Best Spotting Scope For Astronomy

6 Best Spotting Scopes for Astronomy (Reviews Updated 2020)

There was a time when stars were distant, unperceivable objects that could only be viewed in the countryside or with really powerful telescopes. Today, one can use a really efficient spotting scope instead to indulge in a bit of star gazing and planet catching; spotting scopes have become essentials in an astronomer’s kit, whether they’re beginners or seasoned professionals. These handy instruments make viewing far-off objects with clarity and sharpness a piece of cake and are more efficient than binoculars or monoculars.

If you’ve just discovered your serious love for astronomy and are wondering which spotting scope to buy, the number of options in the market can be slightly overwhelming. To make things easier, we’ve put together a review of our top spotting scopes for astronomy, as well as a buyer’s guide to help you identify what factors make a good spotting scope and what you should keep in mind while getting one.

Best Spotting Scopes for Astronomy

Here are our reviews of the top spotting scopes for astronomy:

1. Celestron Ultima 100 Angled Spotting Scope

Best Overall

Celestron – Ultima 100 Angled Spotting Scope

Yep, it’s Celestron once again, but there’s obviously a reason we pick these guys’ products — they’re damn good! The Celestron Ultima 100 Angled Spotting Scope, a part of a versatile series designed to perform efficiently in a range of situations, is an extremely handy scope to have for its sharp images and long-distance viewing efficiency. Completely fog and waterproof thanks to a dry nitrogen gas filling, this scope can brave any weather or environment. The scope also features one of the most powerful zoom eyepieces (22-66x).

Some of its features include:

  • Anti-reflective multi-coated optics
  • Includes a T-mount adapter for digiscoping and capturing clear, bright and focused images through the scope, as well as an extended tripod mounting plate, a carry case, lens cloth, eyepiece pouch and port cover and an instruction manual
  • A 45-degree viewing angle on the 100mm objective lens
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2. Celestron 52268 Mak Spotting Scope

Editor’s Choice

Celestron 52268 C90 Mak Spotting Scope (black)

It’s hardly a surprise that Celestron features on our list again; one of the best scope brands in the market, it’s evident that these guys know what they’re doing — it shows in their products! The 52268 is no exception, using a combination of mirrors and lenses to provide a focal length of 1250mm in a body that’s barely 12 inches long. The Maksutov design on the scope removes all chromatic aberration, resulting in powerful views (also known as “blue fringing”). It also comes with a 40x magnification facility, which is among the highest and most powerful in the market.

Some of its features include:

  • Fully multi-coated
  • Compact, portable, yet powerful Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design
  • Inbuilt T-Adapter thread to support SLR cameras
  • Comes with a 45-degree erect image diagonal, 32 mm eyepiece and an 8×21 erect image finderscope
  • Also comes with a nylon backpack
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3. Gosky 2019 20-60×80 Spotting Scope

Best Value

Gosky 2019 Updated 20 60x80 Spotting Scope With Tripod

This updated version of the Gosky spotting scope comes with superior optical performance, better focus, and more powerful magnification abilities. Sturdy and durable thanks to its strong framework and rubber armor, the Gosky 2019 20-60×80 Spotting Scope can more than survive any rugged environment you throw at it. A great choice for archery, hunting, wildlife watching, camping, and target shooting, this scope is just as great for astronomical observations!

Some of its features include:

  • Non-slip, shock-proof grip
  • A dynamic lens focusing system, making it super easy to zone in on the target
  • 20-60x variable magnification
  • Fog-proof and waterproof (nitrogen filled)
  • Includes a smartphone digiscoping adapter so that you can click pictures of your views
  • Also comes with a tripod, carry case, eyepiece, cleaning cloth and lens protection covers
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4. Celestron Regal M2 100ED Spotting Scope

Celestron Regal M2 100ed Spotting Scope

Optimized to provide sharp images, whether it’s in the dark or the bright daylight, the Regal M2 100ED Spotting Scope is powerful and reliable. This highly popular spotting scope is something that many nature observers, astronomers and birdwatchers swear by; it’s a great tool to have for long-distance viewing and casually observing the heavens, equipped that it is with many features that major scopes come with. It even comes with a rotating tripod that allows you to find your most comfortable viewing angle.

Some of its features include:

  • Multiple layers of XLT optical coating (fully multi-coating), the same used on observatory-class telescopes, that efficiently maximize light transmission and result in brighter, clearer images
  • Optical glass with extra-low dispersion and special dispersion so that any chromatic aberration is highly reduced, resulting in sharp images and superior color correction
  • A 22-67x zoom eyepiece included, though it can also be used with any 1.25-inch astronomical eyepiece
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5. Orion 9825 Apex Telescope

Orion 9825 Apex 127mm Maksutov Cassegrain Telescope

Compact yet powerful, the Orion 9825 Apex Telescope is an optical tube that’s designed to be the perfect complement for both daytime and nighttime viewing. Its capability to produce highly magnified images is a boon during the day, whereas during the night, its capability to produce clear, sharp images comes in real handy! Viewing the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, star clusters and cloudy nebulas is not a problem with this efficient scope.

Some of its features include:

  • Includes a 25mm Sirius Plossl 1.25-inch eyepiece
  • Also includes a 45-degree correct-image diagonal, Starry Night astronomy software and a 6×30 finderscope
  • Comes with a soft carry case
  • Dimensions of 25 x 11.2 x 10.2 inches and a weight of 8.6 pounds
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6. Creative XP HD Spotting Scope with Tripod

Creative Xp Hd Spotting Scope With Tripod 20

Designed by a company that believes in providing high-end optics at an affordable price, the Creative XP HD Spotting Scope with Tripod features a 20-60x80mm zoom eyepiece that provides clear, bright images sans any chromatic aberration. To ensure its durability, the scope is nitrogen purged with a sealed O-Ring, making it water, fog and shock resistant. This sturdy, reliable, well-designed scope is a great choice for a range of activities from watching birds and animals to viewing bullet holes to catching sight of Saturn’s rings!

Some of its features include:

  • Full multi-coating to prevent reflections and keep the lens immune to scratches
  • Features a 2-Fine Focus Knob to allow better and easier focusing, along with the adjustable large Eye Relief (17-12mm)
  • BAK4-Prisms for brighter field-of-view and circular exit-pupil
  • Features an extendable sunshade, and comes with a tripod, case, cellphone adapter, photo clicker and lifetime warranty
  • Comes with an 80 mm objective lens and 60x zoom
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Buyer’s Guide — Picking out the Best Spotting Scope for Astronomy

Spotting scopes are similar in design and function to refractor telescopes, working in pretty much a similar way. Spotting scopes are a good investment for astronomy enthusiasts, letting them observe far-away planets such as Jupiter, Saturn, and even Jupiter’s larger moons, as well as open clusters and galaxies. The best part is that spotting scopes don’t become useless by day — they can be used just as efficiently for any daytime observations!

However, spotting scopes for astronomy need to have certain characteristics; not every spotting scope is capable of supporting your astronomical observations. Naturally, spotting scopes with better magnification and more power (60x is a good option) are better suited to astronomy; also consider if the magnification is fixed or variable.

Additionally, keep in mind the objective lens. The size of the lens determines how much light it will collect and a larger lens means more light and efficient functioning even in dim lighting. However, don’t go by size alone; keep in mind the quality as well!

Lastly, bear in mind the coating. The lens can be fully-coated, multi-coated, fully multi-coated (the best quality) or simply coated (the cheapest and lowest quality). The better the coating, the better the limitation of glare and your ability to see.

Remember, it’s also about preference and how you use the scope as much as it is about technicalities. Find a scope that you’re comfortable using; there’s no point investing a load of money in a scope that you don’t find comfortable, as you’ll likely be spending long periods with your eye attached to the eyepiece. Also, work with your budget; there are plenty of options that are friendly to a range of budgets, so don’t settle!

That apart, there’s very little margin for error if you’re looking to pick the right spotting scope from our list; these instruments are versatile, powerful and handy and a great option for everything from watching the heavens to quietly watching bears to shooting targets at the range. Happy star gazing!

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