Explore the Night with Bob King

9,096 Stars in the Sky—Is That All?

Ten thousand stars bedazzle the eye on a dark night. Wait, how many?

Stargazing Basics

The Stellar Magnitude System

Why do larger numbers mean less light? Here's the story of astronomy's odd but beloved scheme for describing star brightnesses.

Apparent Fields

Choosing Your Astronomy Equipment

How to Choose Your Telescope Magnification

How high can you get? How low can you go? The answers depend on many factors that combine to give each telescope a useful magnitude range.