For the curiously-minded who want to get a closer look at what’s out there on earth and in the sky, telescopes are a great tool. If you fit this description, you might want to get to know the different telescope types on offer, and which are the best entry-level telescopes for beginners. Helpful too, is understanding which telescope is best for each purpose. Whether you’re setting yourself for deep terrestrial or astronomical viewing, we’re here to get you in the know with all things telescopes.
There are mainly two types of telescopes to wrap your head around, and a bit of terminology to digest too. So before we get into it, here’s some key telescope terminology for beginners:
- This refers to the diameter of the hole, which can be manually changed to be smaller or larger. Aperture relates to the telescope’s light-gathering scope.
- Focal Length. The maximum focal length, or native magnification, is usually printed on the telescope and is measured as the distance from the optic point to where the image sits in the sky or distance.
- Focal Ratio. This equation determines how much light a telescope can gather. It’s found by dividing the focal length of the telescope by the aperture.
Which of these Two Different Telescope Types is Right for You?
If we direct our gaze to the comparison between the two telescope types, reflector and refractor, we find a heap of differences. Here are breakdowns of the two types, followed by an analysis of which is the best telescope for beginners, and which is better for seasoned telescope users.
- Reflector telescope. This design is mirror-based, budget-friendly, and great for looking at the moon and stars. It provides an upside-down view and is not so well-suited for deep-space viewing.
- Refractor telescopes: This type is the more expensive, less bulky option. It works with the help of a curved piece of glass or plastic that bends light rays, making objects appear larger. The image is seen the right way up, and this telescope type is great for deep space and land viewing.
The differences between these two telescope types include durability, performance, and optical quality. Reflectors are relatively cheaper, yet are heavier with an often-disappointing optical quality. Refractors, while costing more, are the better telescopes for beginners. They offer impressive contrast and sharpness, they’re light and transportable, and easy to keep dust-free. There are entry-level options which we’ll go through below.
The 4 Best Telescopes for Beginners:
Freshly equipped with this knowledge, you know where to start. But we thought we’d zoom in on the best beginner telescopes on the market to help you along a little further. All refractor telescopes, here are the best telescopes for beginners:
1. Celestron 50AZ Refractor Telescope. This incredibly portable, lightweight model is fast and simple to set up and use. It includes four eyepieces so you can play with the magnification and field of view, and it’s good for viewing both the sky and faraway things on land. At around $100, this telescope could be the best budget telescope for beginners.
2. Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ Refractor Telescope. What beginners love about this model is the smartphone control that enables you to experience exact navigation. It comes with a full-size tripod and phone holder, too. This model also suits star or land surveying and will not disappoint.
3. Celestron Travel Scope 70 Refractor telescope. Another beginner-friendly superstar, this travel telescope comes with a heap of features and accessories. Scour the land by day, and turn the telescope on the sky at night. This model is equally suitable for both. It comes with two eyepieces for different magnifications, a super lens to double the magnification, and a backpack to carry it all with you with ease.
4. Accura 80mm travel scope refractor telescope. Like the above, this one proves to be travel-friendly. It’s also simple to set up, and it comes with three Barlow lenses to increase magnification. An Image Diagonal Adaptor is also included to provide right-way-up viewing. High quality in design with a sturdy tripod, this is a favorite among telescope users.
You’re about ready to feed your curiosity with some terrestrial or astronomical viewing. All of the telescopes mentioned above are stocked at Ted’s Cameras. Find the best telescope for you, and start exploring the world of astronomy and astrophotography! Get more exciting stories and tech news updates from us, and stay updated with notifications.