Xmas Buyer’s Guide 2022 (Astronomy)

Space is for everyone this Christmas!

Part 1 – Beginner’s Telescopes to help you view, learn, and discover the Universe

$99 Telescopes

$199 Telescopes

Hi-tech telescopes

Taking photos

Why get a bigger telescope?

Our Solar System’s brightest planets are a wonder in a telescope. The rings of Saturn and patterns on Jupiter as well as the gas giant’s four largest moons are well within the reach of even beginner’s telescopes. Mars is well placed for viewing during Christmas 2022 and we doubt there’s a space fanatic on the planet who’s forgotten their first view of the Moon through a telescope.

Australia is lucky to have some of the world’s most night beautiful skies. They’re also full of deep space astro objects that are fascinating viewing in telescopes of all sizes. Above us every night is a collection of star clusters, clouds of bright gas called nebula and beyond our Milky Way, countless galaxies. It even seems like the La Niña weather pattern which has caused wet weather, floods and overcast conditions over much of eastern Australia for the last couple of years is finally coming to end – and this will hopefully mean the return to clear skies!

2022 sees BINTEL celebrating our 40th Christmas.  We’re marking this special time with suggestions about what are the best telescopes for all types of beginners.  We know there’s a large variety of telescopes available and picking the right one for you and your family can be confusing – if you have any questions, please feel free to call one of our friendly experts on 02 9518 7255 or contact BINTEL online here.

Perfect starter telescope for young astronomers – Celestron FirstScope – $99

BINTEL’s smallest – and possibly cutest  – telescope is a favourite of ours.

It’s also the smallest Dobsonian or “Dob” telescope we sell.  Dobs are renowned for their stability, clear views and value for money. The Celestron FirstScope sits on a table or chair. It doesn’t need a tripod.  This telescope is extremely easy to operate and will thrill young minds as they discover their first views of the Moon, Solar System and deep-space. It’s super lightweight,  easy to use and carry around.  While aimed at beginner astronomers, we find more experienced observers will sometimes keep a Celestron FirstScope in their car or close by at home to quickly have a peek at the Universe above us.

You’ll get to see craters and mountains on the Moon, Saturn and Jupiter will appear as planets. Star clusters and bright nebula are visible in the Celestron FirstScope.

Ideal for families and young astronomers 6 years and up.

A classic telescope Meade Infinity 70mm – $199

Great value, 70mm refractor telescope includes a tripod and everything you need to start your astro journey

The Meade Infinity 70mm is the same type of telescope that many astronomers started observing with years ago. It comes with an adjustable, full height tripod aluminium tripod, two eyepieces and a Barlow lens – essentially everything you need to get going.

You can add extra accessories like additional eyepieces, filters and even a mobile phone adaptor for taking photos through the telescope.  Have a chat to us about the best add-ons for your needs.

A good beginner’s telescope for ages 8 and up that will show the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, deep-space objects.  The Meade Infinity 70mm can be used for land and see viewing as well.

BINTEL also have a number of other Meade Infinity and Polaris telescopes that offer great viewing value.  These larger Meade telescopes offer clearer and brighter views than the Infinity 70mm.

Hi-tech observing with Celestron StarSense Explorer telescopes – from $329

A smartphone and the Celestron combine to turn your personal tour guide to the entire night sky

The Celestron StarSense Explorer range have been some of our bestselling telescopes for the last couple of years. We’ve received extremely positive feedback from the thousands of BINTEL astronomers of all ages that these remarkable telescopes have found a home with.  Celestron continues to add new models to the line-up.

What make this range so special? First of all, each Celestron StarSense Explorer telescope offers quality views and takes standard accessories. They are excellent telescopes.

The big feature is their ability to use an iPhone or Android phone to show you where you to point your telescope to find astro objects in the night sky. The maps system on your phone or in your car shows you how to drive to places you haven’t been fore. The StarSense Explorer shows you where to exactly point your telescope to view objects in the night sky you haven’t seen before.  If you don’t know what to look at, the app will even take you on a guide tour of the night sky highlights for that evening.  A fascination and educational tool for learning about the vast collection of astronomical objects above us every night

The StarSense Explorer line up kicks off with the $329 LT 70 AZ. This is a 70mm refractor, ideal for those starting off their astro journey.

An option to consider for serious beginners, or seasoned observers needing a powerful, but compact telescope is the DX 5″ SCT for $1299 which includes a free Celestron telescope bag worth $249. Both the Celestron LT 70 AX and DX 5″ SCT can be used for viewing distant objects on the land or water as well.

New StarSense Explorer telescopes were added to the line-up for 2022.  These larger 8″ and 10″ Dobsonian versions use the same tech for easy navigation of the night skies as their smaller cousins but offer outstanding views due to their larger size.

All Celestron StarSense Explorer telescopes provide unforgettable views of the Moon, Solar System planets including the rings of Saturn, Jupiter’s moons as well as a vast number of deep-sky wonders. Find out more in the video below:

Can I attach a camera to take photos with these telescopes?

The answer is a qualified “yes”.

We’ll be covering how to connect cameras to telescopes in part two of our Christmas 2022 Buyer’s Guide, but for beginner’s telescope we suggest you can’t go past the Celestron NexYZ smartphone holder. The cameras in modern phones can take incredibly clear and detailed images and are ideal for snapping photos of the Moon and bright planets. The NexYZ simply positions your phone over the telescope eyepiece and you use the normal phone camera app.

We highly recommend this accessory.

Why is a bigger telescope better?

It’s all about collecting light. The more light, the better the views. 

Telescopes collect the light from distant objects. The larger the diameter of the main front lens for a refractor or mirror in a reflecting telescope, the more light it will collect and the more you’ll be able to see.  This diameter or aperture is the main measurement of how powerful a telescope is.

A quick browse of the BINTEL website will display several telescope ranges with various models in difference sizes.  Why is this? These different sizes refer to the telescope’s aperture. (Please note that most telescope apertures are measured in mm, which there are some still inches.  A 5″ telescope has an aperture of 130mm, a 6″ 150mm and an 8″ and 10″ 200mm and 300mm respectively.)

At BINTEL we often describe telescope aperture as being like a bucket left out in the rain. The larger the bucket you have, the more water you’ll collect. The same applies to telescopes.

The larger the telescope’s aperture, the more light and details it collects. You’ll see more details in the astro objects that can be seen in smaller telescopes plus be able to spot objects that are too faint to be visible in the smaller instruments.

Just how much difference does it make? A fair bit!

Here’s some examples, the 70mm main lens on the Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 70 AZ ($329) collects about 100 times as much light as your eye. The 80mm from lens on LT 80 AZ model ($329) has a main lens that’s only 10mm in diameter larger but collects about 130 times as much light as your eye or 30% more than the 70mm.  It means brighter, sharper crisper views. The 114mm Meade Polaris collects approx. 262 times as much light as your eye and the 127mm Meade Polaris about 330 times.

Our general advice is to get the largest telescope within your budget that you can move around easily.

Why aren’t you talking about magnification?

The eyepiece is the part of the telescope that magnifies the view.  By changing the eyepiece, you can change the magnification of the telescope – for example you might want a higher magnification to see finer details of the craters on the Moon or details on Jupiter.  Many beginners’ telescopes have more than one eyepiece to let you change magnification. You can also purchase additional eyepieces and Barlows from BINTEL to change magnification.

Bintel Superview Eyepieces (1.25 and 2 Inch)

However, while an eyepiece magnifies your view, ultimately the details and clarity in what you see results from the telescope’s main lens or mirror.  There’s a limit to have much you increase the magnification and not end up seeing any more detail. Astronomers often will use lower power magnification to observer a wider field of view.

The bottom line is that magnification is only part of a telescope’s performance. The aperture is the most important measure of how a telescope is.

BINTEL strongly suggests you should avoid any telescope advertised or promoted based on the number of times it magnifies. It’s not an accurate indicator of a telescope’s abilities.

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