The very best telescopes for 2020

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As anyone who has ever looked through a telescope knows, there are few sensations similar to your first-hand look at another astral body. For many this begins a lifetime devoted to the hobby. Fortunately, there are hundreds of quality telescopes in the market to choose from.

For those looking for a telescope to observe the moon and our closest heavenly neighbors, a budget model will suffice. Seasoned enthusiasts, however, are likely to want the more sophisticated, cutting-edge equipment. Here are our six favorite telescopes for every budget and performance level.

At a glance

  • The best telescope: Orion 10019 SkyQuest XT1oi Intelliscope
  • The best portable telescope: Celestron 5SE telescope
  • The best telescope for automatic tracking: Celestron NexStar 130SLT
  • The best telescope on a budget: Celestron Astromaster 130EQ
  • The best telescope for beginners: Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ
  • The best telescope for your mobile phone: Celestron StarSense Explorer 102AZ

The best telescope: Orion 10019 SkyQuest XT10i IntelliScope

The Orion 10019 SkyQuest XT10i IntelliScope is a premium Dobsonian reflector telescope. The model has one of the largest openings you will find under a wing, which allows the lens to collect more light for the brightest views of the cosmos.

The most outstanding feature is the computer-aided object location tool: simply select the astral body you want to observe and then follow the arrows on the display to quickly orient yourself to any of more than 14,000 celestial objects. Would you like a tour instead? You’re lucky. The tour setting allows you to automatically choose from 12 pre-programmed astronomical tours, each of which is available monthly.

In addition, the wooden base and the adjustment control ensure that the telescope is always in balance in all viewing positions. The SkyQuest XT10i even comes with a 2-inch Crayford focuser and two 1.25-inch Sirius Plossl telescope eyepieces – a 25-millimeter and 10-millimeter eyepiece – not to mention a 9 × 50 finder scope , an eyepiece frame and a collimation cap.

The real problem with this guy is the general bulk of the telescope. Dobsonians are more cumbersome than other tripod-mounted models SkyQuest XT10i has a handle that makes lugging around a little less annoying. The push-to-alignment tool is really just a plus for those who prefer more manual control.

The best portable telescope: Celestron NexStar 5SE


The Celestron NexStar 5SE is a dream for astronomers and available at a fair price. The handheld device features a 5 inch bezel that provides superior light gathering capabilities in a sleek, modern building, allowing you to see some of the more fantastic highlights of our solar system in breathtaking clarity. Thanks to Celetron’s patented tracking technology, the telescope does the more meticulous work on your behalf. The telescope’s automatic locator can easily locate more than 40,000 objects in a few moments. With a built-in GPS, you can simply point the telescope at three bright objects in the sky to position the device.

Unlike some of the bulkier telescopes on the market, the Celestron NexStar 5SE weighs just 17.5 pounds, which makes it perfect for family outings in the countryside. There are telescopes that are capable of collecting and focusing more light for less money, but the sleek design of the NexStar 5SE and its on-board computer is a tempting addition. Even so, the NexStar 5SE is better suited for experienced astronomers than the casual hobbyist.

The best telescope for automatic tracking: Celestron NexStar 130 SLT


The Celestron NexStar 130SLT is a solid option for those who have already taken advantage of their first telescope. The 307x magnification and 5-inch bezel allow the device to match the performance of any model in the same price range. However, Celestron’s offering also includes the company’s SkyAlign technology while others do not. This will make it easier to carefully scan and line up your cosmic hunt. Simply point the telescope at any three objects in the sky and the device will position itself independently, taking into account more than 40,000 celestial objects.

An internal battery supplies the device with power and thus enables independent functions. In addition, the device uses NexRemote, which allows you to control your telescope directly from your computer. Everything done with the built-in hand control can be done remotely as soon as you connect to your PC. You can also assemble the device quickly and without tools, which makes it more portable than other areas on our list.

The included eyepieces certainly do the trick, but to get the most bang for your buck you may want to upgrade to something stronger. As for the cons, the only thing that really works is What is against this model is the limited battery capacity, which you will notice even more when you use the “Auto-Tracking.” Still it is NexStar 130 SLT is about as cheap as it gets when it comes to auto-tracking models with a 5-inch bezel. It’s the high point for those considering performance and affordability.

The best telescope on a small budget: Celestron Astromaster 130EQ PowerSeeker


The 130EQ PowerSeeker is one of the most popular telescopes on the market because of the price. This Newtonian style reflector telescope is equipped with a 130 millimeter glass objective lens and a focal length of 1,000 millimeters, which can be adjusted using the precision controls on the AstroMaster mount. The rifle scope also comes with a 20 and 10 millimeter eyepiece, a foldable tripod and a Starpointer red dot finder scope that allows you to locate your favorite planets in no time.

Each PowerSeekers line of products is also equipped with coated optics and industry-acclaimed The Sky software that allows you to locate a range of objects using your computer. The telescope’s smooth manual slow-motion tracking makes it easy to keep objects in the viewing area. There aren’t many other drawbacks, however. You may want to upgrade from a slightly dull eyepiece to a more powerful one. Apart from that, for the range of features, price and light size that 130EQ PowerSeeker is hard to beat.

The best telescope for beginners: Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ


The AstroMaster 70AZ is hard to beat when you’re looking to spend less than $ 200 on a telescope. The 3-inch opening allows for exceptional views of the moon and nearby planets so you can play your Newtonian whistle, and the included tripod is easy to assemble. Better still, when fully assembled, the telescope and tripod weigh just under 18 pounds. The AstroMaster also comes with multiple eyepieces and three coated lenses, which avoids focusing problems.

The main disadvantage of the AstroMaster is the lack of an automatic or more sophisticated manual tracking system. This means that you often have a short window of time to view objects before they escape your viewing area. The tripod is also a bit short, so taller astronomers may want to opt for a different tripod.

Other models on our list offer a higher base performance than this refractor model. At 165x magnification, the AstroMaster 70AZ is a good option for children or other budding astronomers.

The best telescope for your mobile phone: Celestron StarSense Explorer 102AZ

Product still from the Celestron Starseeker in a back yard

For all Apple or Android smartphone users, the Celestron StarSense Explorer 102AZ offers an additional benefit that takes stargazing to the next level. This telescope has an app called Celestrol Starseeker that guides you through stargazing. You can open the app with your phone once it is connected to the telescope’s signal to start studying the sky. Please note that the app only works on newer Android phones and on Apple phones, all models from iPhone 6 and up.

The app gives you guidance on what to see and where to position the area. It even shows you which objects are best to see and where to find them in the sky the night you are looking at the stars. If you tend to dig even deeper, the app will show you additional information, such as: B. What kind of celestial body you are looking at (planet, moon, etc.), when it rises and when it sets.

The 4-inch XLT-coated lens and the brilliant aperture of the rifle scope work together to perfectly illuminate the celestial bodies. Weighing just 15 pounds, the StarSense Explorer 102AZ is easy to unpack and set up. The only downside is that the app can be a little picky at times, but recalibrations and slow response speeds are the exceptions rather than the norm.

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