Buying Guide
Public Programs

Telescope Guide

Taking a Look at the Universe

A telescope is an instrument for exploring the universe. Unlike many other scientific instruments, though, the explorers don’t have to be professionals. Even relatively small telescopes provide amazing views of the Moon, the Milky Way, stellar nurseries, the remnants of dead stars, distant galaxies, and many other wonders. In this guide, we’ll point you to places in your part of the country where observatories, museums, and astronomy clubs offer regular views through telescopes small and large. And we’ll provide a few basic pointers to help you pick out a telescope of your own.

So we wish you clear skies and good hunting as you explore the universe through a telescope.

Buy Your Own

A brief look at types of telescopes and the information you need to make a good decision about a backyard instrument. More

Use Someone Else’s

A guide to places where you can look through someone else’s telescope, or where you can learn more about the development and history of this instrument for exploring the stars. More

Hubble cluster

Visitors look through several telescopes during an evening star party at McDonald Observatory. Public viewing is also available through the two large research telescopes in the background, atop Mount Locke. [Frank Cianciolo/McDonald Observatory]