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Tips on How to Get Started

If you are interested in buying a telescope, research before you buy. A rule of thumb: if a telescope makes claims about having "450 power!" (450X) or more, don't buy it. There are lots of cheap instruments readily available on the market -- in local department stores or local discount stores -- that do not perform very well for astronomical use. There are several articles and booklets in the RCA Member Library that provide information on choosing a telescope and appropriate accessories. Also, talk to other club members. The variety of instruments RCA members have range from binoculars to large reflectors, from refractors to Schmidt-Cassegrains. Each instrument has its advantages and disadvantages, so it is important that you determine your needs in order to match them up with the equipment that fits them the closest. The time, money, and headaches this research can save you are endless!

  • Visit the Membership/Welcome table at a RCA general meeting. They have several pieces of reference material for your use and can line you up with more. Bring them your questions.
  • Attend an RCA star party. Remember, you don't have to have your own equipment to have a great time at one of these activities.
  • Attend an OMSI astronomy event or public star party.
  • Link up with a seasoned member -- again check the Membership/Welcome table for assistance in finding someone.
  • Read astronomy reference books. Check out articles and books from the RCA Member Library.
  • First step: become familiar with the constellations.
  • View the sky with binoculars. There are some very interesting objects that look their best when viewed through a pair of binoculars.




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