We’re closing in on the festive season (doesn’t it come around quick?!) So, thoughts must be turning to your pressie list from Santa, I do hope you’ve all been good...


It is this time of year when we get asked about beginners' telescopes, so in our December issue we take a a look at a couple that are currently available.

One is a basic manual point and view system, the Bresser AR-80/640 Nano refractor, while the other is the Celestron 114LCM computerised telescope.

In our December reviews there's something for everyone who is just starting out, including our selection of six of the best 10x50 binoculars (£100-£200).

Our Gear page also offers up ideas too, so make sure you have a look for any potential stocking-fillers!

However, here’s the thing: what constitutes a beginner’s scope to one person can be completely different to another depending on their budget.

Some years ago, I was contacted about a beginner's telescope for someone who had just been bitten by the bug, then they mentioned their budget - around £4,000!

They wanted something that could be set up and could find objects in the sky without the hassle of learning where everything was.

Fine by me, so a computerised system was suggested, and they were pointed in the direction of several manufactures - in the interests of impartiality you understand, we can’t take sides in our business.

Here at BBC Sky at Night Magazine we strive to cover a wide range of equipment over the year and hope our reviews help in making the choices easier to make.

Now, I wonder what Santa will be bringing for me this Christmas?

I’ve been a good boy, honest!


The December issue of BBC Sky at Night Magazine is on sale now!


Paul Money is an experienced astronomer, BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Reviews Editor and author of the annual stargazing guide Nightscenes.