Best Telescope for beginners- Since ancient times, humans have gazed at the firmament with admiration and awe. And, with the invention of first the spyglass, then telescope, we were a bit closer to unraveling its secrets.
Today, telescopes are a dime a dozen and everybody can get one. Well, you maybe won’t be able to procure Hubble (seeing as it’s now been retired) but you’ll certainly be able to get your hands on a smaller and more practical model, because having a whole NASA team would put great strain on your fridge and coffee supplies. So, today, we’ll take a look at five of the best and most affordable telescopes, intended for beginners and young stargazers.
A Few Things You Need to Know
As we said, there are plenty of telescopes out there, so how do you know which is the right Best telescope for beginners for you. Yes, yes, some of them have “beginner’s telescope” in the name, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about types of telescopes, and which one would be ideal for a beginner.
Well, there are three main types of telescopes, with each type carrying its own advantages and disadvantages. Those types are determined by how the telescope manages to deliver light to your eye and based on those types, there are refractor, reflector and compound telescopes.
The first type, refractor telescopes, are the simples and the sturdiest. They look like big spyglasses, but that’s not why they’re called refractor. The reason is that the front lens is outwardly curved (convex) so it sends the light straight down a tube directly into the mirror at the back end and into your eyepiece. Such devices are very simple in design, and are very easy to use, and, because the tube is sealed, it allows no dirt inside, and, thus doesn’t have to be cleaned out. However, such telescopes don’t offer the best image quality and are often bulky in order to create a greatly enlarged image due to their simple design.
Reflector telescopes work in a similar fashion, but just a bit differently. The eyepiece for these is not at the opposite end of the front part but is placed at a right angle with respect to the front of the telescope. The way this works is that there are actually two mirrors, one bigger and one smaller. The mirror collects the light and sends it onto a smaller mirror under an angle that sends the light into your eye.
Now, because of the shape of the mirror (it’s got a concave back end, but a flat front end), the image generated is much clearer, allowing you to view fainter objects in better image quality. However, these telescopes, because they don’t have a lens, aren’t sealed and the dust collects directly on the optics, so you’ll have to clean them regularly.
Lastly, there are the compound telescopes. Compound telescopes are a little bit more complicated than both reflector and refractor telescopes. These big boys feature a mirror and lens (combined) at the front, both of concave shape, and a mirror at the back end (concave) but with a hole in the middle so that the light can get through to the eyepiece. Compound telescopes are very big and quite expensive, but offer stellar image quality and are excellent for astrophotography. They also feature a sealed tube, so they don’t require maintenance.
Of the three, the Best telescope for beginners are reflective and refractive ones, so we’ll focus on them in this article. However, if you want superior image quality, you should go with a refractive telescope.
|Name||Aperture||Focal Length||Focal Ratio||Eyepieces|
|Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope (Top Choice)||114mm||500mm||F4.0||17mm|
|Gskyer AZ70400 Telescope (Runner Up)||70mm||400mm||F5.7||25mm|
|Gskyer Telescope, 60mm AZ Refractor Telescope||60mm||350mm||F5.8||25mm|
|Gskyer Telescope, 80mm AZ Space Astronomical Refractor Telescope||80mm||400mm||F5||25mm|
|Gskyer EQ 80900 Telescope||80mm||900mm||F11.25||25mm|
Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope (Top Choice)
Though we indicated that refraction telescopes are among the Best telescope for beginners, both for newbies and even advanced users, and even though most of our list will be comprised of refraction telescopes, our top choice is actually a reflector telescope. Why? Because it’s an Orion. Orion telescopes are some of the highest quality telescopes in the industry, and they’ve been around long enough to establish an impressive pedigree. Orion 10015 that we’re about to review is one of the best, if not the best beginner’s telescope on the market.
As we said, this is a reflector telescope, and one with amazing image quality, despite what we said about reflector telescopes so far. Orion 10015 is enclosed within a sturdy aluminium alloy body and features an always-on mount, so you don’t even have to assemble that. The stand is a tabletop, so be sure to have a table handy. It also features the widest aperture and best focal length of all the telescopes we’ve presented. However, it’s also the most expensive one, but it has excellent value for the money, so we decided to select it as the top choice despite its price.
As far as the specs go, you’re looking at a telescope boasting a 114mm aperture with a 500mm focal length, providing you with near crystal clear images of celestial bodies. On top of that, the telescope features a focal ratio of F4.0. With the addition of its Explorer II eyepieces, it’s perfect for viewing faraway planets, and its wide angular view allows for viewing of wide bodies, such as galaxies and nebulae. The twin Explorers include a 17mm and a 6mm eyepiece, featuring 26x and 75x magnification, respectively, making the device more than capable of clear images of aforementioned objects.
As the downside of owning this Best telescope for beginners, we can only put down that it will set you back some $200. Its actual price fluctuates around that price, and it used to be a little cheaper, under $200, but its price rose again. We have another $200 telescope on our list, but this one is far superior when it comes to value for the money. It’s got similar eyepieces and magnification, but wider aperture, longer focal length and is smaller and lighter overall.
As far as beginner’s telescope go, Gskyer Telescopes are some of the most prominent pieces out there for Best telescope for beginners. This is a refractor-type telescope with some amazing features. Despite its type, Gskyer AZ70400 Travel Refractor Telescope can be used for looking at terrestrial objects too. Its lens is made of big-calibre non-dispersive ZF4 optical glass and is plated with several layers of green film to protect your eye from damage when gazing at bright objects. It comes with an azimuth mount made of aluminium alloy, making it light and durable at the same time. This best telescope for beginners requires a mere five minutes to be mounted and operational.
When it comes to aperture, this best telescope for beginners features a generous 70mm and a focal length of 400mm. it also comes with its own theodolite that will help you measure angles in horizontal and vertical planes if you’re into that sort of stuff. Its focal ratio is a decent F5.7 and features an angular view of 2 degrees and 24 minutes.
Along with the telescope and mount itself, the telescope comes with two different eyepieces. These eyepieces offer different zooming capabilities, so you have a few different options when looking at celestial or terrestrial objects. The first eyepiece is a 25mm one that will allow for 16x magnification, which is excellent when looking at objects here on the ground but might prove slightly inferior when looking at the night sky. The second eyepiece is a 10mm one, and it will provide you with 40x magnification, making it much better suited for looking at celestial objects. The telescope features splendid max magnification of 120, which will allow you to spot even the smallest crater on the face of the moon.
Of course, no product is ever perfect, and AZ70400 has some drawbacks that might make you consider buying it. Since this is a refractor, you’ll need to periodically maintain the mirror. This might not be a problem for a seasoned stargazer, but it might be a little difficult for a newbie as they might not know how to handle the fragile optics. On top of that, the tripod is only 135cm tall, so an adult user might find it difficult to use, making this telescope, together with its tripod, intended more for children. However, if you get an appropriately tall tripod, you’ll eliminate this problem.
When it comes to the price, AZ70400 costs about $100, which makes it one of the most affordable telescopes around, further fortifying it as a beginner’s telescope.
Next, we’ve got another Gskyer Telescope, this time a 60mm AZ refractor-type telescope. This one is even more affordable than the AZ70400, but the affordable price does come with its own disadvantages. Even so, this is a perfect Best telescope for beginners, as it’s simple, reliable, affordable, offers decent image quality, and can be used for ground objects, despite its type.
As before, the telescope’s body is made of aluminium alloy, making it able to stand the test of time, but also be very light to carry. The telescope comes with a tripod mount, but not a full-sized one, but a table mount. The mount is azimuth-type, and very easily set up. Whereas the AZ70400 had a green optical coating on the mirror, AZ’s mirror is covered with blue film, but the blue film and the green film don’t show a significant difference when protecting your eye from ultraviolet light, meaning they’re of the same quality. The device also comes with a carry case also, making it quite convenient if you plan to take it out to escape all the light pollution and look at the night sky.
Now, let’s take a look at the telescope’s specs. This Best telescope for beginners has a 60mm aperture, slightly shorter than what is featured on the AZ70400, making its image quality slightly worse. Its focal length is 350mm, 50mm shorter than on the AZ70500, and has a focal ratio of F5.8. Its angular field of view is 2 degrees and 40 minutes.
Along with the tripod, his Gskyer also comes with two eyepieces. One is a 25mm eyepiece that provides you with a 14x zoom, enough for looking at celestial objects closer to Earth, and looking at ground objects. The other eyepiece is smaller, a 10mm one, and offers you a much more impressive 35x zoom allowing for serious stargazing. The maximum magnification this Best telescope for beginners can achieve is a decent 105, 15 less than what AZ70400 can achieve, making it slightly less powerful, but still more than a worthy adversary to our number two pick.
As for the negative sides, we’ve already mentioned the tripod. As we said, it’s not full length, but it’s meant to be placed on a table or a platform of some kind so you can use it effectively. This means you’ll have to procure that platform, which might annoy you if you do not already have one, and will also increase the overall price if you decide to buy one, which might put its price very close to the amount you’d pay for our second pick which is superior to the AZ 60mm. On top of that, the tripod doesn’t to be of the greatest quality, and quite a few customers have reported that it broke after only slight use and wear. Finally, customers have complained that the received products with instructions in Chinese, so they couldn’t set up the telescope at all.
Of course, we have to talk about the price too. This Best telescope for beginners is one of the most affordable ones on our list, as well as on the market, and costs only $76. Quite a bargain, considering the quality of the telescope itself, its construction, specs and eyepieces.
Our penultimate product is Gskyer’s 80mm AZ telescope. This one is a bit bigger than all the Gskyers we’ve had so far, bigger even than our second pick. This extra size makes the device a bit bulkier, but it also makes it much more powerful with better magnification and better image quality. However, with quality comes price, AZ 80mm is a big boy.
As usual, you’re looking at an aluminium-alloy body that reduces the overall weight of the product but makes the product tough and resilient to damage on the whole. This best telescope for beginners comes with an azimuth-type mount made out of stainless steel to ensure extra strength and resilience to wear and tear. The device’s mirrors (this is a refractor-type device) are covered with multilayer film to protect your eyes from ultraviolet light and protecting it from dust and that gets into the tube. Even so, periodic maintenance is more than welcome to keep your telescope in working order. The film comes in red, green and blue. The device can also be used for observing terrestrial objects. AZ 80mm’s optical glass is a CF4 with low dispersion, providing excellent image quality even when peering at far-away projects.
That’s all about the telescope in general, so let’s take a look at its specs. Starting with aperture, as usual, the AZ 80mm features a very generous 80mm aperture, making for some very high-definition images. Along with that, its focal length sits at 400mm, and its focal ratio is F5. It features a 3x Barlow lens that increases the focal length of the device. The product features a 2 degree and 24-minute angular field of view.
Along with the telescope and the tripod, you’ll also receive not two, but three eyepieces. The biggest of them is the 25mm one that provides a 16x magnification, making it an excellent choice for ground targets. The next one is the 10mm lens, which provides you with a 40x magnification. However, you can go even smaller with a 5mm lens that provides you with a staggering 80x magnification which is double that of any other Gskyer telescope.
So, why didn’t we choose this one to be our top telescope or at least the runner-up for best telescope for beginners. Well, there’s the problem of the tripod being too short for adults. But that’s not the main reason we didn’t place it higher on the list. The main reason is its price. This telescope, owing to its large aperture and one additional eyepiece, costs almost $200. At this price, it’s not going to be your first choice when choosing a beginner’s telescope, as you’re more likely to look for a more affordable model, rather than going for this one.
At last, we come to our final product, another Gskyer telescope. Gskyer EQ 80900 is the biggest telescopes we’ve got on our list, but it’s also the most expensive one, even more, expensive than the Orion. As with the other Gskyer telescopes we’ve presented, it’s a very sturdy piece of hardware, easy to assemble and use, and, thus, great for beginner astronomers looking to start out their venture into the great unknown.
As with all Gskyer telescopes, this is a refractor-type telescope with a very tough aluminium alloy, which also makes it much lighter than what it would normally be. EQ features ZF4 non-dispersive mirrors, coated with a multi-layered film that protects your eyes from UV light, and reduces glare, enabling you to gaze at a clear image of whatever celestial or terrestrial object you’re looking at. The optical lens achieves a constant light transmittance rate of 99.5%, again increasing the quality of the image. Despite being a refractor-type telescope, the device can be used to look at ground objects too. The telescope comes with a tripod, naturally, made of stainless steel. EQ is also slightly different in shape from the other telescopes we’ve presented and has a slightly longer but slimmer design. It also features a starfinder, found on all other Gysker telescopes.
Now, onto the specs. The telescope has some pretty impressive specs that can even rival our runner-up and our top choice. The device features an 80mm aperture, allowing for great image quality. On top of that, EQ has a very impressive focal length of 900mm, more than any other telescope on our list. However, it’s got a narrower angular field of view (1.2 degrees) which might not make it so great if you want to look at wider celestial objects. EQ has the largest focal ratio too, standing at F11.25.
Along with these great specs, you’re getting three great eyepieces. You’ll be getting a 25mm, a 10mm and a 5mm one. The magnifications on these eyepieces are also very good, and they allow for 36x, 90x and an outstanding 180x magnification, respectively. On top of that, EQ has a maximum magnification of 540. With such magnification, you can really home in on the planets you want to view and get a great look at all of them.
So, with all these specs, why did we not elect Gskyer EQ as our top pick? The price. Gskyer is the most expensive telescope we have here, even more, expensive than the Orion. The telescope has a lot of things going for it, but the fact that it costs $210 won’t make it your first choice. This holds especially true when you consider that Orion costs less and has a larger aperture with similar magnification capabilities.
Best telescope for beginners conclusions
Well, there you go, five of the best devices on the market for beginner astronomers. We hope you find them interesting, as we’ve tried to include telescopes that have excellent specs and provide very good image quality to young astronomers, all the while being easy to set up and use. All that’s left of us is to wish you happy stargazing!