Looking and choosing the best beginner telescope is not as easy as it sounds. There are so many beginner telescopes to choose from, and so few that are really as good as they sound.
There are many types of telescopes, and many are not suited to the beginner astronomer for technical or financial reasons. We advise is to avoid spending too much money or buying anything you can’t easily understand.
If you get frustrated by the telescope itself, or just decide you don’t like the hobby you will have wasted both your time and a lot of money. This brief guide aims to help the beginner find a decent telescope at a reasonable price.
If you’re just starting out with this fun hobby you’re likely not going to want to spend thousands of dollars, but at the same time you don’t want to get a low quality clunker either. Fortunately there are many options to choose from that are both affordable and reliable for entry-level star telescopes.
- Reviews of The 10 Best Telescopes For Beginners
- 1.Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope
- 2.Celestron 94303 Accessory Kit
- 3.Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope
- 4.Meade ETX-80 AT-TC-BB Astro Telescope Kit + Astronomy Bundle
- 5.Celestron 80LCM Computerized Telescope
- 6.iOptron 9402 Astroboy 60mm Computerized Telescope
- Meade LightBridge Telescopes
- Celestron 21061 Beginners Telescope
- Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope
- Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope
- Amateur Telescope
- Types Of Telescopes
- Telescopes For Beginners – Top Tools For A New Stargazer
- Telescopes For Beginners
- A View of the Moon
- Best Lenses For Beginners
- How to Pick the Best Beginner Telescope
- The 5 Best Beginner Telescope For Money
- At the under $50
- Between $50 and $150
- At $150 to $300, I’ve picked two choices.
- Over $300
- What Not To Do
Reviews of The 10 Best Telescopes For Beginners
After looking over many factors, We’ve narrowed these down to the top five best. One key thing about each of the following telescopes is that they will be an excellent choice to get into the hobby, but they will also be useful for years to come even if you upgrade to a higher end option down the road. Here are some beginner telescopes that really fit the bill.
Which telescope is the best for beginners? Here’s our pick of the best amateur telescopes for beginners alike on the market.
Check out the features and reviews at the pages below to find out which one is the best pick for your stargazer..
If you are in the market for a telescope for beginners, here are our top picks for the best amateur telescopes for amatuers.
1.Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope
This is a great way to get a powerful telescope without having to pay thousands of dollars. One of the drawbacks of this type is that they can get out of alignment over time.
This scope has an innovative eyepiece which allows you to fine tune and adjust it yourself, eliminating the need to have it professionally aligned. The NexStar 130 uses “SkyAlign” to allow you to find and view thousands of objects without star charts or other tools.
2.Celestron 94303 Accessory Kit
This is an entry level product and if you want to have further enjoyment from your telescope you are going to need to buy better eye pieces so why don’t you skip this step and go for the higher quality from the start?
- Nice carrying case
- Variety of lens filters plus all important moon filter
- Well made with clear optics.
- Easy to use and comfortable for viewing.
- Excellent price / quality ratio
- Mediocre optics
- Poor eye relief
It is a good kit to get for extending the use of your telescope, perfect for any one who wants to star gaze. The filters are clear and clean. The lenses are also very well made too. Recommend the purchase of the product to all those who wish to know the universe with all its charms .
I’m not going to imply that these are the best eyepieces available but they are good eyepieces and they are incredibly affordable. So buy it for the case and the eyepieces and if you get any use out of the rest that is just frosting on the cake!
3.Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope
This highly rated model is one of the best telescopes for beginners because of the fact that it has a large (130mm) primary mirror which allows for a wider field of vision and greater brightness.
This is ideal for those just starting out in astronomy as it makes it much simpler to get a good look at objects in the sky. It is also simple to set up and align making start-up a breeze.
4.Meade ETX-80 AT-TC-BB Astro Telescope Kit + Astronomy Bundle
When you are starting out in astronomy, it is by no means a simple matter to find the right brand and model for your first serious telescope. Choosing the perfect beginner’s telescope has never been easy. Truth is: telescopes are confusing.
What you’ll discover as soon as you start investigating and asking questions is that you need to understand what you want to do with your telescope first. Then you’ll be able to pick the right instrument for your needs.
Start by figuring out what kind of a sky watcher you would like to be. If you can determine which profile most closely matches your interests and level of committment, it will be much easier to find telescope that fits.
For example, you might be a novice who wants a real telescope (not a cheap “toy”) that will allow you to see close-up details of the moon, Saturn’s rings, the moons of Jupiter, and maybe some deep-space objects like galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters. At the same time, you want a telescope that will be fun, easy to set up and move, and compact enough to take it to a local star party or on a camping trip.
If this sounds like you, a high-quality, compact telescope like the Meade ETX-80 Refractor might be just what you need. The achromatic refractor design makes for an ideal all-around scope. Combined with a solid tripod mount, the Meade ETX gives you razor sharp optics for viewing both earth and sky objects, in a portable package. It even makes an excellent long lens for astral photography. The 80 mm ETX is a relatively low-cost way for anyone to get into the backyard-astronomy game without frustration.
Meade also makes larger models in the entry-level ETX series, including the ETX-90PE and the ETX-125PE. The bigger the aperture of the telescope, the more light it will gather, and the more clearly you will be able to see distant objects. But nothing can beat the ETX-80 for portability plus enough light-gathering ability to see hundreds of the brightest astronomy targets in all their glory. This makes an unbeatable combination for many beginners.
This 80mm refracting Meade will allow you to quickly get up and looking to the sky with its easy to use aluminum tripod.
The telescope folds down and fits into an included nylon backpack which makes taking this great tool easy to take with you everywhere you go.
It weighs less than 20 pounds which is ideal for people taking it camping or on road trips. This model will automatically level itself off and align itself properly when looking at objects in the sky which helps beginners get a perfect view of anything they are interested in.
5.Celestron 80LCM Computerized Telescope
This might be the ideal telescope for you as it has an 80mm refractor which is a powerful option for an entry level scope.
The motorized base will automatically find objects in the sky from its large database, and you can mount your laptop to the telescope to make it even easier to find anything you’re looking for.
This also comes with “The Sky X” planetarium software which will make it easier to find things and help you learn about what you’re looking at as well.
6.iOptron 9402 Astroboy 60mm Computerized Telescope
This made our ‘best telescopes’ list for a variety of reasons, but above all it is because it is very simple to use and very affordable. Coming in at around $160 it is the least expensive on the list, but it still comes with some very desirable features.
You can attach it to your computer and have it automatically find any of over 4000 heavenly objects ranging from planets to distant galaxies. You can also enter over 250 user-defined objects so you can track your favorite things.
Meade LightBridge Telescopes
If you’re looking for the biggest bank for the buck in an entry-level astronomy telescope, you should take a close look at a Dobsonian reflector telescope. Meade makes an excellent line of Dobsonian mounted Newtonian reflectors, known as the LightBridge series.
The Dobsonian design offers great value in affordable aperture. That means you get superior light-gathering ability at a bargain price, so you can see the deep sky with great detail and brightness. This is perfect for the back-yard astronomy enthusiast who wants to see really faint objects such as distant galaxies, nebulas and star clusters… without spending a lot of money.
The Meade LightBridge Dobsonian reflector telescopes are easy to use, and beginners will have no difficulty setting up a LightBridge and finding prominent objects in the night sky. But they are not suitable for terrestrial viewing (such as wildlife observation) or astrophotography. They excel at providing the largest aperture for the money, and they are also lightweight and reasonably portable.
The LightBridge telescope is a truss-tube Dobsonian design that breaks down and sets up quickly, so you can take your telescope out to a favorite dark sky location without any hassle. The Meade name and technology gives you high quality optics, premium components, and ultra portability, all for about the same price as an ordinary dobsonian. Each LightBridge telescope comes complete and ready to stargaze with features like steel RA roller bearings, an advanced four-reticle red dot finder, a premium QX 2″ wide-angle eyepiece, a primary mirror cooling fan, plus altitude and azimuth tension adjustments that help keep your telescope on target.
Meade offers four models of varying aperture and size in the LightBridge series, ranging from 8 inches up to a deluxe 16-inch aperture design. Each comes equipped with a 26mm Series 4000 QX wide-angle eyepiece.
Celestron 21061 Beginners Telescope
The Celestron 21061 AutoMaster is an excellent telescope for beginners. Perfect for children, teens and even adults who are learning to stargaze, this scope comes with everything to get you started quickly.
Setup is a breeze and the Celestron scope is sturdy and easy to use with no learning curve. The tripod is preassembled and there is no need for tools to get up and running quickly.
In addition to the high quality telescope, this set comes with “The Sky” Level 1 planetarium software and a 10,000 object database with enhanced images to guide your stargazing fun. It is everything you could want from a beginners telescope – quality equipment, ease of use and quick setup!
Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope
Gazing stars during the night is one expensive hobby. Fortunately, there are a handful of reasonably-priced telescopes such as the Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope that can fit any beginner’s budget.
Finding stars using the telescope is easy. With its patented SkyAlign technology, you don’t have to wait for long until you track the star that you are looking for.
The Celestron NextStar 8 is a very high specification, very powerful, fully computer controlled telescope. With its’ great features, and high quality, it is, unsurprisingly, a pretty expensive piece of equipment, but if you want fantastic results, with easy tracking of objects, then this telescope is the one to get.
With excellent optics and computerized “GoTo” tracking, this beast of a telescope outstrips 90% of telescopes at its on price range, with its competitors being bulky and hard to operate.
It Telescope is light, portable and affordable for anyone serious about Astronomy. So it isn’t much of a surprise that each and every Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope reviews that we have seen so far has given it very glowing ratings indeed.
Excellent Views from Its Powerful Optics
The Celestron NexStar 8 SE does not skimp with the quality of its optic lenses. It uses an 8” Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope equipped with a large aperture to capture the stars, the planets, or the moon in full detail. More than that, the telescope comes with high transmission StarBright XLT coatings that give a sleek look to the machine.
Equipped with a Unique SkyAlign Technology
The NexStar 8 SE is a very user-friendly item to use. It is fit for beginners who have no technical knowledge as to finding the exact locations of the celestial bodies. With simple settings and a few seconds, the telescope will automatically scan the sky to search for the stars and align in place.
Object Database of At Least 40,000
Users can simply select their preferred object from the 40,000 database of the NexStar 8 SE . There are many different items to choose from such as Messier, Solar System, and NGC objects. After that, the telescope will automatically scan and align the object that has been chosen by the user.
With this scope, seeing objects like Saturn, its rings and the Cassini Division becomes a cakewalk.Various Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope reviews have noted that while observing Jupiter, the pale orange color of the famous Great Red Spot is sharply visible. It produces beautiful and breathtaking images of the polar caps and spot dust storms on the planet Mars. The 20mm Plossl eyepiece enables you to see galaxies and star clusters and stare in wonder for hours on end about your own minuteness in this Universe. It also enabled people to view larger deep space highlights like the Andromeda Galaxy and the Orion Nebula.
Mechanical Stability & Usability
The incredibly exceptional and intuitive Go To button quickly locates and positions the star of your choice. The scope has a sturdy computerized alt-azimuth mount. The build quality,as noted by all Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope reviews, is robust – Everything’s secure, tough, and can withstand a lot. You can carry and wheel it around extremely rough terrain.
To use the “SkyAlign” technology, all you need to do is to enter the date and time, and point the telescope at three bright stars.
The scope features a quick-release fork arm mount, optical tube and accessory tray for no-tool setup.
- Equipped with excellent optics and imaging capabilities.
- Perfect Go-To and object tracking performance and SkyAlign technology.
- Produces and captures great images of the stars, the planets, and other celestial bodies.
- Portable and lightweight for something that carries a large aperture size.
- Easy to set up and relocate; portable.
- Excellent optics
- Easy computerized GoTo tracking
- Light, portable and affordable
- Does not come with its own power cord.
- The single fork arm and mount is sensitive to vibration when used for long periods.
- Plastic accessories
- Short battery life
- Too light for astro-photography
This is the largest of Celestrons’ Nexstar family. It has an 8” aperture, for 78% more light gathering than a 6” telescope, and the more light you can gather, the clearer, and brighter the images.
The focal length is an impressive 2,032mm, which gives you strong magnification in a compact tube length. This is due to the ‘Schmidt – Cassegrain’ design, where light entering the telescope is bounced twice around inside the tube before being reflected into the eyepiece.
In all, this gives you a maximum useable magnification of 480x, which is a fantastic result for such a compact design.
All mirrors and lenses are ‘StarBright XLT’ coated for superb clarity and long life. But the highlight of this product, and the reason it is so popular, is the Nexstar computer technology that finds and then tracks objects for you, with very little operator input needed. With 40,000 objects in the database, you are never going to run out of objects to view, and that can be updated by connecting the tracking equipment to your PC, using the NexRemote software and RS232 cable supplied.
Aligning the telescope is easy, with Celestrons’ patented SkyAlign technology, which can be set up by focusing on any 3 objects, using the attached StarPointer finderscope. You then use the LCD hand control to enter the details of what you wish to view, and the DC servo motors will move the optical tube to the correct position, tracking the object as it moves around the sky.
If it sounds complicated, don’t worry, as full instructions are included, with a handy ‘quick start’ guide if you want to get going in a matter of minutes.
The Celestron Nexstar 8 is held up by sturdy steel legs, locked in position by a handy accessory tray. With telescopes of this power, and precision, it’s important to have a solid base to rest on, as any shaking will make it difficult to see very distant objects clearly, so strong legs are a welcome, and essential feature.
It all fits together easily, using patented quick release fork arm mounts, so you don’t need any tools to attach the tube, mount, and tripod together.
Overall, the Celestron NexStar 8 SE Telescope is a great product. Many customers have been raving about its excellent optics performance and it shows on the images played out by the telescope.
Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker Telescope
The Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is quite simply the most powerful telescope you can buy at this price range. It’s also a very good looking, well made device, and is widely regarded as the best combination of power, price, and performance.
Celestron are one of the best known manufacturers of telescopes for home use, and this reputation has been gained by years of making high quality, yet affordable products.
The Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is a great little beginner and refractor telescope. Most entry level scopes at this price range are junk but this one holds its own. 5 inch Aperture for under 150 bucks is very reasonable. the optics are good, it has a large aperture, a solid mount, and comes with one useful eyepiece.
The 127EQ commands a LOT of respect as has been noted in almost all the Celestron 127EQ Powerseeker Telescope reviews . We analyzed the Celestron as a starter telescope for the uninitiated and found it to be a very decent buy for its segment of reflecting telescopes, with excellent image quality and high usability.
I want to start by saying this is a very good starter beginner – intermediate level scope, would recommend this telescope because it is the most powerful one you can get in its price range.
The Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is a Reflector, or Newtonian telescope, meaning that light enters an aperture at one end, is bounced off a mirror, and picked reflected into the eyepiece. This bouncing of light effectively doubles the focal length of the telescope, increasing magnification in a shorter tube.
The 127 of the name refers to the 127mm aperture size, (5”), and the focal length is 1000mm (40”), making this a fairly powerful telescope, well able to see the rings of Saturn, and distant galaxies and nebulae.
In the kit, you will find the following – Telescope tube made of sturdy aluminum, with a specially designed mirror housing. This housing minimizes the need for ‘collimation’, or mirror adjustment, which can be tricky for a newcomer, but is actually not too difficult. Full instructions are included.
You will also get two eyepieces, one of 20mm, with 50x magnification, and one of 4mm with 250x magnification, as well as a 3x Barlow lens, which effectively triples magnification.
Don’t get carried away with these figures though. With telescopes, the maximum magnification is usually irrelevant. If you looked at an object at the maximum magnification with this telescope, it would be a blurry mess. So always look for the maximum useful magnification, which in this case is a still very impressive, and class – leading, 200x.
All lenses and mirrors are coated with aluminum and quartz, to give long life, and sharp images. The eyepieces also have anti-reflection coatings so you are not looking at a reflection of your own eye when looking down them.
Attached to the tube is a 5 x 24mm Finderscope. This helps you to locate objects by looking down the viewfinder, and aligning the object with the crosshairs.
The German Equatorial Mount is a great piece of equipment that attaches to the tube without the need for special tools.
The mount features slow motion controls for smooth, easy tracking of objects, and this is aided by the inclusion of a counterweight, which makes moving the telescope tube even easier.
To find objects, the mount has ‘setting circles’. Following the instructions, you first line the mount up with the Celestial North Pole.
With a star chart, or co-ordinates of the object you wish to view, you turn a control knob on the setting circles to the correct Right Ascension (left/right), and Declination, (up/down). It’s easy to get the hang of this, so if you are new to astronomy, don’t worry, it will soon be second nature. The mount really is a well engineered piece of kit, especially for the budget.
The Aluminum Tripod is is fully adjustable, easy to fit, and comes with an accessory tray which serves the dual purposes of holding spare lenses, and keeping the legs correctly splayed.
Easy setup, great images
- Optical Precision
One of its most lauded features that all those people who have written Celestron 127EQ Powerseeker Telescope reviews have noted is the high quality, and how suited it is for beginners. This telescope provides highly lucid images of the moon on a clear night. Customers also report being able to see upto 150 craters on the moon with this scope.
It is also well suited for shallow space viewing, with sharp images of Jupiter and its 4 moons. However, to view more deep space objects such as nebulae, you may consider switching to more powerful telescopes. This model is equipped with a good eyepiece and a large aperture. As a beginner telescope, and most Celestron 123EQ Powerseeker Telescope reviews, the optical precision of the telescope would get a 9/10.
- Mechanical Simplicity & Ease of Use
Being a reflector telescope, it is easy to use. We recommend getting a collimating eyepiece, as various Celestron 127EQ Powerseeker Telescope reviews noted troubles in the collimation process. The step-by-step guide is all you need to fully unlock the true potential of this telescope. Their sturdy equatorial mounts are useful for tracking objects in the night sky, and the collapsible alt-azimuth mounts are perfectly suited for terrestrial (land) viewing as well as astronomical use.
Navigating the sky using the included “The Sky Level 1”software makes it easy and straight forward. Even beginners can navigate to the moon, mars, and Saturn very quickly. 9/10
- Setup & Stability
Many Celestron 127EQ Powerseeker Telescope reviews have especially noted how quick it is to setup, with its no-tools-required assembly. We recommend pre-tightening all the wingnuts for easy future use. The Aluminium German Equatorial mount provides reasonable stability, reasonable being the key word here. 7/10.
- Many Celestron 127EQ Powerseeker Telescope reviews have suggested the need to upgrade the eyepieces for better optical precision
- Collimation is tough – and we recommend using collimator eyepieces or a do-it-yourself collimation by marking the primary mirror.
- Quick and easy no-tool setup
- Slow motion controls for smooth tracking
- Erect image optics – Ideal for terrestrial and astronomical use
- Fully coated glass optical components with high transmission coatings for enhanced image brightness and clarity
- 3x Barlow lens triples the magnifying power of each eyepiece
- Accessory tray for convenient storage of accessories
- “The Sky” Level 1 planetarium software with 10,000 object database and enhanced images
- Not for children under 3 yrs.
It is a great starter telescope to see good definition on the moon. This unit is easy to assemble and is a great unit. this scope makes it very easy to track a star across the sky as the Earth turns. It only requires the turn of a single knob.
For the price, this telescope is highly recommended. If you are a beginner, you can buy this one safe in the knowledge that it will last you for years, and you can upgrade it easily by purchasing additional lenses.
Overall a good investment if you want a good entry level scope that won’t break your bank and are willing to upgrade a few things somewhere down the road, The Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is a winner. if you are new at astronomy and didn’t want to spend too much for a telescope,this is best for you!
Since the beginning of time, man has been fascinated with the heavens. The twinkling lights of varying brightness in the night sky form an allure which is difficult to resist. The magical pull of the wonders beyond our atmosphere and even our galaxy have been the inspiration of many songs, tales, and myths throughout history. Taken by the marvels of these wonders of creation, many have undertaken quests to learn more, whether it be professionally in a field, or as a hobby in their own backyard.
Since Galileo Galilei first pointed his apparatus toward the night sky, telescopes have evolved with the times. As science became more advanced and astronomy more developed, telescopes grew to be more sophisticated and at the same time, easier to use. In today’s market they range from the incredibly advanced, computerized versions employed by NASA, to amateur telescopes able to be understood by the youngest learner.
The range of telescopes available can be confusing for a beginner seeking to delve further into the science of astronomy. For a brand-new beginner, it is best to start out with a pair of binoculars, or even the naked eye, taking the time studying familiarizing yourself with the placement of different stars and planets.
Types Of Telescopes
There are three main categories for telescopes: refracting, reflecting, and catadioptric. A refracting telescope brings in light and traps it, using a set of lens to bring it in to focus. A reflecting telescope, on the other hand, uses only mirrors to achieve the same purpose. A catadioptric design brings both of these options together with both mirrors and lens; this design has lately become especially favored by amateur astronomers. Each basic design has its own set of weaknesses and strengths, so that it is difficult to choose one particular type for any person.
Depending on the type, an amateur telescope can range anywhere from a few feet high to six feet across. The former is more convenient for a beginner, especially if one has to travel to set it up. Due to light pollution or space, many astronomers are unable to view the night sky clearly in their own environment such as their backyard, and instead pack up and move some distance away from home to get as far away from city lights as possible, in order to see the stars more clearly. Therefore, a giant six-foot telescope would be impractical; smaller telescopes are built for easier handling, to make portability a possibility.
Telescopes For Beginners – Top Tools For A New Stargazer
Astronomy, the science of studying planets, stars, sun, moon and the blaze of night sky lit with astral beauty, creates avid stargazers of many people. It’s hard to resist viewing comets or meteor showers, and the best part of star gazing is that it’s free. Telescopes are great tools to help sky watchers view all that encompasses the heavens at a closer range.
Telescopes are equipped with strong lenses to capture at a closer view certain constellations and the planets. Having a telescope is like having your own personal planetarium. All that’s needed is a good, strong telescope, a view of the night sky with as little light pollution as possible and a comfortable place to enjoy the astronomical theater overhead.
Telescopes For Beginners
It’s a good idea when purchasing a telescope for beginners to allow them to select it to learn the strength of telescope lenses as well as other functions. A telescope is basically a huge seeing eye that helps sky watchers scan the sky for millions of objects.
For beginners, it’s important they read the operational manual that is provided so they can understand how to focus the lenses of the telescope for particular use. They also need to know how to adjust the tripod, if this is an accessory sold with the telescope. If not, the beginner needs to learn how to balance the hand-held telescope for the best and most accurate lens capture. Along with this, purchase a beginner’s guide to help find the ever-changing positions of the stars and planets.
A View of the Moon
Most beginners with their newly acquired telescope choose to view the moon. It’s a good place to start because of its ready visibility. Next on their viewing list is the Big and Little Dippers, Orion and the Gemini Twins.
Best Lenses For Beginners
The actual name for the optical device of the telescope is an “eyepiece”. The eyepiece can be adjusted for the beginner’s focus and field of vision viewing. This is generally recognized as a “refracting” telescope where the lenses magnify the image it forms. Lenses are convex glass bent to enlarge the images.
Most telescopes for beginners use a refracting telescope. For most beginners, the width of the diameter of the lens determines the depth of magnification. The typical technical information for beginners is that the telescope should have a 127 mm aperture, a 1000 focal length and 3X lens.
Beginner telescope prices range from approximately $100 to several hundred dollars, depending on size and whether or not a tripod is included in the telescope package. Choosing a telescope that has potential for interchangeable lenses allows the user to advance in their star gazing hobby.
How to Pick the Best Beginner Telescope
If you or your child has a budding interest in astronomy, you may be looking for the best beginner telescope. Much of your buying decision will be based on your budget and viewing interests. We will take a look at the best options available in a variety of price ranges.
Many people will recommend that a beginner spend at least $300 on a telescope to get quality optics that will not disappoint. If you cannot afford to spend that much initially, it is generally recommended you get a good pair of binoculars and a good astronomy book. This way, you will be able to orient yourself with constellations and other features in the sky, and see some interesting details of the moon and possibly the planets.
Many cheap telescopes will try to impress you with their magnification ratings. Do not be fooled – high magnification with cheap optics often comes at the expense of brightness. You may be able to zoom way in and find a galaxy or planet, but it will appear very blurry and dim. It is often better to put a lower-magnification eyepiece on the telescope to get a better viewing experience.
Instead of magnification, the buyer of a beginner telescope should instead focus on the quality of optics. Look for glass lenses – they will deliver a brighter, sharper image. Also, make sure the eyepiece you are using is well-made, and that the telescope is known for having good alignment of its optics.
There are many advantages to getting a telescope with higher-quality optics. For one, your images will be sharper and in better focus. Also, better optics will allow for more light gathering, making your images appear brighter. Good optics will also make the advertised magnification of a telescope more meaningful, as the chances are better than you will have a better image at high magnification levels.
If you have less than $300 to spend, we would again urge you to consider a quality pair of binoculars and a good book on stargazing. If you really want to buy a telescope for under $300, there are a few decent buys available, but it pays to do your homework. You will be able to see some details of planets and galaxies with telescopes in this price range, but don’t expect the dramatic images you see in astronomy magazines.
If you have $300 to $500 to spend, you can get a very good beginner telescope. The best beginner telescope in this price range would be a 6″ to 10″ Dobsonian reflector coupled with a good eyepiece. Make sure you find a quality eyepiece, and don’t forget to take into account the mount – a cheap mount can make for a frustrating viewing experience.
If you are looking for the best beginner telescope in the $500-$1000 price range, your options are varied. Optics are generally very good in this price range. You may consider a 12″ Dobsonian reflector, with or without truss tubes, or if portability is more important, there are some good Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes in this price range.
Below are a few recommended products in different price ranges.
The 5 Best Beginner Telescope For Money
For the first-time buyer, choosing a telescope means an endless array of styles and price ranges that can sometimes be confusing. Fortunately the choice of design is far less important than a few key elements:
To decide what the best telescope for beginners is, you need to consider a couple of things, the most important of which is budget. How much you want to spend on a beginner’s telescope has the biggest effect on your choice, so I’ve split my recommendations into four categories, – Under $50, $50 to $150, $150 to $300, and Over $300.
Beginners will also want an easy to use telescope, one that is quick to set up, one that requires little or no maintenance, and possibly a telescope that can be up-graded without having to buy a new one, so I’ve considered all these factors when making my recommendations.
At the under $50
you have to realize that you get what you pay for, and many, if not most telescopes in this price range are really not worth buying, you will get a cheaply made product, with poor lenses and mirrors, that will just end up frustrating you, and putting you off astronomy for life.
But, there is one telescope that I can recommend, and that is the Celestron Powerseeker 50 Refractor telescope. Made by the leading manufacturer of home use telescopes, this is a classic looking item, that anyone completely new to astronomy will immediately know how to use.
You line up the telescope using that attached viewfinder, focus on what you want to look at, and look down the eyepiece; it’s as simple at use as that.
Celestron are well known for only making quality products, as they have a reputation to keep, and they know that if you start out with one of their telescopes, you are likely to stay with the brand as you up grade to bigger, more expensive ones.
Between $50 and $150
you are starting to get a much wider choice, and you can now look at proper telescopes that will show you the bands of clouds on Jupiter, or the rings of Saturn, as well as some of the brighter galaxies and nebulae.
My personal favourite in this range is another Celestron telescope, the 127EQ Powerseeker, which is a fantastic looking Reflector telescope, where light enters an open aperture, is bounced off a mirror on the closed end, and then reflected into the eyepiece.
Many reflector telescopes need a certain amount of setting up, but the 127EQ Powerseeker is very easy, with no tools required, and you should be viewing stars and planets within minutes.
Again, it’s very good quality for the price, and can be upgraded with different eyepieces, and lenses as required. Celestron supply a very good accessories kit just for this purpose.
At $150 to $300, I’ve picked two choices.
The best telescope in this price range is the Orion SkyQuest XT4.5 Dobsonian, which looks like a huge telescope, but for a Dobsonian, is actually quite small. Just make sure you have somewhere to store it, and be aware that it weighs 22lbs, and is quite bulky.
Dobsonian telescopes are very powerful for the prices, as they have long tubes, and a long tube gives you a long focal length, which is a key factor in increased magnification.
While this type of telescope is not complicated, it will still take a few minutes to set up correctly, and the XT4.5 comes with a great range of accessories, which are easily upgraded when you want.
If the size puts you off, then the Orion Starmax 90mm Tabletop telescope is very small, but still very powerful It’s a Maksutov Cassegrain design, which bounces light around twice, to give a long focal length in a short tube.
This is another high quality item, which will last you years, but must be placed in a sturdy table to avoid any shaking. I would always recommend getting a tripod for this telescope, just to make it steady, and raise the height of the eyepiece for comfortable viewing.
You are getting into serious telescopes, where a beginner may become overwhelmed by the choice and complexity on offer.
For a each of use, you may want to get one of the excellent computer controlled telescopes, which allow you to enter the co-ordinates, or even the name of an object, and the computer does the rest.
The easiest one I have seen for this is the Celestron Nexstar 5 SE, which is a powerful device, yet easy to operate, with quality construction, and a wide range of extra accessories that you can buy to make this a telescope that will last a lifetime.
This is the mid level telescope in a range that have the same basic features, just varying power, and cost.
For beginners in astronomy the ever increasing range of telescope types and brands can be overwhelming making it difficult to choose the all important first scope.
Generally speaking the more you are able to spend, the better the results you can expect. This will enable you to enjoy your hobby more especially in the early stages when a good scope will make your life so much easier.
What Not To Do
The worst thing you can do is buy a cheap telescope from a department store as this type of telescope tends to perform badly because they are poorly constructed. This will lead to nothing but frustration because you won’t be able to see anything properly and could well put you off astronomy for life. This would be a dreadful outcome as astronomy is such a rewarding hobby.
So how should you go about choosing telescopes for beginners? I have made some suggestions of telescopes that I know are popular with beginners. This is based on ease of use and the overall observing experience. Your selection will of course also depend on your budget.
A small, simple, but quality telescope is all a beginner needs. You can carry it around, set it up anywhere, and see enough neat things in the sky to find out if you really like star gazing and to allow you to do it until you can afford the “big boy scopes.” Just don’t buy anything less than 80mm in lens width or you won’t have much to see.
No matter which you choose you will see the lunar landscape like you never thought possible, details on planets, bright galaxies and nebulas—as well as stunning star clusters.
Before you buy,you should consider is one that has interchangeable eyepieces, a good finderscope, a smooth working focuser, a steady, rugged mount and quality optics. Wether you select any of the above models or find a different one on your own, we wish you the best of luck! Happy star gazing!