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Best computerized telescopes in 2020 – Comparison & Reviews

Last Updated: 08.08.20

 

Top computerized telescopes this year – Guide & Comparative Analysis

 

If you’re short on time and you just want to find the best computerized telescope, this short paragraph should help you get exactly the model you need. According to our research the Celestron CPC 800 is the best because it comes with a tube and tripod so you can start using it right out of the box. It also comes with a 12v adapter and battery pack so you don’t need to be near an electrical outlet in order to use this computerized telescope. With an 8×50 finder scope it is easy to zero in on selected targets, and with 50x magnification thanks to the plossl eyepiece you will be able to see everything from Saturn’s rings at night to the individual stars in the Orion Nebula. Even though this is a powerful model, it is still easy enough for beginners to operate. If the Celestron CPC 800 is not available, you second option should be the Celestron NexStar 6 SE.

 

 

Comparison table

 

The Good
The Bad
Verdict
Price

 

 

At some point every astronomer will probably want to invest in a computerized telescope simply so they can see farther objects clearly in the sky. While looking at the moon’s surface is fascinating, there are other galaxies, stars and planets to explore. Even the best entry level computerized telescope will be able to perform better than a manual model. If you are interested in a computerized telescope but don’t know what to look for, the following tips in this buying guide will help you get started. You should do some reading on how to use a computerized telescope.

Price

Before you even start shopping the best computerized telescope reviews recommend first deciding on a budget. You should expect to pay more for a computerized model than you would for a manual one, but it is possible to find a great one at an affordable price. The cost of the telescope is usually determined by its power, optical and alignment systems, along with any included features and accessories.

It is also important to consider how the telescope will be used when you are deciding on a set spending limit. If it is for casual astronomers a basic, inexpensive model will probably be fine, especially if you are not trying to discover a new galaxy. Students and avid stargazers might want to consider paying a little more for a telescope that comes with a higher magnification. The materials used in its construction will also affect its price, and you want to make sure that you don’t sacrifice quality simply to save a few dollars.

 

Magnification

The best value computerized telescope should be powerful enough to allow you to see distant nebulas and planets, and this will depend on its magnification. The size of the aperture, which refers to the diameter of the main lens will determine how bright and clear distant objects appear and it will also affect its magnification capabilities. Larger apertures will provide you with crisp bright images, and also allow for higher magnification. An easy way to see if the telescope will have the power you need is to remember that generally you can depend on a useful magnification of 20x to 50x per square inch on the aperture. If you want to be able to make out features on Mars when it passes by or details on a star cluster you will want to choose a telescope with at least 150x magnification.

The diameter of the eyepiece will also affect magnification and your field of view. Almost all computerized telescopes come with at least one eyepiece, and some come with two or more. Though this does affect its price. Some telescopes have interchangeable eyepieces so you can add the ones you need at a later date. You also want to pay attention to the telescope’s focal length since this will affect the amount of light that enters into your field of view, along with how easy it is to use. Some of the best computerized telescopes for beginners come with a long focal length, and this is also ideal for glasses wearers.

Mount

There are two types of mounts to choose from, equatorial and altazimuth. Both will allow you to move the telescope horizontally and vertically, but altazimuth mounts are significantly easier to set up. If the telescope is for a beginner you will probably want to chose one with this type of mount. Altazimuth mounts are also lighter in weight, but it should be noted that they are harder to motorize. While this type of mount makes it easy to zero in on an object, if you are tracking something moving across the sky you will have to move the telescope in two directions at once.

Equatorial mounts are designed to make it easy to track objects as they move across the sky, but if you are not familiar with the setup it can be time consuming and frustrating to use. An advantage to these mounts is that they can be motorized and this does make it significantly easier to use. Along with your familiarity with computerized telescopes your personal preference will also help you choose a mount that is right for you. It should also be mentioned that there are now  Dobsonian mounts that are durable, sturdy and usually priced lower.

 

What are the differences between a refractor telescope and a reflector telescope?

When you go shopping for a telescope, you will discover that there are two major types available, called refractor and reflector. There are specific unique characteristics that help you tell them apart, and each of them has its ups and downs.

A refractor telescope is the most common you can find; you will quickly recognize it by its shape, with large lenses on one end and a small eyepiece at the opposite one. The way it works is simple: the large lenses collect the light from the environment and transmit the image to the eyepiece as the light reflects into a mirror installed at the back of the unit.

There is quite a list of advantages that can be quoted here, for this type of telescope. For instance, you can successfully use it for terrestrial viewing. Because of its straightforward design, anyone can use it, and it also requires very little maintenance. As a starter telescope that can be used to observe the night sky, it is an excellent choice.

Other advantages include a sealed optical design that makes sure that moisture and dust can’t get inside. Also, you will discover that this type of telescope is built with durability in mind so you can get one for your kids without worry that they might damage it easily.

However, there are some downsides to this design that should be mentioned. For instance, its durability comes with a cost, as it is massive and not easy to manipulate. Also, you shouldn’t imagine that you can use it to observe deep sky objects, as it’s not as powerful as its competitor, the reflector type of telescope.

Unlike refractor models, reflector units have the mirror placed at the end of the optical tube, not at the back. The overall design differs, as you can tell by looking at the Celestron Nexstar, which is an excellent example of this type of portable telescope. Excellent for exploring the deep sky, it also offers brighter, more accurate image performance than the refractor type.

Its list of advantages is quite long, but what you should remember is that, regardless of aperture, these telescopes offer better performance than their refractor siblings. However, there are some drawbacks to keep in mind. For instance, such telescopes don’t do a great job if you try to use them for terrestrial viewing.

Also, the optical design is more vulnerable to dust than what you can see in a refractor model, which is why you should remember that such a model will require regular maintenance. Let’s not forget that these telescopes are more expensive, as well, so if you want to explore the night sky just for fun, they might not be the best solution for your wallet.

Optics details that you must understand when buying a telescope

There are all sorts of terms used when describing the specifications of a telescope, so you might feel a bit lost when assaulted by this information that sounds foreign to you. That is why you should first become familiar with some basic terms. For instance, aperture stands for the lens diameter, and the higher it is, the more you will be able to see with your telescope.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you should go for the highest aperture you can find. It can be very expensive to do so, and the telescope will also have to be bulky and difficult to maneuver if you opt for such a model. Image quality is greatly influenced, so make sure that you choose the right specifications that can fit within your budget.

Another term you should be familiar with is the focal length. This value represents the distance between the focal point and the mirror that refracts the light that enters through the lens. You don’t have to be an expert, but the rule of thumb is to have as high a focal length as possible without breaking the bank. The primary advantage offered by a substantial focal length is that you can see the objects much larger, which helps when you explore the deep sky.

 

How large should your telescope be?

The list of recommendations for purchasing a computerized telescope wouldn’t be complete without talking a little about the overall size of a unit. You must have realized by now that a telescope offers better performance the larger it is, as it will come with bigger lenses and an optical design that will surely provide more accuracy and possibility to run some deep sky exploration to your heart’s content.

Small telescopes are those with a small lens diameter. 4-inch models, for instance, are considered small, and they are usually an excellent idea for anyone who only wants to get a telescope for kids interested in astronomy.

4 to 10-inch lenses are the norm for medium-sized telescopes, and these are ideal for hobbyists and people who are serious about their astronomy endeavors. As you can easily imagine, they are more expensive than small models, but they also offer better performance.

Large telescopes come with lenses larger than 10 inches in diameter, and they are usually used by professionals. However, with more and more people interested in astronomy, over the last years, they have become more widespread and quite popular.

 

Pay attention to the eyepiece that comes with your telescope

Although it might not seem a particularly important aspect, the eyepiece of your telescope plays an important role. It shouldn’t be too small because it will make it difficult for you to see anything. Especially if you are interested in examining deep sky objects, a poor quality eyepiece could make it very difficult for you to use your telescope as you should.

Therefore, while you shop for a telescope, take a close look at the type of eyepiece installed on it. That should give you a clear idea of whether you will have a comfortable experience while using it, or you will have to squint and force your eyes to see anything.

 

 

5 Best Computerized Telescopes (Reviews) in 2020

 

If you want to be able to easily distant planets and galaxies you need the power you get from a computerized telescope. Since these telescopes come at a variety of price points chances are you will be able to find the perfect one to meet your needs and budget. 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 computerized telescopes in 2020 showcased below.

 

 

1. Celestron CPC 800 GPS Computerised Telescope

 

There is very little not to like about this computerized telescope from Celestron. It has the power students and avid astronomers need to see distant stars, nebulas and planets, while also being relatively easy to use. It comes with an 8 inch reflecting Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope so you can rest assured you are getting a quality product.

The telescope also comes with a lightweight aluminum optical tube and sturdy tripod so you can get started viewing the night sky right out of the box. You will also appreciate the included 12v adapter and battery pack so you don’t have to worry if there is an outlet nearby in order to use the telescope.

To make sure that you are aligned properly it comes with SkyAlign technology. This ensures that the telescope is set up to the exact coordinates. The attached remote makes it easy to set the alignment, and it will also scan the night scan automatically with just the touch of a button.

You also have the advantage of Celestron’s Starbright optical system. The 8×50 finder scope ensures that you can locate distant stars and planets quickly and easily. To ensure a wide viewing angle there is also a 40mm plossl eyepiece that can be easily changed out as needed.

 

Pros

This is an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a 2032mm focal length, enough to help you clearly see all your favorite stars, planets, the Moon, and close-by galaxies or other celestial objects.

The tube of this amazing telescope is made from high-quality aluminum to ensure a sturdy yet lightweight design.

Featuring the SkyAlign alignment technology, you will be able to clearly see all your favorite celestial objects without too much trouble. The internal GPS receiver automatically downloads the coordinates to offer the perfect aligned picture.

The design is user-friendly and easy to install to please both a new astronomer and a passionate observer.

 

Cons

Due to the heavy design, this telescope may be shipped in more than one package so you will have to wait until the whole product arrives and you can mount it. Some customers claimed they didn’t receive the packages at the same time, sometimes having to wait up to three weeks until finally being able to install and use this telescope.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($3995.98)

 

 

 

 

2. Celestron 11068 NexStar 6 SE Computerised Telescope

 

It’s not hard to see why this is the best computerized telescope for under $1000. Celestron has designed the NexStar 6 to be powerful, easy to use and relatively affordable. The best part about this 6 inch telescope is that its package includes the optics.Like most Celestron models this computerized telescope comes with StarBright optics that are coated to ensure images are crisp and clear.

You never have to worry about not being able to find a planet or constellation thanks to StarPointer finderscope. It will help ensure that the telescope is aligned properly so you can accurately locate what you are looking for. This is always a bonus for students who need to find a distant star or pinpoint the location of a galaxy for their homework.

With a database that includes up to 40,000 objects chances are the coordinates for the one you are looking for is included.

Thanks to the “quick release” mount it is easy to attach the telescope to the sturdy tripod, and you will also appreciate the convenient accessory tray. Even though there aren’t any tools needed for setup, it is still the perfect place to hold pens and pads for convenient note taking.

 

Pros

Thanks to the StarPointer finderscope technology you will easily receive help with alignment and accurately locating objects in the sky easy and without an effort.

The database of this computerized telescope counts for almost 40,000 celestial objects you can easily find and enjoy on a clear sky. This includes planets, stars, galaxies, and other celestial objects that are truly amazing and worth seeing any time.

The product comes equipped with a quick-release fork arm mount, an optical tube, as well as an accessory tray for easy, no-tool setup. In other words, this telescope is almost ready to use at once without too much effort.

 

Cons

This telescope doesn’t come with a charger which is sold separately, and you will most definitely require anytime you use the item. The batteries themselves don’t last for more than half an hour, so if you want to enjoy the sky more, you will have to buy the charger.

Some customers also complained about the scope not coming with a user’s manual.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($1528.35)

 

 

 

 

3. Celestron 31145 NexStar 130 SLT Computerised Telescope

 

Students and avid astronomers will all appreciate the power that comes with this computerized telescope by Celestron.

The 130mm aperture helps to ensure objects are crisp and clear, especially when this is combined with an impressive focal length of 650mm there is very little you won’t be able to see in the night sky. The long focal length also ensures that images are bright, and it is a great choice for anyone that wears glasses.

As an added advantage this telescope also comes with two eyepieces so you can enjoy exceptional wide views. The eyepieces can also be easily changed out as needed or as your budget permits.

With Celestron’s SkyAlign technology it is easy to align this telescope with almost any point in the night sky. You also have access to the impressive database so finding an object is never a problem.

The SkyAlign system even has the ability to line up with any three known celestial bodies so you can track them and anything in between. The altazimuth mount is one of the few that is motorized so tracking and finding objects has never been easier.

 

Pros

The aperture of 130mm ensures all objects seen are crisp and clear.

With a light gathering of up to 345x you will see items more clearly even during shady weather conditions or extreme lighting. Objects will not only appear brighter but clearer too so you can take a good glance at everything surrounding our sky.

The magnification of the eyepiece goes up to 72x for close shots of far-away stars, comets, planets, and more.

The product is computerized using hand control and also features a 4,000 object database. The SkyAlign technology allows you to align on any three bright objects near and see the most beautiful close-ups.

This telescope is suitable both for avid astronomers and for beginners and comes for a more than reasonable price.

 

Cons

Some of the customers complained about this product having a short battery life and requiring constant charging or battery replacement.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($499.95)

 

 

 

 

4. Orion SkyQuest XT8g Computerized GoTo Dobsonian Telescope

 

One of the first aspects you’ll notice about this computerized reflector telescope is that it comes with an easy to use Dobsonian mount.

Considered a slight variation on the more common altazimuth, it is sturdy, lightweight and helps to keep the overall cost of the telescope a little more affordable than some similar models. You also have the advantage of the motorized object locator and tracker that can recognize and find over 42,000 celestial objects.

The 8 inch diameter aperture ensures that every detail of the moon, star clusters and distant planets is clearly visible.

You will also appreciate the 28mm and 12.5mm eyepieces. Both will provide you with wide views, and they come with a convenient rack for easy storage.

While the 28mm eyepiece is perfect for viewing objects deep in space, the illuminated crosshairs on the 12.5mm one ensures that you don’t miss the star or planet you are looking for. This telescope also comes with Starry Night software so you will always be able to identify what you are looking at in the sky.

 

Pros

This innovative reflector features a fully motorized object location allowing you to automatically track more than 42,000 celestial objects and enjoy them.

The 8-inch aperture reflector offers detailed and up-close views of the Moon and the planets, as well as star clusters, galaxies, and more.

All the GoTo motors, as well as the encoders and the gears,  come preinstalled on the baseboards of this telescope to allow easy and quick assembly.

The affordable price makes it a great acquisition by newbies and amateur stargazers but can also make a wonderful gift for all passionates.

 

 

Cons

Just like most of the other computerized telescopes, this one also works with a 12V power supply which is provided separately. However, purchasing this accessory is more of a necessity rather than a desire because without it the batteries don’t last long and you will probably have to replace them extremely often.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($1049.99)

 

 

 

 

5. Celestron 22050 LCM 60 Computerised Refractor Telescope

 

Celestron is well known for their quality telescopes, and the 60LCM lives up to the company’s stellar reputation. It comes at an affordable price, considering its power and included extras, and it is also relatively easy to use.

Students and amateur astronomers will both enjoy using this refractor telescope. The 60mm refractor ensures that you can clearly see star clusters and distant nebulas. The long focal point ensures that even dim, distant planets appear bright and sharp, and you will also appreciate the wide view you get with the included eyepiece. The eyepiece can also be changed out as needed.

The mount is even motorized for easy setup and alignment. It is also surprisingly lightweight, which is always convenient.

The aluminum optic tube and folding tripod are also included so you can start using this telescope right out of the box.

Students and beginning astronomers will definitely appreciate the included software and database that makes it easy to locate celestial bodies without having to spend hours aimlessly scanning the night sky. With over 4,000 objects already in the database, chances are this computerized telescope can easily find the celestial body you are looking for.

 

Pros

Thanks to the lightweight and portable design, this product is easy to assemble and use without requiring professional help.

This is also one of the most affordable computerized telescopes you will ever see on the market that actually counts for decent features and incorporated technologies.

The built-in database allows you to locate over 4,000 objects in the sky so you will never have a dull night again.

It also comes equipped with the SkyX Planetarium software for easy installation and use.

 

Cons

This item doesn’t have included batteries, so you will have to buy them separately. Also, the AA batteries that power this telescope won’t last you more than a few hours so, if you are an avid sky viewer, we do suggest looking for alternative power sources.

Some clients said this is a very small telescope and the only way you could get better, clearer images of the celestial objects was by purchasing a larger product.

 

Buy from Amazon.com for ($588)

 

 

Bibliography:

1) Computerized Telescopes: A Beginners Guide

2) Types of Telescopes

3) Useful information about telescopes

4) Telescopes-short history

 

 

 

Ioana Moldovan

Ioana’s professional experience in the optics field has helped her understand the value of passing her knowledge forward. Her curious personality helps her gather useful information for her readers and her goal is to make technical information fun and accessible to everyone.

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