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Purchasing Astronomy Gear

PST Mounted

PST Mounted


I was offering some links to one of our members and thought I would share the info as other may benefit. Its has some links and advice on buying and selling astro gear!

If you buy from the US make sure they ship by USPS (United States Postal Service) and not by Courier. When shipping by courier the courier will charge a brokerage fee for the service and will assess duty and taxes owed and you will be charged accordingly. Not to mention you never know where your parcel will delivered to… how about Gibsons, Alabama! When shipped by the USPS there is no brokerage fee often no taxes or duty charged and the parcel often arrives.

Here are some online sources for astronomy gear that I have used:

This one is in the US and has reasonable prices and shipping charges

This one is in Quebec
you have to call or email them to get the updated price and the shipping charges but sometimes there prices are better than others in Canada!

Canadian telescopes is located in vancouver and offers free shipping on every item I find there website easy to navigate and informative

Vancouver Telescope Centre in Vancouver  doesnt currently offer online sales. They appear to specialize in astro consignments and microscopes. They also carry a mixed bag of accessories and miscellaneous “stuff”. Its worth checking out if you are in the area but if you are looking for something in particular you might want to look elsewhere.

Here is the canadian used astro buy and sell site

Here is the biggest and busiest buy and sell on the net… its American and is called astro-mart. It cost $15 to join  but you can still check out the ads here
its like a mini astro stock market… hundreds of items a day are listed and sold here. Some of my best deals have come from here. I sometimes sell here too.

This is another US buy and sell and its free

I often buy used. You often get items in like new condition at a good discount. In most cases you need a paypal account. Sellers are rated and the number of transactions they have done are listed. Its usually pretty easy to spot a scam but as always its Buyer Beware!

Last but not least dont forget good old EBAY! I use Ebay a lot with over 300 transactions on my profile. I find ebay easy to use as a buyer and a little difficult to use as a seller. Paypal account is mandatory here… if you have never checked out ebay check it out! You dont have to join to look.

“Now go get that new (or used) telescope”

Neil Sandy
member-rasc sunshine coast centre

April 10: Beginner’s Telescope Night


We frequently encounter individuals who have telescopes but don’t know how to use them. If you are in this category, bring your telescope down to the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre on Friday, 10 April, at 7:30 PM, and we’ll show you what do to with it. If you don’t own a telescope, members of our Centre will have their own there to show you how they work.

Beginner Telescopes

my telescope

Often people ask us what to buy as a beginner telescope so I have attached a scan (see link to PDF below) of 4 telescopes starting at just $149., all available online from, free shipping included I might mention. These are all alt-azimuth mounted or push and pull as its much easier to operate and there is no need to learn the names and locations of any alignment stars as you do with a goto telescope. So there you go! Department store prices but much higher quality than you will find at a department store.

The beauty of these 4 scopes is they are always ready to grab and go, they are light and portable, you can go outside and be looking at the moon or planets the first day you get it (try that with a goto), they have stable mounts and take standard eyepieces and they all come with everything you need to get started right away. Last but not least they are inexpensive and thats what you want with a first telescope… spend the bigger dollars on the next one when you have a better understanding of your own needs.

Speaking of department store quality a simple rule of thumb is that if the box cover advertises the magnification then its not an astronomical telescope… doesnt matter if it says it is on the box… its not. The mount will wobble so bad you wont be able to see a thing and it probably wont take standard size eyepieces… dont buy it no matter how inexpensive!

If you are thinking of getting yourself a scope this Christmas and would like some further advice feel free to give me a call anytime at 604-989-6345

This certainly isnt the last word on whats good for a beginner so others may want to chime in with there own advice…. please do!


Neil Sandy
Sunshine Coast Centre RASC member

beginner telescopes