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How Do I Choose the Best Used Telescope?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2016
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If you are considering a used telescope, then there are a few things you should keep in mind to help you choose the one best for you. One of the most important things you should look for is the aperture size, which indicates the size of the mirror or lens and directly affects the light-gathering abilities of the telescope. You should also think about the mount system for the telescope and ensure you choose one that is stable and user-friendly. Any used telescope you purchase should have been well cared for. Try to buy only from a reputable seller or hobbyist.

A used telescope is simply any telescope that has already been used or was a display model in a store or other business. Such telescopes are often quite a bit more affordable than the same telescope brand new, and can be just as useful and reliable as a new one. You should typically look at the aperture size of a used telescope, rather than any advertised magnification power or other features the telescope may have. The bigger the aperture size, the better you will be able to see faint objects in the night sky.

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You should also look for a used telescope that comes with a steady and reliable stand or mounting system. The nicest telescope you can find is fairly useless if you pair it with a stand that shakes or makes it impossible for you to track objects in the sky. You might consider purchasing a mount with a used telescope, though you can also buy mounts and tripods separately. Any mount you buy should be steady and prevent the telescope from shaking or moving while in use; look for a mount with a “Go To” system that can allow you to easily find objects in the night sky.

Before you purchase a used telescope, you should try to ensure that the seller you are dealing with is reputable and has taken care of the telescope. Most dedicated hobbyists and purchasers of high-quality telescopes take care of their equipment, which makes purchasing a used telescope from such people a fairly reliable investment. You should try to purchase your telescope from someone who allows you to see it prior to purchase, and who is willing to provide you with extensive information about its quality and condition. If possible, you might also purchase the telescope using a third-party money handler such as an online service that can protect your personal information.

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