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Telescope Advice
Shopping for a telescope? Talk to us first. Personal and precise telescope advice from real astronomers.
> telescope advice

Ask the Astronomer
Recent questions answered by our astronomers:

Colliding Galaxies and Black Holes
If galaxies have black holes and two such galaxies were colliding, would the two colliding galaxies form one giant black hole?

Novas and Supernovas
Why do some stars supernova and other stars have a smaller explosion called a nova?

Top 10 Reasons You Miss the Perseids Meteor Showers
Astronomer Bill offers a humorous and informative account of the art of meteor shower watching.
> Perseids Meteor Showers


The Hubble Space Telescope
Why is the Hubble Space Telescope named after a lawyer who competitively boxed?

Upstaging Einstein
How did the discoverer of galaxies become the toast of Hollywood, upstaging even Einstein?

Check out our line of astronomy audio CDs and custom cosmic gifts.

There is growing evidence from interplanetary probes in our own solar system that some form of life may exist deep underground on Mars or perhaps on one of the many moons of Saturn or Jupiter. Yet keep in mind that there is only one earth-sized, carbon-based, water-predominant planet in our own solar system, which is host to an enormously vast array of living creatures. If you’re going to look for intelligent life forms similar to earthlings, your search will have to take you out of our solar system to the planets of other stars.
> finding extraterrestrial life

Rings of Uranus Seen Edge On
Astronomers are getting a fantastic unprecedented, glare-free view of the rings of Uranus as it swings edge-on to Earth - a short-lived view we get only once every 42 years.

Rings of Uranus

Image courtesy NASA JPL

Give the Gift of a Galaxy

Last minute gift?
We offer cyber delivery.
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To order by phone,
call 505-463-8360

Your gift contributes to the search for earth-bound asteroids.
name a star
> name a galaxy

Astronomers find a fifth planet in a solar system similar to ours.
The fifth planet of the star 55 Canceri has sparked a new method of finding planets, some believed to be favorable to life.
> learn more about exoplanets

Name a Galaxy Package Features

  • Personal note from our Chief Astronomer
  • A scientific profile of the galaxy
  • A full color certificate
  • A star chart showing the exact location of your galaxy
  • A slide show of images from the Hubble Telescope
  • An ET Planet Finder Kit, how to search for exterrestrial planets
  • Packages start at $19.95

orion telescope review

Orion Telescope Review
A review of the Orion telescope product line by astronomers at WPO.
> Orion telescope reviews

Celestron Telescope Review
Personal experiences of the Celestron line of telescopes, told by the astronomer who worked alongside Clyde Tombaugh, discoverer of Pluto.
> Celestron telescope reviews

> other telescope reviews

Astronomy Gift Ideas

Under $15


How to be Happy on a Cloudy Planet
The Luratia Chronicles, Book 1
What might technology on Earth be like in 50 years? Find out in this new sci fi coming-of-age story for kids and adults. The science fiction in this story is based on the new wonder material known as graphene. signed softcover ... softcover ... kindle ... about graphene


Thank You and Happy Flying
The Luratia Chronicles, Book 2
Entertaining and insightful sci fi story about a small town that's turned upside down when it's outfitted with the Luratian equivalent of internet and holographic smart phones. signed softcover ... softcover ... kindle ... about the luratia chronicles


Star and Planet Planisphere
A roadmap of the night sky and accompanying booklet shows the location of stars, planets and constellations in your night sky when you dial in the exact hour and date. buy now

Under $20


Extraterrestrial Planet Finder Kit
Conduct your own search for extraterrestrial intelligence!
Astronomers at Windowpane Observatory have assembled a scientific kit for amateur astronomers to attempt to locate and contact extraterrestrials. more info ... buy now


Secrets of the Christmas Star audio CD
Myths and Realities About the Star of Bethlehem. Astronomer Bill takes the listener on a guided tour of one the most recorded astronomical events of history. more info ... buy now

Under $40


Name a Galaxy
Includes registration in the Galaxy Registry Archives, a personal signed letter from our Chief Astronomer, a full color star chart and a certificate available in your choice of 3 styles. buy now


Hubble Slide Show Name a Galaxy Package
Our Name a Galaxy gift package plus our stunning HubbleTelescope Slide Show, a visual feast of images from deep space taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Available on CD or via e-delivery. buy now

Under $75


ET Planet Finder Name a Galaxy Package
Our Hubble Slide Show Name a Galaxy package plus our famous Extraterrestrial Planet Finder Kit. Perfect for locating inhabitable planets from your own back yard. Available on CD or via e-delivery. buy now

Review: Orion Telescopes

Orion Telescopes has through its 30+ year history established itself as the preeminent source for amateur astronomers whether it's telescopes, binoculars, telescope accessories or lenses for your telescope.

They achieved this position in the marketplace with a number of innovations.

First, like small Mom and Pop shops they assume that there are a lot of first buyers. Mom or Dad buying a telescope for their kids or Grandpa getting one for a grandkid. I was introduced to astronomy at age 7 when my Sunday school teacher brought the industry-standard small telescope of the 1950's to my backyard - the 60 mm refracting telescope - a telescope still found in department stortes to this day. But really only decent for looking at bright double stars, the moon, and planets.

Despite the frustration I had and the early abandonment of that instrument for telescopes that could deliver a brighter, lower power image, I managed to survive my "400 power refractor" and became an astronomer when I grew up anyway.

Orion Telescopes has taken the guess-work out of finding a suitable piece of "telescope furniture" by spending copius amounts of their catalog space discussing different types of telescopes and then as you matriculate though the pages into larger and larger more expensive instruments they rate what you can expect.

Read more about Orion Telescopes.

Review: Celestron Telescopes

Reviewed by astronomer Bill Georgevich

My first experience with Celestron telescopes was in 1970, when I worked as a Teaching Assistant while getting an undergraduate degree at the University of Texas.

The chairman of my department was most anxious find an 8" telescope that could be set up quickly and easily in an open field far away from local light pollution. He wanted a large enough telescope to showcase deep sky splendors. The perfect compact telescope was the folded optic Schmidt Cassegrain 8".

The man I worked for at UT was Ulrich Hermann, who was brought over after WWII under Project Paper Clip -- the UD government program that allowed Nazis to work on the US space program. Hermann had been a young man working under Werner von Braun, who later with his team of ex-German rocket scientists, helped put the US on the moon.

What we liked about the Celestron 8” was that we could take 100 astronomy students into an open field, set-up 4 or 5 C-8’s and walk them through some of the finer objects in the sky without a lot of set-up or maneuvering. The Schmidt-Cassegrain was a very sophisticated portable telescope in it’s day -- rivaled only by the Questar, which was a 5” cassegrain, that was more of a rich executive office show piece than a working telescope.

Read more about Celestron Telescopes and Binoculars.

Review: The Intelliscope

The Orion Intelliscope system is a commercial version of digital setting circles that became all the rage for folks who like to own or build large telescopes but really don't know their way around the sky.

To understand how the Intelliscope works, it would be good for the uninitiated to understand how objects were found in the sky for amateurs and students of astronomy before this digital technology.

The sky is divided into latitude and longitude, called by astronomers Right Ascension and Declination. This is our terrestrial navigation system projected onto the celestial sphere that is what our universe appears to us from Earth.

Every object has been plotted on this celestial map and every object, no matter how faint, has a specific location in the sky down to degrees, minutes and seconds. Until about 100 years ago all telescopes, even the ones in the great observatories like Lick and Yerkes, the largest reflectors and refractors of their day, had huge setting circle wheels that were aligned with the Earth's axis.

This allowed a clock drive to turn the telescope with the motion of the Earth so that the celestial object remained in the eyepiece. More importantly it provided at vernier by which a large dial represented the position of an object. Let's say you want to find the Andromeda Galaxy. Simply find the RA and Dec. coordinates for Andromeda and then add or subtract the time for universal time to align your telescope which the current position of the earth in space and voila! you found your object.

Read more about  Orion Intelliscopes.

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