Beginners & expectations:

Beginners & setting (realistic) expectations:

Don’t let imperfection discourage you. Enjoy what you CAN see through your equipment and learn the night skies.

Don’t repeat my beginner mistake: My first telescope was a Newtonian reflector. For the first six months that I had it, I fretted over whether the collimation was as good as it could be. I spent untold hours reading everything I could find (and partially understand) on the internet. Finally, I learned that unless the telescope is severely out of collimation, it won’t be noticeable to most beginners.

I should have spent more time viewing and less time reading the posts of others who knew little more than me.

My advice is this:

  1. Spend more time under the stars.
  2. Practice with your own equipment. (Whether that be naked eye, binoculars or a beginner telescope.)
  3. Share views with others in a local astronomy club: I’m convinced that sharing the views with other club members through each others’ equipment is the best way to set expectations.
  4. Budget: If your budget is unlimited, jump in with both feet. However, that’s not true for most of us. That’s why many clubs (and libraries) have loaner equipment and why clubs are often willing to share equipment among club members.

Thank you to those that helped me!

Clear skies,


Excellent advice Tom, well done :+1:

Also, one bit of huge advice I would give is that: there is no replacement for truly dark skies.
Travel to a Bortle-1 location that is up at about 8,000ft elevation, spend a night observing and or doing photography and your life will never be the same again. You will be forever in love with the night sky!