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Best Telescopes for Stargazing: Complete Guide on How to Choose for Beginners

Do you dream of solving the mysteries of the starry sky but don’t know anything about astronomy? Or do you think telescopes are too expensive? Then this article is for you. Here I tell you that you don’t have to be born under a lucky star to study the stars. It is not as difficult and expensive as you may imagine. I’ll be happy to share my experiences and tell you about the best telescopes for stargazing.

Product
Top Pick
Gskyer Telescope, 70mm Aperture 400mm AZ Mount Astronomical Refracting Telescope for Kids Beginners - Travel Telescope with Carry Bag, Phone Adapter and Wireless Remote
Best Choice
Celestron - PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope - Manual German Equatorial Telescope for Beginners - Compact and Portable - Bonus Astronomy Software Package - 127mm Aperture
Premium Choice
Celestron - NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope - Compact and Portable - Newtonian Reflector Optical Design - SkyAlign Technology - Computerized Hand Control - 130mm Aperture
Title
Gskyer Telescope, 70mm Aperture 400mm AZ Mount Astronomical Refracting Telescope for Kids Beginners - Travel Telescope with Carry Bag, Phone Adapter and Wireless Remote
Celestron - PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope - Manual German Equatorial Telescope for Beginners - Compact and Portable - Bonus Astronomy Software Package - 127mm Aperture
Celestron - NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope - Compact and Portable - Newtonian Reflector Optical Design - SkyAlign Technology - Computerized Hand Control - 130mm Aperture
Prime
Pros
Good image quality
Build quality
Computerized
Top Pick
Product
Gskyer Telescope, 70mm Aperture 400mm AZ Mount Astronomical Refracting Telescope for Kids Beginners - Travel Telescope with Carry Bag, Phone Adapter and Wireless Remote
Title
Gskyer Telescope, 70mm Aperture 400mm AZ Mount Astronomical Refracting Telescope for Kids Beginners - Travel Telescope with Carry Bag, Phone Adapter and Wireless Remote
Prime
Pros
Good image quality
My review
Best Choice
Product
Celestron - PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope - Manual German Equatorial Telescope for Beginners - Compact and Portable - Bonus Astronomy Software Package - 127mm Aperture
Title
Celestron - PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope - Manual German Equatorial Telescope for Beginners - Compact and Portable - Bonus Astronomy Software Package - 127mm Aperture
Prime
Pros
Build quality
My review
Premium Choice
Product
Celestron - NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope - Compact and Portable - Newtonian Reflector Optical Design - SkyAlign Technology - Computerized Hand Control - 130mm Aperture
Title
Celestron - NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope - Compact and Portable - Newtonian Reflector Optical Design - SkyAlign Technology - Computerized Hand Control - 130mm Aperture
Prime
Pros
Computerized
My review
How to Buy the Best Telescopes for Stars?
  1. Decide which celestial bodies you would observe.
  2. Where you plan to use the telescope.
  3. Learn the basic characteristics of telescopes.
  4. Find out what type of telescope is the best for viewing stars.
  5. Decide on a budget.
  6. Chat with more experienced amateur astronomers.
  7. Buy your first telescope and enjoy views of the night sky.

Top 7 Best Telescopes for Stargazing Reviewed

  1. Gskyer Telescope 70mm— Top Pick
  2. Celestron — PowerSeeker 127EQ— Best Choice
  3. Celestron — NexStar 130SLT— Premium Choice
  4. Gosky Skyview 25x70— Best Portable Telescope
  5. FREE SOLDIER 30070 Telescope— Best Cheap for Stargazing
  6. Celestron — 80mm— Best for Travels
  7. OYS 80500 telescope— Best Beginner Telescope for Stargazing

Before you embark on your global search for a telescope, I suggest you read a review of these models. I have made a selection of devices considered to be among the best in the price-quality category.

1. Gskyer Telescope 70mm — Best Telescope for Night Sky Viewing

Sale
Gskyer Telescope, 70mm Aperture 400mm AZ Mount Astronomical Refracting Telescope for Kids Beginners - Travel Telescope with Carry Bag, Phone Adapter and Wireless Remote
24,269 Reviews
Gskyer Telescope, 70mm Aperture 400mm AZ Mount Astronomical Refracting Telescope for Kids Beginners - Travel Telescope with Carry Bag, Phone Adapter and Wireless Remote
  • Quality Optics: 400mm(f/5.7) focal length and 70mm aperture, fully coated optics glass lens with high transmission coatings creates stunning images and protect your eyes. Perfect telescope for astronomers to explore stars and moon.

My colleague bought this telescope as a gift for her son. Her attempt to get her child interested in astronomy was successful. He enjoys observing the Moon and Jupiter, taking pictures, and sharing them with his friends. The telescope is lightweight, so it’s not hard to take it with you anywhere.

Features

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 70 mm
  • Magnification: 16x – 120x
  • Eyepiece: 10 mm, 25 mm
  • Focus Type: Manual Focus
  • Item Weight: 5.7 Pounds
  • Focal Length Description: 400 mm

Why I like it

This budget telescope can compete with more expensive analogs. It is suitable for observing the Moon, star clusters, etc. Beginners will appreciate the image quality and ease of use.

PROS:
  • Reasonable price;
  • Easy assembly;
  • Good image quality.
CONS:
  • For beginners only.

2. Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ — Best Telescope to Buy for Stargazing

Sale
Celestron - PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope - Manual German Equatorial Telescope for Beginners - Compact and Portable - Bonus Astronomy Software Package - 127mm Aperture
8,234 Reviews
Celestron - PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope - Manual German Equatorial Telescope for Beginners - Compact and Portable - Bonus Astronomy Software Package - 127mm Aperture
  • 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

One day I went to the mountains with some friends. One of them took a telescope with him. It was his new hobby, so he didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see the starry sky away from the city. Of course, I was interested in testing this telescope. I have to say that the large aperture allows you to see a really clear image. I think any beginner would be thrilled to observe through this telescope.

Features

  • Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
  • Lens Diameter: 127 mm
  • Magnification: 50x, 250x
  • Focal Length: 1000 mm
  • Item Dimensions: 29.92 x 16.73 x 8.46 inches
  • Focus Type: Manual Focus
  • Item Weight: 21.4 Pounds

Why I like it

The easy-to-use telescope is suitable for new users. It is a good combination of price, quality, and functionality. It is lightweight and portable. The telescope can be simply set up in the backyard or taken on camping trips.

PROS:
  • Affordable price;
  • Build quality;
  • Portability.
CONS:
  • The round mirror distorts the image a bit.

3. Celestron NexStar 130SLT — Best Portable Telescope for Stargazing

Sale
Celestron - NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope - Compact and Portable - Newtonian Reflector Optical Design - SkyAlign Technology - Computerized Hand Control - 130mm Aperture
1,572 Reviews
Celestron - NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope - Compact and Portable - Newtonian Reflector Optical Design - SkyAlign Technology - Computerized Hand Control - 130mm Aperture
  • Computerized star locating telescope: The Celestron NexStar 130SLT 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. Compatible with 2 inch eyepieces

If I were a beginner and were going to buy my first telescope, I would pay attention to this model. A beginner can easily set up the telescope. And the telescope’s ability to track celestial bodies will help you learn to find and identify objects.

Features

  • Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
  • Lens Diameter: 130 mm
  • Magnification: 26x, 72x
  • Focal Length: 650 mm
  • Item Dimensions: 28 x 12 x 8 inches
  • Focus Type: Manual Focus
  • Item Weight: 11.4 Pounds

Why I like it

This lightweight and compact telescope allows you to see the surface of the Moon and the rings of Jupiter in great detail. The device is easy to take on camping or other travel trips where stargazing will come in handy.

PROS:
  • Portability;
  • Computerized;
  • Includes adjustable tripod and 2 eyepieces.
CONS:
  • There is no smartphone holder.

4. Gosky Skyview 25×70 — Best Handheld Telescope for Stargazing

Sale
Gosky Skyview Astronomy Binoculars, Giant Binoculars with Digiscoping Adapter - for Moon Observation Bird Watching Sightseeing Shooting Star Gazing
111 Reviews
Gosky Skyview Astronomy Binoculars, Giant Binoculars with Digiscoping Adapter - for Moon Observation Bird Watching Sightseeing Shooting Star Gazing
  • OUTSTANDING OPTICS — Large Bak-4 Roof Prisms and Fully Multi-coated Optics - guarentee the key elements of an optical device, make your view brighter, clearer and deliver crisp images

GoSky has been producing visual optics since 2016. They strive to give people the opportunity to see the world in all its details without spending a lot of money.

My friend bought these binoculars. After his first observation of the night sky, he confirmed that it is a powerful binocular. The image was so clear that he couldn’t believe he could see the planets so close.

Features

  • Lens Diameter: 80 m
  • Magnification: 20x
  • Material: Rubber
  • Eye Relief: 18 Millimeters
  • Binocular Prism Description: Roof Prism
  • Focus Type: Center Focus

Why I like it

This telescope combines excellent performance with innovative technology. The large 80-millimeter lens, combined with the 20x magnification, brings you a closer look at the beauty hidden from the standard human field of view.

PROS:
  • 20x magnification for perfect images;
  • Portable;
  • Adjustable eyecups for eyeglass wearers;
  • There is a smartphone holder.
CONS:
  • No tripod included.

5. FREE SOLDIER 30070 — Best Cheap Telescope for Stargazing

Sale
FREE SOLDIER Telescope for Kids&Astronomy Beginners - 70mm Aperture Refractor Telescope for Stargazing With Adjustable Tripod Phone Adapter Wireless Remote Perfect Travel Telescope Gift for Kids, Blue
435 Reviews
FREE SOLDIER Telescope for Kids&Astronomy Beginners - 70mm Aperture Refractor Telescope for Stargazing With Adjustable Tripod Phone Adapter Wireless Remote Perfect Travel Telescope Gift for Kids, Blue
  • ★【High Magnification】The telescope for adults astronomy comes with a 3X Barlow lens and two eyepieces, H20mm and H6mm, the magnification varies from 15X to 150X, You can freely choose different combination to enjoy the different distances. The telescope for astronomy beginners also comes with a 5X24 finder scope for accurate locating. Best gifts for kids to discover the mystery of universe. Maybe one day my kid or yours will actually fly up there. Let us look forward to it together!

My younger brother asked for a telescope as a birthday present. He wanted to use it as soon as he picked up the box. My brother was so enthusiastic about assembling the telescope that all I had to do was watch.

This telescope is not only suitable for astronomy but also for observing nature during the day. It provides good quality images for observation and photography.

Features

  • Aperture: 70mm
  • Eyepiece: H6mm, H20mm
  • Magnification: 15X – 150X
  • Focal Length: 300mm
  • Optical Design: Refractor
  • Focus Type: Manual Focus

Why I like it

This is the best starter telescope for stargazing for children. It comes with everything a beginner needs, like a tripod, smartphone holder, and travel backpack.

PROS:
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Detailed instructions included;
  • Price.
CONS:
  • Weak tripod.

6. Celestron 80mm — Best Starter Telescope for Stargazing

Sale
Celestron - 80mm Travel Scope - Portable Refractor Telescope - Fully-Coated Glass Optics - Ideal Telescope for Beginners - Bonus Astronomy Software Package - Digiscoping Smartphone Adapter
1,213 Reviews
Celestron - 80mm Travel Scope - Portable Refractor Telescope - Fully-Coated Glass Optics - Ideal Telescope for Beginners - Bonus Astronomy Software Package - Digiscoping Smartphone Adapter
  • Powerful eyepieces for up-close viewing: This 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 land-based objects during the day.

The Celestron brand has been around since 1960 and has established itself as the company with the best price-performance ratio and quality technical support.

One of my colleagues decided to buy a telescope and came to me for advice. He knows I am an expert in telescopes. He wanted an affordable but reliable telescope, so I advised him to choose one of the Celestron models. After a few weeks of use, a colleague commented that it was a good model for beginners. He was able to see even more than he expected. Astronomy fascinated him, if not forever, for a very long time.

Features

  • Aperture: 80mm
  • Eyepiece: H10mm, H20mm
  • Focus Type: Manual Focus
  • Item Dimensions: 12.7 x 22.5 x 5.6 inches
  • Item Weight: 4.5 Pounds

Why I like it

The starter kit includes useful accessories such as a backpack, smartphone holder, and eyepieces for extra magnification. The manufacturer also gives free access to a download of Celestron software with maps and information on 36,000 celestial bodies.

PROS:
  • Good quality construction;
  • There is a starter kit;
  • Free access to the software.
CONS:
  • Not detected.

7. OYS 80500 — Best Telescope for Stargazing for Beginners

Telescope for Adults Kids Astronomy Beginners, 80mm Aperture 500mm AZ Mount, Astronomical Refractor Professional Telescope with Tripod and Phone Adapter to Observe Moon and Planet
178 Reviews
Telescope for Adults Kids Astronomy Beginners, 80mm Aperture 500mm AZ Mount, Astronomical Refractor Professional Telescope with Tripod and Phone Adapter to Observe Moon and Planet
  • 【Ultra-clear image with Updated Refracting Telescope】 The astronomical telescope features 500mm focal length and large 80mm aperture, fully multi-coated optical glass with high transmission, creating stunning images with increased brightness and clarity.

My mate hadn’t been into astronomy before. However, in the area where he lives, there is always such a beautiful view of the night sky, so he couldn’t resist buying a telescope. He just set it up in his backyard. In his leisure time, he practices using it to catch the best views. He shared his impressions of watching the Moon. He was able to catch Mercury and Venus since they are not that far from Earth. He took some pictures of what he saw and showed them to me. I was really impressed.

Features

  • Objective Lens Diameter: 80mm
  • Magnification: 25X-50X
  • Eyepiece: K20mm, K10mm
  • Focus Type: Manual Focus
  • Item Dimensions: 28 x 10.4 x 5.7 inches
  • Item Weight: 10.58 Pounds
  • Focal Length Description: 500 millimeters

Why I like it

The telescope is quite lightweight and easy to set up. The starter kit includes a tripod, two eyepieces, and a smartphone holder.

PROS:
  • Easy to put;
  • Good picture;
  • Price.
CONS:
  • Weak tripod.

Telescopes for Stargazing Buyer’s Guide

telescope against a background of trees

The principle of a telescope is based on collecting the light of stars. Its design determines whether you can see farther and dimmer stars through it.

Types of telescopes for stargazing

Let’s look at the basic types of telescopes and how they differ.

  • Refractor. This telescope can be called a good old classic. In the 18th century, the first achromatic lenses appeared, which conveyed a clearer image. The refractor telescope has quite a large weight and size, hence the high price. It can be used to look at the Moon’s surface or to study nearby celestial bodies.
  • Reflectors. Several mirrors serve as lenses, so the telescope is pretty lightweight. This type is still popular because it is devoid of aberrations. Distortions may occur at the edges of the field of view, which are fixed with extra lens correctors. This telescope suits to observe distant objects.
  • Catadioptrics. That is the most contemporary type of telescope, but it is also the most expensive. So it is not always suitable for beginners in astronomy. They are versatile and compact.

A feature of the telescope for stargazing

If you are new to astronomy, the deciding factor for buying a telescope may be the magnification and price. But it’s the wrong approach. To better understand how a telescope works, it is worthwhile to learn its main features.

Magnification

The telescope’s magnification must be in the proper ratio to its aperture to get a clear image. As a rule of thumb, a telescope’s greatest magnification cannot exceed its aperture in inches by a factor of 50.

Aperture size

It’s the most important aspect of a telescope, which determines its ability to collect light and produce a sharp image. Beginner telescope apertures can range from 2.8 inches to 10.

telescope against backdrop of palm trees

Eyepieces

Eyepieces come in low, medium, and high magnifications. It is best to have all three observe regardless of sky conditions.

Type

A refractor device is equipped with lenses, reflector — with mirrors. Catadioptric telescopes are equipped with both lenses and mirrors.

Stability

When choosing a tripod, consider where you plan to mount it. Pay attention to the height of the tripod. If it is low, you will have to lean toward the eyepiece to see a distorted image. Better if the tripod is high and you can observe the sky at full height.

Diameter

The larger the diameter of the tube, the larger the diameter of the lens, and it can collect more light. Thus, a telescope with a larger objective lens can see fainter objects.

Compact vs. computerized

Both options have advantages and disadvantages. For example, a computerized telescope is like a guide to the starry sky. It finds the stars on its own and shows them at their best angle. It is the best telescope for stargazing and astrophotography, but it costs more than a regular telescope.

A manual telescope will be cheaper, but it’s a good way to study the starry sky. You don’t just watch objects that come through the lens but learn to recognize them on your own.

How much to spend on a good telescope?

If you are new to astronomy, you can start with a telescope for under $200. More powerful telescopes offer more observational opportunities and usually cost $600 or more.

3 tips for choosing a telescope for stargazing

When selecting a stargazing telescope, follow these guidelines:

  1. Decide if you are looking for the best telescope for urban stargazing or if you want to take it with you on a camping trip, for example.
  2. A good telescope for space should have a large aperture, not a degree of magnification.
  3. Talk to other amateur astronomers. Find out what additional accessories you need for your telescope.

telescope on a tripod at night

FAQ About Choosing a Telescope

I hope my review has clarified the question of what type of telescope is best for viewing stars. You can find a little more information in this section.

Which telescope is best to see stars?

Most low-cost models allow you to see only large objects like the Moon or Jupiter. More powerful telescopes with a large aperture can help you see the stars in the palm of your hand. Inexpensive options include the Celestron NexStar 130SLT.

Which telescope is best for viewing planets and galaxies?

Telescopes for viewing planets and star clusters should have an aperture of 70 to 80 mm. Many telescopes for beginners have these characteristics.

How powerful does a telescope have to be to see planets?

The best telescopes for planet watchers are with four- to five-inch diameters. They are suitable for observing large objects in the solar system. You can see the surface of the Moon or the rings of Jupiter, for example. The smaller planets are more challenging to view but still possible.

What is the best type of telescope for stargazing?

Telescopes with great light gathering capability are best suited for observing distant objects. The best type of telescope for stargazing is a reflector.

Welcome to the Astronomical Community!

Astronomy is an accessible hobby these days, not an activity for the privileged few. It’s not as hard to get started as you might think. You can find different astronomy forums and talk to more experienced astronomers. It’s good if you meet and test out different types of telescopes and ask their opinion about the best astronomical telescopes. And remember, the perfect telescope is one you like and enjoy using.

How long have you been interested in astronomy? What telescope do you use to observe objects in the solar system? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments!

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