Best Telescope Under $1000 (2021); Reviews

Considering the number of options available in the marketplace today, choosing the best telescope under $1000 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, APO models or some of us might only be interested in astrophotography or just a good efficient telescope for our family at home. 

The best thing about the telescopes in this price range is that almost all of them are really good, all you have to decide is your purpose for choosing a certain model.

best telescope under $1000

There are a number of features that define the best of these telescopes.

For example, top-notch refractor technology, big apertures, powerful optics, portability, and ease of assembly should join to produce a truly quality telescope regardless of which version you opt for.

We have painstakingly conducted countless hours of research, discussed specifications with fellow astronomers and run detailed comparisons to find the best telescope below $1000 for you in this price range.

COMPARISON TABLE

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Best Telescope Under $1000

With so many models and characteristics any modern telescope has, it becomes rather hard for both novices and pros to find the one  We have analyzed the features that make the best telescope to help you pick out the one that is most suited to you.

Best Computerized Telescope  

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 Dobsonian 

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 8″ Collapsible Dobsonian features a 2″ single speed Crayford style focuser and comes with a 1.25″ adaptor.

best telescope under $1000

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 amateurs 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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a Barlow lens
  • Needs a light shroud

Best GoTo Telescope Under $1000

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. 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. 

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 your entire family can use without much supervision and guidance then look no further than the NexStar 6SE as it one of the best home telescopes under $1000.

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
Related

Best For Planets 

Sky-Watcher Skymax 127mm

Combining power, portability, and connectivity, the Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope gives users an easy-to-use observational platform for viewing the Moon, planets, and deep-sky objects right out of the box.

The compact and powerful Maksutov-Cassegrain design is combined with a limited-diffraction optical system and fully multi-coated lens surfaces.

The Mak-Cassdesign corrects off-axis aberrations like comas and chromatic aberrations, while the limited-diffraction system prevents light from being scattered by defects in the mirrors and corrector plate. 

These complementary features, plus the anti-reflection coatings, work together to produce crisp and clear views with true-color rendition and improved contrast and resolution.

If you are looking for a good telescope under 1000 dollars for planets, stars & galaxies then Skymax 127 could be a great choice for you,

Тhе ЅkуМах 127 іѕ а 5” саtаdіорtrіс tеlеѕсоре wіth а Маkѕutоv-Саѕѕеgrаіn орtісаl ѕуѕtеm. Веgіnnеrѕ аnd еvеn ѕеаѕоnеd аѕtrоnоmеrѕ lооkіng fоr а роrtаblе, ѕесоndаrу, оr іnехреnѕіvе tеlеѕсоре wіll fіnd thе ЅkуМах ѕаtіѕfіеѕ thеіr dеmаndѕ. Wіth іtѕ quаlіtу орtісѕ аnd buіld, іt’ѕ а tеlеѕсоре thаt іѕ dеѕіgnеd fоr аll uѕеrѕ оf vаrіоuѕ ѕkіll lеvеlѕ.

best telescope under $1000

Тhе ЅkуМах іѕ а ѕtаndаlоnе рurсhаѕе, ѕо а mоunt muѕt bе рurсhаѕеd ѕераrаtеlу. Ехреrіеnсеd uѕеrѕ wіll lіkеlу аlrеаdу hаvе а mоunt/trіроd tо uѕе thе tеlеѕсоре wіth whеrеаѕ іt wіll require аn аddіtіоnаl іnvеѕtmеnt fоr а newbie.

Тhе uрѕіdе іѕ bеgіnnеrѕ wіll ѕtаrt оff wіth а quаlіtу tеlеѕсоре ѕуѕtеm thаt wіll lаѕt thеm а lоng tіmе wіth thе аbіlіtу tо grоw wіth thе ѕсоре аnd unlock іtѕ full роtеntіаl аѕ ѕkіllѕ аrе lеаrnеd and аddіtіоnаl ассеѕѕоrіеѕ are acquired.

One advantage of the Gregory Maksutov is that you get a short tube and this is where the travel-scope credentials of the little Sky-Watcher start to become apparent. In fact, the Skymax-127’s stubby OTA measures just 32cm (12.5”) long with the visual back removed. The tube width is also modest at 145mm.

Very compact it certainly is, but the thick corrector plate and rugged build add weight, so the Skymax-127 is one of those telescopes that weighs more than it looks, at about 3Kg. Even so, it is still easy to carry and mount.

With its naturally large image scale, the Skymax-127 is also good for astro imaging smaller DSOs such as planetary nebulae.

Wіth а 5” ареrturе, уоu аlrеаdу hаvе thе аdvаntаgе оf аddіtіоnаl lіght grаѕр оvеr а ѕmаllеr ѕсоре еvеn wіth іtѕ орtісаl оbѕtruсtіоn thаt rеѕultѕ іn ѕоmе lіght lоѕѕ. 

Тhе lоngеr fосаl lеngth аlѕо аllоwѕ fоr hіghеr mаgnіfісаtіоn frоm аnу gіvеn еуеріесе аnd а lаrgеr іmаgе ѕсаlе. Ѕо, thіngѕ wіll lооk brighter аnd lаrgеr thrоugh thе ЅkуWаtсhеr tеlеѕсоре.

Pros:

  • Highly portable
  • Great optics for the price
  • Easy to set up
  • Sharp contrast
  • Clear views of the moon & planets
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Takes time to cool down

Best Refractor Telescope 

Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST

  • Type: Refractor
  • Aperture: 120mm (4.72″)
  • Focal length: 600mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/5
  • Mount: Equatorial
  • Eyepiece: 25mm, 10mm
  • Magnification: 24x, 60x
  • Weight: 36.3 lbs.(16.5 kg)
  • Our Rating: 9.4/10

The Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Refractor Telescope is a rich field telescope. Such scopes have one primary purpose – to show a wide view angle at the cost of reduced magnification. 

With a wide field of view, you can look at more stars and star clusters, rather than just zooming in on individual objects.

The telescope has a wide aperture of 120mm, which can capture maximum light to even show the distant stars with improved clarity. 

The short tube scope has a focal length of 600mm, which is shorter than many beginner scopes. But the view from this short focal length is 66% wider than what you would get with a regular, 900mm focal length scope. 

The maximum useful magnification with the 120ST would be around 240x.

The refractor telescope’s optical tube measures just 26″ long including the dew shield, which makes it highly portable. 

Not limited to visual use, the fast f/5 optical system makes the AstroView 120ST one of the best refractor telescopes under $1000 to use for wide-field astrophotography in addition to simply stargazing.

With the included 25mm Plossl, the AstroView 120ST refractor covers a wide 2.1° swath of sky – enough to display the entire Double Cluster of Perseus, Pleiades Cluster, or North America Nebula.

The AstroView 120mm ST rests on the Orion AstroView Equatorial (EQ) mount, which allows for easy manual tracking of celestial objects as they appear to migrate across the night sky. 

The included Polar-Axis Scope allows you to achieve polar alignment of the EQ mount easily and quickly.

Manual slow-motion controls lets you center celestial objects and track them with very little effort. 

The included aluminum tripod features adjustable legs and an accessory tray.

The Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Refractor Telescope comes with a wide array of amazing accessories

Included are the Orion AstroView Equatorial Mount, adjustable tripod, 6×30 Finder Scope, internal polar alignment scope, 1.25” 10mm and 25 mm Sirius Plossl Eyepieces, 1.25”-2” adapter, 90⁰ Star Diagonal, 2” Rack-and-Pinion Focuser, Starry Night Special Edition Software, and more.

Pros:

  • Perfect for professional astronomers
  • Wide field of view gives good view of distant stars
  • Color aberrations are kept low
  • Sturdy, adjustable tripod
  • Maximum magnification
  • Included slow motion controls

Cons:

  • Not a beginner friendly telescope
  • Does not include a carrying case

Best Home 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 Computerized Telescope 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 tripodquick 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 Reflector Under $1000 

Orion 9827 AstroView 6

  • Type: Reflector
  • Aperture: 150mm(6”)
  • Focal length: 750mm
  • Focal Ratio: f/5
  • Mount: Equatorial
  • Eyepiece: 25mm, 10mm
  • Magnification: 30x, 75x
  • Weight: 37.1 lbs.(16.83 kg)
  • Our Rating: 9.6/10

The Orion 9827 AstroView is a versatile 6″ reflector telescope with sturdy equatorial mount and a tripod that excels at all-around night-sky performance.

With a 6″ (150mm) aperture and 750mm focal length, this Newtonian reflector telescope provides pleasing views of a rich variety of celestial objects from the close-by Moon to distant galaxies and cloudy nebulas.

With the included 10mm Plossl eyepiece (1.25″), you can view detailed lunar landscapes at 75x, or see distinct cloud bands on Jupiter’s disk

For some deep sky thrills the telescope comes with a 25mm Plossl eyepiece, where modest 30x power rewards you with images of nebulas and star clusters framed in a wide circle of starry blackness. 

You can opt for additional eyepieces or a barlow lens, where you can push the magnification power to 150x or more.

The Orion 9827 Astroview 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope is one of the best telescopes for amateurs under $1000 who want to graduate from their small refractor to their first reflector telescope.

At 6 ft. long and 37.1 lbs, it’s a hefty telescope that will give amateurs a real sense of being an astronomer.

best reflector telescope under 1000

Its aperture can adjust between 150mm to 200mm depending on your needs, it comes with a copy of Starry Night Orion software, which you can use to look at a simulation of the sky from anywhere on the planet and control the adjustments made to your telescope.

The telescope’s metal tube rings fasten the 27″ long reflector optical tube to the sturdy Orion AstroView equatorial (EQ) mount. 

The AstroView mount features vital slow-motion manual control knobs which let you center objects in the viewing field, then track their apparent motion as the Earth’s rotation makes them appear to migrate across the sky. 

The adjustable aluminum tripod is very stable and offers variable height for crowd-pleasing performance. The tripod leg braces are hinged at the center for quick setup and fold-up.

The AstroView also includes a polar scope for precise polar alignment, as well as an accessory tray.

Pros:

  • Compact and sleek appearance
  • Suitable for beginners and intermediate-level astronomers
  • Light-weight and portable
  • User-friendly and versatile 
  • Pocket friendly
  • Durable, will last a long time

Cons:

  • Tripod is susceptible to shaking.
  • Calibrating the finder scope can take time

Best APO Telescope 

Sky-Watcher ProED

The Sky-Watcher ProED 100mm f/9 Doublet APO Refractor features a doublet apochromatic lens system with Extra-low Dispersion glass and Sky-Watcher’s proprietary photon anti-rejection Metallic High-Transmission Coatings on all air-to-glass optical surfaces

This combination of glass, lenses, and coatings virtually eliminates chromatic aberrations for clear and bright high-contrast images with true color rendition. 

This is a versatile optical tube assembly that is well suited for wide-field astronomical observation of prominent nebulae, star clusters and galaxies, or can be used as an astrograph for sky photography, a terrestrial spotting scope or telephoto lens.

The scope features an ED Schott glass, which is rare in many professional telescopes.

This Doublet APO Refractor Telescope comes with a 2” Crayford-style focuser which is one of the best focusers in telescopes as it is a Dual-speed one. A 1.25-inch adapter is also included along with it. 

The Sky-Watcher ProED comes with several accessories to help you get observing faster and easier. First, are 2 long eye relief eyepieces that produce 30x and 120x magnification and a 90° star diagonal for more comfortable viewing. 

A large 8×50 erect-image finderscope to make finding your celestial objects faster and easier. The finderscope is fully-multicoated to ensure maximum brightness and contrast.

Additionally, Sky-Watcher provides a foam-lined aluminum carrying case to safely store and transport the OTA.

The Sky-Watcher ED-APO design assures virtual elimination of secondary, residual false color normally present in two-element achromatic lens designs using Crown and Flint glass

With ED APO Sky-Watcher refractor telescope, you’ll experience breathtaking high contrast views that have no equal to planetary and deep-space objects against pitch black skies.

The Sky-Watcher Pro Apochromatic Telescope has enough high contrast/high resolution optical performance to let you use it on an alt-azimuth or equatorial mount. 

It’s only 6.6 lbs., lightweight and doesn’t require a big and expensive mount, so it’s easy to afford and easy to take out and set up for observing on a moment’s notice. 

The Sky-Watcher ED-APO features a contrast-enhancing internal light baffles in the tube and focuser drawtube and a specially darkened tube interior providing dark sky backgrounds and high terrestrial contrast.

This apochromatic telescope comes with a dew shield which slows the formation of dew on the lens in cold weather to extend your undisturbed observing time.

Pros:

  • Best for professionals
  • Maximum magnification
  • Accurate in focus
  • 9×50 RA viewfinder
  • Two-inch dielectric diagonal

Cons:

  • Focuser slips with heavy eyepieces
  • Flimsy case

Best Astrophotography Telescope  

Meade Instruments ETX125

The ETX125 Observer is a fully-featured GoTo telescope that includes the AudioStar controller, the heart of this computer guided telescope. 

In addition to finding and tracking objects in the night sky for you, the AudioStar controller boasts a number of features of its own, including a 30,000+ object database, built-in speaker, and over 4 hours of audio content that educates you about objects you observe.

AudioStar computer hand control is very simple to operate. It will even help you align the scope on the sky. 

All you have to do is tell the AudioStar where and when you are on Earth, level the tube, and show it where North is located using the included bubble level/compass. The AudioStar computer will do the rest.

This slow telescope features a large 127mm aperture and 1900mm (f/15) focal length, making it ideal for planetary, lunar and binary star observation. The ETX125 Observer is also one of the best computerized telescopes under $1000.

The ETX-125 Observer comes with a 26mm Plossl for low power (73x) and a 9.7mm Plossl for high power (196x).

The optics are coated with a special, trademarked substance that allows ultra-high transmission of light, offering bright, high-contrast images with less aberration.

This Maksutov Cassegrain or Mak-Cass telescope, uses a curved corrector plate with the secondary mirror coated directly to it.  

best astrophotography telescope under 1000

There is no spider or cell to obstruct the light any more than the mirror surface needs and the curved corrector plate helps focus light with a higher accuracy than other designs.  

Colors become truer, more light is gathered per aperture, and the contrast is thereby boosted making a Mak-Cass telescope an optimal choice for planetary and lunar observing or imaging.   

The portability and easy setup of the Meade ETX125 make it one of the best telescopes for astrophotography under $1000. The tripod features an EQ Tilt Plate, which further enhances the astrophotography capabilities. 

The focal ratio is f/15, making this a very slow telescope. This means you can make some great pictures of bright objects like the Moon, some planets and a few stars if the night sky is perfectly clear.

The red dot finder, the internal flip mirror, and the autostar database will all help you find and identify objects in the night sky to assist you in astrophotography.

The mount of this scope is very unique. It is a Steel Field Tripod that is fairly stable and does not weigh a lot, so it is very portable. The design is technically an altitude-azimuth tripod.

The mount is controlled by the computer via the AudioStar Controller, which allows finding and tracking of objects like planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies. 

The mount features DC Servo Motors which are of good quality in general.

Pros:

  • Small, compact & powerful telescope 
  • GoTo features with a 30,000 object database 
  • High-Quality lenses, great super plossl eyepieces 
  • Unique hybrid mount that turns from an Alt-Azimuth into an Equatorial Mount
  • Bubble Level/Compass Device for easy set-up and quick leveling
  • AudioStar controller for learning about each object as you explore.

Cons:

  • The focusing knob can be a hassle to adjust
  • Small aperture

Buyer’s Guide: How To Choose A Telescope Under $1000

Telescopes are an incredible door to the heavens, for anybody intrigued by space and astronomy.

If you are looking for the best telescope under $1000 then you are bound to encounter a wide variety of choices. The telescopes for under $1000 are ideal for amateurs to intermediates to advanced as well. 

It’s important to note that not all telescopes in this price range are for professionals. Telescopes like Celestron – NexStar 6SE and Sky-Watcher Skymax 127mm are easy to set-up and use. Hence, these are among the best home telescopes under $1000 and are favorites among consumers who are looking for a family friendly telescope in that price range.

A telescope in this price range will enable you to view planetary details like shadows and texture of the moon, nebulae and galaxies, among other objects. 

There is a big variation between telescopes used for watching mountains and cities, than those for watching the Moon and neighbouring planets, or the ones for deep space exploration.

What is generally important are good optics for a clear view especially if you are someone interested in astrophotography paired with a stable and secure stand as well.

One common misconception is that telescopes are meant to magnify small objects. The objects in space are certainly not small – they are enormous.

They only appear small to us. And if we only magnify what we can see with our eyes, we would simply get a big smudge with a distorted picture. Imagine this scenario as zooming into a low-quality picture.

What is important is the gathering light capability, the size of the aperture This will allow us to see more details – only then the magnification actually makes sense.

So, while magnifying power is important, it relies on a more significant feature – objective diameter, or aperture.

A bigger aperture allows for greater magnification. But keep in mind that magnification also depends on the focal ratio.

So if you want to look at smaller details with a bigger magnification, you might want to use slow telescopes with a high f-number, instead if you want a wide field of view with lots of stars and galaxies, a fast telescope with a low f-number is a better choice.

You can also consider telescopes with GoTo Mounts, these will help you guide the telescope automatically with a handheld computer.

Features To Look For In A Telescope Under $1000

These are the main features we assessed when comparing different models to come up with our best telescope under $1000 list. Taking them into consideration will ease the burden of choice.

best telescope under 1000 dollars reviews

Type Of Telescope

The telescopes, for all their varied shapes and sizes, types of telescopes can be divided into three classes: refractors, reflectors, and catadioptrics.

1. Refractor Telescope

The refractor telescope uses a lens to gather and focus light. The first telescopes built were refractors. The glass lens is at the front of the telescope and light is bent (refracted) as it passes through the lens.

Refractor telescopes are rugged. After the initial alignment, their optical system is more resistant to misalignment than the reflector telescopes.

The glass surface inside the tube is sealed from the atmosphere so it rarely needs cleaning.

Since the tube is closed off from the outside, air currents and effects due to changing temperatures are eliminated. This means that the images are steadier and sharper than those from a reflector telescope of the same size.

All refractors suffer from an effect called chromatic aberration (“color deviation or distortion”) that produces a rainbow of colors around the image. Because of the wave nature of light, the longer wavelength light (redder colors) is bent less than the shorter wavelength light (bluer colors) as it passes through the lens.

2. Reflector Telescope

The second type of telescope, the reflector telescope, uses a mirror to gather and focus light. Its most common form is the Newtonian reflector, with a specially curved concave primary mirror in the bottom end of the telescope.

Near the top a small, diagonal secondary mirror directs the light from the primary to the side of the tube, where it’s met by a conveniently placed eyepiece.

If you want the most aperture for your money, the reflector is the scope for you.

When well made and maintained, a reflector can provide sharp, contrasty images of all manner of celestial objects at a small fraction of the cost of an equal-aperture refractor.

3. Catadioptric Telescope

The third type of telescopes are the catadioptric or compound telescope. These were invented with the desire to combine the best characteristics of refractors and reflectors: they employ both lenses and mirrors to form an image.

The greatest appeal of these instruments is that, in their commonly encountered forms (the Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain), they are very compact.

Their tubes are just two to three times as long as wide, an arrangement allowed by “optical folding” of the light. The smaller tube can use a lighter and thus more manageable mounting. The upshot is that you can obtain a large-aperture, long-focus telescope that’s very transportable.

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 length

Focal length is the distance from the main optical component where light is gathered to the point where it is brought to a focus for the eyepiece to form an image. This obviously influences the level of magnification. A long focal length has higher magnification but offers narrower fields of view than a short one. It is suitable for objects that are closer like the moon, stars and planets.

To observe distant galaxies, choose a telescope with a short focal length and large diameter that provide wider and brighter views.

Focal length is closely associated with focal ratio which is denoted by f/number. Focal ratio is the focal length divided by the aperture diameter.

A ratio of f/11 to f/15 will have high magnification and narrow fields of view while a ratio of f/4 or f/5 will have lower magnification, brighter images and wider fields of view suitable for dim and distant objects.

Mounts

The best telescope in the world is useless unless it’s on a solid, stable, smoothly-working mount, one that permits it to be directed to the desired part of the sky and to follow a celestial object smoothly and precisely as the Earth turns beneath it.

Investing in a good mount will give you years of use even after you have upgraded your telescope.

Altazimuth and equatorial are the two most common types of mounts.

1. Altazimuth Mounts

An equatorial mount should be used for a telescope intended for astronomy, and for which astrophotography is a future prospect, the equatorial mount here automatically counteracts Earth’s rotation.

It’s far easier to track a celestial object with a scope mounted this way, since you need only concern yourself with turning the scope about one axis — not two simultaneously, as in the alt-az. When an equatorial mount is properly set up, turning the slow-motion control of its polar axis is all that’s required to keep an object in view.

2. Equatorial Mounts

An equatorial mount should be used for a telescope intended for astronomy, and for which astrophotography is a future prospect, the equatorial mount here automatically counteracts Earth’s rotation.

It’s far easier to track a celestial object with a scope mounted this way, since you need only concern yourself with turning the scope about one axis — not two simultaneously, as in the alt-az. When an equatorial mount is properly set up, turning the slow-motion control of its polar axis is all that’s required to keep an object in view.

Eyepieces

Eyepieces determine the magnification and field of view of a telescope. 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.  

One of the most common misconceptions in amateur astronomy is that magnification is the most important aspect of a telescope.  

In reality, the diameter (aperture) of a telescope determines its power and different eyepieces are used to get the best view of a given object.  Often the best view is at a low magnification.  

There are two standard sizes of telescope eyepieces.  The sizes are determined by the diameter of the eyepiece barrel that fits into the telescope.  The two standard sizes are 1.25″ and 2″. 

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.

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.

Conclusion

The Celestron – NexStar 6SE is our pick for the best GoTo telescope under $1000 with Schmidt-Cassegrain optics and fully computerized controls that provides outstanding performance. The telescope’s classic design, big 6″ aperture, and great features make this telescope a great choice for beginners and advanced astronomers alike.

Our third pick is the Sky-Watcher ProED which in our opinion is also the best apo telescope under $1000. This APO Refractor telescope from Sky-Watcher features a doublet apochromatic lens system with Extra-low Dispersion glass and Sky-Watcher’s proprietary photon anti-rejection Metallic High-Transmission Coatings on all air-to-glass optical surfaces.

As an astrograph, the Sky-Watcher ProED APO performs superbly delivering crisp, high-fidelity imaging of planetary, lunar and aperture appropriate deep-space phenomena.