Best Telescope For The Money 2021; Reviews
Here in this “Best Telescope For The Money” article we’ve rounded up 12 of the best telescopes of various types, specifications, and budget perfectly suited for viewing planets and galaxies and other celestial objects. 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.
Our comprehensive review of the best telescopes for the money will introduce you to some amazing telescopes that will enable you to scope out this stellar scenery and satisfy your cosmos curiosity.
Considering the number of options available in the marketplace today, choosing the best telescope can be a challenging task. When we decide to look for a telescope in a certain price range, each one of us might have different criterions to fulfill from our choice of scope.
Some of us might be looking for a Computerized GoTo model, some for a Dobsonian, refractor / reflector models or some of us might only be interested in astrophotography or just a good efficient telescope for our family at home.
For this article, we combed through the details and reviews for dozens of great telescopes to find the best ones so you don’t have to.
We’ve also included a buying guide. If you want to learn more about telescopes before you buy, or just want to make sure you’re getting good value for your money, be sure to check it out.
Table Of Contents
- 1 COMPARISON TABLE
- 2 Best Telescope For The Money 2021
- 3 Best For Beginners
- 4 Best Computerized Telescope
- 5 Best Refractor Telescope
- 6 Best Dobsonian Telescope
- 7 Best Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope
- 8 Best Tabletop Telescope For The Money
- 9 Best Portable Telescope
- 10 Best 8 inch Telescope
- 11 Best Celestron
- 12 Best Intermediate Telescope
- 13 Best Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope
- 14 Best Reflector Telescope
- 15 Best Telescope For The Money: Buying Guide
- 16 Features To Consider When Choosing Your Best Telescope For The Money
- 17 Conclusion
|TopTop Top Top Top Top Top||Celestron - PowerSeeker 70EQ||Best For Beginners||Aperture: 70mm (2.8″), Focal length: 700mm, Focal Ratio: f/10||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Celestron - NexStar 130SLT||Best Computerized||Type: Newtonian Reflector, Aperture: 130mm (5.12″), Focal length: 650mm, Focal Ratio: f/5||See on Amazon|
|Top Top||Orion 9024 AstroView||Best Refractor||Type:Refractor, Aperture: 90mm (3.54″), Focal length: 910mm, Focal Ratio: f/10.1||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Celestron - NexStar 4SE||Best Maksutov Cassegrain||Type: Maksutov Cassegrain, Aperture: 102 mm / 4.1″, Focal length: 1325 mm, Focal Ratio: f/13||See on Amazon|
|Top||Orion 10012 SkyScanner||Best Tabletop Reflector||Type: Reflector, Aperture: 100mm (3.94”), Focal length: 400mm||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Celestron AstroMaster LT 70AZ||Best Portable||Type:Refractor, Aperture: 70mm (2.8″), Focal length: 900mm, Focal Ratio: f/13||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Sky-Watcher Flextube 200 Dobsonian 8-inch||Best 8 inch||Type: Newtonian Reflector, Aperture: 203mm (8”), Focal length: 1200mm, Focal Ratio: f/6||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Celestron - AstroMaster 114EQ||Best Celestron||Type: Newtonian reflector, Aperture: 114mm (4.49″), Focal length: 1000mm, Focal Ratio: f/9||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Meade Instruments – Polaris 114mm||Best Intermediate||Type: Newtonian Reflector, Aperture: 114mm (4.49″), Focal length: 1000mm, Focal Ratio: f/8.8||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Celestron - NexStar 8SE||Best Schmidt Cassegrain||Type: Schmidt Cassegrain, Aperture: 203 mm (8″), Focal length: 2032mm, Focal Ratio: f/10||See on Amazon|
|Top Top Top Top Top||Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST||Best Reflector||Type: Reflector, Aperture: 130 mm(5.1″), Focal length: 650mm, Focal Ratio: f/5||See on Amazon|
Best Telescope For The Money 2021
With so many models with so many features available today, it can be a tedious task to find the best telescope for the money. We have analyzed the main features ( aperture, focal length, ratio, portability, affordability etc.) that make a good telescope that you can use to enjoy the night sky and fulfill your love for astronomy.
Best For Beginners
Celestron – PowerSeeker 70EQ
The 70EQ Power Seeker is a refractor telescope with a 70mm aperture and a focal length of 700mm. Its low price combined with excellent optics, easy assembly, clear instructions, included eyepieces and other features that make it easy to use even for beginners, make it an excellent choice for anyone wanting to learn more about the nighttime sky.
At f/10, there is some chromatic aberration but nothing significant enough to ruin high-power views with this telescope. The optical quality of the Powerseeker 70 is quite good.
The scope’s focuser is a 1.25” rack-and-pinion made mostly of plastic. The focuser even includes a tension adjustment knob, should you find the focuser to be too loose or too tight.
Since Celestron 21037 PowerSeeker 70EQ telescope is a family-friendly scope, it is very easy to set up and use as it needs no extra tools. The instructions manual clearly describes every setup step, giving clear information on each of the telescope’s parts and uses.
With an aperture of 70 mm (2.76“) and a focal length of 700 mm (28”), the Celestron Power Seeker telescope allows stargazers to see the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn and other celestial wonders with ease.
The 3x Barlow lens manages to triple the magnifying power of all eyepieces, while the 1.25″ Erect Image Diagonal makes the telescope ideal for both astronomical and terrestrial use.
The telescope includes fully coated optics, meaning that at least one lens in the telescope has been coated with multiple layers of substances designed to capture and focus the light that goes through the lens.
The equatorial mount supplied with the 70EQ is actually a good match for it. The motions are reasonably smooth, the mount’s extruded aluminum legs are quite steady with such a lightweight tube. Furthermore, the whole setup is pretty light at about 14 pounds.
The 70EQ PowerSeeker is also one of the best budget telescope for astrophotography as it comes with a camera attachment that allows the user to take photographs of the objects being viewed.
- Family-friendly, easy to setup and use
- Coated glass, decent optical components
- EQ mount with slow motion controls
- Budget option refractor telescope for astrophotography
- High and low power eyepieces
- Ideal for both terrestrial and celestial viewing
- Not suitable for professional use
- Most components are built with plastic
Best Computerized Telescope
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.
- 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
- The motor uses up batteries fairly quickly
- The date and time must be set after each use
Best Refractor Telescope
Orion 9024 AstroView 90mm
The Orion AstroView has exceptionally good optics. Its excellent optics, weight and size make it one of the best telescopes for the money with a 90mm aperture and 910mm focal length.
Views of the planets and Moon through the f/10 AstroView 90 telescope are nothing short of spectacular. When aimed at the Moon, the AstroView 90 yields tack-sharp views of the rocky lunar surface with craters and mountainous regions visible in crisp, high-contrast detail.
On a clear evening, you can expect to see Jupiter’s cloud banding and all four of its major Galilean moons.
Depending on the time of year, the Orion AstroView 90mm EQ Refractor can also provide your whole family with exquisite views of Saturn and its stunning rings, also its largest largest moon known as Titan.
The two eyepieces included are a 25mm and a 10mm one which offer a magnification power of 36x and 91x respectively. The eyepieces are of good quality and the package also contains a 90º mirror star diagonal which means you will see the images with the correct side up.
Following a simple alignment procedure, you can use a 6×30 finder scope to accurately aim the AstroView 90mm refractor at objects in the sky like the Moon, bright planets, nebulae and star clusters.
The AstroView 90mm Equatorial Refractor comes with the Orion EQ-2 equatorial mount, which allows for easy manual tracking of celestial objects as they appear to move across the night sky.
All you have to do is occasionally adjust the equatorial mount’s R.A. (Right Ascension) slow-motion cable to keep any object centered in the telescope eyepiece.
The included aluminum tripod is lightweight and features adjustable legs and a tripod accessory tray for a hassle-free viewing session.
The entire AstroView 90 telescope, fully assembled, weighs only 24 pounds, and being a refractor it doesn’t need collimation, so you can pick it up and easily move it around in one piece or keep it fully assembled and ready to use at a moment’s notice.
- Great optics
- Spectacular views of the moon and planets
- Quality components
- Equatorial mount that makes it easy to track object as they transit on the night sky
- Slight wobble at focus
Best Dobsonian Telescope
Orion SkyQuest XT8 Plus
- Type: Refractor
- Aperture: 203mm (8″)
- Focal length: 1200mm
- Focal Ratio: f/5.9
- Eyepiece: 28mm, 10mm
- Magnification: 120x, 43x
- Weight: 42 lbs. (19kg)
- Our Rating: 9/10
The XT8 is an 8” f/5.9 Newtonian reflector with a fairly simple design. That is why it can be your first choice if you are looking for a best dobsonian telescope for the money.
It includes a 28mm DeepView 2-inch eyepiece, 10mm Plossl 1.25-inch eyepiece, 1.25-inch 2x Barlow lens, full-aperture solar filter, red-dot finder, collimation cap and the planetarium program Starry Night.
You can observe various heavenly bodies including Mars, Saturn and Jupiter that you can view in excellent detail.
Thanks to the enhanced reflectivity mirror coatings, you can get up to 94% reflectivity so there’s an optimal amount of light transmitted to the eyepiece, which ensures delivery of astoundingly clear views.
The XT8 PLUS has a focal length of 1200 mm (f/5.9) to allow you to achieve clear and crisp views at intermediate to high magnifications on clear nights when seeing conditions are favorable.
The SkyQuest XT8 Plus comes with a large 2″ dual-speed Crayford focuser.
A step-down 1.25″ adapter is included to allow the use of 1.25″ as well as 2″ eyepieces. The Crayford design enables smooth, precise focus adjustments that are essentially free of backlash and flexure.
For easy transport and storage, the Orion XT8 PLUS telescope can conveniently be broken-down into two separate pieces.
By unthreading the two altitude tension knobs from the Dobsonian base, you can detach the 46.5″ long reflector optical tube and transport each piece separately.
The Orion SkyQuest XT8 PLUS Dobsonian’s sleek redesigned base not only has an appealing look, it also features cutouts for reducing weight to give the XT8 PLUS more portability. The base also has white trim to make it detectable at night..
- Large aperture for a low price
- Decent optics and mechanics
- Very good single-speed Crayford focuser
- Red dot finder is of extremely limited utility
- Other 8” dobsonians offer more accessories
Best Maksutov Cassegrain 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 small 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.
- Very sharp optics
- Quality mount with acceptable gearing
- Acceptable aperture
- Very stable
- Good included low-power eyepiece
- No collimation required
- Small aperture for the price
Best Tabletop Telescope For The Money
Orion 10012 SkyScanner
The Orion SkyScanner is an affordable entry-level telescope which is perfect for amateurs and great for home astronomy as well.
The telescope’s ease of use and set-up makes it one of the best for the entire family where it can be enjoyed by young and old alike.
With the Skyscanner 100mm reflector telescope you can see the Moon in full detail, with craters and surface textures and shades; Jupiter, with its clouds and moons, in bright and clear images, especially if you live in a low light-polluted area.
You can also see Saturn with all its rings and its moon Titan, Mars, in good colours, depending on the time of year you look at it, the Pleiades star clusters and the Orion Nebula and Andromeda Nebula.
You will receive two eyepieces (20x and 40x magnification) with your purchase, to add some variety in the magnification power of your device.
The Orion SkyScanner features a very useful Orion EZ Finder II reflex sight that is capable of helping you bring forward the area you want to explore with great ease.
Since it is a compact version of a telescope, it is one of the best telescopes for amateurs, beginners or kids.
Its small size and light weight not only makes it one of the best telescope for amateurs make it extremely portable. Moreover, consumers have reported that the scope can be set up within about 10 minutes of being removed from the box.
The telescope possesses a 100mm aperture, which is larger than apertures on other beginner telescopes and which is especially large considering the compact nature of the SkyScanner.
Along with the telescope, you get caps for the optical tube and focuser. The tube cap has an inner cap which can be removed for low power lunar viewing.
You also get free StarryNight Basic planetarium software, a DVD with programs giving a tour of the solar system, and an instruction booklet.
Although the Orion SkyScanner is a tabletop telescope, If there isn’t a table nearby, you can easily attach its wooden altazimuth base to a field tripod.
- Strong entry-level scope
- Better value than super-low-cost telescopes
- 100mm aperture offers significantly more light than many entry-level telescopes
- Smooth focusing mechanism allows for greater image sharpness and control
- Comes with a variety of accessories
- Better for wide-angle viewing at low power
- Tabletop mount offers good stability, but astrophotographers may want a tripod for greater stability
Best Portable Telescope
Celestron – AstroMaster 70AZ
With 70mm aperture and mounted on an altazimuth mount. It’s an entry level telescope that has several nice features that make it a great option for the beginner astronomer.
The AstroMaster 70 is a 70mm f/12 achromatic refractor, using a standard Fraunhofer configuration with crown and flint glasses for the objective lens. The long focal ratio means that there is not much chromatic aberration (false color).
Its medium aperture and long focal length allow it to draw in a generous amount of light with a high magnification potential to allow observation of the larger planets and the moon.
The included 90° diagonal has an integrated erecting prism that corrects the view to enable the scope’s use on land. Celestron includes two eyepieces for high and medium magnifications.
The Astromaster 70 AZ comes with two eyepieces (20 mm and 10 mm respectively) and a StarPointer Finderscope.
One of the best features of the Celestron 21061 AstroMaster 70 AZ Telescope is that the StarPointer is permanently fixed right next to the eyepiece. Moreover, it uses the red dot technology for lining up a celestial object, a feature you can find on more advanced and expensive telescopes.
The AstroMaster 70 has a 1.25” rack and pinion focuser which is mostly plastic. It works well.
The red-dot finder is attached to the left side of the focuser and is more than adequate for a small scope such as a 70mm refractor.
The telescope makes it possible to view the moon, stars, planets and nebulae, and on very clear nights, it can even allow a user to catch sight of the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn.
The telescope has multi-coated optics that minimize the breakdown of light as it passes through the telescope, ensuring that images are bright and clear.
The AstroMaster is outfitted with a manual alt-azimuth mount and to make finding and tracking objects easy, there is an altitude control handle and an azimuth lock. Supporting the mount and optical tube is a stainless-steel tripod with sturdy 1.25″ diameter legs.
The scope can magnify objects by up to 165 times their size, and has a convenient accessory tray.
With the telescope, you receive access to a database that includes 10,000 celestial objects.
This allows children to learn more about what they’re seeing in the night sky, and to find out what objects to look for during stargazing sessions on any particular night of the year.
- Great value for money
- Comes with fully coated professional lenses
- Can also be used for terrestrial viewing
- Perfect for beginners and kids
- Requires no tool to setup
- Easy to use
- Sensitive to heat
- Mount is small, a bit short for an average adult
Best 8 inch Telescope
Sky-Watcher Flextube 200
The 8ʺ dobsonian is an f/5.9 Newtonian, manufactured by Suzhou Synta Optical Technologies (Synta), the same company that owns Celestron. Synta also builds Orion’s XT and XX Dobsonians. The mirrors are made of borosilicate glass, also known as Pyrex, which expands far less with expansion and contraction than plate glass.
Sky-Watcher 8″ Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope features an elegant truss tube design that was carefully engineered to combine ease of use, extreme portability and consistent performance in an affordable package.
Unlike other truss tube designs, the Sky-Watcher Collapsible Dobsonian does not need to be disassembled between uses.
It transports as two compact pieces that can be assembled and ready to use in minutes. It is easy to collimate once set up, and it holds its collimation throughout the viewing sessions.
It is essentially a Dobsonian style Newtonian with a large 8″ aperture which is ideal for beginners who can invest a fair amount as well as professionals.
The telescope comes with a great focal length of 1200mm and with a focal ratio of f/6.
The Sky-Watcher 10″ Collapsible Dobsonian features a 2″ single speed Crayford style focuser and comes with a 1.25″ adaptor.
25mm and 10mm 1.25” super Plossl eyepieces are included. Metal construction, captive recesses on the barrels and rubber fold-down eye-cups make these good quality eyepieces that are certainly adequate to get you started.
This is one of the best telescope for adults for DSOs as it has a low-hassle OTA design which is not only simple in construction and use but it also provides the viewer with maximum light for viewing deep space objects without any aberrations or blurriness.
The Sky-Watcher 8″ Dob utilizes quality components throughout.
On each parabolic primary mirror, and elliptical diagonal mirror aluminum is vacuum deposited to the front glass surface and then over coated with hard quartz. Additional layers of Titanium Dioxide and hard quartz are then applied.
The mechanical and structural components of the OTA exhibit rigid construction and outstanding stability.
The mount construction is sturdy and rigid. Mount design, while simple, facilitates smooth motions about both axes.
The Sky-Watcher 8” comes with quality accessories that enhance the observer’s viewing experience.
- Easy to transport due to collapsible tube design
- Focuses very accurately
- Easy to use
- Can be used by beginners & professionals
- Viewfinder helps in easy spotting of objects
- Built with high quality materials
- Doesn’t come with a Barlow lens
- Needs a light shroud
Celestron – AstroMaster 114EQ
The Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ reflector telescope is a great beginner telescope for an adult or a teenager. It’s 4.5” mirror will provide clear and bright images of the Moon, the planets, and dozens of deep-sky objects like the Orion Nebula, the Andromeda Galaxy, the great star cluster in Hercules, and much more.
It features all-glass optical elements, smooth operating steel tripod mountings with manual motion controls, and coated optics for enhanced image brightness and clarity. The quick-release, no-tool dovetail attachment makes setup a breeze. It’s all anchored by a rugged, pre-assembled tripod with 1.25-inch steel tube legs, providing a rigid and stable platform.
The scope is outfitted with a 1.25 rack-and-pinion focuser and two eyepieces (20mm & 10mm) to get new users started, and an unmagnified red-dot finder to help set-up, align and navigate easier.
The Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ reflector telescope comes with a 4.5” mirror as its light-gathering source, and with optics that large, an amateur astronomer can see millions of light years into the Universe.
With the telescope, you will also receive a wonderful piece of software with the Celestron AstroMaster 114 EQ reflector telescope.
TheSkyX First Light Edition planetarium software can be loaded on your computer to help assist you with an observing plan. It has a 10,000 object database and enhanced images of celestial objects
- Easy to setup and use
- Versatile telescope
- Excellent optics for the price
- Sturdy, retractable tripod
- Modest focuser
- Not good for astrophotography
Best Intermediate Telescope
Meade Instruments – Polaris 114mm
The Polaris 114mm f/8.8 Equatorial Reflector Telescope from Meade is designed to take astronomy to the next level by providing a complete set up for viewing the planets and deep-sky objects like galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae.
Three eyepieces provide 38.5x, 111x, and 159x magnifications with a 2x Barlow lens that doubles the magnification of each eyepiece for a wider-range of observing possibilities.
The 114mm (4.5″) Reflecting Telescope is one of the best telescope for the money for viewing the moon, planets & DSOs as it delivers bright and detailed images that are perfect for viewing celestial objects.
It also features a larger stable equatorial mount with slow motion controls that makes it easy to track celestial objects as they move across the night sky.
The Equatorial mount has included setting circles, and latitude control with scale, and a counterweight.
The Meade Polaris 114 mm German Equatorial Reflector Telescope includes a sturdy steel adjustable height tripod with an accessory tray.
The package also includes a bonus Autostar Suite Astronomy planetarium DVD with over 10,000 celestial objects but for Windows only.
You can use this telescope at day and night as well. If you are planning a stargazing trip to the countryside, then this telescope is all you need. It has a sharp focus, is travel-friendly, and is lightweight.
- High-quality optics
- Red dot laser finder
- 3 eyepieces
- 2x Barlow lens
- Adjustable mount
- Smooth and precise mount movement
- Easy to assemble
- The lens shows chromatic aberrations
- The components are made of plastic
Best Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope
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.
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.
- Excellent optics
- Easy computerized GoTo tracking
- Light, portable and affordable
- Easy setup and takedown
- Good value for money
- Plastic accessories
- Short battery life
Best Reflector Telescope
Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST
The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Newtonian Reflector is an excellent and one of the best astronomical telescopes to see the planets and Moon. It is well-suited for both beginners as well as intermediate stargazers.
The SpaceProbe 130ST is a 130mm f/5 Newtonian reflector telescope.
This 5.1″ aperture reflector telescope gathers an ample amount of light for great views of the planets and Moon, as well as brighter galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters
The telescope also comes with tools to help you assemble the product, and two eyepieces: 10mm for 65x, and a 25mm for 26x magnification, respectively.
The quick set-up and ease of use makes the SpaceProbe 130ST EQ a very versatile telescope which the whole family can enjoy.
This Orion space probe telescope also boasts a short 24″ long optical tube design which enhances its portability, while the 130mm optical diameter, and the 650mm focal length are in perfect balance with the f/5.0 focal ratio.
In addition, it possesses design features, such as a parabolic mirror and a specially designed holder for the secondary mirror, that focus the light captured by the aperture and use it to sharpen the images produced by the scope, even with its shorter tube.
The included aluminum tripod is very sturdy, and also includes an accessory tray that can be very useful when you are outdoors in the dark and need a place to organize your accessories neatly.
The equatorial mount is perfectly built and allows manual slow-motion tracking of celestial objects as they move across the sky.
The mount can also be upgraded at a later time to a motorized option that tracks objects automatically, so that’s a nice option to have and definitely a plus if you are using the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST for astrophotography.
Just like many other similar products, the Orion 09007 also comes with Orion’s Starry Night software, which is very useful for beginners, and has the added benefit of alerting the user of upcoming celestial events.
Short 24″ long optical tube design for easy portability and fast f/5 focal ratio for pleasing wide-field performance makes the SpaceProbe 130ST EQ a very versatile telescope the whole family can enjoy
- Nice set of accessories
- Can be upgraded to have motorized tracking
- Comes with an Equatorial mount and a versatile tripod
- Easy to assemble and transport
- Plastic focuser and mount parts
- Somewhat confusing instructions
Best Telescope For The Money: Buying Guide
Before you buy your telescope, you must determine what’s important to you. What do you most want to look at? How dark is your sky? What is your experience level as an astronomer? How much do you want to spend on your telescope? Where do you want to store your telescope and how much weight do you want to carry?
So before making a final decision, answer these key questions, familiarize yourself with what’s on the market, and you’ll be well on your way to choosing a telescope that will satisfy you for many years to come.
The telescope you want should have two essentials: high-quality optics and a steady, smoothly working mount. You may also want the telescope to be nice and large, but don’t forget portability and convenience.
Features To Consider When Choosing Your Best Telescope For The Money
All astronomical telescopes, large or small, are designed to do two things: to brighten and magnify your views of celestial objects. Refractors, reflectors, and compound (catadioptric) telescopes do this in different ways, each with its benefits and drawbacks.
Whatever the telescope, its most important spec is its aperture: the diameter of its main, light-gathering lens or mirror. (This lens or mirror is called the telescope’s objective.) The bigger the aperture, the sharper and brighter the view will be.
A bigger aperture delivers brighter views, which leads to better contrast and more detail.
This is why aperture is often described as being the most important feature of a telescope; the more light you can gather, the fainter the celestial bodies you’ll be able to see.
The amount of light a telescope can gather is directly proportional to the area of its aperture.
Our third core number is the focal ratio, also known as the f/number, which describes the relationship between the focal length and the aperture.
You can work it out by dividing the focal length by the aperture; both of these figures should be in millimetres.
Let’s say you have a 130mm aperture instrument with a focal length of 900mm – its focal ratio will be ‘f/6.92’.
Like focal length, focal ratio can tell you a lot about a telescope: larger f/numbers imply higher magnification with a given eyepiece and a narrower field of view, smaller f/numbers the opposite.
Before you can see your chosen target, the rays of light passing through the aperture have to be focused together, and the point where they converge is known as the focal point.
The distance that the light has to travel between the aperture and the focal point forms our second core measurement, the focal length. This is recorded in millimetres.
There is no fixed relationship between an instrument’s aperture and its focal length; it all depends how the lenses and mirrors within the tube are arranged.
To get an image suitable for observing with our eyes, a telescope uses a second lens, or collection of lenses, called an eyepiece at the focal plane. The eyepiece magnifies the image from the objective.
The eyepiece also has a focal length. The magnification of a telescope and eyepiece is very simple to calculate. If the focal length of the objective is “F” and the focal length of the eyepiece is “f”, then the magnification of the telescope/eyepiece combination is F/f.
For example, if a telescope has an objective lens with focal length of 1200 mm (about 48”) and it has an eyepiece of focal length 25 mm (about 1”), then it will have a magnification of 1200/25=48x.
Eyepieces are fundamental components of a telescope and each telescope comes with at least one eyepiece. The eyepiece of a 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.
Different eyepieces are used to view different objects. Some objects, such as nebulae and star clusters, appear quite large and are best viewed at low magnifications (which give a wider field of view), whereas planets appear very small and are normally viewed with high-magnification eyepieces.
Our pick for the best beginner telescope for the money is Celestron – PowerSeeker 70EQ. Designed for beginners, Celestron’s PowerSeeker 70mm f/10 EQ Refractor Telescope is intended to take astronomical observation to the next level by providing a complete set up for viewing the Moon and planets, and brighter deep-sky objects like star clusters and galaxies.
Celestron – NexStar 130SLT is our next pick for the best computerized telescope for the money.
The 130SLT comes with a fully computerized hand control. The computerized hand control of this SLT telescope gives you the ability to automatically slew to any of its 4,000+ objects, including over 600 galaxies, 300 clusters, and dozens of beautiful binary stars. The Celestron NexStar 130 SLT computerized telescope is pre-assembled and has an adjustable steel tripod.
This scope can be up and ready to use in a matter of minutes. The new SkyAlign alignment technology and the included StarPointer Finderscope with a red LED makes aligning the Celestron 130SLT a breeze.
Orion 9024 AstroView is our pick for the best refractor telescope for the money. It has 90mm (3.5″) aperture and 910mm focal length for crisp views of deep-sky objects, the Moon, and planets.
It includes an EQ-2 adjustable tripod and equatorial mount for manual slow-motion celestial tracking.