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Astronomy is one of the oldest, most popular branches of science. Unlike practitioners of medicine ... read more »
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Buying telescopes, binoculars, cameras and other accessories is a big investment, and the salesperson at the optics store is hardly going to let you take something home for a night to test it out. Fortunately, the Web has plenty of resources for you to consult before taking the plunge.
- There's a lot of technical jargon associated with buying a telescope. You can learn what some of it means at Space.com.
- Before you begin shopping, try attending a local "star party." At these events, astronomy buffs get together with their telescopes, gaze at the sky, and talk shop about astronomy news and equipment. Trying other people's scopes will give you an idea of what to expect.
- Telescopes, binoculars and cameras are precision instruments that can be bulky. Consequently, shipping can be expensive and risky, so buy from a local dealer when possible. If you buy from an online merchant, make sure it's professional.
- If you're considering a specific telescope, camera or set of binoculars, type the make and model into a search engine and look for blogs where people talk about it. Hobbyists tend to be fanatical about equipment and enjoy sharing their opinions with peers.
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