Observing Basics: Finder Scopes

In this episode, learn how this small auxiliary telescope helps you better tour the night sky.
By | Published: September 25, 2012 | Last updated on May 18, 2023

A finder scope has a lower magnification than your main telescope so it can provide a wider view of the sky, which allows you to more easily star-hop your way from target to target. These instruments come with a label of AxB, where A is the magnification and B is the aperture of the finder scope’s objective lens in millimeters. This designation is in the same format used by most binoculars.


Expand your observing at Astronomy.com


Check out Astronomy.com’s interactive StarDome to see an accurate of your sky. This tool will help you locate this week’s targets.

Intro to the Sky: Get to know the night sky
Learn how to use star charts, find constellations, and observe the brightest objects in your night sky with in this handy reference section.

Tour the solar system: The Sun
Explore the characteristics of our home star and the methods scientists are using to study it in this informative video.

The Sky this Week
Get a daily digest of celestial events coming soon to a sky near you.

Observing Talk
After you listen to the podcast and try to find the objects, be sure to share your observing experience with us by leaving a comment at the blog or in the Reader Forums.