Best Telescope For Viewing Planets and Galaxies
As a newcomer to stargazing. There are hundreds of models available with all sorts of puzzling specifications and features, which can become quite frustrating for new stargazers, rather you just simply want to get away from the city lights, where you can see dozens of star clusters, the awe-inspiring crates of the moon, the misty glow of a frosty nebulae where millions of new stars are born, observe galaxies outside our own that are home to tens of billions of stars, view the planets and galaxies through a telescope while sitting in pleasant observation and thoughtful contemplation.
When I first started out, one of my very first questions was, what is the best telescope for viewing planets and galaxies? After trying out several models, I’ve narrowed it down to 3 key telescopes that are great for beginners getting into stargazing with the goal of viewing planets and galaxies clearly and sharply.
Before we get into the pros and cons of each type of telescope for viewing planets and galaxies head over to 6 Things To know and try before you buy a telescope, this will outline some guidelines and telescope terms, so you can have a better grasp of the following article
Quick Answer – A telescope with a larger aperture collects more light, gives you a brighter image, and lets you see finer details. Your first scope should have an aperture of at least 80-90 mm. Otherwise, the images of anything other than the Moon and perhaps Jupiter will be too blurry and vague, therefore I would recommend at least an 80-90mm as the minimum requirement for viewing planets and galaxies, ideally, you would want a 130mm+ for the best viewing experience
If budget is a concern and as a newcomer to stargazing you may want to opt for a 90mm telescope, view of some models here. This article will cover mainly 130mm+ models as I truly feel those are best value in terms of viewing plants in detail. We have kept the list balanced between cost and value, of course we could have thrown in a number of high end, high priced scopes, to be frank I haven’t tested those scopes so I couldn’t give an honest review, below are three telescopes that I’ve personally tested.
Celestron 22097 NexStar 127 SLT Mak Computerised Telescope
Designed to be an entry-level to mid-level computerized GoTo telescope, the Celestron 22097 is our recommended choice based largely on the strength of the computer governed motorized Go To function and the good size of the mirror at just over 5 inches. The Go-To makes it easy to locate and track objects, and the size of the mirror means that faint objects well beyond the capacity of the naked eye can be seen clearly and in good details, With preassembled, adjustable stainless steel tripods and quick release fork arms and tubes, NexStar SLT telescopes can be set up in a matter of minutes – with no tools required. With this telescope you’ll be able to see details of the lunar surface, Venus and its phases, polar caps on Mars, Jupiter and its four moons, Saturn with its rings plainly visible which makes it an excellent and the best telescope for viewing planets and galaxies.
The big selling point of the scope is the Go To function and there are several options for using this. The general approach is to point the telescope at a star or stars (planets can also be used), using the motor to move the scope to another star. The more names of stars you know the quicker it all is but if you know none that’s fine, most of the fun is learning new stars and expanding your knowledge. The telescope needs to be pointed at three objects in succession reasonably well-spaced in the sky and at different altitudes. The computerised telescope will computerise its aligning and then will go automatically to any of the objects in its database just by selecting them on the handset. You can also enter your latitude and longitude which is not essential as you can use the pre programmed locations in the handset. This only needs to be done once and the handset retains the information for future outlining. The scope will also track objects once set up so they are kept in the field of view with little adjustment meaning it makes great entry level telescope.
Using the supplied 9 mm eyepiece (72times magnification) you will be easily able to see four moons of Jupiter, craters of the moon will have you going ‘’wow’ and galaxies, which are very hard to find without the Go To as the computerised function really comes into its own her.e The bigger star clusters and nebulae are the forte of this telescope and you may find yourself spending an age just staring at them!
If you’re looking for the best telescope for viewing planets and galaxies this may be it and at a great price.
- ✓ High quality 127 mm maksutov-cassegrain.
- ✓ Fully computerized altazimuth mount.
- ✓ StarPointer finderscope to help with alignment and accurately locating objects.
- ✓ Quick-release fork arm mount, optical tube and accessory tray for quick no tool set up.
- ✓ Sturdy stainless steel tripod and accessory tray included.
- ✓ Good for terrestrial and celestial observing.
- ✓ “TheSkyX – First light edition” astronomy software with a 10,000 object database, printable sky maps and 75 enhanced images.
Check out the video below of what you can expect from this scope:
Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope (Black)
The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST reflector telescope is perfect for the beginner or intermediate stargazers. With a 130 millimetre parabolic primary mirror, the 130ST provides great views of deep-sky objects, crisp clear pictures of plants, take a look at the picture below of what you can expect from this kind of telescope. The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST telescope comes on a sturdy and precise EQ-2 equatorial mount with dual setting circles and slow-motion hand controls. After a simple polar-alignment procedure, the EQ-2 mount allows you to easily track celestial objects as they appear to migrate across the night sky, so you can observe them in detail. The adjustable-height aluminium tripod is strong yet lightweight and includes an accessory tray so you can keep eyepieces, flashlights, and other accessories close by while using the reflector telescope. If you’re looking for a better-quality first telescope or a nicely portable telescope you’ll love the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST EQ Reflector Telescope.
Orion 09007 SpaceProbe is a great telescope that could rightly have taken our number spot on this list for a couple of reasons,
- 1. This scope is more portable than an 8″ tube, I have a small two door car and would not have been able to fit an 8’’ tube in the trunk and only in the passenger seat, the scope at 5” is great portable telescope and also one of our favourite portable telescope, given the great viewing experience it gives and at just 25 lbs assembled, it makes it effortless getting it out on those clear night skies. With some practice you get this telescope out the box and assembled in under 30 minutes!
- 2. This scope is on an Equatorial Mount which essential if you wish to take long exposure astrophotography or wanted to have the telescope track objects in the sky without having to continually adjust. You will be amazed at how quickly objects will move out of view, give it a few minutes and your object will disappear, hence why we picked Celestron 22097 NexStar 127 with its Go To function as a key deciding factor, but the Equatorial Mount does a good job here and you won’t be disappointed
- 3. The optics are crisp and clear, and the two included eyepieces are very good. The 25mm does great for general viewing and the 10mm is great to get better detail on an object once you’ve pinpointed them with the 25mm eyepiece. The ( f/5 ) provides a very bright wide field of view which is recommended for a beginner as it will be easier pinpointing objects in the night sky, making it an excellent choice for newcomers that require a portable and lightweight telescope that has excellent optics.
- 4. This scope does a little bit of everything well enough and can let you grow or dabble into different areas without having to purchase another scope or added features. At most, we recommended the need for two accessories. A Orion Shorty 1.25″ 2x Barlow Lens to help with magnification ( The long tube version of this scope Orion SpaceProbe 130 EQ Reflector has a longer focal point as well as the Dobsonian reflectors which gets your more magnification for the same eyepiece) and a camera mount/accessories for taking photos to capture those magical moments.
This telescope is wonderful and is versatile. It is a bright scope with a wide field of view. It is on an equatorial mount which if you plan on growing into the hobby you will want to learn how to use. If you want to try astrophotography you have everything basically ready to start other than a mount for your camera. You can adjust the magnification to get very high power with a simple eyepiece upgrade to match other longer focal length scopes. It is portable, if you can take the tube and tripod/mount/counterweight apart before traveling and which is easy and quick to assemble once you get the hang out it. Overall this is a well-made scope with options to grow into and can give you some flexibility.
Check out the video below, it provides a great and detailed overall view of the 130ST:
Celestron NexStar 8SE: The best personal telescope
The granddaddy of the telescope game and it’s a great choice if you have a decent budget – and of course depending on accessories. Personally if you were going to spend this kind of money I would go with the 8″ over 6” as it collects roughly over 78% more light than the 6SE model, given the price fact of the 6SE, I would push a little further and get the 8SE model.
The squat 150mm Schmidt-Cassegrain tube is connected to a speedy, sturdy GoTo mount, with a handset that can take you straight to over 40,000 different celestial objects. High transmission lens coatings is applied ensures impressive views of the moon, cloud bands around Jupiter and a good range of deep-sky objects, with the supplied 25mm. It does also have the option for you budding astrophotographers out there as you can Fit a DSLR to the optional digital camera adaptor, but II have to say it is not ideal for astrophotography, as it is an Altitude/Azimuth (ALT/AZ) telescope and BOTH motors must run at the same time to track an object, which is not as precise as a German Equatorial Mount (GEM) where only one motor has to run to track an object. GEM’s require polar alignment, which is a bit complex for the beginner getting into astrophotography, personally if your getting into astrophotography, go with ..
At 8” and over 30lbs it is not the most portable telescope for stargazer with a smaller car like myself, that is not to say that it is not portable at 8” and 30lbs it still doable and if you have bigger car or van you won’t have an issue here.
Some accessories which come with this telescope such as the finder scope is too small to get the best of this telescope, strongly recommend that you buy a 2″ diagonal and eyepiece setup. Again, the scope, out of the box, only comes with a single 25MM 1.25″ eyepiece, which has a narrow field of view and not enough magnification to really enjoy your first astonishing views that get you hooked on astronomy, like looking at Saturn and seeing the gaps in the rings. Celestron sells a kit that has a diagonal, 2X Barlow Lens and three 2″ eyepieces. You can buy that for starters to get you going with 2″ eyepieces at the lowest cost.
The sharpness and clarity of viewing object is where this telescope shines you’ll be in awe as you view the rings of Saturn, clearly make out Jupiter. It will blow your mind if you’ve never seen those planets with your own eyes. The scope is good for beginners, as it can be set-up in about 10 minutes, and aligns easily by pointing to three bright objects in the sky. It is the ultimate “grab-n-go” telescope if you have a higher budget.
Check out the review video below: