Top telescopes reviewed – Buying guide & Comparison for 2020
There are fewer pleasures in life that can be compared with the bliss of stargazing during a warm summer night, right next to your significant other, in the comfort of your own backyard. If you are thinking about purchasing a telescope for this purpose, you have come to the right place. After reading plenty of reviews coming from customers, we have come to the conclusion that the best telescope available on the market today is the Sky-Watcher ProED because it is equipped with a 120mm APO Refractor with ED Schott glass, makes the stars look brighter thanks to the amazing contrast and provides amazing subtle stars details. If the Sky-Watcher ProED refracting telescope is not available for immediate buying, we do suggest keeping in mind the second best option available on the market within in a decent price range, the Orion 10134 SkyQuest XT8g.
Our Top Choice
The product can be easily carried in its aluminum case and can be easily set up following the instructions. It features a 120mm APO refractor with ED Schott glass. The item is mainly suitable for amateur stargazers but its performances can be easily seen by anyone. Thanks to its unique design you will be able to see the stars brighter than ever.
Some customers claimed the product is outdated and sold for a high price as opposed to the quality it offers. There are other options on the market for a similar price with better features.
This is a great addition if you are new in the field of astronomy and want a beginner’s telescope to gaze at the stars.
This telescope comes equipped with a fully motorized object location and also features an automatic tracking with over 42,000 stars and objects you can easily see in the night sky. Putting everything together can be done in a timely fashion, and you won’t require any professional help in this sense.
You have to buy a 12V power supply separately if you want to benefit from the motorized operations. You may want to search for additional products within the same price range.
This is one of the good options available on the market for a decent price. If this is your first telescope, we strongly suggest giving it a try.
The model features a fully computerized dual fork arm altazimuth mount. Thanks to the ergonomic design, the product will be comfortable and easy to carry around. If you purchase this product you will benefit from GPS alignment so you can see all the stars and celestial objects you are interested in.
This is not a beginner’s telescope and the price is maybe a bit high for weekend astronomers. We suggest investing in this item only if you are truly passionate about stars.
Most of the buyers who’ve purchased the product were extremely pleased with its quality, saying it was largely improved from its previous variants.
From the time Dutch lens grinder Hans Lippershey constructed the first optical telescope in 1608, and the time Galileo Galilei built the first astronomical telescope just a year after, mankind has been treated to the full spectacle that the universe has to offer. Galileo himself discovered four of Jupiter’s moons, sunspots, lunar mountains and the bright starry Milky Way after finetuning his first instrument. Telescopes have improved in image quality while increasing in size since then. Today, large, complex telescope systems are designed with the aid of computers. The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) remains the largest and most widely known orbiting optical telescope in existence.
Professional telescopes on which you can read more in this article have been made to provide functionality in various fields of operation, which include infrared, ultraviolet, millimeter and radio waves, gamma rays and x-rays. While an optical telescope uses mirrors and lenses to enlarge faraway indistinct objects and improve their brightness, radio telescopes enable noise identification using radio wavelengths in space. X-ray telescopes help researchers acquire information on various heavenly bodies. Black holes, pulsars and other phenomena are verified using gamma ray telescopes. Even schoolkids use reflecting telescopes featured in the best telescope reviews to study distant objects in the universe such as nebulae, dying stars and faraway galaxies. Because of the vast array of telescopes on the market, the average consumer would find it challenging to find the best one for their needs. This site is designed to help you find the perfect telescope for you so you are welcome to make the most of it.
- How to choose the best telescope
- 1. Sky-Watcher ProED 80mm Doublet APO Refractor Telescope
- 2. Orion SkyQuest XT8g Computerized GoTo Dobsonian Telescope
- 3. Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT GPS Schmidt-Cassegrain 2800mm
- 4. Celestron 21034 80 mm Ambassador Refractor Telescope
- 5. LFFCC Monocular, 40×60 Monocular Telescope Dual Focus
- 6. BTOOP 10×42 Monocular Outdoor
- 7. Orion 10013 GoScope 80mm TableTop Refractor Telescope
- 8. Celestron CPC 800 GPS (XLT) Computerised Telescope
- 9. Meade Instruments Cornado Personal Solar Telescope
- 10. Celestron NexStar Evolution Telescope
- Best telescope brands
How to choose the best telescope
Making sense of all the types of telescopes on the market today is never easy. It is much less of a task to just look at the awesome images on the web or in astronomy books instead of mistakenly assuming that the best telescopes in 2020 can deliver the same spectacular sights to you. This is not far from the truth, as most of those extremely impressive views were taken using cameras employing long time exposures plus large observatory instruments, giving all the stunning details and colors. That being said, what elements are in the best telescope kits that help them provide users with an awesome view of the night sky just the same?
Choosing a suitable type for your needs
Before the 20th century, most large telescopes were of the refracting type because of the easy availability of techniques for polishing lenses. It was not until the latter part of the 19th century that techniques for coating large mirrors were developed, which paved the way for the manufacture of large reflecting telescopes. A refracting telescope employs lenses and these make the instrument prone to issues on chromatic and other aberrations that can reduce the quality of images.
However, the best refracting telescope is geared with multiple lens systems similar to what a camera lens unit has and you will be able to see planets clearly with it. What distinguishes a refracting telescope from other types is the absence of a central ‘stop’ as well as any other diffracting element to the light entering the telescope.
A refracting telescope also boasts stable transmission and alignment characteristics over extended periods of time. That being said, a refracting telescope tends to have low overall transmission because of the reflection at the surface of all the instrument’s optical elements. The largest refractor ever constructed features a diameter of just 40 inches or 102 centimeters. Large diameter lenses are prone to distortion due to their substantial weight, and this can also result to a poor image quality. Refracting telescopes should have lenses that have perfectly polished sides and made of material with highly uniform optical quality all over the entire volume. So if you still want to know more about refracting and reflective telescopes see this helpful information.
Large telescopes of today are reflecting types, and this gives the instruments a number of advantages over the refracting varieties. For one, the reflecting material, typically aluminum, ensures no chromatic aberration, and this is likely due to the material’s deposition on a polished surface. Another advantage is the capacity of the entire system to be kept relatively short simply through folding of the path of light, which is a distinctive characteristic of the best cassegrain telescope and the Newtonian variety. Still another advantage of reflecting telescopes is their ability to handle being made large, as there is just a single optical surface that has to be polished to high tolerance, with the mirror substrate optical quality not as essential. The mirror can also have back support to reduce bending.
Using a combination of mirrors and lenses to maintain the advantages of both elements, a catadioptric telescope is best exemplified by the Schmidt telescope or camera, which is often used to obtain a wide field of view when making large area searches. A special type of reflecting telescope, a catadioptric telescope features a corrector plate or correcting lens at the top, which forms the image. Although catadioptric len systems are considered very weak, they have been featured in the Schmidt-Cassegrain design where light goes through the corrector and reflects off the primary, off a curved secondary, and then finally passing through a hole in the main mirror before reaching the eyepiece.
Offers the perfect aperture for your needs
The diameter of a telescope’s main optical component is referred to as its aperture. The main optical component of any telescope can either be a mirror or a lens. The light-collecting ability of the instrument along with its resolving power is determined by its aperture. In other words, the best telescope for the money should provide superior light gathering ability to ensure adequately bright images, along with high resolving power to ensure sharp and vivid images. When exploring how to use a telescope, it is vital that you evaluate the instrument’s aperture thoroughly so you can have an optical view of the night sky.
Go for the biggest aperture you can get on your budget, as the bigger this element is, the better. A 6-inch telescope can help you distinguish moon craters as small as a mile across, roughly half the size of what a mere 3-inch instrument can provide using the same magnification and under the same conditions. The 6-inch mirror will also be able to collect four times as much light as the 3-inch mirror, thanks to the larger instrument’s more substantial surface area, making the galaxy look four times brighter.
Offers ease of use-even for a beginner
Do not go out and buy the most expensive telescope you can find without first investing some time learning about the sky using your own eyes. It’s not enough that you know how telescopes work. You should also know what is in the sky and what to look for there. When you do start setting the instrument up, spend as much time as you can familiarizing yourself with its use and operation. Know that every lever and knob on the telescope has a specific function. Everything should have been assembled with great care prior to use.
Have your first telescope session during the day. Practice aiming and focusing the instrument on terrestrial objects during the daytime, as the objects in the sky will not drift out of view because of the earth’s rotation. However, never look straight at the sun in any way and at anytime using the telescope. Observing the sun is only safely done by projecting its image onto a white screen or card. The dark glass that is supposed to be used as a filter when viewing the sun has no use. The heat and light of the sun is greatly magnified when they reach your eyepiece, heating the filter hard enough to cause sudden cracking, which can cause partial or total blindness.
Bear in mind that the most pleasing views can be obtained using much lower power so observers opt for low powers when viewing indistinct objects such as nebulae and galaxies. Bright things such as the planets and moon can be viewed optimally using medium-high powers. Excess magnification renders images blurry much in the same way as over-enlargement of a photograph will show you pixels on the chip or grain in the film. The maximum useful magnification to aim for is 50 times the instrument’s aperture in inches or twice of the aperture in millimeters while factoring in perfect optics and an unusually steady night air. Do not push a top quality 4-inch telescope beyond 200x . More importantly, do not be misled by advertising hype such as ‘a scope that delivers 350 power’.
Types of telescopes
The market is overflowing with many types of telescopes for various purposes. This can make the search for the perfect instrument a genuinely complicated process. We have decided to feature only the most common types that are featured either as the best telescope for beginners or for those who simply wish to enjoy what the heavens have to offer during a clear night. Below are listed the types of telescopes we have also reviewed. Feel free to read about them here and make your choice thereafter. Hopefully, the information in the following paragraphs can help make you a more educated shopper.
17 Best Rated Telescopes (Reviews) in 2020
Best refracting telescope
Plenty of today’s amateur telescopes as well as the earliest telescopes way back in time were refracting types. This kind of instrument employs lenses to gather more light compared to using the naked eye. Refracting telescopes gather and focus the light so distant, indistinct objects look magnified, clearer and brighter. Most models have two lenses. The smaller lens, called the eyepiece, is utilized for viewing, while the larger lens is referred to as the objective lens.
Refracting telescopes tend to provide frequency dependence for refraction, which can create a problem with this kind of instrument. This issue restricts the amount of refraction at each surface of the lens to the wavelength, so focusing of different wavelengths is carried out at slightly variable points. This problem is referred to as chromatic aberration. It can cause objects such as stars to look like they’re surrounded by rainbow-hued, fuzzy halos. The best refracting telescope corrects the issue by having a specialized lens positioned behind the primary objective lens to offset chromatic aberration so wavelengths get focused at the same point.
The Sky-Watcher ProED is equipped with a doublet apochromatic lens system supplemented with extra-low dispersion (ED) glass along with the brand’s exclusive photon anti-rejection Metallic High-transmission Coatings (MHC) on all of the telescope’s air-to-glass optical surfaces.
This innovative combination of lenses, glass and coatings reduces chromatic aberrations so you can enjoy images that are bright, clear and of high contrast along with genuine color rendition. The versatile optical tube assembly (OTA) is perfect for astronomical observation of wide fields including galaxies, nebulae and star clusters. The OTA also proves to be extremely useful when used as an astrograph when doing sky photography, and also serves well as a telephoto lens or a terrestrial spotting scope.
The telescope’s large 120mm aperture improves contrast and resolution while also increasing image brightness compared to smaller 100mm or 80mm models. Clamped over the OTA is a mounting cradle-ring that also enables you to make adjustments on the position and orientation of the telescope based on the mount used to ensure balance and viewing comfort.
The cradle-ring also helps prevent interference with other equipment. The telescope comes with a Vixen-style dovetail plate that enables use with an equatorial mount with Vixen-type saddle or any alt-az mount. The instrument also comes with a two-speed Crayford-style focuser that enables quick and precise fine-focusing while eliminating the backlash.
The unique blend of lenses, glass, and coatings reduces the chromatic aberrations so you can benefit from high-quality and bright images with the perfect contrasts and genuine color rendition. This telescope can be easily used in almost all lighting conditions.
The 120mm aperture is larger than what you will find in other telescopes within the same price range and will help improve the contrast and the resolution of the picture you are getting.
It comes with a two-speed Crayford-style focuser to ensure a quick and precise focusing of the image you are getting.
Thanks to the lightweight design, this telescope can be easily carried around, and you can benefit from it in your future field trips or the privacy of your own backyard.
Some of the customers say the product is outdated and overpriced for the quality of the images it provides. It is a good beginner’s scope, but if you have established a budget, there are other products better than this one sold for a similar price.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1466)
Best reflecting telescope
Employing a mirror to collect and focus light, a reflecting telescope has a parabolic-shaped mirror that focuses light rays to a single point. This is to overcome the issue on light rays from all celestial objects being so far away that the light rays end up reaching the Earth as parallel rays.
The parabolic shape of a reflecting telescope mirror enables the light rays to converge at a common point instead of being scattered. Chromatic aberration is not an issue with reflector telescopes thanks to how all wavelengths are reflected on the mirror the same way. There is also support from the back side for the objective mirror so the telescope can be made quite big.
Refractors of the same size cost more than reflectors and because light is reflected off the objective instead of passing through it, a reflector telescope objective lens only needs to be perfect on a single side. That being said, reflector scopes have a tendency for the optics to slip out of alignment. In addition, since the tube is basically open to the outside, the scope’s optics will require more frequent cleaning. Furthermore, since a secondary mirror is employed to redirect light to a more convenient viewing spot, the element and its supports can bring about diffraction effects including bright objects looking like they have spikes. Nevertheless, there are two widely known reflector telescopes in existence: the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory and the Keck Telescope at the W.M. Keck Observatory.
2. Orion SkyQuest XT8g Computerized GoTo Dobsonian Telescope
Designed to be an Innovative GoTo Dobsonian reflector telescope, the Orion 10134 SkyQuest XT8g is equipped with a fully motorized object location plus automated tracking so you can watch over 42,000 celestial objects in the night sky.
This awesome instrument boasts 8-inch aperture reflector optics to enable viewing of the moon and the planets along with distant objects including galaxies, bright star clusters and nebulae. Pre-installed into this telescope are All GoTo motors, encoders and gears to ensure effortless assembly and set up on the Dobsonian base boards. To optimize motorized operation, you will need a separately-purchased 12-volt power supply.
The high-torque servo motors on the telescope are supplemented with two pairs of high-resolution encoders to enable easy adjustment and positioning of the instrument to focus on your desired celestial object. This means you won’t have to nudge the tube of the telescope continuously just to ensure that the faraway object does not drift out of your field of view.
This model tracks the motion of the celestial object automatically so it is centered in the eyepiece during viewing. The instrument also features closed-loop electronics so it can be manually moved or not be turned out of focus with an accidental bump.
It was designed to become one of the best reflector telescopes, equipped with a fully motorized object location. Thanks to the integrated automatic tracking system, you can watch over 42,000 celestial objects in the sky easily, without searching them for too long.
The 8-inch aperture reflector is specifically designed to help you clearly see the moon and the surrounding planets, as well as other distant objects such as galaxies.
All the GoTo motors, gears, and encoders on this telescope come pre-installed so that the assembling is made easy and quick, without requiring professional help.
The product is lightweight and portable, and the optical tube can be separated from the base to ensure easy transportation on a regular basis.
For full motorized operations, you will have to buy an additional 12V power supply.
Some of the customers who purchased the product claimed the overall quality is inferior to what they have expected based on the price they paid.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1049.99)
Best cassegrain telescope
A Cassegrain telescope is a type of reflector scope that employs a combination of a primary concave mirror and a secondary convex one. This optical telescope has the focal point at a convenient location behind the primary mirror. The secondary convex mirror then adds a telephoto effect to elongate the focal length in an otherwise mechanically short system.
Symmetrical Cassegrain telescopes have both mirrors aligned along the optical axis, with the primary mirror usually having a hole at the center that allows the light to pass through to the eyepiece, a camera or a light detector. Asymmetrical Cassegrains have tilted mirror/s that prevent the primary mirror from being blocked or obscured and also eliminates the need for the primary mirror to have a hole. The classic Cassegrain system employs a parabolic reflector as its primary mirror, with the secondary mirror being hyperbolic in shape. Modern versions usually feature improved performance thanks to a hyperbolic primary, or both the primary and secondary mirrors made elliptical or spherical for hassle-free manufacture.
Cassegrain systems are also employed in catadioptric telescope systems including the Schmidt-Cassegrain, Maksutov-Cassegrain, Argunov-Cassegrain and Klevtsov-Cassegrain. The Cassegrain reflector derives its name from a published reflecting telescope design attributed to Laurent Cassegrain.
Boasting the largest aperture among the models in the CPC Deluxe series, the Celestron CPC 1100 StarBright XLT offers nearly 90 percent more light-collecting power compared to the 8-inch version, and 40 percent more light-gathering capacity than the 9.25-inch model.
The scope works on a compound or catadioptric light path by utilizing a combination of lenses and mirrors that ensure a large 11-inch high-resolution aperture along with an f/10 focal ratio and a focal length of 2800mm for aberration-free, pinpoint images even when the widest field eyepiece is used. The innovative combination also enables the construction of a shorter tube length and easier portability.
The advanced EdgeHD optics are geared to produce an extremely flat focal plane made precise enough to match the stringent tolerances of commercial CCD detectors so the stars you view can be kept in tight focus up to the edge of the chip. Image shifting is virtually eliminated thanks to how the primary mirror is held in place by mirror tension locks.
Cooling vents enable hot air to escape behind the primary mirror. You also enjoy fast and simple f/2 CCD imaging thanks to the scope’s FASTAR compatibility. This telescope delivers an optical path comprising a spherical primary mirror, a zero power corrector plate and a set of field flattening lenses so the resulting image plane is thrice flatter compared to what a standard SCT telescope can provide.
It is the best telescope out of the CPC Deluxe Series released by Celestron manufacturer.
The product promises to deliver up to 90% more brightness and light-collecting power by comparison with its previous 8-inch version, as well as up to 40% more light gathering than a 9.25-inch model.
The focal length of 280mm aims to deliver aberration-free, colorful and vivid pinpoint images even when you are using the largest eyepiece provided by the product.
The product features a fully computerized dual fork arm and an overall ergonomic design. Despite the fact that it looks big and heavy, this StarBright XLT can easily be transported from one location to another.
As with other similar Celestron products from the Deluxe Series, the XLT telescope is mainly intended for professional use. It features plenty of tech capabilities and comes with numerous accessories which require time and dedication to be correctly used.
Price could prove prohibitive too.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($2699)
Best brass telescope
Centuries ago, mariners took to sea wielding handsome-looking brass telescopes. Now, the average consumer can enjoy the view of the skies using this kind of instrument. Most brass telescopes are of the refractor variety.
A brass telescope is an optical scope that utilizes a lens as the objective to form images of distant objects and bring them closer to your eye. Refractor telescope designs were earlier used in astronomical telescopes and spyglasses. Today, they are employed in long focus camera lenses. Brass telescopes make excellent decorative pieces for the home, office or your own space.
They often carry vintage styles that are beautiful to behold. Although they are especially constructed to enable observation of terrestrial objects, brass telescopes can also be employed for casual, non-professional observation of celestial objects. A brass telescope is a highly attractive piece of equipment that can enhance your living or work space, giving it a classic or vintage feel while going perfectly with the decor.
4. Celestron 21034 80 mm Ambassador Refractor Telescope
Easily serving as a lovely decorative showpiece for your living and work space or your own private sanctuary, the Celestron 21034 Ambassador carries a vintage style that is always delightful to behold. This impressive product comes with a classic altazimuth mount, a stable yet simple mounting system that needs no heavy off-center concentrations of weight or axis counterweights to ensure vibration-free use as well as to prevent mount flexure issues.
The system only works on one horizontal and two vertical bearings and provides the best intuitive mount for beginner use. Offering better portability compared to many equatorial mounting systems, the altazimuth mounting configuration is easy to set up and often enables the use of simple mirror-support systems.
The Ambassador telescope comes with a lovely mahogany wood tripod. Mahogany is a very strong type of wood perfect for applications like this one that require horizontal as well as vertical rigidity. The mahogany tripod is designed to withstand common wood problems including pitting, splitting and chipping while being able to age well and retain its visual appeal through the years.
Therefore, the telescope is sure to look better years down the road. The instrument also ships with a brass tripod accessory tray that accommodates extra eyepieces and other viewing tools so you can keep them handy at all times.
The outstanding design of this telescope will certainly conquer even the most pragmatic minds. It can prove to become a masterpiece in any household thanks to the gold and wood tones it features.
It comes with a stable and simple mounting system that doesn’t require professional help. As a result, the product is easy to setup and enjoy even if you are an astronomy newbie. And, speaking of, this is a great item for all beginner astronomers.
It is equipped with a luxurious mahogany wood tripod and features a gold-finish design that won’t chip or corrode over the years.
This is mainly a decoration piece that will look good in your living room and will certainly impress your guests. If you are looking for true astronimical capabilities, we suggest opting for alternative products.
And, since we are talking about a mainly decorative item, the price is quite high too.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($849.95)
Best handheld telescope
When you’re on the golf course or the hiking or hunting trail, it pays to have the best handheld telescope with you to see things up close and give you a good range of view. The handheld telescope should be geared to provide a bright and clear view of distant objects.
A focusing knob allows you to make adjustments to the resolution so you can achieve fantastic focusing results. You will want the operation to be quite convenient since there are more important things to worry about such as how to hit the ball the best way or ensuring that your target animal does not detect your presence. You want a wider field of vision too so you know not only about what you are looking at but also what is beyond the object, helping you shoot or hit better. Good quality handheld telescopes offer a non-slip grip so you can hold on to them in any weather. They should be equipped to accommodate a lanyard for easy hanging on the neck.
5. LFFCC Monocular, 40×60 Monocular Telescope Dual Focus
This waterproof choice makes it possible for you to take a peek at birds and anything else without really making an effort. It is a compact and portable alternative that’s easy to carry and store in a handbag or backpack. The model comes with fully coated optics, which means that you will be able to benefit from superior brightness and light transmission.
Since the unit is outfitted with a 52mm objective lens, it is more than capable of capturing enough light for you to visualize your targets clearly. While the monocular is primarily intended for nighttime observation, it can be utilized conveniently both during the day. It is not a night vision device, however.
The package contains a number of accessories, as well as the user manual that you will require in order to learn how to make the most of this handheld telescope. A neck strap, a lens cloth, as well as a carrying bag are part of this deal.
Since the Archeer 313 is waterproof, it will withstand both a bit of abuse and the unpleasant effects of the elements.
Given that it comes with fully coated optics and an objective lens of 52mm, it’s capable of gathering enough light for you to visualize your targets properly and clearly.
The 16x magnification power will enable you to have a look at anything from a broad array of bird species to bigger hunting game.
The variety of extras provided in the package is another benefit you ought to consider since this product also comes with a carry bag, a neck strap, as well as a lens cloth.
Some owners report that focusing this monocular telescope takes a bit of time getting used to.
Various consumers note that the quality of the optics could have been better, but since this is an affordable choice, they have no complaints in this sense.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($11.6)
6. BTOOP 10×42 Monocular Outdoor
Impressively designed to be used as an optical telescope for astronomical observation, the BTOOP 10×42 Monocular Outdoor provides a clear and bright range of view. Use it for hiking, armoring, birdwatching, camping, hiking, hunting, surveillance, sightseeing, races, golf and other outdoor activities.
The unit offers 10x magnification for viewing distant objects plus 40x magnification to bring faraway objects closer for a detailed view. This telescope boasts a BAK4 prism type, which is better than the standard BK7 type thanks to the higher refractive index and brighter detailed images that BAK4 provides. The telescope is also equipped with fully multicoated lenses, which have all air-to-glass surfaces treated to multiple layers of antireflection coatings for better image brightness and improved transmittance as well as reduced glint from the lenses.
The twist-up eyecup proves to be invaluable for setting the distance for eye relief that is needed for specific viewing conditions. Lightweight at just 0.64 pound, this telescope comes with special horns goggles that effectively prevent the intrusion of light so you can observe faraway objects better. The 22mm eyepiece delivers a wider field of vision. The focusing knob enables you to adjust the resolution so you can achieve precise focusing while ensuring convenient operation. The magnesium alloy frame mirror is supplemented with three-dimensional design lines to ensure a lovely appearance along with a non-slip grip for easier handling.
This item provides a clear and bright range of view, specifically designed to be used as an astronomy observer.
It is suitable for a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, surveillance, bird watching, sightseeing, camping, and others.
It provides a magnification rate of 10x when viewing distant objects and can zoom in up to 40x to bring far away objects for a closer, more detailed view.
The item has a higher refractive index and provides brighter, better looking and more detailed images than other telescopes.
The lightweight design makes it perfect for daily activities as well as for being carried in your regular backpack.
We are mainly talking about a multi-purpose telescope and not one specifically designed for stargazing and watching the nearby galaxies and planets. If you are thinking about a telescope that does that and even more, we encourage you to look for alternative products.
Buy from Amazon.com
Best portable telescope
Travelers and city dwellers will want a portable telescope that enables on-the-go skywatching even in an urban setting. Observing the night sky will be easier using a compact, lightweight portable telescope. This type of instrument is handy enough to keep with you anywhere you go. You can use it when you’re out on a safari adventure or just camped out with friends in a studio apartment.
A portable telescope does not carry issues on setup and assembly that a larger instrument typically comes with. You won’t need plenty of space to set it up. A portable telescope is small enough to keep in a closet while still offering a spectacular view of the night sky and the city skyline in your urban landscape. Who knows what wonders in the sky you can discover even under light-polluted skies! If you love to travel or just have very limited living space, a portable telescope offers grab-and-go functionality that you can truly appreciate.
7. Orion 10013 GoScope 80mm TableTop Refractor Telescope
Providing the answer to limited luggage space, the Orion 10034 GoScope II is the ideal grab-and-go instrument you can easily bring during your outdoor adventures.
This fantastic product delivers sharp daytime terrestrial views and enables you to observe the night sky on the road. It won’t eat up a lot of space in your car even when mounted on the Orion Go Scope II 70mm Refractor Travel Telescope Moon Kit. Designed to easily fit into its own backpack, this tool is constructed using high-quality components including its 70mm achromatic lens system that ensures sharp images of faraway objects.
The custom-designed backpack carry case accommodates the entire refractor telescope setup along with all the accessories shipped in the package. The telescope itself is superbly lightweight at just 3.5 pounds, making it easy to handle even by small children’s hands. This is the ideal observation instrument for nature study, daytime birdwatching, and panoramic long-distance viewing. Just take it with you every time you want to enjoy visual spectacles beyond our planet’s horizon when the sun sets, giving you exceptional moon, planet and star gazing at nighttime.
The unit ships with a 5×24 finder scope that enables effortless aiming, along with two 1.25-inch telescope eyepieces for 16-power and 40-power views. Learn about the cool lunar features you see using the supplied Orion Moon Map 260, a real bonus.
This is the ideal telescope if you are always on the go and portability is the key aspect you are looking for in such a device. The microscope’s small dimensions as well as easiness in packing and assembling means you can easily mount it wherever you want to ensure the best stargazing experience.
Even when fully mounted, the GoScope II will not occupy too much space in your car and will only weight 3.5 pounds.
The product is ideal for a wide range of outdoor activities, including birdwatching, hunting, or stargazing. The sun, the moon, and other far-away objects near the horizon line will become fascinating once you will see them close-by with this amazing device.
It provides two eyepieces, of 16x and 40x power views.
It is mainly intended for amateurs and even for small children. Although it is a full-sized device, its tech capacities are limited and won’t provide you over-the-top features if you want to see the planets.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($79.99)
Best computerized telescope
Computer controlled robot scopes or computerized telescopes are fast becoming the rage these days. This type of telescope features mounts that are controlled either remotely by an external PC or by a built-in computer. This enables you to aim the instrument to any object already contained in the database of the computer. Computerized telescopes are considered Go To models that may look like the answer to beginner astronomers who want to know as much as they can about elusive objects including asteroids, star clusters and distant galaxies.
This may be true to some point, but bear in mind that this type of instrument will require the user to enter the viewing site’s coordinates or geographical location as well as the date and time at every start of an observation session so the onboard computer will be able to calculate the positions of celestial objects.
There may also be a need to adjust the level of the instrument’s tube, to point it north (south if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere), and then begin an alignment process using two bright stars, the names of which you’ll have to know, so you can properly synchronize the coordinate system of the telescope with the sky. Familiarize yourself with all that and a computerized telescope should work really well for you.
Combining excellent Schmidt-Cassegrain optics and a cutting-edge computerized mount, the Celestron CPC 800 XLT boasts a user-friendly design and GPS technology that will take your breath away with spectacular views of the night sky.
Truly a solid all-around performer, this instrument will be a delight to use for the seasoned observer as well as the novice astronomer. The onboard innovative SkyAlign system is unbelievable, working like magic by just requiring you to point the telescope at three bright planets or stars that you won’t even need to remember the names of or use a star chart for. The instrument tells you the star names, and even provides options for daytime use.
You can depend on high-quality construction from the heavy-duty CPC tripod and the superbly solid drive base, which are the same components you can find in a larger CPC 1100 model. When you accidentally bump the telescope fork, there is little to no vibration, which serves as your assurance of trouble-free focusing even at high magnification.
You can also optimize precise tracking to view planets at focal lengths of f/30 and f/40. You can get excellent views of the planets, with awesome details including cloud bands, moons and spots with remarkable resolution.
The product is recognized for its user-friendly interface and the useful GPS technology that will help you easily go through a wide array of options whenever watching the stars, the moon, the sun, the surrounding planets or galaxies.
Made from high-quality materials, this telescope offers a sturdy base and an overall thick design that will last you plenty of years from now on.
Featuring the SkyAlign system, the telescope will tell you the name of all the surrounding stars and will easily help you find the one you are interested in.
Thanks to the solid drive base and the heavy-duty tripod you will get trouble-free focusing even when using the high magnification eyepieces.
As with other Celestron computerized telescopes, you will have to separately buy a 12V power supply to ensure all of this item’s features.
If you are planning on seeing Pluto with this telescope, it will be a bit complicated but not necessarily impossible, depending on the weather and time of the year.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1750.48)
Best solar telescope
Learning about our nearest star, the sun, is made easier using the best solar telescope on the market. When the stars disappear as the summer skies brighten, there can be very little to see in the night sky. This means you’ll have to step into the world of solar viewing or solar astronomy just to appease your hunger for the science during the summer months.
For this purpose, you need observatory quality, narrowband solar telescopes to see up close, live views of solar flares, sunspots, filaments, prominences and other magnetic and fiery phenomena near the surface of the sun. You can easily get blown away by the awesome views of our nearest star using this state-of-the-art telescope. You may even get to see an image of the sun in 3 various wavelengths of light. You can open up a whole new world of astronomy with a high-quality solar telescope with large enough optics that deliver the best possible diffraction limit.
Designed for solar viewing, the Coronado Meade Instruments Personal is an affordable observation instrument that lets you see solar phenomena, sun spots, filaments, flares and prominences near the surface of our nearest star, the sun.
We may take for granted that the sun is always there up in the sky but to be able to observe what goes on beyond just a yellow light-giving sphere is a delight in itself. If you’re a budding solar astronomer, you’ll want to maximize the 40-mm hydrogen-alpha optical system of this incredible telescope to observe the sun. Highly portable, this telescope comes equipped with completely internal, non-removable and student-safe filtering optics for solar viewing applications plus a 1.0-angstrom hydrogen-alpha bandpass to obtain fantastic surface detail.
Get a great view of the ever-changing dynamic prominences at the edge of our nearest star along with the filaments plus other surface details in vivid, breathtaking images, delivered in the distinctive and bright red color of hydrogen-alpha light. Bringing the observation of the sun within reach of the novice astronomer, this telescope comes with the same quality and technology built into every telescope in the SolarMax series. The dedicated Ha optical system is supplemented by a 30mm internal etalon primary blocking filter with bandpass fine adjustment controls, focuser and built-in solar viewfinder.
This product is specifically designed for in-depth solar use.
It is an affordable observation instrument that comes with good features and enables you to see the surface of the sun clearly in the tiniest details.
One of the greatest features of this device is its portability and lightweight design. Intended for personal use mainly, this telescope manages to easily fit in your backpack so that you can take it with you anytime you want to observe the spots, flares or filaments of the sun.
The 1.0-angstrom hydrogen-alpha bandpass enables you to see amazing surface details of the sun for a full astronomy experience.
The price of this product may seem a bit high since we are talking about a full solar telescope, unable to focus on any other celestial objects than the sun. If you are only looking for a device to watch the sun, this could be your first choice, but if you are thinking about purchasing a multi-level telescope, you should orient towards other products.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($602.99)
Best telescope kits
When you’re researching about how a telescope is built, you are likely to stumble upon useful information including who invented the telescope, the different types of telescopes available and how much does a telescope cost. With that much information, you may be lucky enough to find the best telescope kits on the market, which would give you insight on how the instrument works and that would ultimately make you proud of having assembled your own observation instrument.
It can be a challenge to find the parts to build the perfect telescope for you but with a good quality telescope kit, you will eliminate all the guesswork because everything comes packaged neatly, with all the parts ready to be assembled. You won’t have to source all the materials yourself, which can take time and lots of effort, not to mention more reading than you might be willing to do. The best telescope kit comprises all the essential elements you need to get started on amateur astronomy, including an optical tube assembly, eyepieces, finderscope, mount, tripod and accessory tray, plus an AC adapter.
This telescope kit comes with everything you need to get started on amateur astronomy. The Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 in the kit is a Schmidt-Cassegrain instrument that can be used for viewing anything from the planets and the moon to more distant objects such as nebulae and galaxies.
The telescope employs Celestron’s performance-driven exclusive StarBright XLT multi-coating system, which boasts increased light transmission throughout the entire optical path using anti-reflection multicoated lenses, 4-element rare glass and highly-reflective multi coated mirrors. The focal ratio is a slow f/10 but thanks to the precision tracking system of the scope, you can optimize a competitive astro imaging and astrophotography platform to view the planets and the moon.
The Evolution scope provides two ways to control it. You can use the 4-line 18-character NexStar computer controller, a wired piece of hardware boasting a database of over 40,000 celestial objects along with a number of astronomical catalogs such as the Caldwell and Messier. You can also opt to use the free navigation app for iOS and Android tablets and smartphones. The eyepiece and filter kit comes with superior-grade 1.25-inch Plossl eyepieces that ensure outstanding resolution, maximum edge sharpness, better clarity and brilliant color, with each multicoated eyepiece designed to minimize reflections while ensuring fantastic light gathering capability.
This is a good telescope kit for all newbies and children passionate about astronomy.
It can be used for a wide range of purposes, from seeing the sun and the moon to stargazing or seeing the close planets, nebulae, and even close-by galaxies.
One of the best features of this telescope is that you can control it wirelessly using your smart devices that run either on Android or iOS. The free mobile app also allows you to enjoy the SkyAlign technology to watch one of the more than 42,000 already mapped celestial objects.
The item is compact and lightweight and comes with a handful of useful accessories, from two different eyepieces to a fork mount, a tripod, a red dot finderscope, and others.
Some clients claimed they received faulty items so be careful when ordering, especially since the money-back guarantee policy only stands for 30 days.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1699)
Best hobbyist telescope
Knowing just how tricky finding the best amateur telescope can be, we have decided to lend you a helping hand. Therefore, we have composed a list of must-have features that you should not settle without whenever you are shopping in this line of products. So, read ahead and make your pick accordingly!
Because we want to make this selection process effortless for you, we have put together a list of products that are worthy of your time and money. While making this list, we took into account a series of aspects such as product quality and specialized reviews. So, don’t waste any more time; read ahead and select the model you like best.
11. Gskyer 60mm AZ Refractor
If you are interested in an affordable, well-equipped model, the Gskyer Telescope, 60mm AZ Refractor Telescope is the product for you.
This refractive telescope is ideal for all the beginners that want to purchase a model that is easy to use and take care of.
This unit comes fitted with a 60mm aperture and 350mm focal length, as well as with a f/5.8 focal ratio. What is more, the high magnification eyepiece ensures that you’ll be able to see in detail a lot of faint objects otherwise difficult to spot.
What is more, the unit is made from an aluminum alloy construction that makes it lightweight and easy to transport whenever this is needed.
As a plus, the product has all glass optical components coated with a high transmission substance. Consequently, the user will be able to enjoy bright, clear images.
The model comes supplied with a rack-and-pinion focuser as well as with two feasible magnification pieces that you are likely to enjoy using.
As the seller points out, by using the eyepieces, you can be sure that you will be able to have a good view of the sky and of your surroundings in any viewing situation.
All the optical components that this item includes have been coated with a unique substance that enhances their light transmission capacity.
Because of its aluminum alloy construction, this option is sturdy and light in weight. Hence, you can take it with you when traveling.
Some have argued that this model is kind of expensive given the features that it includes.
It has been said that this device lacks a special type of software that would help the user locate various celestial objects easily. However, most of its owners do not regard this as a major drawback of the item.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($74.52)
12. Gskyer AZ70400
Another model that is worth your consideration is the Gskyer AZ70400. Although a bit pricier than similar models, this product is well regarded by current users.
As its manufacturer puts it, the product is able to depict crystal clear images and to create a stirring visual effect.
The lens of the device was constructed using an aluminum alloy and a superior type of glass called ZF4. Even more so, the glass is plated with a multi-layer green film that is said not to damage the vision.
Also, because the lens barrel was made using the latest German technology, the product is considered quite durable and of high quality.
Additionally, in case you feel the need to change the height of the product you can easily do so by adjusting it to the level you feel fit.
This device is a bestseller in this line of products. The item was constructed using high-quality optics that allow for an increased light transmission so that the user is provided with bright and clear images.
The lenses of the model have been covered in a special green film, and they are said to improve the quality of the images.
The base of the item is made of thick aluminum. As a result, it is sturdy and likely to last for a long time.
Technically-speaking, this product has a 70mm aperture and a 400mm focal length.
There have been owners that were unhappy that they were shipped models that had missing pieces. Still, not many cases of this kind have been reported.
It has been claimed that the model comes provided with terrible instructions that are difficult to follow. This is a particularly important issue for those who have never used devices of this kind before.
Click to see the price on Amazon!
13. Celestron 114LCM Computerized
If you want to end up with the best model available and you are not afraid to spend some extra dollars in order to do so, we recommend that you check out the Celestron 114LCM Computerized Telescope.
This high-quality 14mm (4.5″) refractor model is particularly fitted for hobbyists and beginners because it comes equipped with a database that can automatically and accurately locate over 4,000 celestial objects.
In order to align the telescope and use it with the SkyAlign system, one simply has to find the moon and press the “Solar System Align” function on the menu; the rest is done by the device. The unit operates on batteries that are also included in the price.
Moreover, the product includes a fully adjustable tripod that is lightweight, and that can easily be carried around. A convenient accessory tray is also supplied.
This model is fully computerized, and it can automatically locate thousands of celestial bodies by using a software called NexStar+.
For easy handling, it is recommended that its users utilize the SkyAlign function that the item incorporates. This way, he/she will be ready to observe the selected object instantly.
If you have no idea what object to analyze, you can always use the Sky Tour button integrated into the design of the product and let the product make this decision for you.
This option is ideal for beginners as it comes supplied with all the features and accessories that one might need in order to use a device of this kind.
Some have argued that this product is only suitable for beginners. Therefore, experienced users should explore the other available choices.
One user was dissatisfied with this product because he considered it difficult to use. Yet, this might have something to do with the client’s level of experience.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($261.49)
14. Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ
Another model that should be on your mind is the Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70AZ Refractor. This product is very easy to set up, in fact, the person assembling it does not need any type of tool to do so. In fact, the tripod, the mount, and the optical tube fit together effortlessly. According to its manufacturer, this product is ideal for both terrestrial and astronomical use.
The features that recommend it are its coated glass optics that make it durable and the fact that it has a permanently mounted StarPointer finder scope. Also, the product comes shipped with a sturdy tripod with 1.25″ diameter legs that are already assembled.
Moreover, if you don’t know how to view objects using the telescope, you should know that this equatorial model makes tracking and centering objects very easy. To do so, just look through the finder scope and center the red dot over the object you want to look at.
This refractor telescope is easy to use, and it has a no-tool setup design that many recommend.
Plus, the permanently mounted StarPointer that the device includes is regarded as very practical, especially by users that lack the necessary experience to locate various objects on their own.
The optical tube incorporated into the design of the model measures 36 inches. Because this alternative is so small in size, it can be carried easily from one place to another.
As the seller indicates, this telescope is suitable for both terrestrial and astronomical use. So, it can suit a person that is searching for a versatile model.
One previous user claimed that the mount of the model does not work properly, which is why this item is difficult to use.
Another buyer pointed out that this device is hard to focus. Also, the same owner remarked that the tripod that is included in the price is not stable. Hence, utilizing this telescope can be a little challenging.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($123.9)
15. Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ
Last but not least, the Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ Telescope is another affordable, practical alternative. With an aperture of 80mm and a focal length of 900mm, this device is both practical and durable.
Also, because it was designed to be used by first-time users, this unit is easy to set up and quite uncomplicated. Additionally, because this model has a German equatorial mount, it can erect both terrestrial and astronomical images.
Nonetheless, the product has glass optical components that have been covered with high transmission coatings in order to enhance image brightness. Besides, the 3x Barlow lens that the product includes can actually triple the magnifying power of each eyepiece.
As previous buyers claim, this model is worth the money, and it does its job as it claims. Furthermore, the unit is powerful enough for one to catch a close glimpse of Jupiter and Saturn, as well as of Mars and Venus while using it.
This choice has an 80mm aperture and a focal length of 900mm. As a plus, the focal ratio of the item is of 11.
Plus, this model comes supplied with a 3x Barlow lens as well as with a 5x24mm finder scope that most beginner users have appreciated.
Because of the German equatorial mount that this product includes, this item is regarded as sturdy and reliable.
This device comes provided with an aluminum tripod and an accessory tray that can prove practical.
The main drawback that most users remarked is that this device is difficult to collimate. However, once you do it, the views that the model delivers are worth it.
Seasoned owners advise in favor of investing in some better eyepieces. This way, you will be able to appreciate the capabilities of the device entirely. Still, most users are happy with the eyepieces included in the deal.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($109.99)
Designed with quick and easy tool-free assembly and setup, the Celestron PowerSeeker 70EQ 21037 offers a fun and exciting means of exploring the night sky. Boasting erect image optics, this model enables you to view faraway objects easily in their proper orientation instead of upside down. This feature makes this scope suitable for both celestial and terrestrial observations.
You can enjoy smooth tracking of objects as they move across the sky thanks to the instrument’s slow motion controls. This way, you enjoy a more exciting night sky viewing experience suitable for teaching young astronomers about stellar movement or behavior.
Equipped with fully coated glass optical components, this model uses high-transmission coatings to deliver enhanced image clarity and brilliance. The magnifying capacity of every eyepiece is tripled thanks to the 3X Barlow lens.
The accessory tray provides easy access and storage of optical accessories to effectively avoid misplacing your scope essentials.
This telescope is shipped to the buyer virtually ready for use. It comes with a tool-free setup and only needs minor assembly for immediate deployment after it is unpacked.
The erect image optics in this instrument makes it easy to view terrestrial and celestial objects at the upright orientation so you can enjoy comfortable visuals.
The scope features slow-motion controls that facilitate its hassle-free use while allowing the smooth tracking of celestial targets as they are in motion across the expanse of the sky.
Enjoy superior image clarity and brightness thanks to the fully-coated glass optical components that gather plenty of light for exceptionally vivid details due to the high-transmission coatings.
The magnification power of the eyepieces gets amplified by the supplied 3X Barlow lens, which triples the capacity of the optical components.
Not all customers consider the smaller eyepiece to be a critical component in the package but it could serve a purpose for beginner astronomers.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($98.4)
17. Meade Instruments Infinity 209005
Shipped to you complete with all you need for night sky viewing, the Meade Instruments Infinity 209005 is a 90mm refracting telescope geared for novice astronomers.
This scope features a manual alt-azimuth mount that is height adjustable and has an altitude lock plus slow-motion controls to support the precise tracking of viewed celestial objects as they move across the sky.
This model ships with three eyepieces that deliver the exact magnification you need. Choose from 23x, 66.5x and 95x magnifications. The 2x Barlow lens enhances the magnifying capacity of every included eyepiece for double the light gathering power to make images brighter and more detailed, ensuring a wider range of viewing potentials.
The supplied 90-degree erect image diagonal enables more comfortable use of the scope, which is most essential when you aim the device toward the zenith. Images are corrected both vertically and horizontally by the prism of the diagonal to enable use of the telescope for terrestrial observations as well.
Ideal for the observer who views both astronomical and terrestrial objects, this refractor telescope offers a large-enough aperture of 3.5 inches to gather as much light as possible from targets to deliver crisp and clear images.
The telescope has an aluminum altazimuth mount equipped with slow-motion controls for the convenient tracking of heavenly bodies across the sky as they move from end to end. It is an adjustable component so you can fix it to the correct point on both the vertical and horizontal axes.
You get not one, not two, but three 1.25-inch modified achromat (MA) eyepieces measuring 6.3, 9, and 26 millimeters for a variety of magnification options.
The 90mm aperture of the scope enables the instrument to deliver sharp and bright images when viewing objects on land and in the sky.
Helping you discover more, this telescope provides right side up images thanks to the erect image prism that allows for the comfortable viewing of images.
The manual altazimuth mount has a certain learning curve that might make it more difficult to operate in the two axes, unlike EQ mounts that adjust according to the rotation of the Earth.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($149.95)
Best telescope brands
A widely recognized optics industry leader for decades, Celestron strives to carry on the legacy of Tom Johnson, the company founder, to continuously develop groundbreaking products using state-of-the-art technologies. Tom Johnson founded Valor Electronics in the late 1950s, and this mother company gave birth to an Astro-Optical Division as a result of Tom’s hobby that eventually led to his driving passion. That department is now called Celestron. In 1970, the founder unveiled the landmark product known as the Celestron 8, which boasted a standout orange tube and high-end optics that enabled thousands of student astronomers to perform celestial object observations. Celestron continues to be a market leader today, creating endless new products such as sport optics, telescopes and microscopes.
Founded in 1972, Meade Instruments started as a one-man, mail-order supply business for small refracting telescopes. Eventually, the small supply business branched out to include orthoscopic and Kellner eyepieces, rack-and-pinion focuser lines, filters, viewfinders, camera adapters and accessories, such as those for telescopes. Recognized for its revolutionary technologies in telescopic design, the company has introduced numerous improvements over the years, which have made amateur astronomy more exciting and enjoyable than ever. A consistently trusted company, Meade has managed to accumulate a list of firsts that remain unrivaled on the amateur astronomy market. Facing forward in the 21st century, the firm aims to introduce more firsts to cement its place as the undisputed leader on the market.
Orion Optics UK was established in 1984 by Barry Pemberton. Mr. Pemberton founded the business in his own garage, where he used grinding, figuring and polishing machines to construct telescopes. The early success of the business prompted transfer to a new location in 1987, and resulted in the production of the firm’s first 150mm Schmidt-Newtonian telescope. Currently, the company has been exporting optical components, telescopes, mounts, and accessories throughout the globe. It is now a major player in the manufacture of top rating industry-grade optics used in different telescope lines of the company. Consumers can expect nothing less than world class telescopes and optics produced by the best optical technicians in the business and through substantial investment in cutting-edge technology.
Providing everything the novice astronomer needs to enjoy exceptional celestial images in the comfort of their home, Tasco exists by the principle that the more you see of space, the deeper the mystery. The company offers powerful telescope lines that transport you to distant galaxies, to the most spectacular depths of the universe and to other worlds. The Spacestation line features cosmically inspired revolutionary telescope design with variable LED electronic Red Dot Finderscope for quick celestial object finding. The Novice and Specialty line of telescopes offers an affordable solution to every child’s dream of embarking on space travel and starting on an amateur astronomy journey. The Digital Microscope is a USB-equipped instrument for viewing the minutest details of different organisms on a PC monitor. The Luminova series telescopes carry a smart design complemented with slow motion controls and quality optics.
The acknowledged industry leader in high-performance sports optics, Bushnell aims to continuously provide top quality, highly reliable and affordable sports optics products on the market. It offers pioneering innovations that genuinely unite generations, helping those who yearn to reach the stars to really get there. The company’s advanced line of telescopes makes it easier than ever for aspiring astronomers to unlock the secrets of the universe. The user-friendly and fully interactive NorthStar® telescope offers push-button simplicity of control to locate the Andromeda and Zeta Reticuli plus a multitude of other celestial wonders in between. The computer-driven mount makes it easy to view any one of 20,000 celestial objects in the night sky, with the Real Voice Output™ functionality explaining what you see in an actual human voice.
From Center-Balanced Equatorial Mounts to AZ Mount Pro & MiniTower II/Pro Mounts, solar scopes, non-computerized telescopes to the state-of-the-art 9000 series SmartStar Telescopes, iOptron offers avid astronomy enthusiasts a genuine opportunity to experience the universe and its wonders up close. Providing observation solutions that delight and excite, iOptron specializes in the development, engineering and manufacture of advanced astronomical telescopes, mounts and accessories along with cutting-edge optical instrument options suitable for a wide variety of applications. The company markets its products globally, all while using plenty of hard work that simply stems from a great idea. iOptron takes pride in being able to deliver products right to your doorstep without compromising on quality and craftsmanship.
A recognized manufacturer of premium quality telescopes and mounts, the Vixen Co., Ltd was founded in Japan in 1949. It has successfully established itself as a leader in the industry in its home country, producing a wide range of telescopes, mounts, spotting scopes and binoculars.Each product that rolls out of the Vixen assembly line is guaranteed to have undergone full inspection according to the company’s high standard of quality. Vixen is the first to think up the Go-To Mount for astronomical telescopes. Majority of Vixen telescopes are interchangeable to allow shared use of components across various models. In its relentless pursuit of technical advancements, Vixen aims to make your astronomy journey more enjoyable.
How to choose your first telescope
Stargazing could be a rewarding activity for beginners and professionals. There is something really relaxing in watching the stars and the planets and imagining all sorts of possibilities regarding life and what happens beyond our horizon. Ever since the earliest stages of life people have been fascinated by the sky and its wonders, so it comes as no surprise that we decided to invest much in technology in order to create more powerful tools to finally decipher the mysteries of the universe.
I am sure you have thought about buying an awesome telescope to see galaxies but you are not entirely sure which one to pick or how to choose one that will best fit your interests. Below you will find a comprehensive shopping guide with all the features you must definitely keep an eye on when choosing a new scope for your hobby.
Size and shape
There are countless scopes on the market to suit different purposes. If you’re a beginner we suggest to choose a reasonably-priced product that won’t cost a fortune but still will be able to provide some cool and clear images of the sky and the stars.
It is best to start with beginners telescopes or the ones that are easily mounted and don’t require a full instructions manual to use properly. Hand telescopes have the great advantage of being lightweight and extremely portable, so you can carry them around anywhere and catch a glimpse of the planets, the moon, the sun or some of the brightest stars. They can also be used both during the day and the night, so you won’t miss any show in the sky.
If you’re looking for a sturdier item, why not opt for the quality Cassegrain telescopes? Go through some online reviews and check out what other newbies bought, and receive inspiration for your new item from the Internet.
Types of telescopes
There are primarily three types of telescopes, each coming with its own perks and downsides. You will mainly have to choose between reflector telescopes, refractor telescopes, and compound telescopes. The reflectors gather the light by using a mirror at the end of the item’s main tube. These are some of the least expensive items you will come across on the market but are perfect for beginners or those who have just started to adjust with the terms and technology behind telescopes.
You will have to adjust the optical alignment on these ones every once in a while but they are mainly suitable for people who don’t really take care of their items and tend to bump them every now and then.
On the other hand, refractors come with a lens attached to the front of the tube and they are the most common types of telescopes. They are similar to the ones you usually find in observatories and can gather light quickly and deliver a steady image in all lights, including during the day. These types of telescopes are easy to look after and also make great items for beginners. Although a regular model won’t cost you more than a couple of hundred dollars, these telescopes will fastly become more expensive once the aperture increases.
Last but not least, compound telescopes are the ones that use a unique combination of mirrors and lenses. They are often designed as compact tubes and are pretty lightweight, which allows them to be easily carried around. The Cassegrain telescopes fall into this category.
This is definitely the most important feature to look for in a telescope, so you need to be careful when choosing it. The aperture mainly refers to the diameter of the objective lens on a refractor or the objective mirror of a reflector telescope. As a general rule, a telescope should have over 3 inches aperture to be considered a reasonable item.
The larger the aperture the finer the details of the images you are about to see through your telescope. However, seeing clear images doesn’t depend only on the aperture size, but on a wide variety of factors. For instance, if you’re in a dark location, you will be able to see clear images of the Milky Way galaxy with the help of an aperture not bigger than 3.1 inches. However, if you live in the suburbs and want to learn more about other surrounding galaxies, you will require a telescope with a bigger aperture.
Aperture and magnification rate go hand in hand and you will require good performances on both these features in order to have a clear, bright, and detailed picture of the sky. As a general rule, you should avoid choosing a telescope solely based on the advertised magnification rate. If the product offers you a 500x magnification rate, you will require at least a 12-inch aperture size to be able to fully benefit of that magnification rate and enjoy clear images of the planets and the galaxies.
Last but not least, the materials used to manufacture these telescopes are also of great importance. For instance, a new computerized telescope should not be made of plastic but rather of metal or other sturdy materials. The lenses should also be of superior quality.
The telescope should also have a full waterproof exterior coating to ensure visibility and decent watching conditions even during the rainy days.
» Check the information from past years
If you’re here just to find the best reflector telescope for beginners or advanced users, perhaps this short paragraph might be of assistance. Based on the research that we have put together, it appears that the Celestron 31045 AstroMaster is the model you should consider. Because it is both easy to use and perfectly capable of doing its job, this unit should be one of those you ought to give some thought to. Plus, it comes with a German Equatorial mount that can allow you to track and locate your favorite celestial objects. It’s not as heavy as other alternatives out there, so you’ll benefit from enhanced portability. From what we have gathered from the consumer reports, it looks as though this unit comes with good-quality optics and excellent eyepieces. If the 31045 AstroMaster is out of stock, you should consider the second best option, the Celestron 31042.
Using a reflector telescope isn’t all that hard once you’ve mastered some of the basics, but finding the perfect model for your preferences and requirements might be a bit of a nuisance these days. As the market is overflowing with alternatives, we thought we might give you a hand at choosing the one that best suits your needs. Check out the following guide to find out more.
Not all models are made the same, and they tackle different expectations. When it comes to the performance of telescopes, you’ll have to find out as much as you can about the power and magnification of your chosen model. Most of those that you might come across are capable of offering you the power you might need to look at the Moon, for example.
However, the aperture and the focal length are two of those details you will have to give some serious thought to before making your final choice. A superior aperture translates into a better ability to gather more light. What this means for you is that you’ll be able to view celestial objects clearly and in more detail.
To look at the moon and several planets, you’ll have to get a model that comes with an aperture ranging from 60 to 80mm. Star clusters and nebulas may be off limits with such an aperture, which is why we recommend considering a unit with one of at least 150mm.
Fortunately, most reflector telescope designs are reasonably user-friendly in this sense. They can’t even be compared to some catadioptric alternatives which, by all means, might be capable of excellent performance, but they may be too hefty for you to carry around.
When tackling the matter of portability, you will have to look at your own expectations. If what you intend to do is look through your telescope when you come back home from work and from the comfort of your home, you’re better off with a good-quality tabletop option.
On the other hand, if you want to take your telescope into the great outdoors, you need it to be lightweight and easy to handle. In such cases, you might even have to check whether or not the unit can be assembled with ease as some models don’t even require the use of tools.
Your budget matters
Some models are anything but cheap, so you might have to tell whether it pays off to invest in a great telescope or you can start with something more budget-friendly. A reflector astronomical telescope can be as expensive as several thousands of dollars, so it all comes down to your personal finances and what your expectations are for such a device.
Price and quality can often be correlated, so the least thing you can do before selecting a high-quality and higher priced unit is to read some of the best telescope reflector reviews. Exquisite optics cost a lot of money, and that’s because it takes time and a whole lot of effort to design them properly and fit them into the model you might be considering.
The same rule applies in the case of microscopes, for instance, and every medical professional or beginner knows that a cheap magnifier simply can’t compare to a full-size microscope.
5 Best Telescope Reflectors (Reviews) in 2020
Whether you’re an avid astronomer or just someone who would like to learn the basics of using a telescope reflector, you might want to check out the following selection. It’s packed with the units that have impressed us while we performed our research on the topic. The chances are they might impress you, as well.
1. Celestron 31045 AstroMaster 130EQ Reflector Telescope
If both terrestrial and celestial viewing are what you are interested in getting from a telescope in this line, the 31045 AstroMaster might just be the right choice for you. It can be utilized with a variety of cameras, and the fact that it comes with an equatorial mount is an advantage in itself. With the help of such a mounting system, you’ll effortlessly locate celestial objects and track them as they move.
Boasting an aperture of 130mm, you’ll be able to get all the power you might need from this device as it will undoubtedly help you get a glimpse of galaxies and cloudy nebulas. Focusing the image is rather easy, especially judging by the critical acclaim acquired by the model in this sense.
Given that it doesn’t cost a fortune and that it offers plenty of value for the money, this model may have to be on your list.
2. Celestron 31042 AstroMaster 114EQ Reflector Telescope
Versatility is one of the main advantages ensured by this device as you will be able to utilize it to get a glimpse of planets, Saturn, the Moon, and a variety of other celestial objects. As is the case with other choices we have stumbled upon and that are available for sale these days, this one can be used for stargazing and terrestrial viewing, just as well.
Since it’s been equipped with top-notch optics, you won’t have to worry about anything when tackling the matter of whether or not this unit can satisfy you on this account. The German Equatorial mount is made to withstand the test of time, and the two eyepieces are easy to utilize.
It’s also worth adding that the 31042 comes with several helpful instructions that you can use to get started. Looking at heaven can now be at your fingertips, especially if you consider this model.
3. Orion 9827 AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
The Orion 9827 is another good choice to mull over. The 150mm aperture of this alternative, as well as the 750mm focal length, allows you to have a more than adequate view of a wide array of stars and planets. Plus, cloudy nebulas aren’t anything that can’t be dealt with, as such an aperture can indeed offer you high-quality images of them.
An equatorial mount, as well as an aluminum tripod of which the height can be adjusted, are both parts of the deal. Granted, the Orion might not be as reasonably priced as some of its competitors, but it boils down to the money you’re willing to spend on such a device.
Give that a variety of accessories are also included in the package and that the unit has mostly received favorable feedback from rookies and advanced users alike, we say that it is at least worth considering.
4. Celestron 31051 AstroMaster 130EQ Reflector Telescope Motor Drive
In some respects, the 31051 resembles other telescopes manufactured by this brand. However, this one comes with a motor, which means that it is much easier to use. The amount of detail that you’ll be getting with this 130mm unit is next to impressive, as most of those who have chosen it say that it has managed to live up to their expectations and even surpass them, to a certain extent.
The eyepieces offer more than enough value for the money, and the fact that the tube is made of resilient metal and steel is another benefit to take into account. Also, you may want to be aware of the fact that this particular unit boasts optics that will inevitably leave you feeling in awe.
Both the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter can be seen with the help of this device. The model includes a quick release dovetail attachment, so you won’t have to tinker with any components when setting up the telescope.
5. Orion 09843 SpaceProbe 3 Equatorial Reflector Telescope
This 3-inch reflector telescope is another one you should bear in mind, especially if you aren’t prepared to make a significant investment and spend over two hundred dollars on such a device. Despite being remarkably affordable, the unit can allow you to have a satisfying peek at the moon, a variety of planets, as well as star clusters and nebulas.
The tripod and mount are included in the deal, but it was to be expected. The equatorial mount is particularly handy if what you have in mind is tracking several objects by hand. The slow-motion controls will ensure that you always have a solid grip on the situation.
While some buyers argue that the telescope is somewhat difficult to put together, other owners say that the instructions are easy to follow as they provide step-by-step directions for everything you have to do. Since this is a beginner scope, don’t expect it to take your breath away with its performance.
» Check the information from past years