Everything You Should Know About the Best Telescope for Beginners

What Are The Risks Associated With Using Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
April 17, 2019
Best Polaroid Camera: Buyer’s Guide & Reviews
April 20, 2019

Isn’t it a joy to see those sparkling stars shining bright in the sky at night? Would you want to see them up close? If so, then you need to get yourself a telescope. You don’t really need to invest in the most expensive telescope to get started with backyard astronomy. Instead, you should look for the best telescope for beginners. These telescopes are not that complicated to operate, yet they have everything you need to get started with your hobby.

When it comes to telescopes, bigger is always better. Basically, the larger the aperture of the device, the better it can capture light. Furthermore, bigger telescopes can go deeper into the space allowing you to see the astronomical figures clearly.

Telescopes work like a bucket that collects photons. And as you know, the wider the bucket, the more you will be able to collect. If the telescope can collect more photons, you’d be able to view objects more clearly.

Aside from the aperture, you also need to consider other factors when looking for the best starter telescope to buy. Things like quality, ease of use, size, and cost should also be taken into consideration. To guide you through all of this, here’s everything you need to know about telescopes and how to choose the best one for your needs.

How Do Telescopes Work?

Everyone knows what a telescope is but only a few people understand how this device works. The telescope has three different components; eyepieces, mount, and optics. Most of the beginner telescopes already come with one to two eyepieces. As for the mount and the optics, you need to decide which of them will work best for you.

So how does a telescope work? The telescope’s main purpose is to collect light. Each telescoping device works in different ways when collecting light.

Whenever you gaze up the sky at night with your naked eyes, what you’ll be seeing are white spheres. But it’s hard to determine the finer details without using a telescope.

When the telescope collects light, it unlocks the finer details of those white spheres in the sky. Thus, you will be able to uncover what these astronomical figures really are. Indeed, Galileo was correct when he said that telescopes are the best tools to reveal what’s invisible.

Different Types of Telescopes

PLAN - PRICE

Description

Celestron PowerSeeker 50 AZ Refractor Telescope

Comes with a bonus astronomy software that can be downloaded


Easy to set up and use


Very affordable yet reliable

BARSKA Starwatcher 400x70mm Refractor Telescope

BARSKA Starwatcher is Budget-friendly


BARSKA Starwatcher is very easy to use


Durable built

SkyWatcher S11620 Traditional Dobsonian 10-Inch Telescope

SkyWatcher S11620 includes additional accessories


Reasonably priced


Stable rocker-mount

Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope

Comes with starter software


Easy to use for all ages


Features an excellent level of magnification

Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope With SkyAlign Technology

It has a compact design


Equipped with SkyAlign technology


Features a fully automated GoTo mount

Telescopes are available in three different types – reflector, refractor, and compound telescopes. If you’ve read some telescope reviews, you’ll know that the compound telescopes are intended for advanced users. So for this guide, we’ll only focus on the refractor and reflector telescopes.

A – Refractor Telescopes

Refractor telescopes are recommended for beginners. They are also cheaper and come with a simple design, which is not too complicated for a beginner to operate. These telescopes have the basic features to help you get started with your telescoping hobby.

It makes use of a lens as its objective in order to produce an image. Yet, these types of telescopes are bulky and heavy and are not capable of producing as much detail, unlike the reflector telescopes.

You should buy a refractor telescope if:

You want an easy-to-use telescope that’s easy to maintain.
You want to observe objects on earth, such as birds, etc.
You’re looking for a budget-friendly telescope.

B – Reflector Telescopes

Reflector telescopes rely on curved mirrors to reflect light in order to produce an image. Thus, they produce a brighter and clearer image, unlike the refractor telescopes. If you want a telescope that can provide clear images, then this is a great choice. And unlike the refractor scopes that are bulky and heavy, these telescopes are lightweight and compact.

Reflector telescopes require some maintenance though, unlike the refractor scopes. This is because they have an open tube that has the tendency to accumulate dust over time. Furthermore, it is not effective for watching objects on earth, as it’s intended for watching astronomical objects. Also, they are usually more expensive than the refractor telescopes.

You should choose a reflector telescope if:

You want to watch deep sky objects.
You want a telescope that can produce clear images.
You want a telescope that offers the best value for your money.

Things to Look for When Shopping for a Telescope for Beginners

Before you start shopping for the best telescope to buy, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the different features of a telescope. That way, you will know exactly what to look for.

Aperture

The most important component to consider when looking for the best telescope for beginners is the aperture. This basically refers to the diameter of the lens or the telescope’s mirror.

The aperture determines exactly how much you can watch using the telescope. Thus, this component is very important. In most cases, telescopes with a bigger aperture are usually the better choice. If a telescope has a huge aperture, more light will be collected into the eyepiece, which means you’ll be able to enjoy a better image quality when watching objects through the telescope.

Even if you are on a budget, you should still go for the telescope with the biggest aperture so you can enjoy excellent image quality.

Magnification

Magnification is another feature to look for when shopping for your first telescope. All telescopes are able to magnify objects in the sky, but the level of magnification varies. This will usually depend on the telescope’s eyepiece and focal length.

Others would say that a telescope that has more magnification is a much better choice. Also, there are lots of cheaper telescopes that emphasize the level of magnification. However, no matter how high the magnification is, if it can’t produce clear images, then your telescope is basically useless.

Focal Length

The focal length of the telescope is another feature that you should consider. Focal length refers to the distance of the telescope’s focal point to its lens or mirror.

While the focal length is not really as important as aperture, it’s still something you should consider. If your telescope has a bigger focal length, then the objects that you’re watching will appear much bigger than when watching them with smaller focal length.

That’s why it’s always a good idea to choose a telescope that has a big aperture and focal length, although if you need to choose only one between the two, the bigger aperture should be a priority.

Electronic Control

Before, telescopes used to rely only on manual operation so it wasn’t possible to automatically set them to watch specific constellations. But the modern telescopes of today have electronic control.

These devices have a built-in computer that’s capable of automatically searching for certain objects in the sky. Electronic control is not really necessary for beginners. However, if you need the best telescope for viewing planets, then this will be an important factor to consider.

Warranty

Just like with buying any device, the warranty is something that you should take into consideration. Most of the telescopes in the market nowadays are backed with a 1 to 2-year warranty. Warranty is actually an important factor for beginner telescopes since these devices are not really made of heavy-duty materials that could increase the life of the device.

Extra Accessories

As you get started with your hobby, you may want to consider buying accessories for your telescope.

Here are some of the main accessories that are worth investing in:

Eyepieces

If you want to improve the quality of the images that you can watch on your telescope, you may want to consider buying high-quality eyepieces. They look like small magnifying glasses and allow you to view objects in different magnification.

As mentioned, most of the entry-level telescopes already come with one to two eyepieces. But if you want to upgrade later on, you can always purchase additional eyepieces. The cost of each eyepiece ranges from $40 to as much as $250! It’s a good idea to choose one that has a multi-element design since they open up to a wider field of view.

Finders

If you’re buying a telescope for backyard astronomy, then you should purchase an accessory known as the finder. The best telescope for beginners use comes with finders and they are available in different types.

There are those that are low-powered and don’t require any optics. Instead, they use wide-field scopes that allow for simple viewing. Some finders come with reflex sight where there’s a glowing red dot that automatically keeps track of your desired astronomical object in the sky.

Mounts

You’ll find two types of telescope mounts, the equatorial and the altazimuth mount.

Here’s what you should know about them:

Equatorial Mount – This type of telescope mount moves in north to south and east to west directions. With this mount, you’d be able to keep track of celestial targets as the Earth moves by simply moving the scope through a single axis.

Some of the equatorial mounts are equipped with motor tracking that’s very useful for magnification viewing. With this mount, you’ll have more control over your telescope although it may take a while to set it up because the process of alignment can be a bit complicated.

Altazimuth Mount – This telescope mount moves right and left and up and down. It’s similar to camera tripods that are used for taking photographs. The mount can be adjusted in the directions mentioned depending on your viewing needs. This mount is lighter compared to the equatorial mount and is great for beginners.

Consider Your Budget

Backyard astronomy is truly enjoyable, which is why more and more people are being hooked to it. However, this hobby can also get expensive. Sure, you’ll find entry-level telescopes that cost less than $100 but they only come with the most basic features.

As you progress on your hobby, you may end up buying more and more accessories and this could cost a lot of money. Thus, it might be a good idea to invest in telescopes that cost around $300 to $800. At this range, you’ll already enjoy viewing astronomical figures in the night sky and discover amazing celestial bodies.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

What objects can you see with an entry-level telescope?

You should be able to spot all the planets from a distance using the telescope, except Pluto. It should also allow you to spot some astronomical objects, such as the Red Spots on Jupiter and even those ice caps on Mars. But it’s important that you know where to locate them so you can fully enjoy your backyard astronomy hobby.

How long will it take to learn astronomy using a telescope?

Backyard astronomy is a hobby that would require you to do a bit of research. You should take the time to learn and understand the different constellations and other interesting astronomical objects before you start looking for them with your telescope.

Of course, it may take a while before you can become an expert in astronomy and this will also vary from one person to another. As you know, each person has a different learning curve. But like everything else, if you put in some extra effort, then you’ll surely become an expert in astronomy by using telescopes for beginners.

Where is the best place to observe stars?

When observing stars at night, look for a place where there are not a lot of city lights that could obstruct your viewing. A clear sky can also help you successfully spot celestial bodies. Therefore, it’s a good idea to wait for those nights when the sky is almost cloudless. Then head to an open field where there are not too many lights.

Best Telescope for Beginners

Now that you’re familiar with the most basic features of a telescope, you can start shopping for the best telescope for beginners. To help you with your search, here’s a list of the best telescopes that can work well for beginners:

1 – Celestron PowerSeeker 50 AZ Refractor Telescope

If you are looking for the best telescope under 200, this might be your best bet. As a matter of fact, this telescope costs less than $100 and is already equipped with the basic features that a beginner needs.

As an entry-level telescope, the Celestron PowerSeeker is the best telescope for kids who are showing interest in astronomical observations at a young age. It’s easy to use and comes with the most basic features, such as slow motion controls and erect image optics.

The telescope also features fully coated optical components that allow for clear viewing. What’s more, its aluminum tripod is light enough for any child to handle.

The Celestron PowerSeeker telescope features a Barlow lens with magnifying power that’s three times more of each eyepiece. Therefore, even if the celestial objects are moving, it’s still possible to view them from afar using this telescope. But you cannot really expect a lot from this telescope, as it’s pretty basic. Nevertheless, it’s a great device to get started with astronomy.

Pros:

Comes with a bonus astronomy software that can be downloaded
Easy to set up and use
Very affordable yet reliable

Cons:

Made of average-grade materials
Very basic features

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

2 – BARSKA Starwatcher 400x70mm Refractor Telescope

Barska is one of the best telescope brands when it comes to quality and affordability. So if you need an affordable telescope that can get you started with astronomy, this would be an ideal choice.

The Barska Starwatcher telescope has a focal length of 400 mm and 300x power. Thus, it’s the best telescope for viewing planets. It’s pretty solid too and you won’t have any problems with handling and wobbles. The optics are glass coated, which offers enhanced clarity and brightness.

When buying this telescope, you’ll also get an adjustable tripod, interchangeable eyepieces, as well as a carrying case. Furthermore, users can get access to the Deepsky Astronomy Software, which has a database of more than 10,000 astronomical objects, including variable stars, star clusters, nebulae, and more.

When looking for the best telescope for kids that come with great features, this telescope is a great choice. It’s highly durable, budget-friendly, and extremely easy to use.

Pros:

Budget-friendly
Very easy to use
Durable built

Cons:

The quality of the eyepieces is not that good
The tripod is tabletop design and won’t be ideal for use in the open fields

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

3 – SkyWatcher S11620 Traditional Dobsonian 10-Inch Telescope

For those who prefer a stylish telescope to use for their backyard astronomy, the SkyWatcher S11620 is worth checking out. This plain white telescope is really stunning. Plus, it offers great portability and comes with versatile features that make stargazing more enjoyable and fun.

This traditional Dobsonian telescope has a focal length of 1,200 mm. It comes with a durable mount that’s equipped with a tension clutch. Ideal for beginners, this telescope is extremely easy to handle and use.

Having an aperture of 10-inch, this product is a great choice for those looking for a powerful telescope that’s reasonably priced. In fact, this model is the largest among the SkyWatcher telescopes made by Celestron. However, this device is a bit bulky and has a weight of 66 pounds, which makes it inconvenient to carry around.

Pros:

Includes additional accessories
Reasonably priced
Stable rocker-mount

Cons:

Bulky and heavy

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

4 – Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Telescope

Costing around $300, the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST is the best telescope under 500 that can work well for beginners. It’s equipped with powerful features that are easy for beginners to work around. Furthermore, the device has a parabolic primary mirror that’s 130mm and offers high-end viewing of the night sky. With this telescope, you’d be able to enjoy clear viewing of nebulae, star clusters, and galaxies.

The aperture parabolic reflector of the Orion SpaceProbe is capable of capturing a good amount of light so you can enjoy viewing the moon and some other planets up-close. It has a 24-inch optical tube and is not a hassle when carrying the device from one place to another.

The telescope is equipped with a durable tripod and mount, allowing you to observe moving sky objects. Since the tripod is easily adjustable, your little ones can also enjoy watching astronomical objects in this telescope. In fact, this telescope comes with an accessory tray that can hold the eyepieces, flashlights etc.

Pros:

Comes with starter software
Easy to use for all ages
Features an excellent level of magnification

Cons:

A bit expensive for entry-level telescopes

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

5 – Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope

When looking for a user-friendly telescope for beginners, the Celestron NexStar 6 SE might be a great choice. It allows you to enjoy the best views of the cosmic world. Made by Celestron, which is one of the best telescope brands in the market, this entry-level telescope is not only durable but reliable as well. In fact, Celestron is the first company to manufacture user-friendly and compact compound telescopes.

The Celestron NexStar 6 SE features an iconic orange tube equipped with the latest features that can benefit both advanced users and beginners. It has an aperture of 6 inches and features an excellent light gathering ability, which allows for the clear viewing of astronomical objects, such as stars, moon, planets, etc.

Equipped with a fully automated GoTo mount, plus downloadable software that features a database of more than 40,000 astronomical objects, this telescope has everything that you need for your backyard astronomy hobby.

Pros:

Compact design
Equipped with SkyAlign technology
Features a fully automated GoTo mount

Cons:

The stand has the tendency to easily wear out over time

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

6 – Meade Instruments 216001 Polaris 70 EQ Refractor Telescope

When it comes to quality and value, you can never go wrong with the Meade Instruments 216001 telescope. It’s the best telescope for the money, especially for entry-level users. Despite it being affordable, this telescope will definitely not disappoint. It comes with a 70mm aperture and a focal length of 900mm.

The Meade Instruments 216001 telescope is known for its precise positioning, excellent light gathering abilities, and great magnification. Moreover, the telescope comes equipped with an equatorial mount that’s very user-friendly. It allows you to easily observe and keep track of celestial bodies through the telescope’s viewfinder and astronomical software.

This telescope is a refractor type, which means that there’s no need to align mirrors in order to achieve the proper setting for viewing. Once you receive this device, you can immediately use it for viewing.

There’s no longer a need to adjust and go through the complex settings. In addition, the telescope features a right-side-up image so you can use it for daytime viewing of oceans, birds etc. If you are looking for the best telescope to buy to see planets, this is an ideal choice.

Pros:

70mm aperture
Can be used for both daytime and nighttime observations
Comes with an easy-to-use equatorial mount

Cons:

Won’t be able to produce a detailed image of the objects from deep-sky

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

7 – Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope

If you’re someone who loves to travel and you need a telescope that you can easily carry with you wherever you go, you may want to consider getting the Celestron 21035 70mm. It’s known for its lightweight and compact design so you can bring it with you wherever you go.

Another great thing about this telescope from Celestron is that it’s easy to setup and use. It has a 70mm aperture, 20mm eyepiece, 20x magnification power, and a focal length of 400 mm. Although the telescope is pretty basic, it has everything that you need to get started with your hobby! Furthermore, its fully coated optical lens allows you to enjoy clear and crisp images.

The Celestron 21035 70mm also includes extra features and accessories to make your astronomical viewing even more convenient. For instance, it has the azimuth mount, which allows for the easy viewing and tracking of celestial objects.

It also includes the Sky X software that has a database of more than 10,000 celestial objects. What’s more, there’s a free backpack, which makes carrying the telescope along with its accessories, so much easier.

This Celestron telescope can also be used for terrestrial viewing. Having a weight of only 1.5 kg, you will be able to easily carry it with you during out of town trips or when you travel out of the country.

This product is covered by a two-year warranty, which is truly impressive given its affordable price. The only drawback is the tabletop tripod because some users have complained that it has the tendency to get worn out very fast. Plus, it cannot be set up securely in areas with uneven surfaces.

Pros:

Features fully coated glass optics
Includes a free backpack that secures the telescope when traveling
Portable design

Cons:

The tripod is made from low-grade materials and is somewhat unstable

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

8 – SVBONY SV15 Telescope – (Good for Astronomy Beginners)

When it comes to the best telescope for beginners, the SVBONY 70mm refractor telescope would often come up in the list. It’s known for offering a decent amount of viewing power. Having an aperture of 2.4 inches, this telescope is on the smaller side but it boasts a focal length of 300mm.

The SVBONY astronomical telescope offers clear viewing of the planets, stars, moon, and a fully enhanced magnification level. When you purchase this telescope, you’ll get several eyepieces as well. The highest that its lens can deliver is 150x magnification and each eyepiece is designed for maximum comfort.

As a refractor telescope, the SVBONY SV15 telescope is perfect for beginners who are still trying to learn the basics of astronomy. It comes with eyepieces, along with a lightweight aluminum tripod, optical tube, and pretty much everything you need to get started with your new hobby.

After setting up the tripod, you just need to attach the lens tube and then you can start using the telescope by aiming the scope towards the open sky!

Pros:

Stylish design
Easy to set up and use
Includes a wide variety of lenses

Cons:

Cannot be kept focused for a longer viewing time

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

9 – TELMU Telescope for Kids and Adults

Having a focal length of 400mm and an aperture of 2.8 inches, the TELMU telescope is suitable for both adults and kids who want to enjoy watching celestial objects in the solar system, including the moon, stars, planets, and craters.

There are two eyepieces that come with each set of this telescope. One is 6mm with 67x magnification while the other has 25mm and a 16x magnification.

It has a finder scope that allows you to locate objects in the sky very easily before focusing on the finer details of the object using the eyepiece. Aside from night sky viewing, this telescope can also be used for viewing objects on Earth from a far distance, such as animals, plants, mountains etc.

What’s great about this telescope is that it also comes equipped with a mobile phone holder so you can capture photos while viewing objects in the night sky!

Pros:

Comes with two eyepieces; 6mm and 25 mm
Can also be used to watch objects on Earth
Equipped with a cellphone holder

Cons:

Low magnification level

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

10 – Gskyer EQ901000 Telescope

The Gskyer EQ901000 deserves to be on this list simply because it comes with features that can help beginners to easily get started with astronomical viewing. Offering incomparable clarity that you won’t get anywhere else, this telescope allows you to uncover the finer details of the celestial objects in the sky.

Beginners will love the fact that the Gskyer EQ901000 is very easy to assemble, focus, and use. Plus, you can easily zoom in distant objects closer to you as if they are just right in front of you when viewing with your naked eyes!

This is all possible thanks to its aperture of 90mm and a focal length of 1,000 mm. The field of vision can also be adjusted easily and you can make it as wide or focused as you want it to be.

There are three different eyepieces that come with the Gskyer EQ901000; 5mm, 10mm, and 25mm. You are free to choose the eyepiece to use, especially if you want to use the higher magnification level. The device is also equipped with an equatorial mount, as well as a backpack that you can use to store and carry the device with ease.

Pros:

Includes a few extra accessories
Has a long focal length which allows for easy adjusting
The telescope is easy to mount, set up and use
Wide aperture offering great focus

Cons:

A bit heavy to carry around
Offering a low magnification level of only 600x

CLICK HERE TO VIEW PRICE ON AMAZON

Conclusion

PLAN - PRICE

Description

Meade Instruments 216001 Polaris

70mm aperture


Can be used for both daytime and nighttime observations


Comes with an easy-to-use equatorial mount

Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope

Features fully coated glass optics


Includes a free backpack that secures the telescope when traveling


Portable design

SVBONY SV15 Telescope with Tripod

SVBONY SV15 Telescope comes with a Stylish design


Easy to set up and use


Includes a wide variety of lenses

TELMU Telescope for Kids & Adults

Comes with two eyepieces; 6mm and 25 mm


Can also be used to watch objects on Earth


Equipped with a cellphone holder

Gskyer EQ901000 Telescope

Includes a few extra accessories


Has a long focal length for easy view adjusting


Easy to mount, set up and use

All the telescopes in this list are the best telescope for beginners but what really stood out from the list is the SVBONY SV15 telescope. In fact, it’s one of the best-rated telescopes for beginners online.

This telescope is extremely easy to set up and offers clear viewing of astronomical objects. If you are still new to this hobby, then this telescope has all the basic features that will help you get started.

It includes a wide variety of lenses and has a lightweight tripod, which makes it easy for you to carry from one place to another. Whether you are buying it for yourself or as a gift to your kids, the SVBONY SV15 telescope is highly recommended.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *