A good telescope is a stargazer’s most precious tool. It gives them a clearer, wider view of the stars, the planets, the galaxies they are interested in. Whether you are buying your first telescope of the fifth one, it is always good to know what to look for, who makes the best telescopes for viewing stars and planets and what are the top ten best telescopes on the market so can make your pick depending on your specific needs as well as your budget.
Types of Telescopes for Viewing Stars and Planets
There are three main types of telescopes for viewing stars and planets. One is reflective, the other is refractive and the third one is the combination of the first two, also called a compound telescope. Here is how each type of telescope works.
The reflective telescopes have internal mirrors that capture the image and reflect it on to the telescopic lens. This process is quite simple yet ingenious. This kind is the best telescope for viewing stars and planets.
There is a primary mirror at the end of the cylindrical tube of the telescope. It gathers all the incoming light from the star or planet that is being viewed. It reflects the light onto a secondary mirror resides in front of it at an angle. This secondary mirror reflects the light onto the lens forming the final image. This reflection of light and image formation allows for greater focal abilities to this telescope creating bright, clear images. This is the main reason why reflectors are the best telescopes for viewing stars and planets.
The refractor telescope comes with more than one lens and mirrors that bend the light till it reaches the final eyepiece, thus the name refractor telescope. In a refractor telescope, one or more lenses at the end of the telescopic cylinder draw in the light. Passing through the lenses and down the telescopic tubes, this light is bent to be able to pass through the final lens, the eyepiece.
A refractive telescope offers larger, clearer images due to its focal abilities offered by the combination of lenses. However, there might be excess colorization as the light is bent and not filtered. This might not be the best telescope for viewing stars and planets, however, it is great for viewing cities and even deepest galaxies if you are not much bothered by the excess colorization.
A compound telescope is a combination of the best prospect of both the reflector and refractor telescopes. The combination of lenses and mirrors in a compound telescope creates a perfect image with advanced light manipulation. There is no colorization as there is in the refractor telescope and the images forms are bright and clear. This telescope offers greater focus abilities, which makes it the best telescope for viewing stars and planets.
A glass lens at the base collects all the initial light for image formation. This light is bent to reach a large mirror, which then reflects the light onto a smaller mirror. The small mirror reflects the light onto the eyepiece lens.
How to Choose the Best Telescope for Viewing Stars and Planets
Like any other thing you buy, telescopes also have some specifications that must be considered for clearer, sharper and brighter images. Here are the main features to consider when buying the best telescopes for viewing stars and planets.
The aperture of the telescope is basically the diameter of the main lens or the mirror, depending on the type of telescope. A large aperture means greater magnification, which in turn means bigger, brighter, clearer, well-focused images. The aperture decides how much light the telescope gathers from the object which is the most significant part of viewing. This is because the problem with most of the astronomical objects is not their small size, rather it is their faint and dark appearance that makes them difficult to see. Therefore, the greater the aperture, the more light will the telescope capture and brighter will be the final image.
However, aperture alone does not decide the image quality. There are a lot of other factors that matter like the lens power, focal ration, and mount. If you intend to see far off, faint and dark objects, better invest in a more advanced telescope for the best viewing of stars and planets.
The focal ratio of a telescope is calculated by dividing the diameter of the telescope by its focal length. Higher the focal ratio, better will be the image quality of a telescope.
Two telescopes with the same diameter but different focal length will have different focal ratios and thus different image quality. Same goes for two telescopes that have the same focal length but different diameters.
A telescope mount might sound useless to a layman but a true astronomer and stargazer know the real value a mount holds. The mount stabilizes the telescope and improves your experience by offering better, clearer images. Telescope mounts range from very simplistic models to computer programmable ones.
The two main types of telescope mounts are equatorial mount and the alt-azimuth mount. The alt-azimuth works like a regular camera tripod stand. It just allows you to adjust the telescope at the desired level and angle for stability.
The equatorial mount, on the other hand, allows you to watch moving objects by allowing you to follow them. These are the mounts that also come in computer programmable models with large astronomical data sets that automatically aim the telescope to your desired objects. Invest in a good quality telescope mount for a better overall experience.
Top 10 Best Telescopes in the Market
When you look for telescopes it is important to know who makes the best telescopes, get to know their specifications and then choose your pick according to your budget. When it comes to who makes the best telescopes, there are a few well-known brand names in the market that offer a wide range of best telescopes for viewing stars and planets. Some of the famous brands who make the best telescopes are Celestron, Orion, and Meade.
Here are the top 10 best telescopes for viewing stars and planets.
Celestron NexStar 130 SLT
Celestron NexStar telescope is specifically designed for astrophotography as desired. We understand that it is a little difficult form regular observation. According to many astrophotographers, this telescope is not only the best telescope for viewing stars and planets but taking their pictures too, as it is a computerized telescope and so far the best one available in the market for people who are seriously interested in astrophotography. While having a focal ratio of f5 and a focal length of 650mm, it is quite easy to move because it accommodates motor Altazimuth stand. It has an excellent feature of SkyAlign too and due to that one will not have to worry about following the objects to get that ideal picture of their favorite object in the sky. Also, with it, one can easily align the telescope with any 3 cosmic objects in the sky that look bright.
Now let’s review its battery timing. Its battery life span is comparatively short than other telescopes, that is why is advised that you charge the battery fully before going out to do astrophotography because obviously, you would not want your telescope to die in the middle of your astrophotography project. Moreover, this NexStar telescope model is kind of sensitive to vibration, that is why when you use it, make sure that the surface you are using it on does not create any vibration.
Though, the pros of the NexStar 130 SLT are greater than these minor setbacks. For example, with this price range, you are getting a wide field of view, that is why you can extend the horizons of your astrophotography experience. Moreover, it weighs light and is easily portable, and because of this, you do not have to worry about moving it around where you see right.
Orion StarBlast II 4.5
Orion StarBlast is another good telescope for beginners and it offers you with the best experience possible within its reasonable price range. Apart from seeing only moons and planets, with Orion StarBlast you can also see a number of different deep space objects if they are sufficiently bright. And for beginners who are new to astronomy, this telescope is an effective start due to its easy setup and utilization, but also at the same time for those who are a transitional astronomer and looking for an improvement.
This telescope comes with eyepieces that are span telescope eyepieces, which has the ability to provide you with a 66-degree arena of vision. Not like the cheap telescopes, this one also gives you the clear view of Andromeda galaxy and let us tell you here that you will surely fall in awe of its utter beauty when you will first see through it. It also offers a broader field area view and with its quick f/4 optic lens and that means one can easily see the many more cosmic bodies without even having to make an effort to look at them. Furthermore, it accompanies EQ-1 equatorial telescope stand that is further accompanied with a gentle motion controller. That ultimately means that you can view and have the liberty to follow the cosmic objects across the broader horizon throughout the sky at night and you do not have to worry a bit that any view will be skipped, because, with this one, it will not.
With much controllers on this telescope, you do not have to worry about moving the telescope around by hand. The length, width and height dimension of this Orion StarBlast is 44 inches, 12 inches, and 20 inches respectively and also it has a weight fewer than 20 pounds. It may be a little heavy to hold it inflexibly for some time but not that heavy either in a way that it cannot be moved around according to where it is needed to set up. Its battery is a Lithium-ion one and since it comes with it and you do not have to worry about finding the battery on your own. With this best telescope for viewing stars and planets, one can easily enjoy a really smooth viewing and following of their favorite cosmic bodies.
Meade Instruments Infinity 70mm AZ
There are very many telescopes that fall into 100 dollars price range, yet simply like everything else, but there is one that is extraordinary and within this price range it is this one. Meade Instruments Infinity 70 mm AZ Refractor Telescope is predominant telescope in this price range and with this much features. This telescope has an opening of 70mm (2.8 inches), a central length of 700mm, a central apportion of f/10. Upon buying this telescope, one gets an instructional DVD and Astronomical programming, which enables your stargazing to a higher standard. At its cost range, you may probably see farther into space than with different telescopes in the same price range, even though, it was not intended to enable you to see that far away.
It accompanies an Altazimuth stand that has a moderate movement control, which is fantastic and ensures that the view does not skip when endeavoring to move it physically. Along these lines, you can likewise follow the things that you need to follow, in any case in the event that it is day or night. This telescope has 2 Barlow focal point which dependably you to twofold the amplification intensity all things considered. It has two distinct eyepieces to look over. The low eyepiece is 26mm, and the high eyepiece is 6.3 It gives you a red spot viewfinder, which will enable you to point at the heavenly items that you need to see. Thusly, you will be capable better see to your craving. Another resource for acquiring this telescope is the way that it really accompanies an adornment plate. This is advantageous in the event that you are watching the stars out and far from any furnishings. It is in reality sufficiently enormous for your telephone and keys.
Another motivation behind why this is such a phenomenal telescope at its cost is the way that you can utilize it around evening time to watch the universe and amid the day to watch things like winged creatures and the sea. The get together of this specific telescope is exceptionally simple, particularly since it is a refractor telescope. This implies you will never need to stress over adjusting mirrors. You will really have the option to utilize it straight out of the container.
Meade Instruments LightBridge 12-Inch Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope
This telescope which is under $1000 is the best-reviewed telescope by the people who have used it and it has gotten some of the best reviews from them. So this surely makes it on our list and we have done important research on this telescope within this price range. It offers a diverse number of ideal specifications that provides undoubtedly with best astrology experience possible within this price range.
With having an aperture of 12 inches and focal length of 1525 millimeters, this telescope for less than 10000 dollars offers the user to see cosmic bodies much brighter than the other telescopes that are available in the market for the same price range. Moreover, this telescope also offers a one-year limited warranty. And it is quite important because accidents happen every now and then and their company accommodation is really a plus. All in all, the point comes to this that nobody would want to invest in a grand experience telescope with this price without some kind of protection statement for possible accidents. The other-dimensional specs of this telescope are also cool enough which sets this telescope apart from others. It has its three-dimensional figures of length, width, and height as 29 inches, 6 inches, and 12 inches respectively. Also, it has a weight of about 100 pounds and that is why you have to be very careful while moving it around because it’s usually difficult to move it when it has been set up at a chosen space.
You obviously can’t use the telescope without batteries and you have to get 8AA batteries first in order to make your telescope, so, it is advised to buy the high-quality batteries to refrain it from being weak too quickly and that because of that you have to miss out on a beautiful stargazing event that may come around only once in a lifetime. As this stands tall for about 5 feet, one does not need to have a stand to visualize an excellent and beautiful experience with this telescope that is really worth it. Though this telescope is not that valuable and useful for the ones that are interested in the astrophotography if you live in a polluted city with rush traffic and tall buildings then this is the best telescope for viewing stars and planets as it easily lets you see through all this and enjoy a beautiful deep sky gazing.
Celestron Advanced VX 8″ f/10 EdgeHD Telescope
Next up on our list is EdgeHD telescope by Celestron and you must look into it if you plan to go big with astronomy as you will get the best bundle with this telescope in the price range of less than 20000 dollars. Firstly, the plus point is that this telescope offers a two-year warranty and that is an important one because of the luxuriousness of this telescope. You never know what accidents you might encounter while star gazing and more. Hence, this warranty gives the buyer a mind peace when they go out, set up and have fun while viewing the cosmic realm. This advanced telescope that is best for viewing stars and planets accompanies a 12.5-inch eyepiece and a 1.25 inch 90-degree mirror diagonal.
In addition to that, it also comes with an advanced Celestron VX stand and that makes the setting up more easy and convenient. Also, this type of stand is kind of more firm and do not tip over in any case by accident while trying to view stars and other cosmic bodies. One main point that should be in the mind is that this telescope has a weight for about and over 85.5 pounds and due to its weight it is important that you place it at your desired spot beforehand. As this will be convenient and will cause less trouble in comparison to that you have to continuously move it around after it is set up at a place.
Now let’s talk about its batteries, you have to use special batteries for it to be charged as you cannot use it with regular batteries of 12 volts in order to make this telescope work. For this much volts, you will be needing an inverter and a car battery but apart from this fatigue, the experience you will get with this telescope is completely worth it as with this best telescope you are able to see and experience the beauty of the night sky and any of the cosmic body you really want to view. All in all, let us tell you here that some people also reviewed and reported that with this one, they were able to experience 120 seconds experiences without getting stuck at any star trails view. With this one, you can actually experience and enjoy a whole new level of astrophotography. Also with this one there is not an issue of any vibration as the telescope itself and stand can be attached together.
Celestron NexStar 127 SLT
When it comes to who make the best telescopes in the market, Celestron tops the charts. NexStar 127 SLT by Celestron is one of the best telescopes for viewing stars and planets. As the name suggests NexStar 127 comes with 127mm aperture along with high-end SkyAlign technology for easy stargazing beginners. It is the best telescope for viewing stars and planets for beginners. The Sky Align technology along with a large data set of the celestial objects allows the beginners to locate the desired objects they want to view quite conveniently, eliminating the meticulous task of locating the objects that beginners find difficult, intimidating and quite often frustrating.
Celestron NexStar 127 SLT is simple, easy and quick to set up. It comes with all the basic features that Celestron SLT telescopes usually have. These features include the SkyAlign technology and the Star Pointer Program along with a large database. Moreover, it is a Maksutov-Cassegrain, computerized telescope for viewing stars and planets, which makes it easy to set up and fast to use. The SkyAlign technology allows the telescope to align completely by itself when it is aimed at three objects in the nighttime sky. The Star Pointer Program enables the telescope to accurately find and direct itself to the chosen stars and planets with minimal effort on your part. This gives a whole new meaning to your stargazing making it more fun and enjoyable. The built-in data set gives you access to thousands of celestial objects so you can find anything and everything you want to watch with ease and convenience.
With 127mm aperture and 60x magnifying power, the NexStar 127 SLT shows clear and amazing views with details like craters in the moons, polar caps on Mars as well as the rings orbiting Saturn. These details are the main reason why this is the best telescope for viewing stars and planets that too at an amazingly low price level of under $500. The only drawback of this telescope is that sometimes the mount gives some vibrations which might be annoying for the user.
Orion SkyQuest Xt8
Orion is also a great name when it comes to brands who make the best telescopes. The Orion SkyQuest XT8 is one of the most affordable yet good quality telescopes for viewing stars and planets.
Orion SkyQuest XT8 is a Dobsonian telescope with high range reflection technology. With an Alt-Azimuth mount, this telescope is quite user-friendly and easy to set up though you will need a screwdriver and around 20 to 30 minutes to assemble all the parts together. However, once you are past this initial assembling, the telescope is very simple and easy to use. The mount has a strong base which keeps the telescope stable and upright even when you are moving it around to adjust to locate the stars and planets. It has a large diameter of 203mm and 48x magnification power along with a large focal ratio of f/5.9. this allows for clear views along with all the minor details you will love as a star gazer. Whether you are a beginner, a hobbyist or a professional, this is the best telescope for viewing stars and planets.
The tubes move and slide easily making it easy to locate the desired nighttime objects. Moreover, the CorrecTension springs offer the right amount of resistance to keep the telescope upright for star gazing. The only drawback is that this telescope is quite heavy as well as bulky so it is not quite conveniently portable. Setting it up and keeping it in one place is the best idea to use it conveniently.
Celestron 127EQ Powerseeker
Celestron, who makes the best telescopes in the market does not disappoint even with this budget-friendly telescope. At just around $200, Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is a great investment for amateur astronomers allowing them to explore the marvels of the night sky.
Celestron 127EQ PowerSeeker is the best telescope for viewing stars and planets. It is a Newtonian reflector telescope with 127mm aperture and a choice of two eyepieces along with a 3x Barlow lens, which increases the magnification of each eyepiece further three times. The two eyepieces have a magnification power of 50x and 250x. This makes it the best telescope for amateur as well as professional astronomers and stargazers. The fully coated glass optical elements inside this telescope create bright, sharp and clear images. The large aperture size of 127mm allows greater light gathering for clearer images.
This telescope comes with a solid German Equatorial mount. The mount along with lightweight aluminum tripod stand with a storage tray is easy to assemble. This equatorial mount allows movement in both axes allowing for smooth tracking movement of the telescope when you want to follow a certain star or a comet. The SkyAlign database allows to easily locate the desired objects and the high focal ratio makes details visible making nighttime sky watching an enjoyable and fun activity for the whole family.
Gskyer Telescope AZ 70400 German Technology Travel Reflector
Among the brands who make the best telescopes, Gskyer offers the most affordable telescopes for viewing stars and planets. It is lightweight, portable and easy to use. The AZ 70400 by Gskyer is an ideal choice for the amateur sky watchers who like to get away with their nighttime journeys.
Gskyer AZ 70400 comes with a 70mm aperture along with 400mm focal length and two different eyepieces along with a 3x Barlow lens allowing for adjustable magnification power. The alt-azimuth mount is solid and steady for hassle-free nighttime sky watching. Moreover, this telescope is quite easy to assemble. You don’t need any tools or screwdrivers to assemble this telescope. This quick and convenient assembling along with hassle-free, simple use makes it the best telescope for viewing stars and planets.
It is lightweight, portable, easy to use, easy to assemble, offers clear bright images with lots of minor details visible. All this within the price range of $100. What more you could ask for? Gskyer AZ 70400 is definitely the best telescope for viewing stars and plants within a limited budget that is why it made it to our list of top 10 best telescopes in the market.
Celestron 21035 70mm Travel Scope
Celestron is a great name with over 50 years of experience when it comes to brands who make the best telescopes in the market. Their travel scopes are no exception when it comes to the quality, performance, and value for money. Celestron 20135 70mm Travel Scope is affordable at just under $100. Yet it is one of the best travel scopes available in the market at this price point. It is an excellent choice for beginners as well as intermediate professional astronomers for their on the go traveling needs.
Celestron 70mm is lightweight and portable. The best part is that it comes pre-assembled so you don’t have to go through the effort of assembling the whole thing from scratch every single time. It is, therefore, very easy to use.
This is a 70mm refractor telescope with 2.76 inches aperture and 40 mm focal length. It has a good focal ratio of f/5.7 which makes for bright, sharp and clear images. This telescope comes with two eyepieces of 10mm and 20mm so the magnification power is adjustable. This makes star watching easier. The Sky X software allows you to learn basic astronomy. It is, therefore, very useful and convenient for beginners.
This telescope comes with an Altazimuth mount. The mount also is lightweight with plastic finder and focuser, unlike the regular telescopes which are metal and thus quite heavy. The tripod, however, is quite small and not very robust either, yet, it works perfectly well as a portable telescope because of the light weight. Moreover, given the small size of the aperture, the performance of this telescope is really good. It comes with a padded case for safe storage when you are traveling.
Whether you are a professional astronomer, a beginner or a hobbyist, whenever you buy a telescope it is important to do some market research and look for the brands who make the best telescopes. This allows you to look for the best options within your budget range. We have carefully tested and picked the top 10 best telescopes for viewing stars and planets in the market. They vary in the price from as low as under $100 to above $500 and more. Read the detailed reviews and make your pick of the best telescope for viewing stars and planets according to your budget range.