It is virtually impossible to judge the quality of a telescope just by looking at it.
It might have a colourful or shiny tube, but that will tell you nothing about those vital optics.
As a general rule, avoid anything in newspaper adverts – they are usually accompanied by exagerated claims for their magnification.
The best way to check out a telescope is to find out what others say about it. Use a search engine like Google to look up the make. Be exact as the manufacturer could produce a range of models which might have varying attributes.
You will find reviews on a number of websites, for example Cloudynights.com But if you have a local astronomical society near you, so much the better. You will find their members have a range of telescopes and will be able to advise you about them.
Best of all, you might even get the chance to look through some of them and find for
yourself what they are like.
★ Keep up with space news and observing tips. Click here to sign up for alerts to our latest reports. No spam ever - we promise!