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Check out these fantastic telescopes
Aabhas Sharma in New Delhi | August 26, 2006
And thanks to all the pollution, no one really can. And what happened to telescopes, that amazing machine with which we saw millions of stars so clearly, so closely? Where is the telescope?
Amit Sundra, partner, Ram Chander and Sons, one of the oldest toy stores in the country, says that telescopes are still very much in demand.
"Customers from all age groups are coming and inquiring about telescopes. They are in huge demand and even novices, not just professionals, are picking up telescopes."
Perhaps he's right. Look at Anand Mukherjee, former ad man who also runs his own consultancy firm, and loves showing the bright, milky stars to his nine-year-old son.
While his kid gapes at the stars in fascination, Mukherjee adds, "I think telescopes are a fantastic way to admire nature's spectacle. It brings you closer to some of the most fascinating aspects of nature." Mukherjee, by the way, is constantly adding telescopes to his collection.
The former ad man may not want to study stars academically, but that doesn't deter him and many others from installing telescope in their homes. We took a quick tour and found that a wide range of telescopes are available in the market. Want a dekho? Follow us.
Shatter the myth, if you think that only basic models of telescopes are available in the Indian market. This celestial machine can also have a digital camera attached to allow you to take pictures of astral bodies.
Some sleek telescopes can even be attached to laptops to help you store all the images. Sundra says this model from London-based company Eastcolight is priced at Rs 20,000 (and onwards) and is one of the most popular models for avid star gazers.
Sundra says, "Buying telescopes is certainly not an off-the-shelf purchase. One needs to put in a lot of thought before deciding on which model to buy. Some bit of knowledge and guidance from our side is a must for those planning to use and set up telescopes in their homes."
At Mumbai's Gallileo Telescope Makers the owner, Nilesh Vayada, shows us a wide range of telescopes. "We show our range of telescopes after thoroughly understanding our customers' needs."
Usually the price range of this astrophysical device starts at Rs 2,000 (and costs as much as Rs 40,000). This is usually the cost of a basic model while highly professional ones, equipped with the latest technology - usually used in planetariums - can cost in the lakhs.
For those who are beginners, a good telescope should be around Rs 8,000. The real differentiator in these telescopes is the magnifying lens' power. The higher the power, the costlier the telescope.
Another important aspect that can up the price range is the coating used on the telescope. While plastic coated ones are cheaper, they are fragile as compared to aluminium coated telescopes which are more sturdy.
While starry-eyed celestial fans can pick and choose their telescopes, we now shift our attention to bird-watchers who are searching for a good pair of binoculars.
While cheap, unattractive ones in black plastic are sold in Palika Bazaar and Colaba Causeway for as little as Rs 15-20, a good one costs around Rs 5,000.
Unfortunately, as Sundra informs, "Binoculars have a slower demand." Extremely handy, especially if you are going for a trek or to a forest reserve. There are some binoculars that cost as much as Rs 12,000.
"This is usually the price range for a highly professional pair of binoculars," says Sundra.
Our favourite pick, though, was the Konusvue Giant binocular, which yields a high 20 power magnification with a large 80mm objective lens. Priced at Rs 12,000, this lorgnette is particularly suited for those whose inclinations are dictated by reasons of astronomy - or nature.