Welcome to Optics Central's Telescope Guides
Optics Central created this guide to help you in choosing the most suitable telescope and what to do once you have your telescope. By the end of this guide, you'll know what you need and which telescope you like. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and one of our customer service representatives will be able to assist you.
What is a Telescope?
Telescopes are long tubes with internal mirrors and lenses designed to make far objects look near. People use these devices to observe the various stars, planets, moons, and other objects in the sky.
Telescopes were developed in the late 1500s as spy glasses and were essentially considered toys. It was not until Galileo Galilei started pointing his to the sky in 1609 that their current use began. Today, telescopes come in all shapes and sizes and are used by millions of professional and amateur astronomers around the world.
How Does A Telescope Work?
Telescopes make far objects look near through the application of optical science and a series of illusions. The long tube collects light from distant objects through a series of lenses and mirrors. These mirrors and lenses, collectively called the optics, then concentrate and bend the light into the eyepiece for viewing. If you so wish, you can then record the light to a camera or view it with your own eyes.
Is A Telescope What I Need?
(Or should I get binoculars/ a spotting scope)
Telescopes come in all shapes and sizes with as many features your money can buy, but you may not need all of it. For instance, while any serious astronomer will need a telescope, you may only need a good pair of binoculars if you only want to see the moon, the International Space Station, or other bright objects. If you are planning to observe purely land objects you may also consider a spotting scope (although Refractor Telescopes function quite the same way).
Astronomy clubs are great resources for guiding you in sky observations. Some meetings are free and open to the public and their members will point you in the right direction and even let you test drive their gear.
If you do decide on getting a telescope, the next few pages will serve as quick user guide for the various types and accessories available today. You will learn the terminology, features, and general procedures for using telescopes as well as a few basic troubleshooting techniques. At the end, you will know what to do and not to do when using a telescope.