Welcome to Astronomy 101 at Anacortes Telescope!

Get started discovering the perfect telescope for you!  Learn about a specific topic by clicking a link below, or get the full experience by scrolling down and beginning from the start.

What type of telescope should you buy?
Nomenclature - the typical Dob
What's an f/number? - Fast vs slow
What you can see... and what you WON'T see
The Cost of Amateur Astronomy
Finderscopes, Telrads, etc.
What is "GO-TO"?
Recommendations - GO-TO Systems
Misleading Astronomy
How things REALLY look in the eyepiece
Light Pollution

After you've learned the basics here, check out
Astronomy 101 - Part 2 !

in Part 2 You'll Learn All About . . .

  • Our Telescope recommendations
  • Our Telescope mount recommendations
  • A special section on binoculars and Astronomy
  • Charts and "Seeing Guides"
  • Buyer Beware! Watch out for those drugstore and department store specials!


   You will almost never hear anyone say that they bought the wrong type of telescope. More often, you will hear someone muse that they bought the wrong size. It is common to wish that you had a bigger telescope. That's why we always recommend that you buy the biggest size aperture (diameter) that you can afford. If that means a good 70mm refractor, (made by a reputable manufacturer) then buy it. You will surely enjoy what you will see with it, which is really quite a bit. The 'ancient' astronomers who pioneered the skies, and those who created the catalogs of countless objects that we view today, employed equipment that was far inferior to any decent 70mm refractor that is currently manufactured.

Drawing © The Belmont Society
  The Basic Choices:
   Although the types and choices of telescopes are not all that abundant, there are enough different versions and brands available to perhaps confuse the issue. Of course it helps if a friend has a particular type that you've had a chance to use. Basically, there are four types of telescopes to look for. Click on a picture below to learn about each type of telescope: