If you’re looking to buy your first telescope, start your shopping by checking out this video series from Anacortes Telescope in Anacortes, Washington. In this series, Jesse Sturgeon takes you through options for telescope configuration, including reflecting telescopes, refracting telescopes, and compound telescopes. And he covers the basics of telescope mounts and accessories like eyepieces, solar filters, and Barlow lenses.
Here are links to each of 20 parts in this series… each runs just 2-4 minutes.
#1 – Introduction (1:05) – Visit a telescope store in the short introduction to the series.
#2 – Importance of Aperture (2:22) – The myth of magnification, and why aperture is the most important factor.
#3 – Focal Ratio and Focal Length (2:17) – What they are, why they matter.
#4 – Refracting Telescopes (3:24) – Pros and cons of telescopes that use lenses to collect light.
#5 – Reflecting Telescopes: Newtonians (1:33) – The most cost-effective telescope design.
#6 – Compound Telescopes (2:15) – Schmidt and Masksutov Cassegrains made popular by Meade and Celestron.
#7 – Telescope to Avoid (2:19) – Here’s how to avoid a telescope that will give you nothing but disappointment.
#8 – Finder Scopes (2:23) – These little scopes on the side of the bigger telescopes help you find your way around the sky.
#9 – Telescope Mounts (1:11) – The basics of altazimuth telescope mounts, the simplest type of mount to use.
#10 – Dobsonian Mounts (2:23) – A special kind of altazimuth mount for a Newtonian reflector. Great for visual observing.
#11 – Equatorial Mounts (1:43) – A more serious mount, designed to track the apparent motion of the sky with a single axis.
#12 – Go-To Mounts (2:42) – Computerized, motorized mounts that let you automatically find thousands of objects in the night sky.
#13 – Solar Filters (2:12) – Some options for equipping your telescope with safe filters for seeing detail on the sun.
#14 – Eyepieces (3:37) – The most essential accessory for your telescope. Here’s an overview of the many kinds of eyepieces available to backyard astronomers.
#15 – Barlow Lenses (3:04) – A useful accessory to increase the magnification of each eyepiece. Essentially doubles the number of eyepieces at your disposal.
#16 – Practical Accessories (3:30) – Some low-cost odds and ends to make your night under the stars an even better experience.
#17 – Personal Planetariums (3:33) – These high-tech personal planetariums aren’t essential, but are interesting accessories for learning your way around the sky.
#18 – Best telescopes for beginners (3:45) – Here are some choices for a fine telescope under $700, one that will let you enjoy years of fascinating study of the night sky. Ideal telescopes for beginners.
#19 – Choosing Binoculars (3:14) – Whether you have a telescope or not, binoculars are an essential accessory for a stargazer. Inexpensive, easy to use, and portable, binoculars are great for wide field views of the sky.
#20 – Final Tips (3:14) – Some final words of advice to help you get a good start as an amateur astronomer.