The TV Shopping Networks      Beware!   "See the entire galaxy!" "See comets up close!" "See remote planets!"    We've all seen the ads in the drugstores and at discount retailers. That "bargain" 3-inch telescope in the gaudy box, adorned with photos of smiling models posing as satisfied young astronomers. There's usually a bulleted list of "features" which highlights the included Barlow lens and eyepieces to achieve over 600 power. Somewhere else on the box will be those colorful "closeup" images of Jupiter and Saturn, the Eagle Nebula, and a d...

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Mars as big as the Moon?

Monday, November 23rd 2009 06:55 PM

  Mars Hoax   ...Return of the Mars Hoax!     June 9, 2009: Just when you thought it was safe to check your email...    For the sixth year in a row, a message about the Red Planet is popping up in email boxes around the world. It instructs readers to go outside after dark on August 27th and behold the sky. "Mars will look as large as the full moon," it says. "No one alive today will ever see this again." Don't believe it. NASA photo    Here's what will really happen if you go outside after dark on August 27th. Nothing. Mars won't be there. On that date, the red planet wi...

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Binoculars for Astronomy and Birding

Monday, November 23rd 2009 06:52 PM

  BINOCULARS - the portability solution! .  Oberwerk 15x60 Astronomical Binoculars   Swarovski 15x56 SLC Astronmoical Binoculars   Oberwerk 45° 100mm Binocular Telescope Meade 9x63 Astronomical Binoculars    Every amateur astronomer out for an evening stroll, or just lounging in a neighbor's backyard after a barbeque, has looked up at the night sky and wished for a small telescope to reach for. Orion is up. Or there's the Pleiades... M-31... Saturn... M-22... M-5. If only we had something portable and "totable" to look through... dang, it sure is clear tonight!    You can't bea...

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Mounts for Telescopes

Monday, November 23rd 2009 06:51 PM

  ..Recommendations: Mounts Equatorial and Alt-Az    A telescope's mount is sometimes more important than the telescope. Strange, but if you have a mount that's flimsy you may eventually come to that conclusion. Mounts that are not solidly made, or ones that are sloppy will eventually cause you a great deal of frustration, especially when you try to use the focuser. Although a mount may be "heavy", it's not the actual weight of it that matters. It's really about quality, what it's made of, and how well things fit together INSIDE.    If you have a good-quality refractor (or a medium-sized Newtonian or SCT) you probably have what's called a "German Equatorial" mount – sometimes called an...

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Mid Priced Telescopes

Monday, November 23rd 2009 06:50 PM

  Featured in this section: Vixen Orion Meade Vixen R200SS  on a Sphinx SXW Mount...

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Expensive Telescopes

Monday, November 23rd 2009 06:48 PM

    Ultra High Quality; Expensive    Expect to pay a lofty price – many above $3000 for these ultra high quality instruments. But if you can afford one of them – by all means, get one! Below is a short-list of some of the best. [NOTE]: All scopes in this category are Top rated.   Featured in this section:  TeleVue RC Optical Systems Takahashi...

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Affordable Telescopes

Monday, November 23rd 2009 06:47 PM

    Recommendations: Affordable Telescopes   Affordable and popular brands    Any telescope from these manufacturers/suppliers will deliver first-rate, excellent quality images with convenience and portability. These are not "cheap" telescopes. They are affordable instruments (there's a difference). A cheap telescope is MADE cheaply, and will rarely deliver even "good" images. Stay away from department store telescopes and house-brands, and any telescopes sold on a TV Shopping Network. [NOTE]: We advise that no matter what brand or KIND of telescope you buy, that you get the biggest aperture (diameter) you can afford. It is not power, but rather aperture size that makes the best images. Less power and bigger aperture render better images than any other combination.  ...

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What's a dark and "still" site?

Monday, November 23rd 2009 06:46 PM

  ...What's a dark and "still" site?    The Earth is shrouded in a thin bubble that we call an "atmosphere". The bubble is comprised of a soupy mix of air, moisture and pollutants, which is constantly bombarded and illuminated by the photons of our own artificial light. The bubble is not still or smooth, but is full of tides and ripples that are always in motion. As the ripples pass our field of view, celestial objects are alternately hidden and revealed in a strobing rapid cadence that we call turbulence. This is why stars appear to twinkle, and why it's so difficult to see objects in deep space with ground-based telescopes. The best observing sites are where the bubble is very dark, and very "still". Left: NASA photo...

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Astronomy 101 is back at Anacortes Telescopes

Friday, November 20th 2009 01:03 AM

  Astronomy 101 - Part 1 - Home   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 drugs...

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What can you SEE with a Telescope

Thursday, November 19th 2009 08:48 PM

  Wow! Look at the colors!     Stars and planets and other bright celestial objects will exhibit striking colors in the eyepiece. But with very few exceptions, deep space objects (i.e. - galaxies and nebulae) will appear colorless in the eyepiece of any telescope. They will look grayish, with some brighter areas, but generally without any color whatsoever (have a look at our drawings pages). Although photographic film and CCD equipment can easily detect color in dim objects, the human eye cannot.     To some newcomers this is a grave disappointment. However, the mere sight of a galaxy, millions of light years away, sitting there in...

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