Jump to main content

Build Your Own Dobsonian Telescope

1,493 reviews


Areas of Science
Time Required
Very Long (1+ months)
*Note: For this science project you will need to develop your own experimental procedure. Use the information in the summary tab as a starting place. If you would like to discuss your ideas or need help troubleshooting, use the Ask An Expert forum. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions and offer guidance if you come to them with specific questions.

If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk (*) at the end of the title.


For an advanced science fair project, you can build your own telescope and learn how to use it to make observations of the night sky. Can you make your own observations to determine the orbital period of Jupiter's major moons?

The Dobsonian telescope, first built and popularized by astronomer John Dobson, is considered to be the best bang-for-your-buck if you want to build a good amateur telescope. The smaller the telescope's aperture the less expensive to build, but also the less magnification.

If you would like to build your own Dobsonian telescope you will need to research the construction materials, design plans, and lenses needed. Watching the video of John Dobson teaching a class, over several days, about how to construction a Dobsonian telescope is an excellent starting place. You can also look at Berislav Bracun's 200 mm Dobsonian telescope plans. Several out-of-print books, including The Dobsonian Telescope: A Practical Manual for Building Large Aperture Telescopes, also exist and may be available from a library near you.

Telescope Building with John Dobson
icon scientific method

Ask an Expert

Do you have specific questions about your science project? Our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.


If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:

Career Profile
Mechanical engineers are part of your everyday life, designing the spoon you used to eat your breakfast, your breakfast's packaging, the flip-top cap on your toothpaste tube, the zipper on your jacket, the car, bike, or bus you took to school, the chair you sat in, the door handle you grasped and the hinges it opened on, and the ballpoint pen you used to take your test. Virtually every object that you see around you has passed through the hands of a mechanical engineer. Consequently, their… Read more
Career Profile
One of the basic truths in the universe is that objects tend to go from a state of higher organization to a state of lower organization over time. In other words, things break down, and when those things are precision instruments or equipment, they require the services of very specialized technicians to restore them to their working order. Precision instrument or equipment technicians often combine a love of music, medicine, electronics, or antiques with delicate mechanical repair work. Read more

News Feed on This Topic

, ,

Cite This Page

General citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Build Your Own Dobsonian Telescope." Science Buddies, 14 Oct. 2021, https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Astro_p031/astronomy/build-your-own-telescope. Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2021, October 14). Build Your Own Dobsonian Telescope. Retrieved from https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project-ideas/Astro_p031/astronomy/build-your-own-telescope

Last edit date: 2021-10-14
Free science fair projects.