If you have been using a telescope for quite some time already, you will start to realize the cons that come with the lower-end models. Those entry-level variants won’t fit your standards anymore, probably because they have poor magnification or not-that-good image quality.

That is why investing in a professional telescope is a good call.

However, professional telescopes can be a hefty investment. Hence, you need to carefully consider the features and specs that you are looking for before you decide to purchase one.

Top 7 best professional telescopes worth buying

Based on the features mentioned above, here are the top 7 telescopes that made it to our list.

Celestron edge HD 1400 XLT

This motorized, Alt-Azimuth telescope has a modified SCT with coma corrected optics plus a flatter field. Indeed, this big and leading model is the best option for people who are not on a budget.

Your professional astronomy needs will surely be met with its image shift reduction through its mirror locks. It has an aperture of 356 mm or 14 inches, with a 9×50 Finderscope and has a 2 inch-star diagonal with a 1.25” adapter. It also comes with a cooling tube.

Focal details

  • Ratio: f/10
  • Focal Length: 154” or 3910 mm.
  • Eyepiece Focal length: 0.91” or 1 23 mm
  • Eyepiece magnification: 1 170x

Pros

  • Portable
  • Modern design
  • Great and sharp focus
  • High magnification at 840x
  • Optical tube made of aluminum
  • Packed with premium features
  • Flawless astrophotography image circle with its corrective optics

Cons

  • Can be expensive
  • Does not include a mount

 

Meade instruments LX200-ACF 10-Inch

This 10-inch model is the best option for those who are looking for a fair-priced telescope. If you are willing to spend more, you can opt for the 14-inch variant. Aside from its premium features, it also comes with a Dual-Fork mount, and its Standard Field Tripod offers convenience and stability.

This motorized and Alt-Azimuth mount-type telescope, has a 203 mm aperture, capable of producing coma-free images with its  10” Advanced Coma- Free (ACF), Autostar II:145, 000 Object-Database hand Controller, and professional-grade computerized scope.

Focal details

  • Ratio: f/10
  • Focal Length: 2500 mm
  • Eyepiece focal length: 26mm Series 4000 Super Plössl

Pros

  • Portable
  • Easy-to-assemble
  • Comes with a built-in GOS and eyepiece
  • Great resolution, with UHTC for better optics

Cons

  • Bigger variants are expensive

Celestron advanced VX 6” Schmidt-Cassegrain

If you prioritize portability, like the capability of bringing your telescope in mountains, the Advanced VX 6 is the best model for you.  It can perfectly capture the Moon, can create wide shots of galaxies and the rest of the solar system. It has a lot of apertures and has great long exposure capture with its ability to eliminate repeating worm gear track errors through its programmable Periodic Error Correction and Integer gear ratios.

With a computerized equatorial mount type, this motorized telescope has a 150 mm aperture, and includes some of the premium features such as Solar, Lunar, and Sidereal tracking rates, CG-5 Dovetail bar, and a StarBright XLT coating. Other specs include, a high magnification of 354x, Finderscope 6×30, optical tube aluminum, an optical design Schmidt-Cassegrain, and a 1.25” Star Diagonal.

Focal details

  • Ratio: f/10
  • Focal Length: 1500 mm
  • Eyepiece focal length: 1.25” (25 mm).
  • Eyepiece magnification: 60x

Pros

  • Highly- portable
  • Best suited for astrophotography
  • With a stable computerized mount
  • 40,000+ images in its NexStar+Database
  • Offers 9 slew speeds at a 4°/second max speed

Cons

  • Extra-care needed as some parts become loose overtime

Orion 10023 SkyQuest XX 12i Intelliscope

If you are looking for a portable telescope with a cool design, the motorized Orion SKyQuest XX12i IntelliScope with a Dobsonian mount type is a model worth considering. It is the perfect combination of simplicity, ease-of-use, well-roundedness and usability with its features and additional attachments.

Its glass material is made of low thermal expansion borosilicate glass, with optics of parabolic type, 305 diameter and reflector design. Its eyepiece deepview is at 35.0mm (2″),10.0mm (1.25″), a resolving power of 0.38arc*sec with a high magnification of 300x.

Focal details

  • Ratio: f/4.9
  • Focal Length:  1500 mm
  • Eyepiece magnification: 42x, 150x 

Pros

  • Portable
  • Unique design (Dobsonian)
  • A lot of apertures, great reflector
  • Truss tube design for portability
  • Computer access to 14000 objects

Cons

  • Not ideal for astrophotography

Sky-Watcher Proed 120MM doublet apo refractor

This telescope is a balance between reliability and affordability. With a vixen style mount and an aperture of 120 mm, this non-motorized model also has an APO refractor, making it possible to capture great images on a clear sky.

Its high-quality construction is its best edge followed by its raw power. It has a 294x light-gathering factor and a 283x highest useful magnification. Moreover, this can be upgraded with additional items to fit the needs of advanced and professional users.

Among the additional items can be a Celestron 2-inch Accessory Kit, Tele Vue – Ethos-SX 4.7mm Eyepiece, and Tele Vue – Ethos SX 3.7mm Ultra-Wide-Angle Eyepiece.

Focal details

  • Ratio: f/7.5
  • Focal Length:  900 mm
  • Eyepiece focal length: 5 mm and 20 mm for first and second eyepiece, respectively
  • Eyepiece magnification:  180x and 45 x for eyepiece one and two respectively

Pros

  • Reasonable price
  • Comes with a 1.25-inch camera adapter
  • Constructed from high-quality materials
  • Ideal both for celestial and terrestrial observations

Cons

  • Mount not included

Orion EON 115mm ED Triplet

This twofold, full coated lens (4.5” or 155mm) telescope costs 1800 dollars, but offers value for its quality. You get less spherical image distortions and aberrations with its apochromatic lens. Hence, it performs better than its achromat counterparts.

With its quality, aperture, and powerful lens, it has a great capability for refraction, giving you a detailed and high-quality image. Indeed, if you are not on a tight budget, this is the best model for astrophotography.

Focal details

  • Ratio: f/7.0
  • Focal Length: 805mm
  • Eyepiece focal length:
  • Eyepiece magnification:

Pros

  • Great APO glass
  • Has the best lenses
  • Better image quality with triple lenses
  • Best for astrophotography with a 4.5″ / 115mm aperture

Cons

  • Does not come with a mount
  • Body structure needs improvement
  • Needs additional equipment prior to usage

Orion Sirius 8 EQ-G

This Guided EQ mount-type telescope comes with 42000 object databases with a computerized hand control.  It also has a periodic error correction in its motorized autoguider, and an 8” mirror for seeing celestial bodies even during dark sky. It is capable of light gathering with an 8” aperture for best results.

You also won’t need to worry about chromatic aberration because its primary mirror is placed on a parabolic curve structure for better light resolving quality. Other inclusions in this model are the one 25mm Plössl eyepiece and an 8×40 Finderscope.

Focal details

  • Ratio: f/4.9
  • Focal Length:  1000mm
  • Eyepiece focal length:
  • Eyepiece magnification: 

Pros

  • Great mount
  • Reasonable cost
  • Best for astrophotography

Cons

  • Not the best option for visual astronomy
  • Aperture size could be better considering its price

What is a professional telescope for?

A professional telescope allows you to observe celestial bodies with few limitations, while offering quality, clarity and power for deep space exploration experience. To make the viewing experience better, buying a telescope designed for a specific purpose is a great idea. For instance, if you want a good magnifying power, then choose a telescope with a high focal length. The specs you should look for in a telescope depends on your needs.

How does a telescope work?

A telescope collects light in order to help you see the fine details of heavenly bodies. The method of light-collection varies for each model. It is important to know first how a telescope works before you decide to purchase one.

Types of telescope designs

The most common telescope designs are refracting, reflecting, and catadioptric

Refracting design

  • Unlike telephoto lenses
  • Uses various optical glass elements for image focus captured at the front end

Reflecting design

  • Longer and heavier
  • More light-gathering power
  • No large, and objective lens made of glass in front
  • Does the job will hollow tubes with big parabolic reflecting mirror
  • Mirror is located in the back, which reflects image back up to the tube’s front
  • Image is reflected back through Newtonian, Schmidt or Maksutov Cassegrain’reflector

Newtonian reflector: 

  • A secondary mirror reflects the image to the telescope side’s eyepiece

Schmidt Cassegrain’ reflector: 

  • Image is reflected to the eyepiece at the back, situated in a conventional position, straight down the tube through the main mirror’s hole

Maksutov reflector: 

  • Is hybrid, with front glass lens for light focus. It works like camera’s ‘catadioptric’ mirror lenses

Catadioptric design

  • Uses both lenses and mirror
  • Comes in Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain variants

What does a professional telescope offer?

Professional telescopes are generally more expensive, but it gives value for money because of its advanced and premium features. That is why, professional telescopes are mostly used by professional astronomers, teachers, and astrophotography artists because of the ultimate and convenient experience it provides.

These telescopes have great viewing experience and most of the time are apochromatic. To maximize its features, make sure that you know how to use it well, hence, it is not ideal for beginners. Its hefty price also demands careful care and maintenance—from water and dust safety to mount security.

Does a bigger telescope mean that it is also better?

Yes, if it is in the case of light-gathering capabilities. A higher aperture allows you to gather more light, and more light means higher image quality especially for faint objects. For instance, a four-inch mirror has better light-gathering capability than a two-inch variant.

A guide to choosing the best professional telescope

Aperture size

The higher the aperture, the better. Hence, if you are looking for a professional telescope, choose one with a great aperture size. Lower apertures will have difficulty showing you deep-sky objects, even if your optics are great.

Focal length and magnification

The focal length will determine the scope of what you are planning to view, whether it is planetary or deep sky exploration. Before choosing which focal length suits you, determine first what you are planning to use your device for.

In terms of magnification, the focal length plays a role along with the eyepiece. More magnification is better, but you must also consider if the image magnified is cleared, otherwise, the high magnification is just useless.

Type of mount

The mount type you should choose depends on whether you want a portable one or one that is just used indoors, stationary. Another consideration is if you want a manual set-up, or one that you can control with a device such as a computer. Some types of mounts you can consider are equatorial, Dobsonian and Alt-az. Before you decide, make sure that you know what your needs and preferences are.

Quality of optics

Optics quality is important so that you get a clear view without the unnecessary dents and bends caused by dust and other elements. For added dispersion, it is better you choose apochromatic lenses because they contain liquid between each lens.

How to maintain your new telescope

In order for your newly-bought telescope to last long, it needs proper maintenance.

  • Clean the optics so that you can see the celestial bodies clearly and with clarity.
  • Do preventive maintenance to limit light distortion caused by dust accumulation on the mirror and lenses.
  • Choose a model with a protective cap, or make your own homemade cap, to protect the lens from dust.
  • When not in use, position the scope in a downward motion to prevent dust accumulation in the optics.
  • Store the extra eyepieces in a plastic bag.
  • Refrain from touching your telescope’s mirrors and lens.

How to clean your telescope’s mirror or lens

  • To remove dust, you can use a camel-hair brush.
  • You may also buy cleaning products from stores that sell various cameras.
  • In case of spillage, use a special solution to clean it, such as pure methanol.
  • For reflector telescopes, make sure that you know how to disassemble and assemble it.

FAQs

Which of these brands—Celestron, Meade, and Orion, is the best?

Some well-known brands sell their products for a high price without great quality, just because they rely on their reputation. When buying telescopes, do not look at the brand. Focus on the specs instead. That way, you get value for your money.

Where can I buy telescopes?

When buying telescopes, choose a retailer/store with great customer service and trustworthiness. Among these are:

  • Amazon
  • Agena Astro
  • High Point Scientific
  • Orion Telescopes & Binoculars
  • Oceanside Photo and Telescope (OTPCorp)
  • Omegon
  • Tejraj

How much does a telescope cost?

You can buy a decent one with just 100 dollars. If you want to buy something with a better quality, you can raise your price point a little bit to 150 to 200 dollars.

Will a telescope allow me to see galaxies?

Depending on your environment conditions such as light pollution, and sky conditions, and your telescope’s aperture, the quality of your image will vary. At the very least, you would be able to see the Andromeda Galaxy.

How should I maintain my telescope?

You should at least collimate or check your device every time you take it out. The collimation details are usually explained in the guide. Optic cleaning once every few months or years is also recommended. This can be done by distilled water rinsing for mirrors and optical tissue cleaning with a coating-safe lens cleaner for the lenses.

Are Dobsonian telescopes the best?

Dobsonian have simple construction, plus they are affordable, easy-to-use and portable. It also does not have complicated equatorial coordinates and smooth and simple motions, making it user-friendly. In terms of image quality, it has a reflector optical design for maximum aperture, while having no issues with chromatic aberration. That is why Dobsonian telescopes are popular and are considered the best.

What is a small, medium, large, and very large telescope?

These labels refer to their sizes.

Small

  • Aperture of 6 inches or less
  • In astronomical terms, aperture of 8 inches or less

Medium

  • Aperture of 8” to 13.1”
  • Can fit in an automobile
  • Needs truss tube for one-person handling

Large

  • A vague term
  • Can have an aperture of 14” to 22”

Very large

  • Aperture of 22” above
  • Not manageable by one person
  • Cost around 10 000 dollars or more
  • Can sometimes fit in a regular truck

Conclusion

Your budget and preferences determine the model of professional telescope you should go for. Before you purchase a telescope, make sure that you have already decided if you want a portable type or not, and what kind of celestial bodies you would always want to view.

Last update on 2022-06-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API