Best Telescope For Smartphone Astrophotography 2021; Reviews

Here in this “Best Telescope For Smartphone Astrophotography” article we’ve rounded up 9 of the best telescopes with phone adapters for iPhone and android devices perfectly suited to be used by someone looking to capture images of the night sky. 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.

Not all astrophotography requires an expensive camera, the smartphone you carry every day can be used to capture a range of night-sky objects.
With today’s smartphones, it’s possible to capture decent photos of the stars, planets, aurorae, meteors, satellites and the International Space Station – if you know the right tricks.
The quality of today’s smartphone cameras makes it possible to take very respectable images of the Moon and planets through a telescope with your iphone or android phone – but it takes some work.
While the end results may not match those taken with dedicated astronomical CMOS or CCD cameras, smartphone astrophotography can be a good starting point for budding astrophotographers. It can also be a useful alternative for experienced astronomers who wish to capture an image quickly with little equipment.

telescope for smartphone astrophotography
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Can you use a smartphone for astrophotography?

You can, but it does depend on what you’re trying to do. For starters, let’s define ‘astrophotography.’  Technically speaking, astrophotography refers to close-up shots of celestial objects, such as galaxies and nebula, mostly by using CCD cameras strapped to telescopes. 

There is one scenario whereby you can use a smartphone to take a great picture of a celestial object, and that’s the Moon. Point any small telescope at the Moon and you can then put any smartphone on the eyepiece and take a photo of our satellite in space. A really impressive photo, too! Lining-up takes a while, but pressing the smartphone’s touch screen is enough to focus on the Moon. What’s more, this applies to absolutely any smartphone and a beginners telescope.

Best Telescope For Smartphone Astrophotography

To help you find the right telescope for smartphone astrophotography, we have combed the online marketplace to bring you the top 9 telescopes that come with a phone adapter. Our picks were chosen based on a few of key criteria which include the type of the telescope, its aperture, its focal length, the included phone mount, and its eyepiece.

Best 90mm Telescope 

Gskyer AZ90600

Gskyer is a German company and is one of the best telescope brands in the world, known to produce high-quality telescopes. 

This is a great starter telescope for the explorer who intends to take their telescope with them on their journeys. Hiking, camping, and even moonlit fishing trips will be more fun when you have this telescope along with you.

The Gskyer AZ90600 is one of the best telescope for astroimaging as it also comes with a phone adapter/mount. If you live in the city and you aren’t able to see much of the sky due to light pollution, you’ll want a telescope like this that’s easy to carry with you.

The 90 millimeter aperture is perfect for viewing most of the things you’d want to view, and all of the glass optics are coated to automatically adjust the brightness of the stars to a level safe and comfortable for observation.

Though this is a beginner telescope, you can use it to observe the moon, stars, meteors, and planets. The telescope offers great clarity, allowing you to see the surface of the moon, the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter. 

It also comes with a smartphone adapter, which allows you to use the phone as a screen, or as a camera to take great pictures. 

Plus, this model is extremely easy to assemble and doesn’t require any calibration. If you’re a telescope beginner, you won’t have to worry about any tricky steps or complicated tests. 

The Gskyer AZ90600 comes with an adjustable tripod. This adjustable aluminium tripod offers the viewer many different viewing positions. The height of the aluminum tripod can be adjusted from about 31.5-inch to 49-inch.

This is one of the best telescopes smartphone astrophotography under 300, it’s 90mm (3.5″) aperture gives bright, sharp images for both land and celestial objects. 

Whether you’re viewing the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, surface details on the Moon, or terrestrial objects, the Infinity 90 Refractor allows the amateur astronomer to explore the solar system and beyond.

Pros:

  • Large aperture
  • 3 eyepieces
  • Smartphone adapter
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Adjustable tripod
  • Perfect travel telescope

Cons:

  • Good for viewing planets, stars not so much

Best Telescope For iPhone Astrophotography

Celestron – 70mm

The Celestron 21035 70mm Scope is an excellent, easy-to-use, portable scope that comes with its own backpack and a variety of features. 

The Travel Scope is a great choice for both beginners who are looking to start off their astronomical careers and for intermediate astronomers looking to refine their skills.

The scope comes with a 45 degree correct image diagonal, one 20mm and one 10mm eyepiece, a finder scope, a tripod, a lens cleaning cloth and an excellent instruction manual.

The 2.76 inch aperture is well-suited for the purpose of this portable telescope and provides bright and crisp views given its size. 

best telescope for iphone astrophotography

The included eyepieces work very well in providing clear, crisp views of smaller objects. You’ll find it easy to get good looks at the details of the moon and you can even see the crevasses of the moons of Jupiter. 

It even provides you the magnification you need to spot the terrestrial objects you’re looking for in the night sky.

The telescope also comes with Sky X software, which allows you to learn the basics of astronomy and how to use your new telescope. Sky X is a great addition to any telescope and is an excellent tool to help beginners.

If you are looking for a small refractor telescope with decent optics then the Celestron 70mm is a great option.

It is one of the best telescopes for iphone strophotography and has an excellent value as a portable telescope or a beginner’s telescope.

We highly recommend it for all beginner astronomers and especially for those who are always on the move with their telescopes. 

The best features of Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope are its price and portability. Given the number of components, the price is extremely small. This is an excellent, easy-to-use, portable telescope.

Pros:

  • Compact size makes the telescope highly portable
  • Good value for money
  • Decent optics
  • Comes  with its own backpack
  • Good value for money

Cons:

  • Wobbly tripod
  • Finderscope and focuser are made of plastic
Related

Best For Moon Photography

Stilnend Telescope

The Stilnend 70mm telescope is an amazing telescope for a budding astronomer who wants to take pictures of his/her celestial finds with an iphone or an android smartphone 

This scope comes with two replaceable eyepieces along with a 3X Barlow lens. So, it makes sure that you get the best image quality and see the planets as well as stars in great detail. 

Moreover, the telescope also provides you with a 5×24 finder scope which also has special cross-hairline markings. 

Therefore, it allows you to easily find and locate different astronomical objects with the utmost precision.

The telescope comes bundled with a phone adapter which is easy to mount on the telescope and begin your astrophotography journey.

Most importantly, Stilnend ensures complete satisfaction. If you ever face any problem you can easily call them to get the issue resolved within 24 hours.

best telescope for smartphone astrophotography

The telescope is a perfect Christmas or birthday gift for kids or beginner astronomers. It helps them build interest in astronomy and science, exploring the unknown, enjoying nature and away from screens. The kids’ astronomical journey may as well start with this amazing beginners telescope.

This is a perfect travel telescope and it also allows for many different viewing positions with an adjustable aluminum alloy tripod and a carry ba. The telescope and tripod can fit inside the bag for easy traveling to your favorite viewing spot and take great images with your cell phone.

Pros:

  • Perfect grab-and-go telescope
  • Great smartphone astrophotography telescope
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Good optics for price
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Tripod is a bit shaky

Best Lightweight Pick

Celestron Inspire 70AZ

The Inspire 70AZ refractor, the lightest model in the Inspire series, is a high quality telescope for those with beginner to intermediate levels of experience who also have an inclination towards using the telescope for iphone/android cell phone astrophotography.

The Celestron 22401 Inspire 70AZ Refractor Smartphone Adapter Built-In Refracting Telescope is known as the lightest instrument in its class. 

The 70 mm Inspire is easy to carry and store, and is equipped with features heretofore unseen on entry level telescopes. 

These include fully coated glass optics, a sturdy alt-azimuth mount with a special asymmetrical design, a solid adjustable steel tripod with folding accessory tray, built-in smartphone adapter, integrated red LED flashlight, StarPointer Pro finderscope, erect image optics, and a focus micrometer for simple reversal to the same focus point.

The assembly of this telescope is a fantastically straightforward aspect. You simply open up the tripod legs and secure the built-in accessory tray’s position, then fit the telescope tube into the dovetail lock on the alt-azimuth mount.

telescope for smartphone astrophotography

The Celestron Inspire 70AZ is a lightweight beginner friendly smartphone astrophotography telescope, making it incredibly easy to transport beyond the backyard and to a dark-sky site without any trouble. Combine this with an easy setup, a simple-to-use alt-azimuth mount and everything you need for a good night of observing straight out of the box and you have an instrument geared towards amateurs & kids.

It also comes with a free telescope phone app – ‘SkyPortal app’

The telescope’s lens cap has an integrated smartphone adapter built into it.  Place your smartphone against the rubberised friction surface on the outside of the cap so your camera is viewing through the imaging port.  

Secure the smartphone using the two adjustable bungee cords. The inside of the lens cap has a fitting that secures to your eyepiece using two set screws. You are now ready to take high power images through the telescope.

Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Easy to setup and use
  • Portable design
  • High-quality finish
  • Comes with a smartphone mount

Cons:

  • Color fringing in optics

Best Portable Pick

Gskyer Telescope, 70mm 

The Gskyer’s AZ70400 Telescope is a 70mm aperture and 400mm short focal length refractor telescope mounted on a camera type tripod. It includes a 45 degree diagonal, a carry case, finder scope, two eyepieces, a 3x Barlow lens and a smartphone adapter which makes it one of the best beginner telescope for smartphone photography.

The overall assembly of the telescope is straightforward and perfect for anyone with little to no prior knowledge.

The included 3x Barlow lens, 25mm, and 10mm eyepiece all offer varying levels of magnification. The maximum magnification is x120 and provides clear images of the moon, planets, and some star arrangements.

The telescope comes with an altazimuth mount screw tripod made of aluminum alloy for support and stability while viewing distant objects. 

In addition, the telescope comes with a rack and pinion mechanism to assist the focuser in bringing distant objects closer for easy and detailed viewing. The slow motion lever enables you to track celestial objects in motion quite easily.

telescope for smartphone astrophotography

Setting up the scope typically takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes. Regardless of previous astronomical equipment experience, the step-by-step guide makes putting the telescope together quick and easy.

Because of its rugged design, this type of telescope provides reliable performance in the most demanding conditions so images are kept steady, with no interferences or reflections on the path of light.

Pros:

  • Easy to setup and use
  • Very portable
  • Perfect for beginners and family
  • Decent optics
  • Comes with its own backpack
  • Robust design

Cons:

  • Instruction manual is a bit vague
  • Difficult to collimate

Best For Home

Celestron – AstroMaster 130EQ 

The telescope is fitted with a 1.25 rack-and-pinion focuser and two eyepieces to get new users started – a 10mm that yields 65x power and a 20mm for a 32.5x magnification. 

The 20mm eyepiece integrates an erecting system to correct images horizontally and vertically to allow easy terrestrial use. 

The AstroMaster 130EQ also features an unmagnified red-dot finder to help set-up, align and navigate easier.

Celestron’s AstroMaster 130EQ 130mm f/5 Reflector Telescope features a 650mm focal length and an oversized parabolic mirror that produce detailed images of the Moon, clear views of the planets, and the ability to resolve distant objects such as nebulae and galaxies.

The 130EQ comes on a lightweight German equatorial mount that works well enough for the 130 mm f/5 OTA, and it should work okay with a DSLR camera piggybacked on top.

Since it can get quite hard to keep the object in the view because of the Earth’s rotation, there is an upgrade for this mount to help you with that. 

It is a simple clock motor which you turn on after you get the object in the view and it will track the object keeping it in the middle of the eyepiece. It’s much easier to stargaze like this rather than twisting the knobs while looking through the eyepiece. The motor is not included but it can be bought separately.

The Celestron’s AstroMaster 130EQ is one of the best telescopes for phone astrophotography as not only is it great for planetary viewing, with the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn being star attractions, but being a reflector telescope with a wide aperture, it could be one of the cheapest telescopes on offer that can decently display and photograph deep space objects.

At just 17 lbs total weight and thanks to its compact design, the Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ is very portable. You can take it literally everywhere with you, unlike heavier and bulkier telescopes for professional use.

Pros:

  • Very good optics
  • Decently priced telescope
  • Suitable for beginners as well as advanced users
  • Clear crisp mirrors

Cons:

  • Focuser is of limited usability
  • No filters included

Best For Kids

OYS Telescope

The OYS Telescope is one of the best iphone astrophotography telescopes for kids and adults. You can buy it for a kid who wants to learn more about deep space or give it as a gift to a professional astronomer. It has features that support the needs of everyone.

The 70mm refractor is excellent to observe faraway sky objects and vast landscapes and take pictures with your iphone or android phone.  

You do not have to go through the tiring assembly, as it is easy to assemble. The magnification is powerful that brings the faraway stars, galaxies, planets, and other objects close to you. 

The lightweight and compact structure allow you to take it on field trips and other outdoor adventures. It has exceptional features at a very reasonable price. 

The telescope has two eyepieces that enhance the magnification (20x & 44x) of the telescope. 

It has a large aperture that allows light to enter and create bright, crisp, and clear images. The tripod that comes with the telescope is adjustable and allows you to observe the objects in any direction.

The more important accessory, however, is the adjustable tripod. It’s the only way to keep the ‘scope still when poring over the surface of the moon. It has 360 degrees of horizontal rotation and 180 degrees of vertical rotation. It’s a height adjustable tripod, that means that you can point it anywhere in the sky you might need to and that it can get taller as your kid does.

Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • High magnification
  • Easy to assemble
  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Travel-friendly

Cons:

  • Only for kids

Best Budget Pick

MaxUSee 70mm

This refractor telescope comes with a 70mm aperture which is typical for most travel models. Users love this product as it is super easy to set up, that’s why it is so ideal for kids and beginners.  

The MaxUSee Travel Scope is undoubtedly one of the best starter refractor telescope for iphone/android phone astrophotography.

The package also includes a backpack suitable for storing and carrying the accessories This model’s focal.length is 400mm which makes the focal ratio f/5.7. 

Besides, it features four eyepieces of 6mm, 12.5mm, 20mm and 25mm in size, that boast 16X to 200X magnification. Not only this, it includes a smartphone adapter, this enables you to capture the images and also record it as a video.

A tripod stand has been added to allow for it to stand well on any type of platform. It is made of aluminum, and this is responsible for the weight it possesses. You don’t have to worry about stability with this type of stand as it was designed to fit any kind of surface, mountain inclusive. 

MaxUSee Travel Scope is excellent for astronomical observation. You get to watch your favorite planets and other bodies like asteroids and comets. 

The experience is superb and it will definitely be worth your while. It is an ideal telescope for the family and perfect for travel.

Pros:

  • Many handy accessories included 
  • Improved transmission developed with crisp and clear images 
  • High-quality construction 
  • Uncomplicated to line up with measuring system stand and mount

Cons:

  • Does not provide much magnification

Best Monocular Telescope for Phone

TELMU Telescope

The TELMU 70mm Aperture Refracting Telescope is a budget entry that tries to set itself apart with the inclusion of a phone adapter. With this, you’ll be able to use your phone as a viewing screen with your telescope or use it to take incredible photographs.

What sets this kit apart is that it’s designed for travel. There’s an expandable tripod that folds down small for travel, and a backpack that’s designed to safely carry the telescope and the tripod. 

If you’re looking for a telescope to take on camping trips or other night time excursions, you’ll love what this one provides. It includes a large 70-millimeter lens, which is big enough to make out detail on the moon and some of the planets in our solar system.

The most unexpected feature of the TELMU telescope is that it comes with two magnification lenses that produce high-quality images. 

You would not expect such a feature on a cheap telescope. The 25 mm eyepiece lens has a magnification of 16x while a 6 mm eyepiece lens has a magnification of 67x. This 25 mm eyepiece lens is useful when viewing compact images like the surrounding.

However, the 6 mm eyepiece lens has great magnification that you can view the layout of the moon. TELMU telescope’s eyepiece lenses are also adjustable up to 45-degree angles making it easier to view from any angle you wish.

The TELMU telescope is also easy to set up, and operate as there is a user manual that comes with the telescope. 

Moreover, the manufacturer has included a link on how to set up the telescope when purchasing it. For this reason, users would not be facing any difficulties when setting up the telescope.

Lastly, the telescope comes with a 2-year warranty which creates customer satisfaction when buying the telescope. The manufacturer is also willing to refund if their product comes with any signs of defects.

Pros:

  • Large lens
  • Easy assembly
  • Smartphone adapter
  • Two eyepieces
  • Carrying backpack

Cons:

  • Finderscope could be better

Best Telescope For Smartphone Astrophotography - Buying Guide

telescope for smartphone astrophotography

Smartphone astrophotography is more popular than you may think; it can be rewarding to capture awe-inspiring photos of the great beyond without thousands of dollars in equipment.

Many new mobile devices feature impressive low-light capability – add a few additional mobile astrophotography tools, and your phone is ready to rock.

Things To Look For In A Good Telescope For Smartphone Astrophotography

1. Smartphone Adapter

The simplest way to take a photo at the telescope is to simply hold your phone’s camera up to the eyepiece, but this approach rarely produces good results.

Not only is it very difficult to centre the object properly, it can be tricky to ensure that the object is well exposed.

A simple adapter will improve your smartphone astrophotography immensely. An adapter will help you centre an object in the phone’s viewscreen, steady the camera, and ensure proper focus and exposure.

2. Eyepiece Filters

While smartphone cameras have excellent resolution, they don’t yet have the manual exposure control settings needed to evenly expose the entire lunar disc or to capture subtle planetary features.

To bring out such detail, you’ll need to use eyepiece filters such as a Moon filter and/or a coloured filter to reduce the object’s brightness in the eyepiece.

On some phones, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars, and the Moon will be too bright on the camera screen by default.

Although the newest iPhones have good exposure controls that will normally do the trick to dim the image and bring out the right amount of detail.

3. Stacking & Editing Software

Most astrophotography softwares are for macOS and Windows. Due to the complex processing of the material, you can’t use such software on a smartphone or online.

Astrophotography requires many steps before you have the finished piece of artwork. Luckily there is an assortment of tools available on the market (both Free and Paid) that can either automate or at least speed up the process.

4. Download a Telescope Phone App

While the newest smartphones have better exposure control options than ever, your phone’s default camera still won’t be ideal for low-light conditions. To get around this, you’ll want to download an app that essentially tricks your phone into taking the equivalent of a long exposure.

For iPhone, we recommend the NightCap Pro app and have seen good images taken with the Android app Camera FV-5.

5. Practice

As with most astrophotography pursuits, your skills will improve with practice. Don’t be disappointed if your first images don’t match those you see online.

Experiment with different apps and know that the same techniques might produce better or worse results from one night to the next.

Conclusion

Our first pick for the best telescope for smartphone astrophotography is the Gskyer AZ90600. This 90x600mm refractor telescope can be a good observation of celestial bodies and terrestrial objects – best for viewing Lunar and Planetary. Featuring all coated glass optical components,our telescope provides clean, crisp views.

Our next pick for the best telescope for cell phone astrophotography is the Celestron – 70mm Travel Scope. A portable telescope kit with everything you need to get started: 70mm refractor telescope with fully coated glass optics, full height tripod, travel backpack, plus lots more. It also comes with smartphone photography accessories to capture images and video with the included smartphone adapter and Bluetooth shutter release.

Our third choice is the Celestron Inspire 70AZ. The Inspire 70AZ is the ultimate telescope for the novice to intermediate astronomer, offers easier transport and storage, and is packed with features never seen before on entry level telescopes.