Buying your first telescope
Good! You have decided to buy a first telescope for yourself, your spouse, or your child. You type a few keywords on Google and you soon realize that it’s a little more complicated than you thought. Which model will allow me to see the universe without it costing an arm and a leg?
The answer is the one you don’t want to hear: It depends …
If you live on the 3rd floor and you have to lug the whole kit to the car to go star-gazing, your most important consideration is probably the weight of the equipment. There are small telescopes that will allow you perfectly to see the Moon and the larger planets. If, however, you have access to a dark sky at the cabin and the telescope will stay there, you can afford a larger and more powerful model to see nebulae and galaxies.
You don’t know how to find your way around the sky and would like an automated telescope with a joystick or a paddle that will find it all for you? That certainly exists, but it is a little more expensive. There are all kinds of factors to be considered that vary according to each telescope buyer’s needs, wishes and budget. So, I prepared a small table which brings together the main types of telescopes and what they will each allow you to see.
A word of advice!
In order to avoid being quickly disappointed and not knowing in which direction to point the telescope, you should first learn to find your way around the sky. A star finder (cardboard or electronic), a pair of binoculars, and several sessions of finding constellations in the sky will allow you to become familiar with the sky and more quickly find the stars, planets, nebulae and galaxies you are looking for. It is less frustrating if you start to learn your way around BEFORE purchasing your first telescope!
Where to buy ?
There are four astronomical equipment dealers in the Montreal area and one in the Quebec area. I personally know the owners of those in the Montreal area and I can confirm that they are trustworthy and have customer service at the heart of their concern. You will receive sound advice there.
In the Montréal area:
Jean-Christophe Giney will guide you and offer you a quick delivery on a selection of equipment dedicated to the observation of nature and the sky.
Browsing through this boutique’s web site will reveal the vast array of equipment that they have acces to and whet your appetite for some dreamy equipment for the future! They also carry a full line of beginner telescopes as well.
David Brodeur is setting his marks with his deep technical knowledge and his ability to find products that may be in short suply elsewhere. He is always eager to help and is very well appreciated by amateur astronomers.
La Maison de l'Astronomie
This well known store displays a large inventory and has a good selection of beginner equipment.. Their staff takes the time to discuss your needs and to offer appropriate suggestions
In Québec City:
Boutique Le Naturaliste, Place de la cité, 2600 boulevard Laurier, Québec
Outside of Québec:
There are a few retailers in other Canadian provinces and a multitude in the United States. In the latter case, the prices displayed on their website may seem tempting but you must add the currency conversion, transport, taxes and customs clearance fees which are sometimes added depending on the carrier used.
Fédération des Astronoomes Amateurs du Québec, Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Canada-wide Astronomy Buy & Sell, In addition, the stores previously mentioned will occasionnaly have used equipment for sale. Check it out!