CHOOSING A TELESCOPE:
At OPT we dedicate ourselves to helping you find the best astronomy equipment that you need to succeed. Whether you're looking for a beginner telescope to get started or an astrograph for professional astrophotography. OPT has the largest telescope selection of anyone worldwide. We have the most knowledgeable staff in the industry and exceptional customer service focused your success. For these reasons, we are confident in calling ourselves the Telescope Authority.
There are three questions to ask yourself in order to facilitate the process of narrowing down our huge selection of astronomy equipment so that you may find the perfect setup to suit your desires.
- What will you be using your telescope for? We offer telescopes and telescope kits that are optimally suited to a wide variety of astronomy and astrophotography uses, with each type being optimized for different uses.
- Where do you plan on using your telescope set-up, and how important is portability? Some astronomy equipment can be highly portable, or they can add up to a monumental load of weight. The difference between a permanent and stationary setup and once you move from dark site to dark site is thereby a massive one.
- What is your budget? Some scopes range in pricing from a few hundred dollars all the way into being multi-thousand dollar investments- and for most people, the best choice is somewhere in the middle. Some of the best advice we can give is: the best telescope for you is the one you will use the most.
For further guidance, below we have compiled the main categories of telescopes and a basic summary for each. For even more information on types of telescopes, take a look at our telescopes types blog!
OPT provides an extremely wide selection of reflecting telescopes that come in a number of varieties suited for a diverse range of applications. A reflector refers to any optical design that uses one or more curved mirrors to reflect light and form an image. This results in images that are free of chromatic aberration, which is one of the main issues to plague models that do not utilize reflecting designs. One of the main benefits of the reflector design is that it enables a very wide diameter objective. This means that reflectors are capable of being made much larger than comparable refractors, meaning that it is easier to make a reflector capable of gathering more light.
OPTs wide selection of great Refractors proves why we are the best in the world. Not only because we offer so many, but because we are the specialists for all! The word “refractor” means an optical design whose principal focusing element is a lens. Its curved primary (or largest) lens gathers light, bends it, and sends it back to a focal point where it is further modified by the use of another set of lenses called the eyepiece. The curvature and size of the primary lens dictate the amount of distance needed to achieve the focal point.
Astrographs are the premier imaging optics, and OPT has a huge array of these in the Ritchey-Chretien and Dall-Kirkham styles. Astrographs are designed specifically for astrophotography. These are commonly employed when doing wide area surveys of star fields and are also used to detect comets and asteroids. To make this type of scope effective, the focal plane is normally designed to work with a specific size photograph plate – or modern CCD chip. This helps to deliver the largest, flattest field possible with clarity to the edge of the image.
OPT has a long history of supplying professionals in the field of astronomy of all kinds of professional-grade scopes to the government, educational institutions, and private astronomers who demand nothing less than the absolute best. We are proud to supply a wide range of the very finest astronomy equipment in the industry, both in terms of sheer size of the aperture and in terms of optical quality and craftsmanship. If you're looking for the hardware required to perform research level astronomy, look no further- the pieces in this category are the very finest available. We stock such top-level manufacturers as PlaneWave, OOUK, and Officina Stellare, supplying the very best possible in research grade astronomy.
Dobsonians are versatile, inexpensive, and easy to use, and OPT stocks a wide array of them at high quality for this reason. The Dobsonian reflector is based on the idea that large optics can be inexpensive and very easy to use. Looking at the Newtonian design, John Dobson realized that the major concern was the primary mirror. The body of the tube and the base could be made of almost any inexpensive material so long as they were stable and could support the weight of the mirror.
Newtonians, like the name implies, were invented by Sir Isaac Newton in 1668. They are free of chromatic aberrations, are often less expensive than other astronomy optics designs that have the same size aperture, provide wide field views due to their short focal length, are very efficient with light gathering because of their fast focal ratios and are very portable. Among under the umbrella of the Newtonians, there are several variant designs. These include Dobsonians, Maksutov Newtonians, Jones-Birds and Imaging Newtonians. Each of these designs has their own unique advantages which can greatly improve you observing experience.
The Schmidt-Cassegrain design is a high-quality design, producing top-notch Cassegrain Telescopes that we at OPT are happy to offer. Cassegrains are a type of reflecting design which employs a combination of a primary concave mirror and a secondary convex mirror into its design.In the classic Cassegrain designs, a parabolic primary mirror has a hole placed in its center. While this may seem like a very strange thing to do, the incoming electromagnetic waves are actually captured by the parabolic mirror’s edges and re-directed to the hyperbolic secondary mirror where they converge. The light (or wave) is then refocused back towards the hole where it converges to a focal point – the eyepiece.
Some of the most convenient and easy to enjoy views of the sun are found by utilizing a specialized Solar scope. These are refractor-based optical systems that use special filters to view specific wavelengths of light, the most common of which is H-alpha. Using H-alpha allows safe observation of the entire solar disc, providing superb views of prominences, chromospheres, and surface details such as sunspots, plagues, flares, filaments, and granulation. H-alpha filtering also gives the most "natural" view of the sun, in brilliant yellow, orange, and red.
Here at OPT one of our primary missions is to make the Astronomy Hobby easy to enter for beginners, which is why we offer so many that are ideal for beginners. These are ideal for learning the ropes of exploring the night sky, and are designed to be fun and easy to use. So, if you're looking to take your first steps into the wonderful universe of astronomy, look no further- you've come to the right place to find your first tool for that journey! There's a lot to learn, but OPT will be by your side at every step of the way.
The Ritchey–Chrétien design is used in some of the most famous systems like Hubble, SLOAN Digital Sky Survey, and LORRI on board the New Horizons spacecraft. RCs only use hyperbolic mirrors to eliminate optical errors like coma and chromatic aberrations off-axis while producing the flattest focal plane possible without lenses. Since they only use two reflective surfaces, Ritchey–Chrétiens are also very efficient with light compared to most other systems that use 4, 6, or event more surfaces that will reduce the amount of light hitting the focal plane. The lack of refractive lens elements allows this design to detect wavelengths broader the visual spectrum making them very useful for measurements in the ultraviolet (UV), near-infrared (NIR), and infrared (IR) wavelengths.
We provide astronomy equipment for kids as part of our huge stock, perfect for introducing astronomy to our younger generations. These have been gathered together based on shared simplicity - being some of the easiest to use that can be found. They are perfect for learning the basics of the field and are sure to engage the interest of young and intelligent audiences. Indeed, the simple and easy to use nature of these scopes makes them supremely suited to the purpose of reaching out to spread interest in the field of astronomy, and a great tool for sharing just how beautiful space can be with the next generation!
We know how long and complex a process it can be to hand pick every single component of your astronomy setup to go perfectly with your scope. That's why we offer a wide variety of telescope kits to do the hard work for you! We have a wide array of prepared kits available for use, centered around various high-quality optics. These kits range from matching together optics, and mount perfectly and leaving the rest to your choice, all the way up to completely assembled and ready to go full systems for both imaging and visual astronomy.
What telescope should I buy for astrophotography?
The best type of telescope for astrophotography depends on the type of imaging you want to do. If you want to image the planets and detail on the moon, you will want a telescope with a large aperture and long focal length. If you prefer widefield images and deep-sky imaging, a fast telescope would be best. For small galaxies and small deep-sky objects, you will need large apertures, long focal lengths, and (preferably) a fast focal ratio.
Check out our guide to choosing an astrophotography telescope!
Looking to get into astrophotography? Get in touch with our telescope techs at email@example.com.
How does a telescope work?
Check out our video and write-up on understanding the basic telescope types.
Can telescopes see the Moon landing sites?
While telescopes are able to see where the Moon landing took places, we cannot see the physical evidence left behind from the Apollo missions because the objects are much too small. Not even the Hubble telescope can see the Apollo landings, as we are limited by the laws of optics.
Which telescope to buy? Which telescope is best for beginners?
Check out our guide on how to select your first telescope.
Which telescope is best to see farthest, planets, Mars, and deep space?
The best telescope to see planets and deep-sky are large aperture telescopes. When it comes to visual astronomy, the bigger the better. We recommend at least an 8" or larger telescope from Celestron, Sky-Watcher, or Meade. Dobsonian telescopes are great for getting a large telescope for a reasonable price, up to 16"!
How much does a telescope cost?
Telescopes can range from $150 to millions of dollars; it all just depends on what you're looking to do with it. If you're looking for telescope ideas, check out some of our buying guides and resources below.
Best telescopes under $500
Why are Dobsonian telescopes considered to be good beginner telescopes?
Dobsonian telescopes are excellent for beginners because they are easy to use and they give you the most size (aperture) for the lowest cost. If you want to know more, check out our Beginner's Guide to Dobsonian Telescopes.