Can you use and move around a telescope on Shabbos?

  • 5
    I'm so happy to see this question (and the 'yes' answers!) here. I'm buying a telescope online right now - but I hesitated because the best time for viewing (for me and my son) is probably Friday nights and I was afraid it might not be permissible. I Googled telescopes on Shabbos and this came up as the first hit! Go Judaism.SE!
    – Seth J
    Oct 26, 2011 at 16:33
  • 4
    ...but of course you should CYLOR before relying on anything you read here.
    – Double AA
    Mar 29, 2012 at 5:54
  • Keep in mind that many telescopes use a battery-operated finder-scope. This would have to be removed before Shabbos, in my opinion.
    – user7426
    Nov 21, 2014 at 20:33
  • ...but of course!
    – Seth J
    May 16, 2016 at 16:36

2 Answers 2


Use of binoculars, a telescope, a tripod and glasses is permitted provided that there is no other prohibition involved such as carrying in a public domain, use of electricity, and on the condition that special skills are not required to assemble the equipment. It is permitted to adjust binoculars and a telescope in the normal manner. (Shmiras Shabbos Kehilchoso 16:45)

However, see footnote 111 there, where Rav Neuwirth brings an opinion that a telescope may be muktzah machmas chesron kis.


Yes, if you hold that you may study science on Shabbos, the Shulchan Aruch says, in Orach Chaim 307:17:

ויש מי שמתיר ועל פי סברתו מותר להביט באצטרלוב בשבת

that there are those who permit studying "sifrei chochmos" (secular studies) on Shabbos, and that according to that reasoning, you may peer into an astrolabe on Shabbos.

  • Thanx I was aguing with somone he said it was a Telescope I am happy to see it is not and I was right Jan 27, 2011 at 2:24
  • 1
    Why wouldn't a telescope be muktza machmas chisaron kis?
    – Shraga
    Dec 21, 2012 at 0:24
  • @Shraga from shulchan aruch harav 308.4 it seems that "muktza machmas chisaron kis" is only if you are makpid about using it AND, 1. if it is for sale OR 2. if it is used for issur (something forbidden on shabos)
    – hazoriz
    Nov 21, 2014 at 20:48
  • 1
    What does an Astrolabe have to do with a telescope?
    – user6591
    Nov 23, 2014 at 0:00
  • 1
    @hazoriz it might be better, that would be worthy of a discussion. But to mention a different item without adressing the issue is not a proper answer.
    – user6591
    Nov 23, 2014 at 0:32

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