(IAAC) Getting Started in Astronomy (was Re: 3.5 inch Bushnell)

Art Benson of Sarasota, Florida, USA asks:
>Is the 3.5 inch Bushnell 700mm reflector telescope a
>good beginning telescope? Thanks and have a great day.

Art, hello! Actually, there are several Web sites I
will point you to in this email, which may help you.
But the basic answers to your question are:

1) JOIN (or at attend) a LOCAL ASTRONOMY CLUB...
   Not only will they give you invaluable advice
   on your telescope purchase - they will actually
   have different types of telescopes that you can
   look through, and try out before you buy! (See
   the Links below to find a club in Sarasota...)
   And they will help you figure out which AREA of
   astronomy you are most interested in (Planets?
   The moon? "Deep-sky" galaxies and clusters? Or
   even meteors, for which no telescope is needed!)

2) First, get comfortable with the night sky with
   just your eyes... They are your best instrument!

3) Then try getting a pair of BINOCULARS before
   buying any telescope: 7x50 binoculars (i.e.,
   7 power magnification, and lenses 50mm across)
   are usually a good first choice. I bought one
   pair of 7x50s 20 years ago, and STILL use them!

4) Start buying astronomy magazines, and reading
   both the ads and reviews, but MORE importantly,
   all of the articles about the different kinds
   of astronomy, and different amateur activates.

5) If you follow advice (1)-(4) above, then when
   you decide to buy a telescope, you will REALLY
   know, not just which ones are good and not so
   good, but which is right for YOUR INTERESTS.

Here are those links I promised you above...

The major astronomy magazines in North America:
  (This last one is published in Central Florida!)

To find astronomy clubs and planetariums in your area:

To read more about "Getting Started in Amateur Astronomy":

Clear skies, Art! And if you decide that the "deep
sky" is an area within amateur astronomy particularly
interesting to you, please come back and visit us at:


Lew Gramer, IMO, NAMN, Webb Society, NDSOS
Webmaster: http://www.visualdeepsky.org
Webmaster: http://www.meteorobs.org

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