which telescope should I buy?“. Well, there are a lot of options and it highly depends on what you want to observe, where you will observe from and how much you want to spend. Here are two instruments we know in depth from first-hand experience. Both are highly affordable and well suited for beginners:The Maksutov for city observingIf you live in a city or a light-polluted suburban area, the Acuter Maksy 60 may be the right telescope for you. The telescope has an aperture of 60mm and a focal length of 750mm. The tiny scope is great for first views of the Moon and the planets. It will already show a lot of details like craters on the Moon, cloud bands on Jupiter, Jupiter’s moons, the rings of Saturn and the polar ice caps on Mars. With the optional solar filter even sunspots can be observed in great detail. The scope won’t show many deep-sky objects because of its small aperture, but from light-polluted urban locations these dim fuzzies aren’t the most interesting objects anyway. The Mak comes with two eyepieces that give 38x and 75x magnification, a finderscope and a smartphone adapter for snapshots of the Moon. The mount is of Dobsonian style, highly intuitive to operate and very sufficient for the little scope.
The Newtonian for rural locationsIf you observe from a location with less light pollution, say a rural site or a small town, the Skywatcher Heritage 130 might be perfect for you. It has a large aperture of 130mm and a focal length of 650mm. Although it is best suited for deep-sky objects, the scope works fine on planets too. For example, during the 2020 Mars opposition we used it to observe dark albedo features, detected limb haze and followed the development of a dust storm on the red planet. But the scope really shows its strength on deep-sky objects, revealing a wealth of galaxies, nebulas and star clusters. Globular clusters like M13 are resolved into a swarm of tiny stars, the Andromeda Galaxy shows dark dust lanes and the Milky Way is resolved into a sea of stars, full of deep-sky marvels. Sadly, the scope comes with two cheap eyepieces that have to be replaced with quality optics to unleash the full potential of the instrument. However, the mirror optics and the Dobsonian mount are of good quality, the red dot finder is very useful and the tube is collapsible for easy transportation and storage. BTW, we designed a stand for this kind of telescopes that brings the eyepiece to a convenient observing height. For more about this stand and how to build one please read here.