Choosing the best telescope today can be a difficult task to achieve. With the amount of choice available today it can get tricky sometimes what to choose and what not to. Don’t worry, our team has picked top five telescopes based on their popularity, their high-end features and then divided each of them in the different price category followed by their reviews. So, that you can decide for yourself how much amount you are willing to spend on your first telescope. Before we start, please read our post:-
It will help you to understand the basic terms related to a telescope like magnification, aperture, and focal length. If you are already familiar with those, skip that part.
Let’s get started:-
Quick Comparison between 12 Best Telescopes:
This table shows the top telescopes available today based on the customer reviews and our test. Each one is divided into the different price category.
In depth review for each telescope is given below the table.
(Unique selling point)
|Celestron||Best Under $300||127mm||Check|
|Celestron||Best Under $300||130mm||Check|
|Gskyer||Value for Money||130mm||Check|
|Celestron||Value for Money||130mm||Check|
|Orion||Value for Money||255mm||Check|
|Celestron||Value for Money||130mm||Check|
|Orion||Professional yet |
|Celestron||Professional yet Inexpensive||152mm||Check|
|Celestron||Best among the Best||235mm||Check|
*Price daily changes on Amazon, Check current price.
Best Portable Telescope
1) MEADE 102MM AZ REFRACTOR TELESCOPE
Meade Instruments is a dynamic and innovative telescope company that offers one of the best portable telescopes. The company is acknowledged for its innovative telescopic designs and has established several improvements for several years.
Founded in 1972, Meade Instruments has created its products and reputation through new, industry-leading transformation and precision optics – the symbol of Meade excellence.
If you are searching for a great telescope with a simple design and layout, Meade instrument Telescope has all that you need to observe the beauty of the night sky.
The telescope is Ideal for observers who observed and watching terrestrial and astronomical objects in the sky. The Meade Infinity Series incorporates quality optics and altazimuth mount for an excellent value.
The refracting telescope is for beginners and novice alike. It is a superb way to locate the cosmos and explore the outdoors.
- The Refracting Telescope is 102mm (4”) in size, it delivers accurate and bright images, which is ideal for viewing and observing land objects as well as celestial objects.
- Meade infinity 102mm Altazimuth refractor telescope comes with an Altazimuth mount. Also, it has slow motion controls, which makes it effortless to monitor the movement of celestial objects in the night sky.
- It displays three eyepieces that offer high, medium, and low powered magnification for watching different objects including planets, moon, or land.
- The telescope comes with an instructional DVD, which contains over 10,000 celestial objects.
- It features a Red dot viewfinder which helps you focus your scope on the celestial bodies or any objects you wish to view.
If you are searching for best portable telescope to get you started in astronomy, the Infinity 102mm Refractor telescope is for you. The 102mm (4.0″) aperture provides sharp and bright images for celestial and land objects. With this telescope, you can view nebulae, the rings of Saturn, the moon, Jupiter, as well as land objects. Furthermore, the Meade Infinity 102 Refractor telescopes allow you (a beginner or an expert) to examine the solar system and the world in general.
- The Right-side up image makes it easy to hunt, observe the ocean, birds, and so much more.
- It has a large aperture size, which lets you view and observe more images
- It is very Easy and convenient to assemble
- With its Refractor, there is basically no need to align mirrors or collimate. You can use it immediately.
- It weighs about 10kg; hence, it is easy to carry about.
- Due to the fact that the control works left, right, up, down, monitoring celestial bodies is less easy compared to an EQ mount. However, the EQ mounts can rotate as the earth rotates.
- Meade instrument 102 mm refractor telescopes have a (weak and fragile aluminum tripod. Not to worry, place a (heavy sandbag on the accessories tray for more stability.
- Aperture: 102 mm
- Optical Design: Refractor
- Eyepiece 1:26 mm
- Focal Length: 600 mm
- Magnification 1: 23 x
- Eyepiece 2: 9 mm
- Eyepiece 3: 6.3mm
- Magnification 2: 66.3 x
- Barlow lens: 2x
- Mount: Alt-azimuth
- Accessory Tray
- Tripod: stainless steel
Overall, Meade infinity 120mm Refractor telescope is the best portable telescope for beginners or hobbyist, thanks to the quality designs, low price, and amazing features!
2) Celestron 70mm Travel Scope: Adventurers Wanted
Some astronomer enthusiasts love the idea of having a grand observatory with the latest technology and the most powerful telescope; for others, it’s about getting outside and seeing the worlds around you. I am not saying it can’t be both, but if the latter sentiment strikes you at all, the Celestron 21035 70mm Scope might be the purchase for you.
The Celestron 21035 is the best travel telescope on the market in its price range by far. With intuitively easy setup, this telescope is ideal for both beginners and experienced astronomers on the move. It does have some drawbacks, but overall this is another solid staple entry in Celestron’s storied history.
Pros: As mentioned, this telescope is easy to set up day or not, making it optimal for novices or wilderness wanderers. It comes with a travel bag that is surprisingly good quality. The telescope produces a clear image when properly focused. All these things considered, it’s an extremely versatile telescope. The telescope has awarded “Gear of the Year” in 2014 by 50 Campfires magazine.
Cons: There are two major drawbacks to the Celestron 21035, both having to do with the materials used. In order to keep the telescope light and portable (which it absolutely succeeds at), plastic components are used. The plastic focuser in particular gave me trouble. Once I was able to properly focus, the views were crisp, but the process to get there took longer than with higher quality focuses. The second problem is the tripod.
Again, it’s lightweight, so it’s easy to travel with, but this comes at a great cost to sturdiness and stability. I would recommend investing in a separate tripod, which is not too much to ask considering the low price of the Celestron 21035.
- All coated glass optical elements for clear images
- Smooth positioning mount
- 70mm refractor telescope
- Focal length :400 mm, eyepiece 1: 20mm (20X magnification), eyepiece 2: 10mm (40X magnification)
- Custom bag for tripod and telescope
- Bonus astrology software with 10,000 object database
- Tripod – thin, flimsy, a little undersized.
- Focuser – plastic, hard to get just right.
- Power – portability sacrifices power. This one won’t register stars as well as other heavier telescopes.
Conclusion: The Celestron 21035 70mm is a great option for beginners and travelers alike. It travels extremely well and setup is 1-2-3 easy. The plastic components cause the integrity of the product to suffer, but it is perhaps worth it because it travels that much easier. The 70mm telescope and it’s lenses aren’t as powerful as you can get with heavier telescopes, but the images produced are crystal clear. This telescope could be used as an economical alternative to a guidescope with excellent results. The travel case and accessory package (2 lenses + astronomy software) both add to the incredible value of the product. Plus, it won “Gear of the Year” in 2014 through 50 Campfires magazine, which is all that really needs to be said.
3) Orion Starblast 4.5 Astro reflector telescope
The telescope is simple to install and gives you the ability to view high definition pictures in all types of light conditions. It will inspire the whole family to spend the time watching the natural wonders.
The manufacturing company used the high-quality material in the building telescope which gives you long-lasting benefit. You will never find the similar quality in the other telescope at the same price.
Orion Starblast 4.5 Astro telescope is made by using the latest technology. It provides great performance to the users. The users who are at the beginning stage of their journey will enjoy the simple design and utility. No need to spend learning the technology or understand how to manage the telescope in a different scenario. The installation process is kept simple so anyone can learn using the telescope instantly without getting into any trouble. The simple process enhances the interest of the user in the astronomy. It is one of the best portable telescope available in the market.
Easy to setup characteristics gives greater stability to the users who are using it the first time. The layman can use the telescope without having any knowledge about the equipment. This is what attracts more users. The developer of the telescope has kept the design simple. They embedded all the high-end technology in the small piece of the telescope to make it more useful for the users. The default setting of the telescope is sufficient enough to start your astronomy survey. You can also update it to the advanced level to gain more power and access the wide range of facility that telescope offers to you.
The telescope has 4.5 inches of aperture and fast F/4 focal ratio that provide bright image output in the low light. You can easily get the detailed view of our solar system by targeting the telescope to the moon or planets. In addition, the wide field allows you to watch long distance celestial objects such as nebulas and star clusters. On a clear evening, you can spot the pleasing view of giant Jupiter from the telescope. The orbiting moon looks great when viewed from the telescope. Saturn rings look astonishing in the dark sky.
The Orion Starblast 4.5 Astro reflector telescope has some problems with the magnification of the picture. Many users have reported that the magnification technology is not that good as it is expected from this high-end telescope. Even different eyepieces are unable to solve the problem. Finder laser dot sites lense occasionally gives a problem while viewing the long distance objects.
The Telescope is made for the beginners who are in the school or the college and never used the high-end telescope before. People who are already in the astronomy industry with a good amount of experience may not like the features provided by the telescope manufacturing company.
The telescope lacks many essential features such as long distance zooming to capture the clear image of the bright object, atmospheric change detection to avoid blur effect, Instant image capturing facility to take the photo of the viewing object, surrounding vibration stabilizing to give steady viewing experience are some of the factors that you find in the expensive telescope are missing in this equipment.
1) Design for the intermediate and entry level astronomy enthusiasts.
2) It comes with the Substantial 4.5 Inch aperture and fast f/4 focal ratio.
3) The telescope is light weight.
4) Price is quite low compared to the quality it is offered to the users.
5) Build quality is made to sustain for a long period.
6) Advanced zoom features enables the users to view long distance object easily.
7) The Image stabilization feature gives you the stable picture quality.
8) Easy to installation makes the quick setup.
Orion Starblast 4.5 Astro reflector telescope is great equipment in the category. You will not find the features that this telescope offers in the given price range. Generally, the quality and the new technology increase the price of the equipment which makes them more expensive, but in this case, the manufacturing company has kept the quality high and reduced the price of the product. It allows the growing astronomer to build the interest in the small investment and work towards gaining more information about astronomy.
Best Budget Telescope (Under 300$).
1) Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope
If you are low on budget or do not want to invest much in your first telescope the PowerSeeker telescope from Celestron is the right telescope for you. Celestron PowerSeeker features a 5-inch aperture and has a focal length of 1000mm and it also includes some advanced accessories like two Plossl eyepieces, one Barlow lens, an accessory tray etc. and it all cost just around 135$.
Optics is made of glass and also has an excellent aluminum coating to it to increase the reflectivity.
Included two eyepiece of 20mm and 4mm focal length gives the magnification of 50x and 250x respectively. When we combine them with high power 3x Barlow lens we get the 3 times more magnified view.
Included eyepieces alone cost around 60$ when bought separately.
Another reason we included this telescope in the list because of the sheer volume of positive reviews it gets on Amazon (900+ reviews) from its verified customers.
Many of the reviewers for this telescope praise the quality of image they get through it and how easy it is to use.
Let’s talk about some of the cons of the telescope.
Most of the reviewer complained and even we noticed that the mirror was not completely aligned (not collimated) and thus result in a blurry image. But that is a common problem in any reflector. Every reflector needs to be collimated once in a while, you can take help of lots of YouTube videos or even can read our post (click here) to collimate your telescope in less than 10minutes.
Another common complaint among users is, the eyepiece is made of plastic. But guys, what more can you expect from a telescope priced under 150$. One thing we noticed that the quality of optical tube (the most important component in any telescope) is not compromised at all.
Majority of reviewers given this scope above 4 stars. In fact, 70% out of 965 reviewers rated above 4 stars to it. At the time of writing Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is retailing at 135$ on Amazon and according to the vast majority of users, a great scope to have in this price range.
Here are some comments from verified users on Amazon,
“I get it super good, and it works great. Now to look for the world. I am from Paraguay, and it was good arrived.”
“It’s a great little machine. Well worth the money.”
2) Celestron Astromaster 130EQ MD telescope
The learning of astronomy is enjoyable when you have the right kind of equipment with you. Without having the good quality telescope you will never get to experience the real world that resides above you.
Celestron Astromaster telescope has developed to serve a dual purpose. It is an appropriate telescope for both terrestrial and celestial viewing. You can use it to view the land and sky without compromising the quality.
You will be overwhelmed by bright, clear image of the moon and planets when viewed from the telescope. Want to look at the long-distance object? Then no worries, the telescope provide you zooming feature that enables you to extend your viewing capacity and see the bright object located far in the sky. The Jupiter moons and Saturn rings look extraordinary when viewed from the Celestron Astromaster telescope.
Moreover, viewing the extra deep field of the sky to see the objects such as galaxies and nebulae are very easy. You can use the additional equipment to gather more light and distinguish the celestial body. The light gathering ability of the Newtonian reflector is very high which will support you to see the long-distance objects through a telescope. It is the best budget telescope under $300 you can find in the market.
Moter drive facility makes the object detection quick as it uses the automated tracking system without needing your input.
Celestron Astromaster is a beautiful looking telescope gives you the capacity to learn faster. The piece of equipment looks good in all manners and presents the high-end performance to the users. The latest technology makes the telescope futuristic. The features that mentioned about the telescope works best in all conditions.
The automated tracking system enables you to detect the object without needing your input. Erect image optics provide you an advantage while using the telescope in the terrestrial and astronomical survey. The German made an equatorial mount with the setting circle is helpful to accurately locate and track the sky object. The equipment comes with the pre-assembled high-quality tripod with 1.25″ steel tube legs.
While considering the telescope, it is recommended that user should consider the price range as well. If you are comparing the telescope with the high-end equipment, then it might not stand in the front of the quality that you are expecting from this telescope. Many users have reported some issues with the functionality of the telescope. The engineering done by adjusting the mirror with the screw makes the telescope low quality as you cannot rely on the function for long periods. The mechanical device looks low quality and can be damaged anytime while operation. It gives trouble to the users while adjusting the mirror to get a clear picture.
In addition, the stand that comes with the telescope is lacking the weight balancing function. Sometimes you feel the stand is too shaky to manage the telescope. The manufacturing company should work on the permanent solution to give stable stand that doesn’t require any fixing.
1) Easy to install facility enables the users to use it instantly as it reaches to your home.
2) Automatic tracking features give you auto setup when viewing the celestial objects.
3) Erect image optics serves a dual purpose. You can view terrestrial and astronomical both types of objects by using this telescope.
4) The specially made equatorial mount allows you to locate and track sky object without any trouble.
5) The telescope comes with a pre-assembled tripod.
6) The lenses are coated with the glass optics to generate clear, crisp images.
Celestron 31051 AstroMaster 130EQ MD Telescope provides you various benefits while spending time doing a celestial object search under the dark sky. The manufacturing company has provided all the features that essential for getting the clear images while using it.
Best Telescope for the Money
1) GSKYER 130EQ REFLECTOR TELESCOPE
There is a profound, awe-inspiring feeling that comes with watching the night sky through a telescope, and if you’re looking to get one, you should get the Gskyer Telescope, 130EQ Professional Astronomical Reflector Telescope – the best telescope for the money!
If you’re a first time user, don’t be discouraged by the “professional” in its name. The Gskyer Astromaster 130eq might be difficult to use as a beginner – nothing good comes easy – but it comes with a manual, YouTube video to show you how to go about it and there are quite a number of write-ups online you can read to direct you.
Now, there’s nothing more annoying than a telescope with an enlarged and fuzzy image that makes it virtually impossible to keep images in the telescope’s field of view due to its defective and unbalanced design, that’s why the Gskyer Astromaster 130eq Professional Reflector Telescope comes with three different types of magnification eyepieces – there is a low (25 mm) which magnifies 40x, medium (10 mm) which magnifies 100x, and high (5 mm) which magnifies 200x with 3x Barlow lens that delivers the best accuracy and precision.
There is a finderscope with a red dot finder as well to make things easier for you to find. The focal length which is 650 mm – enough to take in Orion’s entire Sword – and a focal ratio of f/5 – and an aperture of 130 mm, delivers high-magnification viewing. The most amazing thing here is the rack-and-pinion style focuser used.
Fun Fact: The vast majority of major celestial discoveries in the history of astronomy were made by amateurs.
Another feature of this best telescope for the money is the telescope mounting. Most “off-the-shelf” instruments are usually lightweight and unstable and attached to a wobbly tripod – which is a disaster because even with the best of optics, a poor mount will give you bad images – as a result of images not been held in place.
The Gskyer Astromaster 130eq delivers one full-size stretchable tripod made of stainless steel – steady, sturdy, and smoothly working. It is also multifunctional, thus it enhances your view from certain angles. With Multi Anti-reflection Blue Film used for optical coating to bring you enhanced image brightness.
The advanced design and features of the Gskyer Astromaster 130eq Professional Reflector Telescope, it can be used for both celestial and terrestrial viewings. With views ranging the Moon’s seas, the ring of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, tracking fast-moving celestial objects such as comets in a 1.5° field of view, to bringing distant wildlife up in a close-up form for detailed views.
SPECS AND FEATURES
- Aperture: 130mm (5.1″).
- Dimensions: 32 x 18 x 8 inches
- Focal Length: 650mm
- Main mirror length: 609.6mm
- Field of view: 1.5°
- Finderscope: Red dot finder
- German equatorial mount
- Rack-and-Pinion Focuser
- Accessory tray
- 3x Barlow lens
- Tube Connection: Anchor Ear
- Stainless steel tripod and
- A low (25mm), medium (10mm), high (5mm) magnification eyepieces
- All-glass optical components
- Item Weight: 34 pounds
What you’ll basically find after purchasing your Gskyer Astromaster 130eq telescope are:
- Gskyer AstroMaster 130EQ Reflector Telescope
- One 10 mm eyepiece
- One 20 mm eyepiece
- Planetarium software
- One 5 mm eyepiece
- Three Barlow Lenses
- Stainless steel tripod
- Gskyer Astromaster 130eq how to use (short description leaflet)
- High magnification factor
- Great precision
- Pretty easy to set up with no-tools – ready for use with minor assembly.
- Sturdy construction
- Excellent quality
- High-quality multilayer lenses
- Manual does not give precise instructions.
- No remote control (handheld) for mount
In summary, the Gskyer Astromaster 130eq telescope, gives you maximum accuracy and precision, with an extraordinary view.
Looking through the Gskyer Astromaster 130eq Reflector Telescope gives you the celestial view in a dimensional quality that you don’t get by just looking up at night, so order for you’re the best telescope for the money – Gskyer Telescope, 130EQ Professional Astronomical Reflector Telescope now!
2-Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope
We choose the Celestron NexStar 130SLT telescope in our list because of some of the advanced features it has like computerized control, automatic tracking and much more in less than 400$. It is a Newtonian design reflector telescope that uses a 5-inch primary mirror and a focal length of 650mm to collect the incoming light.
The focal ratio of f/5.0 lets in a lot of light inside the tube in short time thus results in a brighter and sharper image.
The scope comes with two eyepiece of 9mm and 25mm that gives a magnification of 26x and 72x respectively.
Highest useful magnification of the telescope is 260X (two times the aperture of the telescope) so a 5mm Plossl eyepiece and a 2x Barlow lens will be a good option to have in future to explore even further deep in the sky.
Let’s talk about tracking
Due to its sky align technology tracking the object is quite easy in the sky. Just put the date, time and present GPS location after that point the telescope to any three stars in the sky and you are ready to go. After that insert, the name of nebula, star, or galaxies you want to locate the telescope will automatically point to that direction with the help of 4000 object database installed in its database.
Two most common problem most reviewers found with telescope is
1- Battery runs out quickly
The best solution for this problem will be a separate power tank. Buy a separate power tank and always carry with your telescope.
2- Mount is not stable enough
At 380$ approx. you are getting a computerized telescope, an automatic mount and two high-quality Plossl eyepiece which is already a great deal. And we agree Celestron had done some compromise in the quality of tripod to keep the price in the affordable range. But that’s ok, the best solution would be to keep a heavy sand bag on the accessory tray that will provide more stability to the telescope.
Some comments on this telescope from buyers on Amazon,
“Optics are good, everything is pretty much good, the pointier, eyepieces, packaging. Except for the tripod” (verified buyer on Amazon)
“This is an excellent beginner/intermediate or advanced grab and go scope providing crisp images, ease of use and many desirable software capabilities. I recommend it.” (Also a verified buyer on Amazon)
3-Orion SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
SkyQuest XT10 from Orion is a classic Dobsonian style telescope. It features a 10-inch aperture, largest in Orion line of XT telescope. Results in excellent light gathering capability for deep sky observation. Dobsonian telescopes are known for its simple design, easy to use feature and here even SkyQuest XT10 does not disappoint on this front.
XT10 Dobsonian telescope features a 10-inch parabolic mirror housed in a 48-inch solid steel optical tube with f-ratio of f/4.7 to give a bright and high contrast view with a minimum color distortion.
Orion uses a CorrecTension spring to easily attach or detach the telescope from its base. The feature is so simple to use that once the package arrives at your door it will not take more than 10 minutes to assemble the telescope. These spring also provide enough resistance to keep the telescope stable at one position during observation.
Orion listed this telescope as perfect for intermediate users. But in our opinion, even the beginner users will not get disappointed because of its simplistic design and easy tracking feature. To track an object, laser dot EZ finder II is included in the package. To observe the object you just have to align the red dot to whatever you wish to observe, so simple like point and view.
Include 25mm Plossl eyepiece gives a wide field of view up to 48X magnification when used with a 1200mm focal length of this telescope. Highest useful magnification of the telescope is 300x, so an additional high power eyepiece or a 3x Barlow lens will be a good accessory to have in your eyepiece collection.
Let’s talk about the one disadvantage of big size Dobsonian style telescope. Most common problem with this telescope is its weight. SkyQuest weighs about 54lbs when fully assembled. Quite heavy for an average user to move the telescope from one place to another.
Currently priced at 599$ SkyQuest is a simple, portable, excellent performing telescope. Perfect for any beginner users as well intermediate users to enjoy the night sky.
Here is a comment from verified buyers on Amazon,
“So far I have seen the Orion Nebula, the moon and clear image of Jupiter with its 4 moons. This was the first time I have ever seen a planet so detailed! My kids and I have had a great time so far!! I would highly recommend this telescope to anyone interested in getting into the hobby of star gazing!”
4) Celestron SkyProdigy 130 26×345 Telescope
Celestron SkyProdigy is simple to use telescope comes with the wide angle lens to capture the celestial object in the sky. View the long distance object easily without needing any special operating skill. The Celestron SkyProdigy telescope has one viewing port which gives you clear image quality.
The point and view feature don’t require any motor skill or technical knowledge to find the object in the sky. You can use any mobile app to find the current position of the celestial object such as the moon, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn and point the telescope in a direction to view them. The Saturn ring looks beautiful when viewed from the Celestron SkyProdigy telescope. It will give you goosebumps when you are watching it the first time. You get high definition picture quality which you cannot expect from any other telescope that comes in this price range. It will be a mesmerizing experience for the beginner who never saw the celestial object before.
The Celestron SkyProdigy 130 26×345 Telescope build by using the latest technology that enables the telescope to obtain a great quality picture with the highest precision. It comes with the fully automated functionality to alight the telescope in the right direction. You can do this by using the attached remote control.
No need to touch the telescope for aligning to the objects. Just set the viewing angle and point in the area where the celebrity object is located. The motor precisely adjusts the telescope and gives you the perfect picture of the object. It is using Computerized Altazimuth Mount that moves easily as per your need.
Assemble and dissembling of the telescope is very handy. You can quickly release the fork arm mount and optical tube without needing any equipment. High-quality stainless steel tripod and accessory tray give the telescope a strong base.
The pre-installed batteries provide over 30 hours of power to your activities. You can also get specially developed Astronomy software from the app store that helps you to use the telescope efficiently. The app will have extraordinary features that you can use while getting involved in the astronomy.
The Celestron SkyProdigy 130 26×345 Telescope is providing various kinds of automated features which are really good to some extent, but when it comes to using those features the users are finding difficult. Not all users are technology driven so setting makes very difficult when you do not have the support of an expert. People have reported that they find very hard time to use the telescope due it automated technology. It is restricting the users from customizing the access. Sometimes the telescoping mechanism shows errors while operating.
It is a very bad experience when you purchase something to enjoy your time and when you get a hand on it you realize it is not what you were expecting from the product.
1) Comes with fully automated alignment procedure.
2) The computerized system allows the users to access the telescope by using the remote control.
3) No tool setup needed.
4) Tripod made of Study stainless steel gives the strong base of the telescope.
5) It requires 8 x D Cell batteries and provides the 30 hours of battery power.
6) Specially developed software available to access the large database of a celestial object, printable sky maps, and 75 enhanced images.
Celestron SkyProdigy 130 26×345 Telescope has great features that you can not find in this price range. The build quality of the telescope is really good. The automation technology is far advanced. Sometime the technology might concern you while operating it, but once you have a good hand on the setting and various features, the operating telescope becomes easy. Overall, it is the Best telescope for the money. You can purchase it without having a second thought in mind.
Best Professional yet Inexpensive Telescope
1) Orion SkyQuest XT8i IntelliScope Dobsonian Telescope
Orion SkyQuest XT8i is an 8-inch reflector telescope. Orion also calls these scope Intelliscope because of the intelligent features it possesses. More on that later, first let’s talk about the optics. SkyQuest XT8i has a diffraction limited parabolic mirror and an aluminum & silicon dioxide coating to increase the reflectivity that results in clearer deep sky images without any color distortion.
Orion has included two Plossl eyepieces of 25mm and 10mm. wide angle 25mm eyepiece gives the magnification of 48x and high power 10mm gives the magnification up to 120x.
Because of the computerized object locator and push to navigation system, these are also called as IntelliScope. To use the IntelliScope feature you need to align the telescope first by pointing the scope at any two bright stars. After it is fully aligned rest of the process is simple!!!
Just put the name of nebula, cluster or whatever object you want to see on the navigation remote, reading on the remote will tell you how much turn and tilt of the telescope is required until the target is in the field of view. These type of navigation is called push to navigation where we don’t have to be fully dependent on the motor of scope to point it to the object here our hands replace the job of the motor and thus results in low power requirement.
Users sometimes find difficult to assemble the telescope. Don’t worry there is a lot of YouTube videos present online that can help you on that.
Orion SkyQuest is almost a perfect scope that brings in more light for that amount of money. Dobsonian base provides the much-required stability during observation. If you in a search for professional yet inexpensive telescope then this is the one you should definitely check out. As one reviewer on Amazon comments,
” Excellent light bucket for entry/intermediate level. If the cost little too high for you, go for a 6-inch dob your child will still rule the planetary skies. Couple it up with a Celestron eye piece/filter set and increase your viewing potential greatly.”
2) Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope
Nexstar 6SE is a Schmidt Cassegrain design 6-inch Catadioptric (compound) telescope that uses a combination of both mirror and lens to form the image. These are compact and portable telescope and the biggest benefit of Schmidt Cassegrain design is it can pack in 5x focal length (1500mm exactly) of its actual length (16”).
The optical tube is Starbright XLT fully multicoated where alloy of multilayer aluminum mirrors is used with titanium dioxide to increase the reflectivity. For a fast and easy alignment process, point the telescope to any three bright stars. Once aligned NexStar 6SE is easy to operate. Hand controller allows to move the telescope at your will and offers a tour of the night sky and locate the galaxies, planets, nebulas with the help of 40000 object database stored in its computer.
With Motorized alt-azimuth mount and inbuilt RS232 and auxiliary port, you can connect it with computer or laptop to remotely control the telescope and enjoy the view on the big screen. You can also take the time exposure video eclipse (with a proper filter) or planets with an automatic tracking feature. Perfect for Astrophotography.
The telescope comes with 25mm eyepiece, which gives a 60x magnification a so great, clear and crisp view of planets and deep sky object even in a light polluted areas.
Most common complaint users have with this telescope is the in-built battery runs out quickly. Power tank or AC adapter will be a good accessory to have with this telescope. (Check out our full review here)
At the time of writing Celestron NexStar 6SE is retailing at 799$* on Amazon, 80% reviewers out of 355 given this telescope above 4 stars and rated the telescope excellent. If you have a budget of 1000$, don’t hesitate to go for this all round telescope that has high-quality optics, computerized automatic tracking, solid steel tripod, portable and light weight, all that advanced feature at 799$. Buy some extra eyepieces and power tank with those extra 200$.
“My first venture at seeing the stars, love the tracking function and ability to use my camera to photograph things I may want to get a picture of” J.Fields (verified customer on Amazon).
[Note: Celestron is offering heavy discount of $100 on its NexStar series telescope. Celestron Nexstar 6SE is now retailing at 750 dollars and Celestron Nexstar 8SE at 1100 dollars. If you have some extra cash to spend you can definitely look for Nexstar 8SE. It is an upgraded model of 6SE in terms of aperture. NexStar 8SE features an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain design with fully automatic computerized controls. In our Opinion this is the best telescope anyone can purchase even under 1500 dollars. You can read our full in-depth review of Celestron NexStar 8SE here. ]
Best of the Best Telescope
1) Celestron NexStar Evolution Series 9.25”: Game Changer
If you made your way to this page trying to find out if the Celestron NexStar 9.25” is worth the price, I will save you some time and say definitively, “Yes.” When it comes to astronomy consumer options, this telescope is the best of the best.
The draw of the Celestron NexStar 9.25” is its integration with the free Celestron SkyPortal app, which allows you to explore over 120,000 stars with a few touches of your phone screen. The app and telescope is a huge improvement over earlier products that forced you to enter coordinates manually. In contrast, the Celestron SkyPortal app user interface is intuitive and quick. There are a few drawbacks, but overall I could not be more impressed with this telescope.
Pros: Putting the actual telescope together and syncing up with your phone is easy and will only take a few minutes. Alignment process is easy as well and does not require counterweights. Celestron did not skimp on any material costs. For example it’s the only telescope in its price range that uses brass worm gears. The tripod is also exceptional quality. It adjusts well and will not break. The incredible tracking technology (automatically counteracts Earth’s rotation) makes it perfect for astroimaging, and the images produced are as clear as you will find in this day and age. Celestron SkyPortal allows you to view sky in real time and select your viewing. Finally, this is the first consumer app to use it’s own battery, which can last up to 10 hours on a single charge.
Cons: There are few cons, but worth pointing out none-the-less. The wireless connection is not perfect. A couple times it disconnected and I had to redo the alignment process from scratch (but it doesn’t take too long). The app itself crashed on me a couple times. Sometimes the app froze while processing and the telescope continued moving, causing me to reset the process. It doesn’t include the cable necessary to update the actual telescope software. Considering the price, it would have been easy to include it with the other accessories. Also, for beginners, the price may be a little steep. (Our full review here.)
- Integrated Wi-Fi, ready to sync to phone in minutes.
- Built-in battery with USB ports to charge your devices
- Portable 9.25-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube with StarBright XLT optical coatings.
- Computerized GoTo mount with worm gears and motors to reduce backlash and increase tracking capability.
- Price – this quality doesn’t come cheap.
- App issues – app sometimes freezes or disconnects.
- Cable – doesn’t include software update cable.
Conclusion: Wired.com called it “the coolest app-cessory in the galaxy.” This is the telescope for astronomers who want the best of the best. It is actually lighter than most scopes in its class and will transport well. When the app is working, it’s absolutely stellar. It completely changes the game on astral tracking and accessibility. The GoTo mount and tripod included are smooth and sturdy. The 10-hour lithium battery works great and is an improvement over previous telescope battery options. All in all, it is a superior telescope with I dare say revolutionary consumer technology.