There are 3 Major Types of Telescopes

Refractor        Newtonian Reflectors


with many variations on each type


When people think of a telescope this is probably what people imagine. It’s still a very probable type and telescope makers have improve the quality and made them very affordable over the years. There are some very high end versions of this type with a price to match.

Achromatic: The least expensive model of this type is rugged and reliable. Practically maintenance free and is an excellent choice for planets, moon and star clusters.

They are not as effective for fainter objects because the aperture is too small (low light gathering power)

Beware of “spindly” tripods on cheaper models.

Never, never, never buy from a discount store.

Apochromatic: This high end model is worth what you pay for. At least so say the refractor enthusiasts. It eliminates the chromatic abberation (“coma”) found in achromatics. This is the red/green edges on your image. Very noticeable on bright objects such as the moon.

Stars and star clusters are much “sharper” with this type. It is also good for astrophotography.

Still having smaller apertures they are not as effective on dimmer objects.

Newtonian Reflectors

Dobsonian Mount

Equatorial Mount

This model is an excellent performer for all backyard activities.They have tracking ability depending on the mount.

They do require frequent collimation and become cumbersome with over 8 inch mirrors.

Also, may require lengthy time to set up to begin viewing.

This style mount gives you the most “bang for the buck”. It is very easy to set up. Excellent for deep sky objects and is a good choice for beginners in sizes 6” and smaller.

It does require collimation at each set-up as well as climatizing in larger models.

Also becomes cumbersome if mirrors are over 8 inches.




The Maksutov (MAK) is good for the frequent traveler because of its compact design. It has the ability to track objects. However, they never have seemed to be as popular as the SCT.

The Schmidt (SCT) is good for occasional travel and sets up easy if mirrors are 8 inches or smaller. It’s well suited for astrophotography and functions for terrestrial viewing.

It has tracking ability, but also requires frequent collimation.