How Telescopes Work

Telescope Features

Once you have decided that you want to buy a telescope, you will have many types to choose from, falling into many price ranges. First, we'll find out what type of telescope you need. Then we'll talk about the many features you'll be considering:

  • Optical features -- how the telescope captures and focuses light. (You'll find out why magnification ratings can be misleading!)
  • Nonoptical features -- the hardware that is used to focus light can reveal the difference between a cheaper model and a more expensive one.
  • Mounts
  • Eyepieces
  • Finders
  • Star diagonals and erecting prisms
  • Filters
  • Practical considerations such as portability, maintenance, storage and price ranges.
  • Other accessories, including the equipment you might use to take photos with your telescope.