Please do everyone a favor and stop buying those cheap toy telescopes on Ebay, at garage sales, and at Toys R Us! Do yourself a favor and stop wasting your money. Craigslist.com also has many junk telescopes for sale!
Before you buy one, search for TELESCOPE at www.craigslist.com
You will find dozens of cheap toy telescopes listed there purchased by a parent for their child, or unknowingly bought by an adult. They are all listed there because they are usually junk telescopes which will do nothing but frustrate you. They quickly wind-up for sale again or in a closet at home; NEVER to be used again!
One of the worst offending scopes is the Edu-scientific brand sold at Toys R Us, along with most Bushnell, and Tasco brands. Galileo scopes should also be put into the brands NOT TO BUY. The worst of the bunch is the Edu-scientific. We get more complaints on that brand than on any other. It's JUNK, almost entirely made of plastic; with very bad optics.
The OLD Tasco and Sears, and Unitron, brands from the 1950s and 1960s are considered collector scopes since their optics were made in Japan and are usually excellent-- optically. They are regularly bought and sold on the Classic Scope forum on www.cloudynights.com .
However the ones on the market now usually have a plastic focuser, and plastic eyepieces, and maybe even a plastic main lens! All of them are completely useless for Astronomy.
Instead, join a local Astronomy Club and attend several of their meetings and star parties. The members will show you several telescopes that are very good for beginners, and will teach the sky, and how to find objects that are invisible to the naked eye.
A MANUAL will NOT help you! We receive dozens of requests for manuals for small "toy" telescopes that do NOT have a manual! Joining an Astronomy club or securing the assistance of a local amateur astronomer is your best bet for learning how to use a telescope. The manual will NOT tell you exactly how to focus the telescope, although this is obvious to an amateur astronomer.
The MANUAL will not tell you where to point the telescope in the night sky, or which eyepiece you should use. It will also NOT tell you how to use the telescope to find objects in the night sky. This is learned by talking with an experience amateur astronomer.
Even when you learn how to focus the telescope you will still not know how to find those small and dim objects in the night sky. Parts are IMPOSSIBLE to get for these telescopes. Your only source for a part that might work is to look around a well stocked local hardware store. NONE of these small scopes can be repaired by getting parts from the factory! The factory is in China or Taiwan, the local "seller" does not maintain a replacement parts inventory. They only sell the cheap telescope!
So--------------------- STOP buying those cheap toy telescopes. Read my other TIPS here on Fixya; and read this:
and then read this:
The most asked question is "I CANNOT see anything in my telescope!" How about in the day time? Can you focus on a distant object during the day time? If you can nothing is wrong with the telescope. What you probably mean is that you cannot find anything in the NIGHT sky.
Sky objects are VERY tiny, and your telescope has a very small field of view about the size of the tip of your finger held at arms length! The scope must be pointed DIRECTLY at the object or you will not see anything. That's why we recommend a pair of binoculars to a beginner. A much wider field of view makes it easier to find those tiny objects in the night sky.
Finally, we receive MANY questions asking, "Why is everything upside down?" ALL ASTRONOMICAL telescopes show upside down images. It's completely normal. Nothing is wrong with the telescope. To use the scope for terrestrial viewing you will need to buy an "erecting prism diagonal". These are widely available on-line. BUT here is the problem! They cost $40-$80 just for this small part! This may be more than you paid for your entire telescope!
What you really wanted was a spotting telescope used by bird watchers and target shooters. This is a specialized telescope available at most large sporting goods stores, like Cabela's, Academy, and Bass Pro Shops.
This is NOT what you just purchased!
What you should have bought for your first telescope is a DOBSONIAN mounted reflector. Yes it is more than $200. Sorry but a real astronomical telescope costs at least $200. See this link for the scope you should have purchased. $79 telescopes are useless for Astronomy. STOP BUYING THEM!
Buy this type of telescope:
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