Best Computerized Telescope 2021; GoTo Reviews

Here in this “Best Computerized Telescope” article we’ve rounded up 15 of the best computerized GoTo telescopes of various types, specifications, and budget perfectly suited for beginners, intermediates or advanced astronomers.. Below, you’ll find in-depth reviews of each, as well as an elaborate buying guide to help you pick out the one that suits you the most.

The Computerized Telescope allows experienced and non-experienced astronomers alike to easily navigate their way through the night sky.

The innovation of the computerized telescope helped introduce hundreds of thousands of people to the hobby of astronomy. Now, it’s easier than ever for beginners to get started. 

Computerized telescopes make finding even faint objects fast and convenient. This article carries the latest and the best in computerized GoTo telescopes, from small, low-priced models for beginning stargazers to premium GoTo telescopes for enthusiasts.

Best Computerized Telescope

COMPARISON TABLE

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What are Computerized Telescopes?

With the assistance of a  Computerized Telescope, the amateur astronomer can have their telescopes guide them through the night sky through a few basic initial steps (these steps can differ depending on what alignment system the telescope mount accepts). 

With a simple computerized hand controller, time and date must be entered (if there is no built in GPS system) and the observer must slide to two named stars so the computerized GoTo mount can calculate coordinates accurately.

This is especially helpful if you are observing from a suburban setting, where light pollution may hinder your ability to see stars. 

Many GoTo telescopes also have a built-in GPS system to make alignment even easier. With a GPS enhanced telescope, there is no need for lengthy data entry, such as date, time, or location. Your GPS-enhanced telescope will do it all for you.

Some computerized telescopes, called PushTo telescopes, are moved manually by the user, following instructions on the hand controller’s readout. Others, called GoTo telescopes, have electric motors that move the telescope automatically to the target. 

Either way, once you try a computerized telescope, you won’t ever go back to searching for objects the old fashioned way.

Best GoTo Telescope 2021

Best For Beginners

Celestron – NexStar 5SE

Celestron’s NexStar 5SE is popularly bought and recommended as the best GoTo computerized telescope for beginners.

The Celestron NexStar 5 SE is a top Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with an aperture of 5 inches that provides accurate images of the celestial bodies, with the touch of a button

NexStar’s technology includes a database of almost 40,000 celestial bodies to see and learn about. With this NexStar telescope, you will go from amateur to pro in no time.

With the help of a DSLR and a computer, you can even take the time exposure video remotely

As an amateur if you want to show off your budding talents to your friends and family then this is the best telescope for you. 

You can easily shoot beautiful time exposure video of solar or lunar eclipse and enjoy it with your friends and family

Setting it up is easy as you will not need any tools to set it up, and you can do it in a couple of minutes.

After entering the Date, Time and GPS location (you can get in your mobile app) you just have to point the telescope to the three brightest stars in the sky, rest is taken care by StarAlign technology built in the telescope. 

The design of the Celestron NexStar 5 SE is also very practical, with its fork arm design and sturdy steel tripod

The 5SE comes with a single 25mm 1.25” Plossl eyepiece which provides 50x magnification.

The scope is designed with amateurs in mind as it is small, light, and easy to transport from place to place and easy to set up in order to provide an excellent stargazing experience. 

You can even dismantle it into its separate components and take it with you on your expeditions.

Due to its erect image lens technology, it is both good for celestial viewing as well as equatorial viewing such as bird watching, enjoying the view of nature, mountains etc.

Pros:

  • Perfect for amateur astronomers since the automatic GoTo mount with a database of over 40,000 celestial objects 
  • Highly portable – fits easily in the back of a normal car
  • Can be used with a camera
  • 2-year limited warranty

Cons:

  • Short battery life
  • Too light for deep space photography

Best For Astrophotography

Celestron CPC 800 XLT

The Celestron CPC 800 comes with its own SkyAlign feature by the NexStar Computer Control Technology. Simply follow the directions in the screen and wait for a few minutes while the system aligns to the chosen star or celestial body. 

This computerized telescope from Celestron comes with a solid build so you know it will last for years. The drive base and CPC tripod are constructed from sturdy materials which ensures plenty of stability no matter where you decide to set the telescope up.

The Celestron CPC 800 is state of the art fork-mounted Schmidt-Cassegrain scope. It includes the premium StarBright XLT coatings. 

It features an internal GS receiver, which downloads the date and time automatically from orbiting satellites, pinpointing its exact position on earth. 

The telescope has an 8 inch aperture. An 8 inch aperture guarantees that you will be able to view thousands of stars, planets and other deep space objects while the telescope is still portable enough for easy set-up and use.

Its SkyAlign technology allows you to align on any three bright celestial objects, making for a fast and easy alignment process and with a 9×50 optical finderscope it helps you look for your desired celestial objects.

It comes with a 1.25″ star diagonal along with a 40mm Plössl eyepiece that yields 51x magnification. The motorized dual-tine fork mount has dual-axis servo motors that provide precision movements and an integrated 16-channel GPS receiver that sends information to the hand controller and requires limited input from the user. 

The included stainless steel tripod helps reduce vibrations to ensure clear resolution during observation or imaging sessions.

The Celestron 800 XLT is one of the best computerized telescopes for astrophotography and deep space objects because of its extraordinary optics and heavy-duty mount.

Additionally, it comes with sturdy handles that allow you to comfortably lift and move the telescope from one location to another. 

The large levers and knobs are easy to hold and use. 

It also comes with a star diagonal that provides a more comfortable viewing position when observing deep space objects.

The Goto feature works well once all objects are aligned, also the hand control is easy to use while the button layout is also easy to master. 

It’s convenient to be able to choose a variety of objects with the touch of a button. This means that even if you aren’t an expert on star names and constellations, you can still get to viewing right away. Also, needless to say, that the view from the scope is outstanding.

Pros:

  • Easy to setup and use
  • Amazing optics produce great quality images
  • Perfect for astrophotography and viewing deep space objects
  • The GoTo system is remarkable
  • Tripod and mount are both extremely steady
  • Light gathering capacity 843x greater than the human eye

Cons:

  • Bright power light
  • Doesn’t come with a power cord
Related

Best Computerized Dobsonian 

SkyWatcher S11800 

The USP of the SkyWatcher S11800 GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian is that it is amazingly portable and is one of the best GoTo computerized dobsonians available in the market today.

This collapsible telescope features a patented truss tube system that enables the front corrector plate/eyepiece assembly to be moved back and locked against the main rear tube to reduce the size for storage and transportation.

Thanks to its collapsible truss tube, the scope becomes small enough to fit in most hatchbacks or on a back seat. It is truly portable, and once assembled, can be set up and ready to use in minutes.

The included SynScan computerized hand control is the brain behind the Sky-Watcher GoTo Dobsonian. 

It allows you to point your telescope at a specific object, or even tour the night sky at the touch of a button!

With an internal database of more than 42,000 celestial objects, this easy-to-use hand control can locate any object you see in the night sky with push-button ease. 

You can even let your Sky-Watcher GoTo Dobsonian take you on a tour of all the best objects based on your time and location. 

In order to increase the light-gathering factor of this no-fuss scope’s mirror-based optical system, the two mirrors are coated with a layer of hard quartz and an additional layer of titanium dioxide.

The Sky-Watcher Dobsonian SynScan telescope has a patented dual encoder design incorporated to record the position of the telescope. 

best computerized telescope

Under the Auto-Tracking Mode, you may choose to move the telescope, either manually or electronically, to any position without deactivating the tracking mode. 

The AZ GoTo mode provides extensive computerized GoTo functions to assist you in finding and enjoying numerous celestial and deep space objects.

The 8-Inch Sky-Watcher Dobsonian SynScan is precision engineered telescope that will allow you to easily find and enjoy night sky treasures like Saturn, Jupiter, and other planets in the solar system, plug a huge array of deep-sky objects including galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, and more. 

This Dobsonian was carefully engineered to combine ease of use, extreme portability and consistent performance in an affordable package. 

No doubt, there are other truss tube designs, but the Sky-Watcher Collapsible Dobsonian does not need to be disassembled between uses. 

It transports as two compact pieces that can be assembled, collimated easily and ready to use in just seconds.

Pros:

  • Collapsible tube design for extreme portability
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Wide 8’ aperture and wide field view
  • Best for dso, planets, galaxies and more
  • Perfect for all-level users

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No collimation tool provided

Best Under $400

Celestron – NexStar 90SLT

The Celestron NexStar 90SLT Black Mak Computerized Telescope is a perfect consideration for entry-level to mid-level astronomers. It is a compact instrument that possesses top-notch features at a reasonable price. 

The Celestron NexStar 90SLT 90mm f/14 Maksutov-Cassegrain is one of the best affordable computerized telescope as it gives you the ability to make detailed observations of the Moon, with the ability to easily see planets and reach outside the solar system to resolve bright deep-space objects like galaxies, nebulae, and binary or variables stars. 

With preassembled, adjustable stainless steel tripods, and quick release fork arms and tubes, NexStar SLT telescopes can be set up in a matter of minutes with no tools required.

The brain of the NexStar SLT is the venerable NexStar computer controller. Equipped with a database of over 4000 objects, including the planets, stars, nebulae, galaxies, and the complete Messier catalog, it can also be programmed with up to 99 custom user-defined objects and filters for custom object lists. 

Its intuitive menu-driven user interface provides the power to observe the heavens with nine slew speeds and three tracking rates, plus anti-backlash compensation. 

Best Computerized Telescope Under $400

For users who want to learn more about the sky they are observing, the scope comes with Sky Astronomy Software. This software provides the user with information about the nighttime sky, celestial objects and sky maps to enrich the viewing experience. 

The Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system’s Maksutov corrector lens is fully coated on both sides with anti reflective material for high light transmission and good contrast. A no-tool quick release dovetail connects the tube to the mount for fast set-up and take-down.

The scope comes with two eyepieces The first is a 25mm providing 50x magnification, which provides expansive views of the Moon, star clusters, and terrestrial observing. The second is a 9mm providing 139x for close-up views of the Moon and planets, globular star clusters, binary stars and more.

With the built-in SkyAlign technology, lining up your 90SLT on the sky each night takes only minutes. Simply input the date, time, and your location into the computer hand control, then use the StarPointer red dot finder to align the telescope on any three bright stars, or to two stars and a bright planet or the Moon. The NexStar computer will automatically align itself with the sky.

Pros:

  • Excellent quality optics
  • Compact, travel-friendly and portable
  • Computerized go-to tracking
  • Features “The Sky X” planetarium software
  • Automatic alignment

Cons:

  • Battery runs out quickly

Best For Intermediates

Celestron – NexStar 6SE

The NexStar 6SE offers consumers the proven quality of the Celestron brand in a compact, portable, and technologically advanced telescope. 

The scope’s 6-inch aperture, portable design, fully functional computer, and extensive database, among other features, make it easy to use, easy to transport, and easy to enjoy regardless of experience level. The NexStar 6SE is quite evidently the best celestron telescope under $1000 on our list.

The NexStar 6SE is a 6-inch Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope, which has an actual aperture of 150 mm and focal length of 1,500 mm, giving it a focal ratio of f/10. The OTA comes on a Vixen-style dovetail bar, which fits into the dovetail saddle on the mount.

The telescope also comes with a 1.25” prism diagonal, 25 mm Plossl eyepiece (providing 60x when used with the 6SE) and Celestron’s StarPointer, which is a zero-power red-dot-style finder.

The Celestron NexStar 6 SE is a solid and sturdy telescope, perfect for home use and astrophotogaphy.

The Celestron NexStar 6 SE is easy to align with Celestron’s SkyAlign Go-To Alignment system

On average it takes a new telescope user approximately 5 minutes to do a full sky alignment with the NexStar 6 SE. 

Best Computerized Telescope Under $1000

Once aligned, the telescope is incredibly easy to operate. The hand controller on the NexStar 6SE allows you to move the telescope at your discretion. If you are looking for a telescope that can help you transition from beginner to a bit advanced astronomer without much guidance then look no further than the NexStar 6SE as it one of the best rated computerized telescope that money can buy.

The NexStar 6SE’s hand controller offers a tour of the night sky and easily allows you to locate planets, galaxies or any of the 40,000 celestial objects in its database.

To power the 6SE you have two options, 8x AA batteries or 12v DC power supply. The 8x AA batteries would last you about 3 hours (included alignment of finderscope and general terrestrial viewing and the 40 minute observation session). 

You can download all the available upgrades from Celestron’s website. In this way, you can keep your telescope up to date, and you can even control your telescope via computer.

The 6SE makes a good choice for consumers living in areas with light-pollution who are looking for clarity and accuracy in their viewing experience. 

It is also one of the best telescopes for beginners under $1000 who are willing to invest a fair sum of money into the hobby in order to learn more about the star gazing experience. Also, the 6SE is a good choice even for more experienced star gazers who wish to have a more portable scope for easier transport and for viewing deep space objects.

Pros:

  • Easy to mount and to use
  • Good optics
  • It’s very sturdy and low maintenance
  • Motorised and automated GoTo mount
  • Portable, fits perfectly in the back of any normal car

Cons:

  • 8 AA batteries tend to drain out fairly quickly
  • User manual and instructions are not very clear

Best For Professionals

Celestron – Advanced VX 8”

  • Type: Aplanatic Schmidt
  • Aperture: 203.2mm (8″)
  • Focal length: 2032mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/10
  • Mount: Computerized – GoTo
  • Eyepiece: 40mm
  • Magnification: 51x
  • Weight: 59 lb (26.7 kg)
  • Our Rating: 9.6/10

The Celestron Advanced Series VX 8 inch EdgeHD telescope delivers amazingly flat field views of the night sky. The new Advanced VX Mount improves overall telescope performance making it a robust astro imaging platform. You will be amazed at how fast you obtain imaging results.

This package combines the groundbreaking Advanced VX mount with Celestron’s best optics, the EdgeHD optical system. This setup offers the astrophotographer maximum versatility – allowing up to 3 different f-stop configurations. 

Users can attach a camera to the rear of the telescope and shoot at f/10, or attach Celestron’s optional 8″ focal reducer (sold separately, coming soon) and shoot at f/7. 

Additionally, Celestron EdgeHD telescopes are Fastar/Hyperstar compatible, giving astrophotographers the option to shoot at ultra-fast f/2. No matter which configuration you choose, EdgeHD technology gives you pinpoint stars all the way to the edge of the CCD sensor.

The Celestron’s optics and systems require an extraordinary amount of power, the equivalent of a car battery. Celestron, therefore, offers a bundle that includes a 12-volt power supply. A 12-volt equivalent and an adapter will be needed if you plan to substitute your own.

A 2-year warranty is included on the telescope in the case of any unfortunate accidents. 

With an 8″ optical tube and Celestron’s portable and fully featured Advanced VX mount, the Celestron Advanced 8″ EdgeHD telescope setup can be easily transported and assembled by one person. You’ll also have plenty of load capacity to attach your camera and other accessories. 

This setup is simple enough for a beginner to use, but can also provide years of enjoyment for sophisticated DSLR astrophotography.

Celestron’s Advanced VX mount was specifically designed to provide optimum imaging performance for smaller telescopes. Now your smaller telescope can take advantage of All-Star Polar Alignment and autoguider support. 

You’ll be able to track through long exposures using permanently programmable periodic error correction. Capture astrophotos across the meridian without doing a meridian flip, so you can seamlessly image the best part of night sky. 

Advanced VX features significantly larger base castings than Celestron’s previous design, improving stability under heavier loads. Improved motors offer more torque and can handle slight load imbalances with ease.

Pros:

  • Corrector optic component in the focuser tube enables a very flat field that is superior to the performance of other “Coma Free” telescopes
  • The HyperStar attachment provides a wide-aperture f-2, wide-field scope while also enabling expremem narrow field (f-10), ideal for deep space photography
  • The secondary mirror holds its settings perfectly even with multiple removals and replacements
  • Great for general viewing, it being a Schmidtt-Cassegrain you will get images that are both inverted and reversed.

Cons:

  • The rail on which the scope is mounted will only consistently work with Celestron branded mounts.

Best Entry Level Telescope

Celestron – 114LCM 

The Celestron 114LCM 114mm f/9 Computerized GoTo Reflector Telescope features a 114mm diameter parabolic primary mirror that is coated with highly-reflective aluminum to allow for detailed observation of the Moon and planets, with the ability to reach outside our solar system and view binary stars, clusters, galaxies, and nebulae.

The 114LCM consists of an optical tube with a 4.5-inch mirror and a focal length of 1000mm giving a focal ratio of f/9. It has a basic rack and pinion focuser that takes 1.25-inch eyepieces: 25mm and 9mm eyepieces are provided giving magnifications of 40x and 111x.

The Celestron 114LCM has over three and a half times the light gathering capacity of a typical 60mm starter scope. That means visibly brighter deep space images and the ability to see many more faint objects than a 60mm scope could ever hope to show. 

It has 90% more resolution than a 60mm scope as well, to let you see more sharper and detailed views of the Moon, planets, binary stars, and star clusters.

A built-in StarPointer red dot finder helps to aim the telescope, especially during the alignment phase.

The tube is attached to the motorised base via a Vixen-style mounting bar that connects to the aluminium tripod using a bolt on the underside.

The Celestron 114 LCM is one of the best budget computerized telescopes for viewing planets and galaxies and it comes with a standard StarPointer red dot finder and an extremely short orange anodized aluminum Vixen style dovetail.

The NexStar+ LCM hand controller lets you control, align and operate the telescope. It has a database of 4,000 targets including Solar System, Messier, NGC and Caldwell objects, along with double stars, variable stars and more.

The telescope features a single fork arm altazimuth design with pre-installed enclosed dual DC servo motor drives. 

A compartment in the drive base accepts eight user-supplied AA batteries for powering the telescope. An optional AC adapter and rechargeable battery pack are available to conserve battery life. 

The preassembled tripod has aluminum legs to damp vibrations quickly. The center leg brace holds a convenient no-tool quick-release accessory tray to keep your eyepieces and accessories.

Pros:

  • Beginner friendly GoTo telescope
  • Decent optics
  • Free download of astronomy software programs for an interactive sky simulation
  • Multiple accessories

Cons:

  • Weak battery life
  • Calibration can take some time

Best For Deep Space Objects

SkyWatcher Flextube 250 SynScan

The SkyWatcher’s 10” mirror delves deep into the universe, allowing you to see thousands of deep space objects from Saturn, Jupiter, & Mars to galaxies, nebulae and star clusters millions of light years away.

This collapsible telescope features a patented truss tube system that enables the front corrector plate/eyepiece assembly to be moved back and locked against the main rear tube to reduce the size for storage and transportation.

The included SynScan computerized hand control is the brain behind the Sky-Watcher GoTo Dobsonian. 

It allows you to point your telescope at a specific object, or even tour the night sky at the touch of a button!

The Sky-Watcher is one of the best GoTo dobsonian telescope on the marketplace today. With an internal database of more than 42,000 celestial objects, this easy-to-use hand control can locate any object you see in the night sky with push-button ease. 

You can even let your Sky-Watcher GoTo Dobsonian take you on a tour of all the best objects based on your time and location. 

To get started, all you have to do is – perform a simple alignment procedure.

SkyWatcher S11810 GoTo Collapsible Dobsonian is one of the best GoTo telescope for deep space observation.

This Dobsonian was carefully engineered to combine ease of use, extreme portability and consistent performance in an affordable package. 

No doubt, there are other truss tube designs, but the Sky-Watcher Collapsible Dobsonian does not need to be disassembled between uses. 

It transports as two compact pieces that can be assembled, collimated easily and ready to use in just seconds.

Pros:

  • Collapsible truss tube design for maximum portability
  • 2” Crayford focuser with 1.25” adapter that can be used with either size telescope eyepieces
  • Comes with with 42,000 object database and simple alignment procedure

Cons:

  • A little on the heavier side

Best Tabletop Pick

Orion StarBlast 6i IntelliScope 

The Orion StarBlast 6 is a 6-inch (actually 150mm) Newtonian reflector telescope on a simple altitude-azimuth mount. With a focal length of 750mm, the focal ratio is a fairly fast f/5.

As equipped, it comes with two of the standard Orion Sirius Plössl eyepieces (25mm and 10mm, providing 30x and 75x respectively) and a red dot sight.

This best  portable 6″ f/5.0 computerized reflector telescope comes with Orion’s exclusive IntelliScope computerized object location system, allowing night sky newbies to pinpoint hundreds, even thousands of astronomical objects with push button ease. 

The StarBlast 6i is the most compact and portable intermediate computerized 6″ reflector telescope on the market. Even beginners can quickly locate any of 14,000+ celestial objects with the easy-to-use handheld locator.

The mount itself is a common simple altitude-azimuth mount. Though it’s often described as a “table-top Dobsonian,” it is not.

This mount is closer to a single-arm fork design. Regardless of what you call it, it is very easy to use and fairly sturdy and stable. Users generally will want a table or stool to set it up on, but it otherwise provides a good platform for the scope.

The small, lightweight form allows the telescope to be used on a sturdy table, the hood of a car, the landing of an outdoor stairway, or any other suitable flat surface. Robust construction including non-stick PTFE bearings and adjustable altitude tension on the base ensures smooth maneuvering of the StarBlast 6i.

To locate objects in the sky, all you have to do is manually move the telescope as you are directed to by the arrows on the locator’s display, which features a black light. 

This frees up time normally spent looking over star maps, planisphere wheels or using astronomy software when figuring out what to look at, while also saving you power and energy compared to more costly motorized systems.

The included EZ Finder II reflex sight provides a simple way to line up objects in the telescope’s field of view. 

The included 25mm Sirius Plossl will yield 30x power magnification with the StarBlast 6i reflector, while the stronger 10mm telescope eyepiece will boost your views up to 75x power for closer looks. An included eyepiece rack will hold your oculars securely within reach right on the StarBlast 6i base, for easy switching between magnifications during family observing sessions. Integrated carry handles on the base allow for convenient lifting or transport of the reflector telescope.

There are illuminated menu buttons on the included IntelliScope controller that let you select objects by type, such as galaxy, cluster, nebula or planet, or you can choose to look them up by catalog number.

If you aren’t sure what to look for in the night sky, let the Tour mode do it for you by selecting one of 12 tours to see the best available viewing objects during any given month. 

Pros:

  • Surprisingly good optics
  • Perfect intermediate Grab-and-Go telescope
  • Easy to use and transport
  • Produces extremely bright images
  • Comes loaded with 12 sky tours

Cons:

  • Not suitable for astrophotography

Best Portable 

Celestron – NexStar 127SLT 

The Celestron NexStar 127SLT is an entry-level GoTo telescope designed for anyone looking for a reliable telescope with which to enjoy the nighttime sky. 

The telescope features a 127mm aperture and Celestron’s SkyAlign technology, this telescope offers consumers good views. In addition, the telescope’s single fork arm and simple design make it easy to set up and use.

The scope’s focal length is 1500mm, and it has a focal ratio of f/12. As far as eyepieces are concerned, each Celestron NexStar 127 SLT telescope comes with a 25mm eyepiece and a 9mm eyepiece, having a maximum magnification of 167x with the default 9 mm eyepiece.

The Celestron NexStar 127 SLT telescope stands on top of a motorized Altazimuth mount, which can be controlled via the provided digital hand controller.

Alternatively, the mount can be hooked to a computer for increased precision. 

With preassembled, adjustable stainless steel tripods, and quick release fork arms and tubes, the NexStar 127 SLT telescope can be set up in a matter of minutes with no tools required.

The 127 SLT with its large aperture is great for viewing the surface of the moon, phases of Venus, rings of Saturn or Jupiter and its four largest moons, and other deep-space objects.

The Celestron NexStar 127SLT is also the best computerized telescope for astrophotography under $500 on our list.

The Celestron NexStar GoTo mounts are powered by eight AA user-supplied batteries, or an optional AC adapter, making them perfect as a travel telescope.

With Celestron’s SkyAlign Technology, aligning your telescope is fast and easy. Simply input the date, time and location (the CPC models have built-in GPS that does this for you) and then align the telescope to three bright stars of your choosing. 

You do not need to know the names of the stars, you can even pick the moon or bright planets. The NexStar computer system will automatically figure out which stars were chosen and then align the telescope. 

The 127SLT’s diagonal is a prism, and a nice one at that – unlike the cheap diagonals supplied with many entry-level scopes which are cheap mirrors that aren’t very flat, which tend to offer dim and fuzzier images.

Pros:

  • Super optical construction
  • Very easy to operate with
  • Compact and portable design
  • Included needed additional accessories
  • Suitable for lunar/planetary astrophotography

Cons:

  • 8 AA batteries required but not included
  • Tripod can be more stable

Best Under $1000

Celestron – NexStar 130SLT

The NexStar 130SLT is a unique reflector telescope from Celestron. The reflector technology uses mirrors to obtain the maximum amount of light possible and therefore to produce images of remarkable clarity, even when located deep in space.

It’s a 130mm f/5 Reflector Telescope which is a complete platform for making observations of the Moon, planets, and bright deep-space objects such as binary stars, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae.

With a focal length of 650mm, this model is an f/5 scope. F/5 scopes are fairly fast, meaning that you have a wide field of view, which is useful for short exposure astrophotography of big portions of the sky.

The Celestron NexStar 130 SLT  is one of the best computerized reflector telescope and it  removes the issue of struggling to find a planet or star using a paper star map. 

With the Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope comes a handheld computer that features SkyAlign technology incorporated right into the telescope, automatically finding and pointing the telescope to the planet or star that you would like to see by way of a few button presses.

This is an ideal telescope if you plan to travel or do some outdoor stargazing.

This telescope comes with a pre-assembled, adjustable stainless-steel tripod, quick release fork arm, NexStar+ computerized hand control, 130mm Newtonian Reflector optical tube, and lots of amazing accessories.

The Celestron NexStar 130SLT is designed to maximize celestial views. The scope does so by using its reflector method to bring about clear views of details such as the Hercules globular cluster, stars, or the Great Orion Nebula. These views are made possible by the telescope’s ability to use mirrors to collect and distribute the light that creates the detailed views of far away objects. 

The computerized hand control of this SLT telescope gives you the ability to automatically slew to any of its 40,000+ objects, including over 600 galaxies, 300 clusters, stars and planets.

For astrophotography since The NexStar SLT telescopes use Alt-Az mounts, you will be limited to short exposure photographs.

With the high aperture of the NexStar 130 SLT, Deep Sky Observation with medium-length exposure times are certainly possible. 

For example, you will be able to get some great shots of the Moon (closeups and wide shots), while also being able to photograph some nebulae and other deep sky formations and objects. The reason for this is that Newtonians like NexStar 130 SLT have a fairly wide field of view.

Pros:

  • Wide field of view
  • Handheld computer makes it easy to find celestial bodies
  • Weighs only 18 pounds for simple transport
  • Deep views of the sky

Cons:

  • The motor uses up batteries fairly quickly
  • The date and time must be set after each use

Best Computerized Refractor 

Celestron – NexStar 102SLT

Celestron’s NexStar 102SLT is a surprisingly decent entry by Celestron into the low-priced GoTo telescope market.

With a sturdy mount, a wide field of view, enough aperture to see deep-sky objects that the hand controller will guide you to, and quality optics and mechanics, the Celestron NexStar 102SLT is certainly one of the best computerized telescopes under $500.

The 102 SLT is a wide-field telescope that is well suited to scanning large areas of the sky and for terrestrial observing with a 45-degree image erecting prism. 

The telescope includes a fully computerized hand control with a database of over 4,000 celestial objects.

This is also one of the best portable computerized telescopes as with its pre-assembled, adjustable steel tripod, the NexStar 102 SLT can be up and ready to use in a matter of minutes. 

The NexStar 102SLT comes with a StarPointer red dot finder, 1.25” prism star diagonal, and two eyepieces: A 25mm with 26x and 9mm with 73x magnification.

In addition to its quick set up and practical design, the 102SLT sports a number of basic features. For instance, it comes with a database of 10,000 nighttime objects, moreover it can easily locate objects requested by the consumer, and sports Celestron’s SkyAlign technology that allows the scope to align itself using three spots in the sky.

It can also align itself using one or two different locations. Once aligned, the scope provides great views of many celestial objects.

The telescope’s Lunar and planetary performance is outstanding. Even with the small 4” aperture, the Deep sky (nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters) are surprisingly well resolved.

Pros:

  • Perfect for intermediate astronomers
  • Equipped with computerized hand control
  • Affordable telescope
  • Easy to setup and use

Cons:

  • Tripod is a bt shaky
  • Occasionally scope needs to be rebooted

Best For Advanced Users

Celestron NexStar Evolution 

The Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 Computerised Cassegrain telescope is a large Schmidt Cassegrain.

It has a large 203.2mm (8″ aperture) and 2032mm focal length

With these specifications, this telescope is capable of reaching high magnifications (480x) suitable for viewing planets and deep sky objects.

The Nexstar Evolution 8 EdgeHD Telescope from Celestron features integral Starsense auto alignment, WiFi and internal Lithium ion battery

This high end telescope has a variety of premium features:

8” EdgeHD optics that provide a flat field with pinpoint start all the way to the edge of field, resulting in superb visual and astro-imaging performance

Rechargeable lithium-ion battery for a power source that can provide up to 10 hours of continuous observing

Built-in WiFi that connects directly to your smartphone or tablet — no handset required

StarSense auto align technology provides a hands-free automatic experience, aligning your telescope within two minutes of startup

The telescope features a NexStar evolution mount with a variety of features, including manual release clutches, precision worm gears, eyepiece tray lighting, a USB charge port and more

The NexStar Evolution 8-inch EdgeHD with StarSense is the best computerized telescope for cloudy nights and it also produces high quality images even when confronted with light pollution. 

Best Computerized Telescope

It gives you the best of two worlds with the coming together of EdgeHD optics and StarSense AutoAlign. 

This innovative telescope allows you to control your telescope wirelessly via Celestron’s SkyPortal app to your smartphone or tablet.

The 8-inch NexStar Evolution HD is one of the best telescopes for astrophotography on our list. 

It is the only fork-mounted telescope in its price range that offers brass worm gears, along with improved motors. 

You can capture images of deep-sky objects like the Orion Nebula by simply attaching your DSLR camera.  

The EdgeHD optical system is designed to virtually eliminate spherical and chromatic aberrations so views through it are flat and distortion-free across the entire field of view, with accurate color rendition. 

Using Celestron’s proprietary StarBright XLT multi-coating system, light transmission is increased throughout the entire optical path with anti-reflection multi-coated lenses, highly reflective multi-coated mirrors, and four-element rare-earth glass.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up, use and super accurate
  • For its size the scope and mount are light and portable 
  • Easy alignment process with clear instruction manual
  • Produces amazing images even in cloudy nights and light pollution

Cons:

  • On rare occasion the telescope loses wireless connection with your device

Best Small GoTo Telescope 

Celestron – NexStar 4SE

Celestron’s NexStar 4SE 125mm f/13 Maksutov-Cassegrain GoTo Telescope is a powerful, versatile, and user-friendly catadioptric-style scope that can be used for observing everything from the Moon and planets to bright deep-sky objects like stars, galaxies, and nebulae.

The 4SE also has an integrated “flip mirror” at the back, which means that there is a built-in star diagonal which can be retracted to allow light directly out of the back of the telescope and into a camera adapter, usually for a DSLR or mirrorless camera. 

Celestron’s NexStar 4SE’s big selling point for this model is the GoTo computer.

You can select from a database of 40,000 night sky objects. When you’ve picked a target, the motorized mount will slew the telescope around to point at the object you’ve chosen. 

Once in your eyepiece, the motor will track it as it moves across the sky so you don’t lose sight of it.

Theoretically, this is a great solution for the more casual backyard astronomer who is more interested in spending time outside seeing objects than finding them.

The 4SE’s 102mm aperture isn’t huge, but the portability of this rig far outweighs any size limitation. And Celestron’s nicely coated optics make the most of every photon fetched.

If you want to get your feet wet with astrophotography, the 4SE has a camera control option. It helps you take a series of long duration exposures with your DSLR camera. 

Just don’t try to hang a very heavy camera body on this little telescope; an oddly weighted mount won’t track well enough for sharp images.

Because it is a compound telescope, you are going to get picture-perfect images and a wide field of view. Of course, the StarBright XLT coating on the Celestron 4 SE helps, as does the inclusion of a 25 millimeter Plossl eyepiece that delivers 53 times magnification, as well as a 12.5 millimeter eyepiece that can be added to give you 100 times magnification. 

As a result, this one of the best portable computerized telescope will be powerful enough to capture impressive details of many objects in our solar system, including the Moon, Jupiter, Mars and other planets. 

Deep-sky objects, however, will appear less impressive than with a bigger aperture telescope.

The 4SE is so small and light, and the tripod folds so easily, you can quickly jump into almost any vehicle and drive to find dark skies. 

And someday, if you grow into a larger telescope, you’ll probably want to keep this one as a “grab-and-go” scope. It’s great for chasing solar eclipses in faraway locations where you can’t lug a lot of luggage.

Pros:

  • Very sharp optics
  • Quality mount with acceptable gearing
  • Acceptable aperture
  • Very stable
  • Good included low-power eyepiece
  • No collimation required

Cons:

  • Small aperture for the price

Best For Viewing Planets and Galaxies

Celestron – NexStar 8SE

The NexStar 8SE is an 8-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain with a focal length of 2,032mm, giving a focal ratio of f/10. All of this fits into a compact orange tube that is just 432mm long.

A StarPointer red-dot finder, E-Lux 25mm, 1.25-inch fit Plössl eyepiece and a star diagonal complete the optical tube assembly.

It is ideal for beginners and upgraders who want a huge aperture, easy goto set-up, a 40,000 object database and motorised tracking all for a relatively low price.

The NexStar 8SE has a long Vixen dovetail bar on the side of the optical tube, but it is largely decorative in purpose as the scope will only really balance with the dovetail slid all the way or nearly all the way forward in the saddle.

On average it takes a new telescope user approximately 5 minutes to do a full sky alignment with this telescope. 

Once aligned the Celestron 8 SE computerized telescope is incredibly easy to operate. Optically the Celestron NexStar 8 SE telescope is nearly flawless with Celestron’s famous C8 Optical Tube Assembly. 

Best Computerized Telescope

The 8SE is one of the best computerized telescope for deep space astronomy as it helps you easily view those faint deep sky objects such as nebulae, star clusters and galaxies.

This Celestron telescope yields super crisp images of the night sky and, once aligned, finds objects with complete accuracy. 

It’s mount is a single-arm, altazimuth mount, all-in-one unit with the neatly integrated NexStar hand controller, which can be pulled out when in use.

The NexStar computerised hand controller has been designed to slot into the single arm and provides a database of 40,000 objects to choose from. 

The NexStar 8SE has a long Vixen dovetail bar on the side of the optical tube, but it is largely decorative in purpose as the scope will only really balance with the dovetail slid all the way or nearly all the way forward in the saddle.

Its build quality is robust and it can take the general knocking around that comes with usage of a telescope.

Setting it up is quite easy too, just follow the manual. Takedown is just as quick and the whole scope packs away into rather small dimensions – certainly small enough for the average trunk.

The 8SE mount takes eight AA batteries, but we recommend only using these as backup – get a portable 12-volt DC power supply and cord or Celestron even sells some as the PowerTank meant specifically for astronomical use.

Pros:

  • Excellent optics
  • Easy computerized GoTo tracking
  • Light, portable and affordable
  • Easy setup and takedown
  • Good value for money

Cons:

  • Plastic accessories
  • Short battery life

Best Computerized Telescope; Buying Guide

The best computerized telescope is one that guides you through the process of learning the night sky in a straightforward and gratifying way. 

Here is a comprehensive GoTo computerized telescope buying guide which will explain the importance of all the parts of a telescope and the important features that you should look for when purchasing the telescope.

Features To Consider When Choosing A Good GoTo Computerized Telescope

Aperture

The most important aspect of any telescope is its aperture, the diameter of its main optical component, which can be either a lens or a mirror.

A scope’s aperture determines both its light-gathering ability (how bright the image appears) and its resolving power (how sharp the image appears). When learning how to choose a telescope, knowing all you can about the aperture is crucial to your ability to see the night sky.

This simply means – the bigger the aperture the better. With a 6-inch telescope you can discern craters on the Moon as small as about a mile across — half the size of those visible in a 3-inch scope (under the same conditions using the same magnification).

The same two instruments turned toward a faint galaxy on a moonless night would tell an even more dramatic story. Because the surface area of a 6-inch mirror is four times that of a 3-inch mirror, it collects four times as much light, meaning the galaxy would appear four times brighter.

Focal Ratio

The focal ratio (f/5.9 for example) is the ratio between the aperture and the focal length. Multiply the aperture by the f ratio to find the focal length.

Focal Length

Focal length is the distance between a telescope’s primary optics and the image it creates. A longer focal length is more suited for observing planets, while a shorter focal length is better for wide field views of space.

Magnification

The magnification (power) of a telescope is variable and depends upon the eyepieces one uses. The power is computed by dividing the focal length of the primary objective (aperture) of the telescope by the focal length of the eyepiece being used.

Eyepieces

Eyepieces are fundamental components of a telescope and each telescope comes with at least one eyepiece. The eyepiece of a home telescope defines the magnification power and field of view of that telescope.

The magnification power of eyepieces differs from one eyepiece to another based on their focal lengths as well as their field of view.

An eyepiece is rated by millimeters, with smaller numbers indicating higher magnification. A 25-millimeter eyepiece is common and appropriate for most stargazers.

Weight

The size and weight of the telescope you are willing to carry is probably the biggest problem one must ponder.

Telescopes can range from around 15 lbs. to well over 300 lbs. Most can be broken down into 3 subsections for transportation: the optical tube assembly, the telescope mount, and the tripod or base. Remember, if the scope is too heavy, you may not use it at all.

Conclusion

Our top pick for the best computerized telescope for beginners is the Celestron – NexStar 5SE Computerized Telescope. Its 5-inch aperture provides excellent light-gathering ability at an affordable price. You’ll get impressive views of the Moon and planets, along with deep sky objects like the Orion Nebula, while retaining a compact form factor.

Fully automated GoTo mount with a database of 40,000+ celestial objects automatically locates and tracks objects for you.

Our next best computerized telescope for astrophotography is the Celestron EdgeHD 800 XLT. The telescope is a remarkable optical tube assembly, built to satisfy astrophotographers, but also suitable for superior visual observing.

Celestron’s EdgeHD Optical Tube is a Aplanatic Schmidt Telescope design producing aberration-free images across a wide visual and photographic field of view. 

Celestron – NexStar 90SLT is our pick for the best budget computerized telescope.

Designed as a highly portable and user-friendly entry- to mid-level astronomical observation platform, the Celestron NexStar 90SLT 90mm f/14 Maksutov-Cassegrain GoTo Telescope gives you the ability to make detailed observations of the Moon, with the ability to easily see planets and reach outside the solar system to resolve bright deep-space objects like galaxies, nebulae, and binary or variables stars.