Buying a telescope for viewing planets and galaxies can be pretty confusing, right? Especially where there is a plethora of telescopes out there in the market.
However, if you actually know your stuff and understand what you are looking for, buying a telescope can get much simpler. First you’ll have to determine for what purpose you want a telescope and then choose one that will serve that purpose the best.
In this article, I’ll provide you with a list of 7 best telescopes for viewing planets and galaxies. It doesn’t matter whether you are an amateur or professional, all of these 7 telescopes can serve your stargazing purpose. So, there is no need to get confused seeing hundreds of telescopes in the market as you are guaranteed to get the best one (if you follow my guide).
If you lack the patience or time to read through the full guide than I got your back. The best telescope I can suggest for you to buy right now would be the Celestron Nextstar 6SE. It has a great aperture and provides excellent visuals of the moon, planets and other celestial bodies. It’s automatic detection and tracking abilities allow it to be a bliss to use for both beginners and expert users.
Now that we got that out of the way, it’s recommended that you read through the full review before you decide on which one to buy. Telescopes come at all shapes, sizes, and prices. So unless you go through the full review you won’t be able to understand which one will truly speak to your needs.
After giving full descriptions, pros and cons of each telescope, I will also talk about the things you should keep in mind before buying a telescope, the planets and other objects you’ll be able to see and other telescope related topics that will help you out.
Here are 7 best telescopes you can choose from to begin your journey into the stars.
|Telescope||Aperture||Focal Length||Focal Ratio||Magnification||Mount Type||Weight|
|Celestron Travelscope 70||70mm||400mm||f/5.71||20x, 40x||Alt-azimuth||4.2 lbs|
|Meade Infinity 102mm Refractor Telescope||102mm||600mm||f/5.9||100x||Alt-azimuth||12.2 lbs|
|Celestron PowerSeeker 127 EQ||127mm||1000mm||f/8||50x, 250x||German Equatorial||21.4 lbs|
|Celestron NexStar 127 SLT||127mm||1500mm||f/12||60x, 167x||Computerized Alt-azimuth||18 lbs|
|Gskyer AZ90600 Telescope||90mm||600mm||f/6.7||120X||Alt-azimuth||18 lbs|
|Orion StarBlast 6 Astro Reflector Telescope||150mm||750mm||f/5||21x||Alt-azimuth tabletop||23.5 lbs|
|Celestron Nextar 6 SE Telescope||150mm||1500mm||f/10||21x||Computerized Alt-azimuth mount||30 lbs|
1. Celestron Travelscope 70
- Superior optics: The Celestron 70mm Travel Scope features high-quality, fully-coated glass optics, a potent 70mm objective lens, a lightweight frame, and a custom backpack to carry it all. Its quality is unmatched in its class and against competitors.
- Powerful eyepieces for up-close viewing: Our telescope for astronomy beginners is equipped with two high-quality eyepieces (20mm and 10mm) that provide low- and high-power views of celestial objects at night and terrestrial objects during the day.
- Large 70mm objective lens: Our refractor telescope is equipped with a large 70mm aperture objective lens that provides enhanced, brighter views compared to the 50mm model while adding very little additional weight. Setting up and using the Travel Scope is quick and easy.
- Bonus bag, tripod, and software: This Celestron telescope and full-height tripod can be taken anywhere in the included travel backpack. Accessories also include a FREE download of one of the top consumer rated astronomy software programs.
- Unbeatable warranty and customer support: Buy with confidence from the telescope brand, based in California since 1960. You’ll also receive a 2-year warranty and unlimited access to technical support from our team of US-based experts.
The Celestron Travelscope 70 is an excellent telescope for beginners. It is cheap and very functional for its price. It has an aperture of 70mm that is great for viewing celestial bodies such as craters of the moon, moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn and even some bright deep-sky objects.
It’s a great telescope for beginners to be introduced to handling such equipment. It has optical glass coating that provides images sharp enough to complement its price.
It comes with a 10mm and 20mm eyepiece, a diagonal eyepiece holder, a 5×24 finder scope, a tripod, and a travel backpack.
It is very user-friendly and cheap which makes it a good choice for beginners. It’s small and compact form allows you to easily travel with it.
- Aperture: 70mm
- Focal Length: 400mm
- Focal ratio: f/5.71
- Optical Design: Refractor
- Mount: Alt-azimuth
- Weight: 1.9 Kg or 4.2 lbs
- Portability: If you are always on the go than the Celestron Travelscope 70 might just be the telescope for you. It’s lightweight and small build allows greater portability than a lot of other telescopes.
- Cheap Price: This is a very affordable telescope that is excellent for new stargazers to become familiar with using a telescope.
- User-friendly: It is very easy to assemble and use. You can also download the free app from Celestron called the Skyportal which makes locating objects in the night sky a breeze. It is available for both iOS and android.
- Cheap and easy to use
- Great for children and beginner astronomers
- Mobile app for navigating through the night sky
- Not suitable for experts
- Cheap Build
- Tripod not very sturdy
2. Meade Infinity 102mm Refractor Telescope
- Aperture: 102mm(4"). Focal Length: 600mm. Focal Ratio: f/5.9. Rack-and-Pinion Focuser
- Altazimuth mount with panhandle and slow motion controls for precision tracking means you can easily track objects day or night
- Low (26mm), medium (9mm), and high (6.3mm) magnification eyepieces give you variety for any viewing situation & 2x barlow lens doubles the magnifying power of each eyepiece
- Red dot viewfinder helps you point your scope at objects you want to observe & accessory tray stores accessories while observing
- Includes Astronomical Software and Instructional DVD
If value is what you’re looking for then look no further. The Meade Infinity 102mm telescope is made with a fine balance between cost and functionality. It’s a great telescope for beginners who are ready to get into some serious star gazing.
It has an aperture of 102mm. This telescope is great for day and night time star gazing. It has a wide view which is excellent astronomical observations. It also comes with a red dot viewfinder to help you point your telescope at your target object. Its larger 102mm aperture allows greater photon absorption which leads to sharper and brighter images.
With this telescope, you can easily view our neighboring planets, moons and other objects in our solar system. Deep space objects can also be observed.
It comes with 3 eyepieces (26mm, 9mm, and 6.3mm), a red dot viewfinder, a diagonal eyepiece holder and a tripod. It also comes with an app called Auto Star Suite Astronomy Planetarium for windows that feature over 10,000 objects.
Its ease of use, satisfactory aperture, and relatively low price make it an excellent telescope for armature astronomers.
- Aperture: 102mm
- Focal Length: 600mm
- Focal ratio: f/5.9
- Optical Design: Refractor
- Mount: Alt-azimuth
- Weight: 5.5 Kg or 12.2 lbs
- Portability: The Meade Infinity 102mm telescope has great portability and comparatively lightweight. Easy to carry around.
- Great value: The price is relatively affordable and the performance is also great for what you pay.
- User-Friendly: Easy assemble and use. It can be assembled under 10 minutes. The Auto Star Suit Astronomy Planetarium app also enhances the user experience.
- Great value
- Easy assembly
- Right side up image
- Good terrestrial observations (Day time)
- Durable build quality
- 3 eyepieces of different focal lengths
- Great for beginner astronomers who are serious about stargazing
- Tracking not as easy as telescopes with EQ mounts
- Chromatic aberrations
3. Celestron PowerSeeker 127 EQ
- Perfect entry-level telescope: The Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ is an easy-to-use and powerful telescope. The PowerSeeker series is designed to give the new telescope user the perfect combination of quality, value, features, and power
- Manual German equatorial mount: Navigate the sky with our Newtonian Reflector telescope. It features a German Equatorial mount with a slow-motion altitude rod for smooth and accurate pointing. Adjust rod to desired position, then easily secure by tightening cross knob
- Compact and portable: This telescope for adults and kids to be used together is compact, lightweight, and portable. Take the telescope to your favorite campsite or dark sky observing site, or simply the backyard. Optical Coatings: Aluminum
- Multiple accessories: The Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope comes with 2 eyepieces (20mm and 4mm), plus a 3x Barlow lens to triple the power of each. Users can also download BONUS Starry Night Astronomy Software Package
- Unbeatable and customer support: Buy with confidence from the telescope brand, based in California since 1960. You’ll also receive a 2-year and unlimited access to technical support from our team of US-based experts
The Celestron 127 EQ is another excellent telescope for beginner astronomers. Its ease of use and great value make it an excellent choice for beginners. It has a German Equatorial mount with slow motion control knobs that allows smooth navigation through the night sky.
With this telescope, you can be sure to get a great view of the moon, the rings of Saturn and Jupiter’s moons. Objects further away such as the Orion nebula and Andromeda galaxy. The telescope has a 127mm aperture which ensures bright and clear images. It’s small and relatively lightweight making it easy to carry around.
The telescope includes 2 eyepieces (20mm and 4mm), a 3x Barlow lens, a finder scope, and tripod. The 3x Barlow lens allows the user to boost the magnification of the eyepieces by 3 times.
- Aperture: 127mm
- Focal Length: 1000mm
- Focal ratio: f/8
- Optical Design: Refractor
- Mount: German Equatorial
- Weight: 9.7 Kg or 21.4 lbs
- Portability: The Celestron 127 EQ telescope is small and relatively lightweight making it easy to carry along in long trips.
- Great value: It is a great telescope for the price. Allowing people new to using a telescope a chance to learn about them without breaking the bank.
- German Equatorial mount: This mount is very useful for keeping your object in focus. This eliminates the problem of your desired object floating out of focus due to the earth’s rotation.
- User-Friendly: It is fairly easy to assemble and comes with “The sky” level 1 software that has a database of over 10,000 objects that helps with navigating through the sky.
- Great value
- Easy to use
- Large aperture
- Erect images
- 3x Barlow lens
- Smooth Slow Motion controls
- The try-pod is a little unstable
- The use of the Barlow lens needs some practice
4. Celestron NexStar 127 SLT
- Computerized star locating telescope: The Celestron NexStar 127SLT is a computerized telescope that offers a database of more than 40,000 stars, galaxies, nebulae, and more. The telescope locates your object with pinpoint accuracy and tracks it.
- Compact and portable: This telescope for adults and kids to be used together is ideal for weekend camping trips or excursions to dark sky sites. Its compact form factor makes it easy to transport and assemble just about anywhere.Optical Tube:Aluminum
- Maksutov-cassegrain optical design: The NexStar 127SLT is the second-largest in the SLT family. The 127mm aperture gathers enough light to see our Solar System and beyond. View Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s cloud bands, and the Moon in brilliant detail.
- Fast setup with skyalign: Celestron’s proprietary SkyAlign procedure has you ready to observe in minutes. Simply center any 3 bright objects in the eyepiece and the NexStar SLT aligns to the night sky, ready to locate thousands of objects.
- Bonus free starry night software: The NexStar 127SLT Computerized Telescope includes a free download of one of the top consumer rated astronomy software programs for an interactive sky simulation.
Up until now, we’ve been talking about telescopes that are mostly for beginners. Well, now we enter the big leagues. The Celestron NexStar 12SLT is a powerful telescope designed for intermediate enthusiasts.
It has a Maksutov Cassegrain optical design with a 127mm aperture that makes it an excellent choice for observing binary star systems and celestial photography. The high aperture allows sharper and clearer viewing of the planets and moons in our solar system. It has a closed tube design that provides excellent images.
With a wide database and an automatic tracking system, the telescope locates your objects for you. Its Sky Align technology makes navigating through the celestial bodies a piece of cake. It comes with a device called the Sky Tour. An excellent device for newcomers. It automatically generates a list of viewable objects based on your time and location.
It comes with 2 eyepieces (25mm and 9mm), a tripod, a Star Pointer Finderscope and a CD for SkyX planetarium software.
- Aperture: 127mm
- Focal Length: 1500mm
- Focal ratio: f/12
- Optical Design: Maksutov Cassegrain
- Mount: Computerized Alt-azimuth
- Weight: 8.16 kg or 18 lbs
- Portable: It’s a fairly small telescope that makes it very portable.
- High-quality optics: The optics are of high quality. The catadioptric design makes it a great choice for celestial photography.
- Auto detection and tracking: The Celestron NexStar 127 SLT is packaged with a computerized alt-azimuth mount which helps in locating and tracking desired objects. This is especially helpful in long-exposure astrophotography.
- User-Friendly: The telescope has a fully automatic object locating system that makes it easy for the location and tracking of your desired target. Its Sky Align technology and SkyX planetarium software makes it very user-friendly.
- Ease of use
- Easy to assemble
- Great optics
- Great for celestial photography
- Automatic location and tacking
- Sky Tour device holds a database of over 40,000 objects
- Great build quality
- Large focal length provides a better view of planets
- A bit expensive
- Narrow Field of view
5. Gskyer AZ90600 Telescope
- 【High Quality Optics】600mm(f/6.7) focal length and 90mm aperture, fully coated optics glass lens with high transmission coatings creates stunning images and protect your eyes
- 【High Magnification】Come with three replaceable eyepieces(24X, 60X,120X) and one 3x Barlow lens. 3x Barlow lens trebles the magnifying power of each eyepiece
- 【Adjustable Tripod】This telescope allows for many different viewing positions with a adjustable aluminum tripod. The height of aluminum tripod can be adjusted from about 31.5-inch to 49-inch
- 【Easy to Operate】No tools are required for reflecting telescope even for the novice, quick and easy to focus
The Gskyer AZ90600 is another high-grade telescope for intermediate telescope users. Its 600mm focal length allows a wide viewing angle that is excellent for deep sky observation. The 90mm aperture is adequate for showing bright and sharp images.
The optical tube is made of aluminum allow which makes it durable and lightweight. Its internal components are coated with anti-reflection blue-film that prevents distortion and produces sharp images. The optics lenses are fully coated to protect your eyes from harm.
It comes with 3 eyepieces (25mm, 10mm, and 5mm), a 3x Barlow lens, a tripod, a 6×30 Finderscope, and a 48⸰ erecting prism. As said before, the Barlow lens increases the magnification by the eyepieces by 3 times. The erecting prism allows the images to be right side up which ensures better viewing.
- Aperture: 90mm
- Focal Length: 600mm
- Focal ratio: f/6.7
- Optical Design: Refractor
- Mount: Alt-azimuth
- Weight: 8.16 kg or 18 lbs
- Durable: The optical tube is made of aluminum allow which makes it very durable.
- Coated optics: Being coated with anti-reflection blue-film that prevents distortion of images and also protects eyes from harm.
- User-Friendly: The telescope is very easy to use. It is a great telescope for beginners to learn and also great for intermediate users who are looking for an upgrade.
- Durable build
- Wide viewing angle
- Easy to assemble
- Anti-reflection blue-film coated components
- 3x Barlow lens
- Great for new and intermediate users
- A bit pricy
- No software included
6. Orion StarBlast 6 Astro Reflector Telescope
- A fun, capable, and simple point-and-view tabletop reflector telescope popular among both beginners and seasoned astronomers thanks to its ease of use and versatile performance
- Substantial 6" aperture reflector optics reveal good detail on the planets and Moon, as well as bright deep-sky objects such as nebulas, galaxies, and star clusters
- Compact tabletop design gives the StarBlast 6 reflector great grab-and-go portability - weighs just 23.5 lbs.
- The sturdy StarBlast 6 reflector base arrives pre-assembled in the box for hassle-free set-up. No GPS included
- Includes 25mm and 10mm Sirius Plossl 1.25" telescope eyepieces, EZ Finder II aiming device, eyepiece rack, Starry Night software, and more!.Highest Useful Magnification:300x
The Orion StarBlast 6 Astro Reflector telescope is excellent for intermediate to experienced astronomers. Its large 150mm aperture allows at least 35% more light absorption than other telescopes in this list. This allows the images to come out brighter and sharper providing more details.
This is a reflector telescope that gives it an advantage for viewing deep-sky objects like galaxies, nebulas and star clusters. It can also be used to observe moons and planets of our own solar system. It has a parabolic primary mirror which eliminates spherical aberrations. The primary lens has a focal length of 750mm and focal ratio f/5 which provides a wide field of view making this an excellent telescope for deep space photography.
The telescope sports an alt-azimuth which allows vertical and 360⸰ horizontal movement. It’s a tabletop telescope. Which means it does not come with a tripod. It must be used on a table or any flat surface. The telescope is too heavy to carry around on hand but compact enough to fit in the trunk of your car.
The telescope comes with Optical tube assembly, OTA dust cover/cap, Dobsonian type alt-azimuth mount, 2 optical tube rings, 25mm Sirius Plössl eyepiece, 10mm Sirius Plössl eyepiece, EZ Finder II reflex sight, Collimation cap, 3-Hole eyepiece rack, Hex key Allen wrench (size 3/16″), a user manual and starry night software.
- Aperture: 150mm
- Focal Length: 750mm
- Focal ratio: f/5
- Optical Design: Reflector
- Mount: Dobsonian type Alt-azimuth tabletop mount
- Weight: 10.7 kg or 23.5 lbs
- Large aperture: It packs a 150mm aperture primary lens which absorbs a large number of photons to provide bright and detailed image output.
- Wide field of view: The 750mm focal length provides a decently wide field of view. Making it great for deep space photography.
- Great build quality: The Orion StarBlast 6 Astro Reflector Telescope is made of durable material which explains its weight.
- User-Friendly: The telescope is fairly easy to use. It’s as simple as pointing the telescope at your desired object. Collimation may be a bit difficult for new users but for experienced enthusiasts, Orion makes it easy by providing a center marked primary lens and collimation cap. It comes
- Large aperture
- Wide field of view
- Fairly easy to use
- Eyepiece rack
- Parabolic mirror
- Hassel free assembly
- Great for deep space photography
- A bit expensive
- Constant collimation required
7. Celestron Nextar 6 SE Telescope
- Nexstar computerized telescope: The NexStar 6SE Computerized Telescope features Celestron’s iconic orange tube design with updated technology and the latest features for amazing stargazing for beginners and experienced observers.
- 6-Inch aperture: The 6-inch primary mirror in this Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope for adults and kids to be used together packs enough light-gathering ability to observe the best that our Solar System has to offer, while retaining a compact form factor.
- Fully-automated go to mount: Featuring a database of more than 40,000 celestial objects, the go to mount built into our telescopes for astronomy beginners automatically locates and tracks objects for you.
- Easy to assemble and break down: The single fork arm design and sturdy steel tripod all assemble and break down from separate components for easy transportation. SkyAlign technology gets your telescope aligned and ready in minutes.
- Bonus free starry night software: The NexStar 6SE Telescope includes a free download of one of the top consumer rated astronomy software programs for an interactive sky simulation.
I think by now you’ve noticed my love for Celestron telescopes. And why wouldn’t you? They are one of the, if not the best telescope manufacturers in the market. So four out of seven telescopes in this list being Celestron shouldn’t come to you as a surprise.
Celestron lives up to its name by taking the top spot on this list with its most popular Celestron Nextar 6 SE telescope. This is a compact and quality telescope that is equally great for beginners and veteran enthusiasts.
It has a large aperture of 150mm which provides sharp and bright images. The focal length is 1500mm and the focal ratio f/10. This allows greater magnification at the cost of the field of view. This is excellent for observing moons and planets of our solar system in great detail. It allows great views of the moon, Mars, and Saturn even under light-polluted skies.
It comes with a fully automated GoTo mount with a database of over 40,000 objects. The telescope can automatically detect and align itself to provided target with the help of SkyAlign technology. As a result, using the telescope is easy and hassle-free. This makes it an excellent choice for beginners.
The telescope itself is small and compact making it easy to travel with. It is a bit on the heavy side measuring 13.6 kg or 30 lbs. which makes carrying it a bit difficult.
The package includes the optical tube assembly, a single eyepiece (25mm), a star pointer finder’s scope, a computerized alt-azimuth mount, a steel tripod, tripod tray, The Sky software for windows, RS 232 serial port cable for GPS 16 accessory and Nexstar remote control software CD.
- Aperture: 150mm
- Focal Length: 1500mm
- Focal ratio: f/10
- Optical Design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
- Mount: Computerized Alt-azimuth mount
- Weight: 13.6 kg or 30 lbs
- Large aperture: The telescope comes with a 150mm large aperture which allows greater absorption of light allowing crisp and bright images. This provides excellent details of the surface of the moon. Objects further away like Mars or Saturn can be viewed in great detail as well.
- Great magnification: Though short focal lengths are great for viewing large objects like galaxies and nebulas they lack in magnification. This is not the case for Celestron Nexstar 6 SE telescope. Its 1500mm long focal length along with the 25mm eyepiece provides excellent magnification (60x).
- Compact: The fairly small size of Celestron Nexstar 6 SE makes it a truly compact telescope that can be easily taken along while traveling.
- Auto detection and tracking: The Celestron Nexstar 6SE comes with a computerized alt-azimuth mount which helps in locating and tracking desired objects. This is especially helpful in long-exposure astrophotography.
- User-Friendly: The telescope comes with a computerized alt-azimuth mount. Using the Sky Align technology and over 40,000 objects database, the telescope can automatically align itself to the preferred object. This makes the Celestron Nexstar 6 SE very user-friendly for both amateurs and experienced astronomers.
- Large aperture
- Great magnification
- Compact design
- Automated Alt-Azimuth mount
- Easy Assembly
- Great for beginner and expert astronomers
- Great for astrophotography
- High price
- GPS accessory not included
These are the top 7 telescopes you can choose from to buy your new telescope. If you’re still having trouble making up your mind than I’m guessing you need a bit more in-depth information.
Don’t worry because I’ve provided everything you need to know before buying a telescope in this article.
How To Choose The Best Telescope For Viewing Planets And Galaxies?
If you’re looking to buy a telescope for viewing planets than you have to keep two things in mind aperture and focal length.
When it comes to astronomical observations planets are considered to be a small object. They don’t require that much field of view to properly observe. That’s why if you’re looking to buy a telescope for solely planetary observation than you should go for a refractor or compound telescope.
If you’re on a budget than refractors should do the trick. They have a great focal length for their price. Of course, cheap refractors come with small apertures, But if nearby planets and moons are all you are interested in than a refractor is all you need.
If money is not a problem than you might be interested in a compound telescope like the Celestron Nexstar 6SE. These telescopes have a huge focal length that provides excellent magnification. They also come with great aperture. This ensures sharp and bright images that are great for viewing planets.
Refractor, Reflector Or Compound Telescope For Viewing Planets?
A telescope is an instrument for viewing far away objects. It uses curved lenses or mirrors to manipulate the light emitting from such objects and then concentrate them on the retina. This is how telescopes allow us to see planets and moons from the comfort of our backyards.
Based on the optical design there are three types of telescopes:
- Refractor telescope
- Reflector telescope
- Compound telescopes (Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain)
The telescopes that use convex lenses are called the Refractor telescope. They collect the parallel light rays from distant objects and focus them at a single point called the focal point. The distance of the focal point from the lens is called the focal length.
The better the focal length the more magnification can be achieved. But it causes loss of details and a blurred image. That’s why a larger lens is used to allow greater collection or light producing a brighter and sharper image.
The downside of this telescope is that larger lenses have more weight making the telescope heavy. Also, lenses display an optical phenomenon called chromatic aberration. Chromatic aberration caused due to different colors or wavelengths of light bending in different directions.
For these reasons refractor, optical design is usually seen among cheap amateur level telescopes. They are best for observing planets and moons of our solar system.
These telescopes use concave mirrors to change the direction of parallel light rays and focus them at the focal point. A good thing about the reflector type telescope is that a larger mirror does not have to be a thicker one.
As a result, more powerful telescopes can be made without increasing much weight. Also, more powerful telescopes can be made without increasing much cost. Reflector telescopes also remove the problem of chromatic aberration that comes with refractor telescopes.
The problem with reflectors is that the tube is exposed. There is no glass or lens to contain the interior of the telescope. As a result, the telescope requires frequent maintenance.
Reflector optical design is usually used for making intermediate level telescopes. They are great at observing deep space objects like galaxies, nebulas and star clusters.
It is a telescope made of both mirrors and lenses. This optical design takes advantage of adapting the pros of both reflectors and refractors while at the same time reducing or eliminating their disadvantages.
The compound design minimizes the amount of chromatic aberration. This design allows the telescopes to be short with large focal length. Increasing both portability and magnification. A short tube allows the telescope to gain minimal weight with the increase of aperture.
The disadvantage of this type of telescope design is the large focal length. Even though it provides great magnification the field of view decreases. Which makes it difficult for viewing deep space objects. They are best for observing moons and planets.
These telescopes are best for intermediate and expert astronomers.
Slow Or Fast Telescope For Viewing Planets and Galaxies?
A telescope with a long focal length is considered a slow telescope and a telescope with short focal length is a fast telescope.
Slow telescopes have great magnifications. But it comes at the sacrifice of the field of view. That’s why if you’re looking to buy a telescope for observing objects like the moon, Mars, Saturn and other planets and moons of our solar system that buying a slow telescope would be your best choice.
On the other hand. Short focal lengths provide a better field of view. As a result, fast telescopes are great for observing deep-sky objects like distant galaxies, nebulas and star clusters.
Which Mount Is Good For Viewing Planets?
The standard alt-azimuth mount has a problem of losing its target after the passage of some time. Due to the rotation of the earth, the target object may float out of the frame which may not be a problem while simply observing planets but may become a problem during long-exposure astrophotography.
So, in this case, a German Equatorial or Computerized mount can be a great option. They eliminate the loss of focus due to the earth’s rotation and track your object.
Choosing A Proper Place To Set Up Your Telescope
The telescope is a very sensitive instrument. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s designed to gather light form objects that are thousands of miles to light-years away and produce viewable images. That is not a simple task. Due to this sensitivity, the telescope is very prone to its environment. So, choosing a proper place to set up your telescope is very important.
The first thing to keep in mind is to not set up over concrete. Concrete has the tendency to store up heat from sunlight and then slowly radiating it into the atmosphere. This heat can distort your vision while stargazing.
The best place to set up your telescope would be on grass. Grassy grounds don’t dissipate much heat. As a result, this is the perfect place for setting up your telescope.
Make sure the area you choose for setting up your telescope does not have much lighting. Any external source of light can and will bleed into your telescope and effect visual output. This is called light pollution. Choose an area that is adequately dark for stargazing. Use a Red LED light to illuminate your working space.
Red light does not affect the telescope’s ability to show images. So it can be used.
Choose an area where the sky is clear. A cloudy sky will not allow light to pass through and enter your telescope. Choosing an area where the sky is clear and the atmosphere has minimum humidity is required for stargazing.
After you choose a proper place make sure you let your telescope cool down to outdoor temperature. This is because outdoors at night is relatively cooler than indoors. This causes the telescope to radiate heat. This heat radiation negatively affects the image output. Allowing it to cool for at least 20 minutes before you can eliminates this problem.
How To Get The Best From Your Telescope?
Just buying the best telescope out there won’t guarantee excellent results while stargazing. There are other factors that dictate how much you can do with your telescope. And from my years of experience, I think I have some advice to share that might help you out.
- Use sky maps: You should think about using sky maps to plan out your viewing beforehand. There are many android apps to help you with that.
- Thermally adjust your telescope: Your telescope needs to adjust to the temperature outside before usage. This is because as soon as you take the telescope outside it will start to cool down and radiate heat. This can affect the observation of faint objects. So keep it standing outside for at least 20 minutes before usage.
- Use both eyes: Even though it’s pretty instinctive to close one eye while viewing through the eyepiece you should consider keeping both open. I won’t go into the scientific details but this allows your eyes to better receive information and enhance vision.
- Collimate your telescope: Collimation is very important for proper viewing with a telescope. Use the manual that comes with your telescope to properly collimate it before starting star gazing.
- Store unused eyepieces: The unused eyepieces may be subjected to dewing. This is the accusation of moisture on the eyepieces. So keeping them stored in a box or any other container is recommended.
- Turn of your mobile phone: The light from your phone may cause light pollution and affect the images shown by your telescope. So turn your phone off unless you are using an app that’s useful for your viewing.
- Time your viewing: Choosing the best time to view different objects is essential to enhance your experience. For example, the sky is especially clear during winter nights making it easier for stargazing. Also, the moon may appear different in its different phases. So choosing the right time is very important.
- Carry a RED light: Using a telescope in complete darkness can become a great task. But a flashlight can cause light pollution. To solve this problem, you can carry a Red LED light. Red light does not affect your vision while using a telescope.
- Choose a proper place to set up your telescope: Don’t place your telescope on concrete. It retains heat from sunlight and slowly radiates it. This can cause visual distortions while using a telescope. It is best to place the telescope in an area covered by grass where heat dissipation is less.
- Consider using a moon filter: The moon can sometimes be very bright. This can cause light pollution and negatively affect your telescope’s ability to produce images. Try using a moon filter to prevent this from happening. These come in many colors but the blue filter will be most useful.
- Stay updated: Staying updated on astrological events like a solar eclipse, meteors or comets passing by can be useful for viewing cool things. Following famous astronomers, on twitter and liking, astronomy based websites can help you to stay updated on these things.
- Join a club: Joining an astronomy club and meeting likeminded individuals can help you to further explore your new-found hobby.
How To Choose The Best Telescope For You?
You have to keep some things in mind to choose the telescope that is best for you. The first thing is your experience. You should refrain from buying expensive equipment on your first rodeo. You should start with a low to midrange telescope if this is your first one. This will help you to get acquainted with using and managing a telescope.
Next, you should determine what you are interested to do with your telescope. If you are interested in observing close by objects like the moon, Mars, Saturn, etc. then you should go for a telescope with a long focal length. The long focal length will provide great magnification that will make the images appear sharp.
The lost field of view won’t matter because observing small objects like planets, moons and asteroids do not require many fields of view.
On the other hand, if you’re interested in viewing deep space objects like galaxies, nebulas and star clusters, you should go for telescopes with a large aperture and short focal length. The large aperture will absorb more light that is useful for viewing distant objects and the short focal length will allow a wide field of view that is required for viewing such large objects.
If you are planning on doing some astrophotography, consider buying a telescope with German Equatorial or Computerized mount. Due to the rotation of the earth, the target object can float out of focus. This is especially troublesome when shooting long exposure photographs.
A German Equatorial or Computerized mount will allow the ability to track objects which is a must for astrophotography.
Astronomy is an excellent hobby. It invokes curiosity and discovery. And this journey of discovery begins with you buying your first telescope. In this article, I’ve provided all the information that you might need to buy your next telescope and provided you with reviews of the top 7 telescopes and their advantages and disadvantages.
I hope all this information was of use to you and helped you to choose your new telescope.
Last update on 2021-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API