As you begin your quest for the best astrophotography beginner telescopes, prepare for new terminology and familiar terminology used to refer to specific astrophotography issues. Familiarizing yourself with a handful of key terms will help you make a good decision about which scope will work best for you.

Apochromatic  Early refractors had major problems with creating false color traces around celestial objects. Achromatic refractors are designed to fight that aberration. Apochromatic refractors are meant to take it one step beyond achromatic and essentially eliminate color.

Baffles  Baffles look like ridges on the inside of the optical tube. They are designed to prevent stray light, reflected off the inside of the telescope, from spoiling the contrast of the image.

Cassegrain  This telescope design features a mirror in the back and a lens in the front of the optical tube. There are variations on this design, including the Schmidt-Cassegrain and the Maksutov-Cassegrain.

Chromatic aberration  This term applies to all forms of photography. Chromatic aberration is a type of distortion that results when the lens is unable to focus all colors to one point. A good astrophotography beginner's telescope will fight this aberration.

Coma  Coma is an off-axis aberration that causes stars at the edge of a field of vision to look like they are shaped like comets even though they are not. Good astrophotography beginner telescopes fight this aberration.

Crayford focuser  This mechanism was developed in Crayford, England, by John Wall, a member of an astronomical society. It relies on geometry to prevent any wobble in the focuser. Many astrophotography beginner's telescopes will come with a Crayford or Crayford-style focuser. It has a reputation for performing better than other designs by working to eliminate focus shift.

CCD camera  A Charge Coupled Device, or CCD camera, converts light into electrical charges. This type of camera is used often in astrophotography.

Dielectric diagonal  This term is often used to refer to eyepieces that feature both a 2 inch and 1.25-inch adaptors mounted perpendicular to one another. They often have a dielectric coating, or a coating that cannot conduct electrical current.

Diffraction  This term is used to describe the effect on a wave of light when it encounters any kind of obstacle. Telescope makers work to design their optics to limit diffraction as much as possible.

Doublet/triplet  Doublet and triplet designs are refractors that use stacked lenses, two or three, to fight chromatic aberration. Chester Moor Hall developed the first doublet achromat in 1733 and Dennis Taylor developed the first triplet apochromat in 1892.

DSLR camera  A Digital Single Lens Reflex camera uses a mirror positioned behind the camera lens to direct light toward the viewfinder. This type of camera is used often in astrophotography.

ED Glass  Extra-low Dispersion glass, or ED glass is considered helpful in astrophotography equipment for its ability to correct chromatic aberrations.

Equipment train  It takes more than a telescope to create a great astro-photo. Experts mount cameras and various extension rings and other objects to fine-tune their image. These objects form a sort of  train  as they are linked together. Better astrophotography telescopes will not be moved out of their correct position by the weight of these  trains. 

Illuminated reticle  This term is used to refer to the digital graphics, usually red, that astronomers use to pinpoint celestial objects through finderscopes.

Losmandy-style mounting plate  This is a  D -shaped metal plate that can be used to join your astrophotography telescope to specific matching mounts.

Ritchey-Chretien  Specially designed to eliminate coma, this telescope features a primary and secondary hyperbolic mirror. It was designed by astronomers George Willis Ritchey and Henri Chretien.

Vixen-style mount  This is a dovetail-shaped metal plate that can be used to join your astrophotography telescope to matching mounts.

Spider vanes  These smaller pieces of metal of other material are used to support the smaller mirror used in reflecting telescopes. The vanes can impact the view by creating a pupil obstruction.

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