If you love gazing at the stars and are looking for a cheap telescope that will offer decent functionality, then this guide will help you in choosing the best cheap telescope without making a dent in your savings. The best telescope can offer stunning views of the night sky and the best thing is that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on getting a high-end telescope to get good images. An inexpensive telescope with the right features can work very well.
The best cheap telescopes can deliver bright and clear images of the moon’s craters, Saturn’s rings, etc. but the good scopes also deliver sharp images of celestial objects that are farther away. So, when you’re selecting the best cheap telescope, you must make sure to check out 3 important things – the optics, simplicity of setup and the cost. Read on to know more about the best cheap telescope that can offer exciting views of the sky without the need for heavy financial investment.
Best Cheap Telescopes
Here are our cheap telescope reviews.
1. Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ Telescope
Looking for the best cheap telescope? Nothing can beat the Celestron AstroMaster, which is a professionally-designed, long-lasting, durable telescope. The dual-purpose telescope has a lightweight frame and is very user friendly. The Celestron AstroMaster is very versatile and allows you to see land-based objects in the day, as well as provides bright and clear images of galaxies, planets and other deep sky objects.
- The telescope has a fully-coated 70 mm objective lens that allows you to view objects in the day and night.
- The telescope has a lightweight frame and a panhandle with Alt-Azimuth control for accurate and smooth pointing.
- The telescope has 2 eyepieces. The 10 mm eyepiece offers a zoom of up to 90x, while the 20 mm eyepiece offers 45x magnification that allows you to focus on objects with excellent clarity.
2. Gskyer Travel Scope
The Gskyer Travel Scope offers an excellent combination of quality, performance and price. The beginner-friendly scope is compact and portable, yet it offers excellent optical capabilities and visual resolution, which makes it a great buy. The scope has an aluminum alloy tripod that can be adjusted for different viewing positions.
- The telescope features a 70 mm aperture and a focal length of 400 mm and offers high-resolution and precise images.
- The scope has a fully-coated optic lens that delivers stunning images and also protects your eyes.
- The telescope comes with a smartphone adapter and a wireless camera remote that allows you to explore and take pictures of celestial objects.
3. Meade Instruments Infinity Refractor Telescope
The Meade Infinity Refractor Telescope is an excellent telescope for beginners that allows you to explore the great outdoors and cosmos. Ideal for viewing both terrestrial, as well as astronomical objects, the telescope features high-quality objects and delivers superb value. The scope has a 70 mm aperture that offers sharp and bright images of both celestial and land objects.
- The telescope has an Alt-Azimuth mount with a slow-motion control rod that enables you to track celestial objects.
- The scope is equipped with 2 eyepieces that offer low- and high-power magnification to view a wide range of objects.
- The telescope comes with astronomical software and the Autostar Suite Astronomy planetarium DVD.
4. Orion 10012 Skyscanner TableTop Reflector Telescope
Perfect for beginner and amateur stargazers, the Orion SkyScanner Reflector Telescope offers excellent views of the moon’s craters and bright planets such as Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc. The tabletop telescope is equipped with 2 eyepieces. The 20 mm eyepiece offers 20x magnification, while the 10 mm eyepiece offers 40x magnification. The compact laptop is small enough to sit on your desk and the small size makes it extremely convenient to carry around wherever you go.
- The telescope features a 100mm parabolic primary mirror with a 400 mm focal length and offers excellent views of the night sky.
- The scope comes with Orion EZ Finder II, which makes focusing the device very easy.
- The telescope is perfect for low-power, wide-angle viewing of galaxies and deep sky objects.
5. MaxUSee Travel Scope
The MaxUSee Travel Scope is the perfect refractor telescope for land and astronomical viewing. The scope features multi-coated optics and a wide field of view that makes it perfect for wildlife watching, birdwatching, sporting events, concerts, etc. The scope is extremely easy to set up and use.
- The telescope comes with two interchangeable eyepieces and a 3x Barlow lens that offers 20x-132x magnifications.
- The 45-degree diagonal prism makes the scope suitable for both land and astronomical observations.
- The telescope comes with a pair of binoculars and a tripod, all packed in a rugged backpack.
Cheap Telescope Buyer’s Guide
When buying the best cheap telescope, it is important to consider a few aspects. The best cheap telescopes have around 3-7 inches aperture and the right size of aperture offers a wide and extensive image. The reflector of the telescope also plays an important part in getting good and extensive images of the sky. Typically, good telescopes have a two-piece set up with a wide field of view and offer at least around 20x magnification. Another important thing to consider when buying a telescope is the focal length. Below, we have discussed the various factors to consider when buying the best cheap telescope in greater detail.
Types of Cheap Telescopes
There are two types of best cheap telescopes – reflector and refractor telescopes. A reflector telescope makes use of a concave mirror (primary mirror) to collect the light rays at the end. The primary mirror lets you adjust the light and controls the scope. A refractor telescope comprises two lenses. The smaller lens is called the ocular lens, while the larger lens is called the objective lens.
This is the most important part of the telescope. Essentially, the aperture is the diameter of the light-gathering lens or mirror of the device. The aperture is also called the objective and is usually measured in inches or millimeters. Generally, good-quality telescopes have a 70 mm aperture or more. The greater the length of the aperture, the better will be the details of the objects. The magnification of the telescope depends on the aperture. Most telescopes have a magnification of 50x its aperture.
This offers support to the telescope in order to get stable images. Most telescopes come with a complimentary tripod or mount, while smaller ones come with blocks that serve as mounts. Some telescopes have Alt-Azimuth mounts that move up/down and rotate right/left. Advanced mounts known as equatorial mounts can track the movement of the stars so that you get a balanced image.
Generally, good-quality telescopes have two eyepieces. An eyepiece’s efficiency is measured in millimeters (mm). The smaller the number of the eyepiece, the greater the magnification. However, the power or magnification of the eyepiece is not the only indicator of the eyepiece’s efficiency. Higher power does not necessarily mean a clearer image. The higher power makes it difficult to keep the image stable and in view, while low power eyepieces make it easier to find objects and keep them stable. Also, low power eyepieces make it easier to view dark objects.
This is the magnification power of the eyepiece. It is essentially the distance from the lens/mirror, called the prime focus and the point where the rays of light converge. The higher the focal length, the greater the magnification.
This is the ability of the telescope to observe smaller details. Telescopes having a larger aperture show greater details. And, the resolution of the telescope is calculated by dividing the aperture by 4.56. Usually, a lower number denotes better resolution.
Astronomy does not necessarily have to be an expensive hobby. Nowadays, there is a whole range of inexpensive telescopes that offer good quality and features that are sure to appeal to any amateur astronomer. The best cheap telescopes are easy and quick to set up and use, even for those who haven’t owned or handled a telescope before. Good optics, durable construction and reliable features can make even a cheap telescope meet your needs for years to come.
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