Top 5 Telescopes for Amateur Astronomy Under $500

Looking to buy your first telescope? This hangout will let you know the best telescopes for under $500 Looking to get started in amateur astronomy but are confused about the telescope to start off with? Our advice has always been to never spend m

Published on 7th Nov, 2017

Looking to buy your first telescope? This hangout will let you know the best telescopes for under $500 Looking to get started in amateur astronomy but are confused about the telescope to start off with? Our advice has always been to never spend more than $500 on your first telescope. Why? Like many hobbies that many people start, they aren't always sure they'll stick with it or if it will hold their interest so keeping the monetary investment to a minimum makes a lot of sense. Plus, the lesser expensive scopes tend to have the best qualities for a beginner: ease of use, light weight and wide field of view. In fact, in my 30+ years of observing through a telescope, the one I still use the most is the one I bought first and spent only $269 on: a four-inch reflector. Please join Tony Darnell, John Suffill, Adam Smith and Alexander Reinders for a discussion of beginning telescope and our recommendations for what you should buy. Here are the links to the scopes we talked about: Dobsonian Sky-Watcher Collapsible Dobsonian 8? (203 mm) (US) $475 https://goo.gl/NbQZz7 8-inch (20 cm) Newtonian Collapsable, easier to fit in your car 2? Crayford-style focuser with 1.25? adaptor 4-element Plössl 25 mm and 10 mm 1.25? eyepieces 8×50 right angle erect-image finderscope Skywatcher Skyliner 250PX Dobsonian (UK) £429 https://goo.gl/5oodX6 Eyepieces Supplied (1.25"): 10mm & 25mm Dual-Fit 1.25"/2" Crayford-style Focuser 9x50 Finderscope Direct SLR Camera Connection Maksutov-Cassegrain Skywatcher SKYMAX-102 SynScan™ AZ GOTO (EU) €386 https://goo.gl/r6hQz9 Orion StarSeeker IV 102mm GoTo Mak-Cass Telescope Kit (US) $649 http://bit.ly/2zrGpSO 4-inch (10cm) Maksutov-Cassegrain Goto Telescope w/ database of objects Eyepieces Supplied (1.25"): 10mm & 25mm x2 Deluxe Barlow lens (1.25") with camera adaptor 6x30 Finderscope 90° Star Diagonal (1.25”) SynScan™ AZ GoTo Computerised Alt-Azimuth HD Go-To Mount Alternative: Celestron AstroFi 102mm Wi-Fi Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope $419 http://bit.ly/2jbo0mU Not a goto - Control your telescope via integrated WiFi using the free Celestron SkyPortal app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices The Astro Fi 102mm Maksutov-Cassegrain with fully coated glass optics provides outstanding views the Moon and planets, as well as bright deep space objects beyond our Solar System. Accessory tray holds 2 x 1.25" eyepieces, miscellaneous accessories, including a rubber-lined area for a smart phone or small tablet. Includes a StarPointer finderscope, 2 Kellner eyepieces, and mirror star diagonal Newtonians Orion Telescope N 114/500 StarSeeker IV AZ SynScan-GoTo (EU) €493 http://bit.ly/2AmQ1LB Orion StarSeeker IV 114mm GoTo Reflector Telescope (US) $450 http://bit.ly/2hTTcUg 4.5-inch (114mm) diameter Newtonian Goto telescope w/ 42,000 objects Two wide-field 1.25" eyepieces are included: 23mm & 10mm f/4.4 wide field Orion Dobson telescope N 100/400 SkyScanner DOB (EU) €129 http://bit.ly/2zGxDBf Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope (US) $99 http://bit.ly/2AkVGSw Very easy to use, inexpensive Very Portable Analogous to the Edmund Astroscan (can sit on car hood) Includes two 1.25" telescope eyepieces: 20mm (for 20 power magnification) and 10mm (for 40 power magnification), EZ Finder II aiming device, Starry Night astronomy software Refractors Skywatcher Evostar 120 with EQ3-2 (UK) £349 http://bit.ly/2m4EfUd Good value for refractor GOTO Telescope Eyepieces Supplied (1.25"): 10mm & 25mm Direct SLR Camera Connection 9x50 Finderscope Dual-Fit 1.25"/2" Focuser 2" Star Diagonal Celestron NexStar 102 SLT Computerized Refractor Telescope (US) $499 http://bit.ly/2zorJnD GOTO Two Eyepieces 1.25” Star diagonal Honorable Mention: Orion SkyQuest XT8 PLUS Dobsonian Reflector Telescope (US) $499 http://bit.ly/2yIKjrn 8-inch reflector (20 cm) Comes with a 2” focuser Lots of accessories: 2" 28mm DeepView eyepiece, 1.25" 10mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, Safety Film Solar Filter (!) Shorty 2x Barlow eyepiece rack EZ Finder II reflex sight, collimation cap Thumb screw secondary makes for easy collimation