Top 10 beginner telescopes for 2024
22 December 2023 | Admin
Whatís the best telescope for beginners? The answer is simple: the best telescope is the one that gets used.
Choosing a telescope for a beginner means thinking about the person that uses it, their interests and their needs. Never choose a telescope purely on price.
Telescopes for beginners are designed for observing different objects. Generally speaking, refractors are designed for planets and the moon; the longer the telescope tube, the better the views. Reflectors, which are shorter and broader, tend to get the best view of galaxies, star clusters and nebulae. Others integrate smartphones, some are large and heavy and others are designed for travel.
Here are 10 telescopes for beginners, each with diverse features, to help you see whatís available Ė and get you closer to deciding which one is the best for you.
Best for all-round usability
This popular model is a Newtonian reflector with a 114mm/4.5-inch aperture to collect enough light to resolve galaxies, star clusters and nebulae. As well as being a contender for the best-value all-rounder telescope, itís one of the Celestron StarSense Explorer range, so it can be aligned and targetted using a smartphone app.
Best for great value deep sky views
If you want excellent views of the deep sky and donít mind living with a relatively large telescope, consider a Dobsonian reflector (nicknamed a Ďlight bucketí). This 203mm/8 inch Newtonian reflector is large, and its pin-sharp views of galaxies, star clusters and nebulae are impressive. As a bonus, itís also one of the Celestron StarSense Explorer telescopes, so it is easy to aim.
Best telescope for travel
If youíre taking your first steps in astronomy and want to take a telescope on trips and holidays, consider this 70 mm/2.8-inch refractor. A good size for studying the moon and planets, it comes complete with a backpack for easy travel.
Best for tabletops
A Dobsonian reflector makes an ideal first telescope because itís easy to use and collects a lot of light. This 70mm/2.8-inch entry-level telescope from Celestron can be stored upright in a cupboard or on a bookshelf and carried outside to a table in the garden when required.
Best telescope for children
Donít make the mistake of buying a telescope for your children that is too small to leave any impression on them. This 50 mm/2 inch refractor is not the most ambitious telescope, but has two eyepieces capable of wide-angle and close-up views of the moon and planets.
Best for occasional use
Tabletop telescopes are so convenient, but their typically small size limits what youíll see. If you like the concept but donít want to sacrifice quality, consider this 130mm/5.1-inch aperture Dobsonian reflector. An excellent all-rounder thatís larger than most while still being easy to store, it can be used on a tabletop or a tripod and also comes with the. Celestron StarSense Explorer app for added simplicity.
Best telescope the moon and planets
If the moon and planets are your primary targets, opt for a refractor with an aperture of 100-125 mm (4-5 inches). This manual telescope from Celestron adds a generous 660mm focal length that helps get a magnified image of solar system objects thanks to its smaller field of view.
Best telescope for smartphones
This 100mm/4 inch refractor is designed to get the best from the moon and planets and comes with a lens cap that cleverly transforms into a smartphone adapter. It ensures your smartphone is perfectly positioned over the eyepiece to snap images of the lunar surface. Itís also got a nifty red LED flashlight that illuminates the eyepiece holder.
Best solar telescope for beginners
With the sun predicted to reach solar maximum in 2024 or 2025, now is a great time for seeing sunspots on its surface. This 76 mm/3-inch Newtonian reflector telescope has a solar filter for observing the sun and a smartphone adapter for taking basic images. However, it could last well beyond the current solar maximum, with partial solar eclipses visible from every year between 2025 and 2030.
Best for deek sky views
Although it comes at a higher price than most telescopes designed for beginners, this 304mm/12-inch aperture Dobsonian reflector is ideal for anyone with deep pockets who wants to begin their journey observing and learning about the night sky. Its huge aperture means impressive views of galaxies, star clusters and nebulae, while its Celestron StarSense Explorer app makes it incredibly easy to use.