Choosing Your Equipment — A Guide for Astronomers

Telescopes come in an overwhelming variety of sizes, shapes, and prices. So buying your first scope can be a rather daunting task. Do you opt for the pricey one with a computer built into the hand control or the larger one that’s pure mirrors? What do the words “refractor” and “reflector” mean anyways?

Here Sky & Telescope provides an array of articles to help you choose a telescope that will be right for you. We’ll dive into the basic telescope types and telescope mounts; We’ll explain that size does matter, i.e. a larger mirror will let you see fainter objects in finer detail than a smaller one can; And we’ll help you choose equipment to use along with your newly bought telescope, such as eyepieces and filters.

These articles provide useful tips for someone just getting started and someone who has years of observing experience.

Binocular exit pupils

Power and Aperture in Binoculars

They come in a wide range of apertures. But for astronomy, large aperture is only part of the story. High magnification is just as important when binoculars are used on a night sky that's not absolutely dark.

Tony Flanders's biggest and smallest telescopes.

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.

Binocular Blogs

Binocular stargazing has a peaceful, organic quality that's hard to achieve through a telescope. Here's a list of some blogs the author has written on this subject.

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.

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!