Without its spectral type, a star is a meaningless dot of light.
Why do larger numbers mean less light? Here's the story of astronomy's odd but beloved scheme for describing star brightnesses.
Accurate optical alignment is neither difficult, mysterious, nor time-consuming. In fact, it's only three steps away.
Tips to ensure trouble-free slewing for Go To telescopes
Here are some plausible-sounding ideas that turn out to be less than true.
All you need to enjoy the wonders of the night sky is a pair of binoculars.
How to keep your optics dry and clear even on the dampest, dewiest nights.
Beginners should ignore them and learn to navigate the sky by eyeball instead. However, setting circles do have their uses -- if you make all the right adjustments first.
Just a couple hours spent learning to read a star map can open up the heavens for a lifetime of exploration.
Size can be deceptive; this small home observatory is remarkably practical.
Expert observer Brian Skiff explains NGC, UGC, and everything in between.
The mirror in your telescope will probably work fine with a bit of dust on it, but if it's really dirty, you may want to clean it — carefully!
Confused by the bizarre names that astronomers have given the stars? Here's where they come from and what they mean.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s the International Space Station! Learn how to spot Earth's artificial satellites.
Take a few minutes to learn the most important astronomy terms.
"Right ascension" and "declination" tell you where your telescope is pointed in the sky. But what do they really mean?
While civil time is based on official edit, the celestial clockwork follows its own rhythms.
With the stars increasing being lost amid the light pollution of our urban areas, is there no hope for an astronomer in the city? Fortunately, there's still a lot of observing that can be done.
After working at Sky & Telescope for nearly a decade I got the chance to build the observatory I'd always wanted.
Twenty weekends and countless trips to the building-supplies store later, I'd done it I had an observatory to call my own.
By day my observatory looks like an ordinary (if rather grandiose) garden shed. At night the roof sections go down and back up. They "flap" like a bird's wings.
Long-exposure astrophotography requires an accurately aligned equatorial mount.
Image brightness, magnification, and why the old ideal of a 7-millimeter exit pupil is not so ideal at all.
Amateurs long have recorded the seeing quality in their observing logbooks on a rather subjective scale of 1 to 10, with 1 hopeless and 10 perfect.
Here are a few potential problems that you might not see on your blueprints.