Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

How to Choose a Telescope

The incredible variety of telescopes presents a real challenge for first-time buyers. Here's a no-nonsense primer to an astronomical rite of passage.

Hobby Killer Illustration

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

Hobby Killers: What Telescopes Not to Buy

Here’s how to avoid buying an expensive doorstop.

Telescope in a store

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

How to Choose Your First Telescope

Here's a quick guide to the essential features that you should look for when buying your first telescope.

telescopes big and small

Choosing Your Astronomy Equipment

What to Know Before Buying a Telescope

Looking through a telescope introduces you to a whole new world of unexpected wonders. But telescopes come in a huge range of sizes and shapes. Here's a detailed, printable guide to the essential features that every good scope needs to have.

Orion SkyScanner and StarBlast reflectors

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

SkyScanner 100 vs. 4.5-inch StarBlast

How does the little $100 scope stack up against its venerable bigger brother?

Readying your new telescope

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

The Joy of Small Instruments

No photograph can compare with the experience of viewing Saturn directly — something that's possible with even the smallest telescopes.

Astroscan, StarBlast, XT4.5

Choosing Your Astronomy Equipment

Three Great, Small Reflectors

Orion Telescopes & Binoculars's XT4.5 and StarBlast 4.5 and Edmund Scientific's Astroscan set the standard of excellence for small, inexpensive, easy-to-use telescopes.

Choosing Your Astronomy Equipment

Travel Scopes

It's tough to reconcile all the different constraints placed on a telescope for the airplane-traveling stargazer.

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

Best Starter Telescopes

In the December 2005 issue of Sky & Telescope, Gary Seronik reviewed a collection of telescopes costing less than $200. It's quite likely that if we were to conduct the same survey today, we would still pick the same 5 as our top scopes.

Galileoscope

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

The Amazing $20 Telescope

Sky & Telescope has reviewed innumerable telescopes, and only a handful of the ones that we've tried and liked cost less than $200. Now we're going to recommend a telescope that's selling for $20, and your response is going to be "you're kidding, right?" No, we're not!

Cheap scope

Astronomy and Society

Cheap Enough for a Cheap Scope?

What value would you put on a cheap scope like this?

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

Portaball Reborn

Mag 1 Instruments, maker of the Portaball Telescope, is alive and well under a new owner.

Refractor

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

Top 10 Telescope Questions & Answers on How to Use a Telescope

Here are common questions about telescopes culled from an expert’s mailbag.

Scope in a travel case

Choosing Your Astronomy Equipment

Take-Along Telescopes

Want a telescope to bring on your next vacation? Here are some things to consider when looking for a travel scope.

Eyepieces

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

Optical Aberrations at the Telescope — And How to Avoid Them

Optical aberrations limit the performance of an eyepiece. Here are seven common problems, with solutions where applicable.

Magnifying Lens

Telescopes: Guides & Recommendations

Common Telescope Magnification Myths

Answers to some of the most common misconceptions about telescope magnification.