Ah, the majesty of the night sky!
Throughout history, people have been inspired by looking upwards, leading to poetry ranging from “Teach Me Your Mood, O Patient Stars” to “Twinkle, Twinkle”.
The focus in astronomy has now shifted from the mystical to the scientific, but the night is no less beautiful to those with the right equipment. Luckily, today’s skygazer has a greater selection of top-quality telescopes than ever before, and at reasonable prices too.
Using a telescope is often a solitary hobby, but it’s also a great way to make friends. There are astronomy clubs scattered all over the world, while viewings are always popular whether at children’s parties or as a romantic evening under the stars.
So, if you’re thinking of taking up this pastime, why not read on and see what telescopes are available? You will most likely be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
A nice range of relatively inexpensive options, good for a gift or casual viewing.
The optical quality is about what you’d expect at this price, while you may find durability to be an issue.
A good example of getting what you pay for; any of these will make a fine starter telescope.
An easy-to-use automatic finder coupled with good optics makes this all the telescope many people will need.
The computerized go-to drive, though convenient, pushes up the price significantly.
A good scope for someone who doesn’t want to struggle with aiming. Also great for taking pictures.
An apochromatic lens system and large apertures (for a refractor) result in very high-definition images.
Extremely expensive, even without a mount or most of the accessories you’ll require for photography.
If you need this telescope, you’ll know it. Most people will prefer to pay less.
Lightweight and portable, this refractor scope can accompany you nearly anywhere.
With only a 70 mm objective lens, image quality is necessarily not all that amazing.
Not the best telescope as such, but a very good choice if you plan to use it far from home.
The equatorial mount and serviceable optics make this scope worth considering for astrophotography.
Though not bad value, many users will be able to find something equally suitable for them at a lower price.
There are some good points in its favor, but whether this one is for you depends on your specific requirements.
Dobsonian construction makes an 8″ aperture possible at a very low price.
This telescope’s size makes it difficult to store and very troublesome to transport for more than a few feet.
If you believe that “aperture is king” and don’t want to spend too much, this is a good option.
Priced very competitively considering its 127 mm aperture.
Very difficult to collimate before each use, while the stand could have been sturdier.
Experienced users will find this to be good value, but it’s not the first reflector you should buy.
Offering good performance in a compact package, this telescope costs less than many 90 mm reflectors.
Difficult to use with a camera, while the lack of a tripod may cause some frustration.
Certainly something to consider when looking for a mid-range beginner’s telescope, as long as you know about its shortcomings.
Well-made and with acceptable image quality, it’s easy to start using this scope immediately.
Although on the high end for refractors, it can’t compete with the apertures similarly-priced reflectors offer.
As long as you don’t plan to travel with it or expect world-class performance, this scope should be perfectly satisfactory.
Despite being a full-fledged Dobsonian, a collapsible design makes storage and transport easier.
The tube’s open sides and the heavy base can be inconvenient.
If you need the wide aperture of a Dobsonian design but also want something that will fit into a compact car, this is it.
Very powerful for its size, this telescope can be upgraded with a computer-assisted aiming module.
Its main flaw is that taking photographs with it is quite difficult.
While it won’t please everyone, this amount of viewing power in a tabletop model is nothing to sneeze at.
A professional-quality telescope that features automatic guidance and top-notch optics.
Way too expensive for almost all hobbyists, you’re more likely to buy this scope for a school or club than for yourself.
Really everything you could dream of in a telescope, but owning one will probably remain a dream.