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The Ins and Outs of Selecting a Telescope

1. A telescope gives you access to the whole universe. Even a small, simple telescope can bring the rings of Saturn, the cloud belts of Jupiter, and even distant galaxies into view.

2. Refractor telescopes are the best choice for children. They feature rugged construction, a maintenance-free design, and a bottom eyepiece position that is easy for smaller people to reach.

3. Reflector telescopes are economical, produce high-quality images, and are favored by astronomers who require their larger size to study deep-sky objects.

4. Refractor telescopes use lenses to transfer light, much like binoculars do. Reflector telescopes use mirrors to focus light into the eyepiece.

5. A Catadioptric telescope optimizes properties of both refractor and reflector telescopes. It uses both lenses and mirrors, and it has the added advantage of being more compact than either one.

6. A Dobsonian telescope is ideal for those who want superior results without having to fuss over high-tech mechanisms. This Newtonian reflector scope is powerful enough to satisfy deep-sky enthusiasts, and is the most cost-effective per inch.

Ask The Experts

Have questions about an item or need advice on selecting the right optic? Our team of experts is here to help! Avid outdoor enthusiasts themselves, they've tested gear in the field and can provide personalized product recommendations for just about any activity, from birding and hunting to sports and travel.

You can reach our Customer Support line at 1-800-246-6285. We're open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

After hours? Drop us an email at We'll get back to you as soon as possible, usually within 1 business day.