Telescopes for amateurs – Buying guide & Comparison
If you’re short on time and you just want to find the best amateur telescope, this short paragraph should help you get exactly the model you need. According to our research the Orion SkyQuest XT8 is the best because it comes with a large 8 inch aperture that can gather enough light for you to see faint star clusters and nebulas, along with the moon and planets in sharp detail. It comes with a Dobsonian style base so beginners have plenty of stability. This also helps to keep it balanced for easier use. Best of all this model comes at an affordable price. If the Orion SkyQuest XT8 is not available your second option should be the Gskyer Power Seeker.
Even a beginner can successfully sight in on planets, stars and even distant nebulas if they have the right telescope. Models designed for amateurs are easier to use, and you don’t even have to sacrifice quality in order to find a basic telescope that the whole family can enjoy. If you are interested in watching the heavens and are new to astronomy, the tips in this buying guide can make it easier for you to choose the best telescope for amateurs.
According to the best telescopes reviews for beginners one of the first aspects to consider is the size. It is important to remember that size and power don’t always go together when you are talking about telescopes.
It is possible to find a portable telescope that is powerful enough to allow you to glimpse distant galaxies. If you only plan on using the telescope in one place than size probably won’t be a primary concern, and you can simply concentrate on one that comes with quality optics and a stable mount. Beginners that plan on taking their telescope with them will probably want to invest in a compact model, and as long as the aperture is wide enough you can still see the details in distant sights.
Aperture and magnification
One of the most important aspects to consider on a telescope is the aperture, and wider is always better. Sometimes referred to as the “objective”, the aperture is responsible for the amount of light the lens can gather. The wider the aperture the more light is can allow in, and this ensures that your views of the night sky are sharp and bright. Larger apertures also make it easier to see faint objects since they can gather more light.
The aperture is also responsible for magnification, though this can also be controlled by switching out the eye pieces as needed. Wider apertures provide for greater magnification, and this can dramatically improve how clearly a distant object appears. These are often considered the best telescope for star gazng. The main drawback to choosing a telescope with a smaller aperture is that even though the eye pieces can provide the magnification you need, they can’t gather enough light to ensures images are clearly defined. This leaves images looking dim, faint and blurry.
Types of mounts
The mount on a telescope is almost as important as the aperture when it comes to its performance. A poor quality mount won’t swivel smoothly nor will it be able to provide a stable base. Not only can this make it difficult to use, it can also damage the telescope if it tips over. Equatorial mounts are designed to be easy to use, especially if it is motorized.
Altazimuth mounts are typically lighter in weight, and they can be harder for amateurs to use. Another downside to these mounts is that they often can’t be motorized. There are also Dobsonian mounts, which are easy to set up and relatively inexpensive. In some cases the right mount for you will depend on personal preference, along with where the telescope will be used.
Top amateur telescope reviews in 2017
It is possible to find a powerful telescope that is easy for a beginner to use, as long as you know what you are looking for. While we can’t choose the right model for you we can help you make an informed decision, which is why we have the best amateur telescope showcased below.
Orion SkyQuest XT8
Not only is the SkyQuest XT8 a great telescope for amateurs, it also makes a good backup for more experienced astronomers.
While it doesn’t come in a compact size, it is still relatively easy to transport to the backyard or nearby field so you can easily track celestial objects in the night sky. It comes with a stable Dobsonian base so you can set the telescope up almost anywhere. Beginners will also appreciate how it keeps the reflector tube balanced so all they have to do is “point and view”.
Thanks to the large 8 inch diameter reflector lens you can easily see details on the Moon and nearby planets. It can also gather enough light to make distant nebulas and galaxies appear bright and clear.
You can also change the magnification by switching out the eyepieces, and it comes with several so you can get started. Thanks to the Starry Night software you will always be able to identify the various celestial objects. All of this and the SkyQuest XT8 comes at an affordable price.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($379.99)
Gskyer Power Seeker
This refractor telescope comes with a 90mm aperture so faint objects in the night sky will appear bright and clear. This also helps to ensure distant celestial bodies are still sharp and clear, even under high magnification.
To prevent any blurring of the details, this telescope comes with three eyepieces so you can use it for a variety of viewing applications. Its versatility is one of the reasons this telescope is a consumer favorite.
Even though this telescope is not designed to portable, it is still lightweight enough that you can easily use it in the backyard or at astronomy club. The 1.25 inch tripod is constructed from sturdy stainless steel, and you will appreciate how easy it is to adjust.
This not only ensures you can place it in a stable position, but it also allows you to find the right angle for viewing different targets.
Best of all this tripod can also be used with most SLR cameras. When its versatility is combined with the limited lifetime warranty, you can rest assured that this telescope is a good value for your money.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($268.99)
Orion 10034 GoScope II
This telescope from Orion is perfect for beginner and experienced stargazers who are always on the go. Its compact size allows for easy portability, along with its lightweight construction.
Even the aluminum tripod was constructed with weight in mind. To add to its convenience this telescope comes with a unique specially designed backpack. This makes it even easier to carry with the rest of your gear.
Whether you are watching the night sky or enjoying scenic views, distant objects will appear bright and clear. This refractor telescope comes with a 70mm aperture which is ideal for viewing the surface of the Moon or distant galaxies. There are also two eyepieces so you can clearly see the object you are viewing.
What really makes this telescope a great choice for amateurs is the Orion Moon Map, which clearly identifies the features on the surface.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($89.99)
Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ
One of the first aspects you’ll notice is the affordable price, along with its durable construction.
You don’t have to worry that you are sacrificing quality for savings with the PowerSeeker by Celestron.
It also comes with a German equatorial mount which ensures a smooth performance and easy tracking.
The 80mm aperture ensures that plenty of light is gathered so distant celestial bodies appear bright and clear.
This can also help faint objects to be more visible, especially when it is combined with the magnification eyepieces.
To make it a little easier for beginners to use, this telescope also comes with a finder scope.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($139.14)
Gskyer Instruments Infinity
Even though this refractor telescope comes with an altazimuth mount, it is still easy for beginners to use.
The “slow motion” control allows you to smooth guide the telescope across the horizon, and this is always an advantage when you are tracking moving celestial objects. The telescope is also backed by a limited lifetime warranty for added peace of mind.
Thanks to the 70mm aperture distant objects will appear bright and clear. When this is combined with the 3 varying magnification eyepieces even faint objects will be sharp and defined. For added power, you also have the benefit of the 3x Barlow lens.
Easy for beginners to operate and powerful enough for advanced users, this affordable telescope might be just what you need.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($129.99)