Binoculars and Telescopes
Types and Choices

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What are some of the different types of binoculars and telescopes? What is recommended for beginners that doesn’t cost a lot? What do all the numbers on binoculars and telescopes mean? What should you look for when buying? There are many considerations when buying something to learn about astronomy and view the night sky. Gary Nelson, licensed optician, former professional telescope dealer, and long-time president at the Martz-Kohl Observatory answers these questions and more.

Gary holds an optical engineering degree in the field of Ophthalmic Dispensing from SUNY Erie. He is board certified and licensed in New York State and Massachusetts and has worked in the optical field for over forty years.

Gary took astronomy courses in college and learned to grind telescope mirrors from Marshal Martz, the “Martz” in Martz-Kohl Observatory! Gary taught mirror grinding classes, manufactured telescopes for beginners, and repaired telescopes and binoculars for over twenty years. He was also a Mead telescope dealer for more than eight years and sold professional-grade telescopes to colleges and professional astronomers.

Gary Nelson served as president of the Marshall Martz Memorial Astronomical Association, Inc., the nonprofit organization that runs the observatory, on-and-off for more than twenty years. During his time as president, he consulted with area schools on the potential construction of observatories, along with associated costs. Gary was, and is, a huge advocate for promoting educational opportunities between local schools and the Martz-Kohl Observatory.

Bonus video included: Tom Traub, MMMAA VP, provides a brief overview of the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. He describes what you’ll see as well as some tips about viewing and some observations on expected impact to the local area.


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