Each question that telescopes have helped answer has led to new questions: what is dark matter and dark energy? How did the first galaxies form? Are there habitable, Earth-like exoplanets? To address these questions, a new generation of telescopes are being built. ‘The next telescopes’ describes some of these, including the three extremely large infrared/optical telescopes, equipped with adaptive optics systems, due to start operating in the next decade. Other new telescopes discussed are the Square Kilometre Array, a radio telescope that will soon be the world’s largest scientific instrument, and the James Webb Space Telescope due to be launched in 2018, which is the 100 times more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope.