Do you like to observe the sky at night and watch the shining light of the starts and moon? If so, you need a powerful home telescope to help you watch everything clearly no matter how far it is.
In this article, we are going to find out about the 10 best telescopes under 500. This guide will also contain other information such as:
- Uses of a Telescope
- Types of Telescopes
- Factors to look for when buying a telescope
- How to use a telescope?
- Frequently Asked Questions
If you are a nature lover or excited about space, you may want to observe the various elements present in this Universe. However, most of them are millions of miles away from us and we are not able to see them with the naked eye. Fortunately, science has become so advanced that there are devices which help us to watch distant objects clearly. They are known as telescopes and in this review, we shall discover all about the best telescopes for sale in 2020.
What is a Telescope?
A telescope is a device that allows us to see far objects in a magnified state by making use of lenses and related technologies. The first traces of a telescope were laid in Netherlands in 1608 when a patent was introduced for the concept of a refractive lens telescope. The Italian astronomer, Galileo produced his own version of the telescope which was aimed at observing space objects. It is interesting to note that the word “telescope” was given by a Giovanni Demisiani who was a Greek mathematician.
Types of Telescopes
Let’s look at the main types of telescopes and their main uses below.
Optical telescopes work with light to make objects more visible. Some optical devices can be used in infrared and ultraviolet range as well because both of these spectrum’s are close to light in electromagnetic radiation. They use lenses made of glass or mirrors to pinpoint the light at a specific point. There are 3 types of optical telescopes present:
- Refracting telescope: This was the earliest form of the instrument and it is still very popular today. It uses lenses to produce the picture onto a center point.
- Reflecting Telescope: In this type, mirrors are placed in specific directions to produce an image.
- Catadioptric Telescope: In this telescope, both lenses and mirrors are used to make an image of a distant object with clarity and conciseness.
These types are usually simple in construction so they are regarded as the best cheap telescopes for astrophotography. The most common use is in astronomy but these are also used in devices like binoculars and cameras.
Radio telescopes are round dish antennas that collect radio waves. Contrary to optical devices, this device does not provide any magnification. They capture the signals and sample them at different frequencies according to the requirements. Modern radio telescopes have numerous receivers that allow multiple signals to be received simultaneously. These signals are then converted into images mostly of astronomical objects. These devices are also used for detection of microwaves and in special programmes to search for life in space.
X-ray telescopes are used to detect the long wavelength X-rays and things that lie in this spectrum. They use mirrors in a specific arrangement to focus the radiation onto a focal plane. Rays are collected in ionization chambers, light detectors or CMOS sensing devices depending on the equipment specifications. These telescopes are found way up in space as they are attached to space shuttles and satellites so users will probably never buy such a device for personal use.
Gamma ray Telescopes
Gamma ray telescopes are similar to X-ray devices and are usually used together. They are also found in satellites or space balloons. Gamma rays have extremely high frequencies and short wavelengths which make it tough to detect. Therefore, they use aperture patterns to detect the overall shape of the image and then construct it by using the patterns. In this way, the telescope does not have to fully focus on high energy gamma radiation.
Quick Comparison Table
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Canon EOS M50
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Celestron Power Seeker
Celestron 70 mm
Celestron 114LCM Telescope
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10 Best Telescopes Under $500
The Celestron NexStar is an optical, computerized telescope that is specially designed to capture stars. It employs a reflector style design and weighs only 18 pounds which makes it a handy device for your home. The aperture size is 130 mm and focal length is 650 mm which is enough for capturing great views of the sky. The best part is that you do not need to set the location yourself. All you have to do is to use the remote control to choose the various options like Star Location, SkyAlign, etc. to make the telescope locate the objects in the sky and align itself accordingly.
It uses the current location from GPS and its database of almost 40000 celestial objects to offer a smooth experience to the viewer. The accuracy of its movements is kept very high so that you do not mistake any false object for a star! It comes with an adjustable tripod stand and various optional accessories. You can stay updated with the Celestron Sky Portal application to know the latest locations of space objects. Additionally, the inbuilt software has special simulation features to enrich your experience of space. Available at $499, it is one of the best computerized telescopes!
This telescope by Orion is a reflector style, 24 inch long device that is easy to set up and carry around. It weighs only 27 pounds for the whole set up. The mirror used inside is 130mm with a parabolic arrangement. It is complemented by a silver tripod stand and a strong mount to attach the telescope on top. The aperture size is 5.1 inches which is ideal for viewing a variety of objects high up in the sky. It has an overall zoom capacity of 260x which is huge for normal usage.
There are 2 eyepieces included with the device which are 25mm and 10mm in size. The 25 mm can be used for extra wide views of the space as it provides a 52 inch viewing radius. The 10 mm piece is suitable for high magnification as it enlarges the objects up to 65 times. There is also a finder scope for extra viewing equipment and higher accuracy. Even when you cannot use the telescope in the open sky due to weather conditions, you still have the option to view the simulations of night sky which are available with the whole package. Priced at $310, it is one of the best telescopes for under $500.
If you want a sleek and trendy optical telescope, be sure to check this one by Celestron. Having a navy blue colour with silver mounts, it looks really elegant for the purpose. It is available with a metal stand that can be adjusted in multiple ways. The aperture size is 150 mm and the device comes with 2 eyepieces as well. They are 25 mm and 20 mm in size and can be used for wide angle and extra zoom effects. This telescope has special Start Bright coatings which allow maximum amount of light to pass through so that you can enjoy the views in the darkest of nights.
The CG-4 mount has different settings like 360 degrees rotation and slow motion movements so that users can adjust it according to their liking. Double bearings on the mount allows for smooth and noiseless transition from one side to another. Costing $500, it is one of the best intermediate telescopes due to its simple and easy operation.
The Orion 8945 is a simple, standing telescope having reflector mechanism inside. With its 8 inch mirror, you can view the stars and moon with incredible detail. Having a Dobsonian style, users do not need to fumble around with tripods or mounts which may take hours to put in place. In this device, just take out the telescope and attach it to the stand itself and you are ready to go. There is only a single piece to carry which means that you can transport the equipment easily on your adventure trips as well. Beginners will find it a great device because of its convenience in usage.
The telescope has a 2 inch focuser at the top which can eyepieces of 1.25 or 2 inches in diameter. A 25 mm eyepiece is included with the device to allow users for wide angle views of the sky. Additionally, lens caps and Starry Night software are also present to add on your experience in astronomy. You can buy it for $400 and bring home one of the best cheap telescopes available on the market today.
If you like to set the telescope to precise points yourself, this device by Celestron is the one for you. Having an aperture of 127 mm, it looks like a large black water bottle. The focal length is 1000 mm while the maximum magnification is up to 250 times which is plentiful for a powerful home telescope. The main feature of this telescope is its German mount system which is completely manual. It is made for those who enjoy setting up their telescopes to the points of their liking. It has all the tools to secure the mount at the proper place so it is very easy to do the whole process.
There is a special adjustment for slow motion view. The accessories include 2 eyepieces which are 20mm and 4mm in diameter. Moreover, there is a Barlow lens which can further zoom the scene by 3x. This can result in up to 450x zoom overall. Users get special software known as Starry Night which can enrich your experience even when you are away from the telescope. It contains high quality simulations and images of space and celestial objects. The amazing part is that all of this is available at $170 that makes this one of the best cheap telescopes for astrophotography!
If you are a frequent traveler and like to experience new places, you will find this Celestron telescope really usefully because it is made to be carried around. It has a 70 mm lens size and weighs only 3 pounds in total. It uses an optical refractive mechanism inside. This makes it a small, handy telescope for everyday use. The focal length is 400mm and the device comes with 2 eyepieces of 20mm and 10mm in diameter. You can enjoy wide range of view with the special eyepieces and experience fully natural colours.
The tripod has a matte silver finish which complements the black telescope very well. You can adjust it in many different ways to help in precise viewing of your target objects high up in the sky. In addition to this, users get special software by Celestron known as Starry Nights which enables them to enjoy realistic simulations of space on their computers. Priced at $90, this is one of the best portable telescopes that you can buy today.
The Gskyer Telescope is a white coloured refractor type device that has an aperture diameter of 90mm and a focal length of 600mm. It weighs merely 18 pounds and is 30 inches in length when fully extended. It has a special anti reflective coating on the lens so that absolutely clear images reach your eyes and do not cause unnecessary glare. There is an aluminum tripod stand which you can use to place the device and its height can be set from 31 to 49 inches.
Users get 3 different eyepieces along with the main telescope which are 22mm, 11mm and 10mm in size. Each one has specific viewing radius and zoom capacity. The smallest one has almost 60x zoom option so if you like to observe the one who is standing on the moon, make sure to use the 10mm eyepiece! Moreover, there is a Barlow lens as well which offers 3 times magnification capacity through the eyepieces. Priced at $260, this is one of the best telescopes for deep space due to its excellent package of eyepiece accessories and lens size.
The Celestron 114LCM is an optical, computerized telescope that is specially designed to capture stars. It employs a reflector style design and weighs only 18 pounds which makes it a handy device for your home. The aperture size is 114 mm and focal length is 1000 mm which is enough for capturing great views of the sky. The best part is that you do not need to set the location yourself. All you have to do is to use the remote control to choose the various options like Star Location, SkyAlign, etc. to make the telescope locate the objects in the sky and align itself accordingly.
It uses the current location from GPS and its database of almost 4000 celestial objects to offer a smooth experience to the viewer. You get 2 eyepieces of 25mm and 9mm for extra wide angle and zoomed images. There is a finder scope included as well which helps you to view through various angles. It comes with an adjustable tripod stand and various optional accessories. You can stay updated with the Celestron Sky Portal application to know the latest locations of space objects. Additionally, the inbuilt software has special simulation features to enrich your experience of space. Available at $286, it is one of the most powerful home telescopes!
The Meade Instruments Infiniti Telescope is a blue coloured refractor type device that has an aperture diameter of 90mm and a focal length of 600mm. It weighs merely 11 pounds and is 34 inches in length when fully extended. There are special slow motion adjustments to track objects with high accuracy. The view finder has a red coloured dot which points exactly where you want to look. If you get bored while observing the empty sky on any day, you can use the CD provided to enjoy space simulations.
Users get 3 different eyepieces along with the main telescope which are 26mm, 9mm and 6.3mm in size. Each one has specific viewing radius and zoom capacity. The smallest one has almost 70x zoom option so if you like to observe the exact surface or weather on the moon, make sure to use the 6.3mm eyepiece! The tripod stand is made from aluminum and has various height adjustments. Priced at $193, this is one of the best telescopes for deep space due to its excellent package of eyepiece accessories and lens size.
The Celestron NexStar 6SE is an optical, computerized telescope that is specially designed to capture stars. It employs a reflector style design and weighs only 18 pounds which makes it a handy device for your home. The aperture size is 6 inches and focal length is 1500 mm which is enough for capturing great views of the sky. The best part is that you do not need to set the location yourself. All you have to do is to use the remote control to choose the various options like Star Location, SkyAlign, etc. to make the telescope locate the objects in the sky and align itself accordingly.
It uses the current location from GPS and its database of almost 40000 celestial objects to offer a smooth experience to the viewer. The accuracy of its movements is kept very high so that you do not mistake any false object for a star! It comes with an adjustable tripod stand and various optional accessories. You can stay updated with the Celestron Sky Portal application to know the latest locations of space objects. Additionally, the inbuilt software has special simulation features to enrich your experience of space. Available at $799, it is one of the best professional telescopes in 2020!
1. What’s best telescope for deep space viewing?
There are various great telescopes for deep space viewing. If you are looking for an inexpensive option, the Orion Sky Quest XT6 is the best one to have. Celstron Nex Star series are also very good and popular to view astronomical objects. In the Dobsonian category, the Orion XT10g is an excellent telescope. Overall, any decent telescope that has eyepieces of small aperture can be good for deep space as magnification matters a lot in this area.
2. How much does a really good telescope cost?
Users are always most interested in the prices of telescopes because most people consider them to be expensive devices. However, we have seen that you can buy a great telescope with decent aperture size, multiple eyepieces, tripod equipment and other accessories for less than $500 which is a reasonable amount to spend on such a device. There are several excellent ones available in the $150-$300 range which brings telescopes in the range of majority of the people who wish to watch the stars closely!
3. How do I choose a good telescope?
The first point is to see the aperture size. You do not want a very small lens because it would not enable you to observe objects in detail and clarity. Therefore, always buy a telescope that has at least 80mm of aperture size. Then, you should see the mounts, tripods, Dobsonian type, etc. and decide the one according to your use. A tripod mounted telescope is recommended because it offers more flexibility to adjust its height and higher portability as well. Always see the accessories like eyepieces, finder scopes and covers because they come very handy afterwards.
4. Can a telescope see the flag on the moon?
The flag on the moon requires a telescope of 200 meters in diameter. Most normal telescopes have aperture sizes of few inches which mean that it is impossible to view anything that lies on the moon. Even the largest telescopes have apertures of 10-11 m in diameter so you cannot see the flag on the moon using them. However, you can try your luck on other stars and planets which are closer to earth and observe what’s going on over there!
God has created a vast Universe which contains millions of objects that we cannot imagine ourselves. Even the astronomers and space activists know little about the ever growing world of space. For a normal person, viewing the moon or stars on the sky at nigh present a unique attraction and thrill. It allows us to marvel on the creations of God and observe the endless amount of creations that exist around us. Telescopes are useful devices for viewing the things that we are unable to see with our naked eyes and they offer many other features as well.
In this article, we have explored the 10 best telescopes under $500 in detail. The main features, prices, pros and cons were studied to know more about each product. Out of all the telescopes reviewed, Celestron has the dominant position in the market and offers a huge variety of devices. Other brands have equally great equipment and almost every telescope comes with handy accessories like eyepieces, tripod stands, mounts, covers, etc. Users can go through this guide to find the best telescope for viewing planets. We have made sure that you do not spend more than $500 for your purchase!
We hope that this article increased your information about the top telescopes and developed some interest in the world of space! Please share your feedback in the comments section below. We will be looking forward to your valuable feedback.