Astronomers, researchers, and scientists discover something new in the solar system every day. Astronomy is a popular point of discussion for so many people out there. If you are just as interested in celestial objects like the rest of the Astro-nerds, you need to look for the best telescope under $500. You can use an inexpensive telescope to engage in some astronomy for yourself.
Table of Contents
- Why You Need a Telescope?
- What to look for when buying a telescope
- Top 13 Best Telescopes Under $500 On The Market
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Which eyepiece should I get if I wear glasses?
- Can you see nebulas, star clusters, and galaxies with this telescope?
- Can I carry my telescope on a flight?
- Is it possible to stargaze with a telescope? If so, then which model is the best for it?
- Will it give me a detailed view of the moon?
- Does the telescope allow you to take pictures of what you are viewing?
- Can I still use the telescope if the battery gets discharged?
- Are these telescopes easy to assemble? Can you move it around?
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Why You Need a Telescope?
The sole reason for owning a telescope is to get a better view of our solar system. It allows you to watch the galaxies, planets, stars, and more. Plus, you can easily get around the atmosphere of the Earth. You get to enjoy these heavenly bodies in their brightest form in a variety of lenses.
What to look for when buying a telescope
However, before you purchase a telescope of your choice, you need to pay attention to certain important factors. Take these crucial pointers into consideration. They include:
There are three types of telescopes that include a refractor, reflector, and a compound. A refractor carries a lens at its tube’s front. It requires low maintenance but gets costly as its aperture increases. A reflector uses a mirror for gathering light at the back of the main tube. They are less expensive but needs adjustments with the optical alignment from time to time.
A compound uses a mixture of mirrors and lenses and provides compact tubes. They are relatively lightweight in comparison. Selecting the type depends on your personal preference and convenience too. It is important to do so before you jump into the purchase.
A telescope’s aperture is the diameter of the refractor’s objective lens or reflector’s objective mirror. The size of the aperture is the main key to a telescope’s power. Its size should be proportional directly to the telescope’s ability to gather light. As an observer, you will witness a better view when your scope gathers more light.
But you shouldn’t just purchase a telescope with the biggest aperture. You will find it less useful if it is inconveniently large. If you are an amateur, try getting the ones with 2.4 inches, 3.1 inches, 4.5 inches, and 6 inches.
- Focal Length
A Focal length is a total distance from your scope’s lens or mirror to its focal point. Maybe it isn’t equally as important as the aperture, but it still needs to be taken into account. You will be able to view the objects in a bigger manner with a larger focal length.
It is best to go for a telescope with a bigger focal length. However, if you come across an ultimatum between a bigger aperture and bigger focal length, then go for the one with the bigger aperture.
A Telescope mount is an important stand required for steadily holding your scope. It isn’t prioritized enough like the other parts of the telescope when it should be. You might see it as an additional accessory, but it is equally important, as the optics and tubes.
It is incredibly difficult to watch the distant objects with a wobbling telescope. Investing in a top-quality mount is a smart move. Try getting the sturdy ones, so it’s easier for you to handle it.
Yes, all telescopes can magnify the celestial objects present in the night sky. The magnification level depends on the eyepiece and focal length of your scope. The higher the magnification, the better.
However, you need to understand that a high magnification level is not that useful if you can’t get a clear and visible image. So, make sure to assess things properly before jumping into it.
- Computerized/Electronic Control
Telescopes, in general, require manual operation to set it up. You can’t just set them automatically for a particular constellation of stars back in the day. However, you can find a ton of electronic telescopes nowadays.
It has a built-in computer that makes it possible to locate the objects in the night sky automatically. However, this isn’t a necessary feature for an average person. It is useful for following moving objects or for people interested in astrophotography.
A Portable telescope is always nice to have. You would want a telescope that is easily moveable from one place to another without issues. Plus, setting up and disassembling the telescope should be hassle-free at all times. So, make sure to get one that identifies with easy transportation. You should also be able to travel with it easily.
You will new some important necessary and additional telescope accessories to elevate your stargazing experiences. Viewing the planet and other celestial objects in the solar system are better with these items. They include Eyepieces, finders, star charts, tube rings, collimation caps, trays, starry night software, and more.
- Price Tag
It is normal for telescopes to have an expensive price tag since they are precious objects in general. But you also have to understand that a super expensive telescope doesn’t always equate to it being a high-performing one.
You can easily get a well-rounded telescope under just $500 in the market. These telescopes aren’t super expensive and don’t compromise in terms of quality. So, make sure to buy one that falls under $500 at most.
- Warranty & Customer Support
A warranty will give you something to fall back on if you come across defective parts. You should always look out for a great warranty deal when you are exploring these telescopes. A 2-year warranty is a great deal, but a 1-year warranty deal is also acceptable. You would prefer that instead of nothing, right?
You also need proper customer service to sort things out in times of uncertainties. Make sure that your product’s brand offers a responsive and helpful customer support 24×7.
If you want to be 110% sure about the product you are going for, you need to pay attention to the real raw reviews from verified buyers. It will give you a deeper insight into the product you are about to buy. It will also save you time and prevent you from getting subpar products. Make sure to read the latest reviews and threads online.
Top 13 Best Telescopes Under $500 On The Market
Now let us get into the best telescopes under the budget plan of $500. They are as follows:
1. Sky-Watcher EvoStar Compact and Portable Optical Tube for Affordable Astrophotography and Visual Astronomy
This telescope possesses a matched doublet objective, which also includes one synthetic fluorite element. The item has a dimension of 16.50 x 3.50 x 3.50 inches and weighs about 5lbs. It offers great color correction that is useful for photographic and visual purposes. The product uses Metallic high-transmission Coatings (MHTC) and high-quality glass.
This EvoStar refractor is responsible for producing tack sharp images with minimal aberrations and accurate color. The refractor is easily portable and lightweight too, which makes it an excellent traveling buddy. This versatile refractor is perfectly fitting to be used as a primary optical tube even when your skillset evolves.
It features a 10:1 dual-speed focuser allows you to easily find focus. This EvoStar 72 refractor comes equipped with a vixen style dovetail, aluminum case, and tube rings. The product retails around $440-$450.
- The color correction in this model is excellent.
- Its compact and lightweight nature makes it quite portable.
- It is easy to assemble and disassemble.
- Locating the focus is quite easy.
- There are fine quality optics.
2. Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
This massive classic aperture Dobsonian reflector telescope comes with a diameter of 8” optics. The item has a dimension of about 50.2 x 17.5 x 15.5 inches and weighs about 29.2 pounds. It enables you to view the planets and moon up close. You can easily pull in amazing views of the star clusters, faint nebulas, and galaxies with sufficient light grasp.
This unique telescope can last for an entire lifetime. If you are an astronomy enthusiast, you need to get it because its durability is outstanding. It has an ultra-stable base that keeps the optical tube of the reflector rightly balanced. The purpose behind it is for point and view ease of use.
This telescope comes with 2” Crayford focuser that easily accepts 2” and 1.25” telescope eyepieces, EZ Finder II reflex sight, starry night software, a 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece, collimation cap, and even more. The product might ship in different boxes and will arrive separately.
- It has decent and good size optics that easily gathers light.
- The base of the carrying handle has a nice touch.
- The focusing motion is incredibly smooth.
- It requires very little effort in adjustments.
- You can easily use your hands to collimate.
- The scope can be a little tricky and heavy to move by yourself.
3. Orion SkyQuest XT6 Plus Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
This product features a performance elevating design enhancements and extra accessories. It has a redesigned base accompanied by altitude tension supports that are adjustable. This tension offers support to the appealing twilight blue optical tube. The telescope weighs around 34.4lbs.
It has knurled secondary mirror thumbscrews that easily offers tool-free collimation. The telescope also possesses a prominent white trim within the base that will allow you to step around and see in the dark. It has aperture modes from 150mm-200mm.
The telescope has a minimum magnification of 21.00x. It comes with a 10mm and 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepieces, EZ Finder II reflex sight, shorty 2x Barlow, collimation cap, eyepiece rack, and more. You can buy this telescope in between $327-$335 from the market.
- The potability level is out of the park.
- This telescope package comes with multiple additional accessories.
- It is extremely easy to set up and user-friendly.
- You will be able to see the images sharply without any issues.
- The price tag of the product is quite reasonable in comparison to most telescopes.
4. Kguan Professional Deep Space Refractor Telescope for Astronomy
This item has a Bestseller rank of #147 on the list of telescope refractors. It doesn’t require any tool setup at all. The telescope also has a slow-motion control that allows smooth tracking. It also possesses an erect image optics feature that is ideal for uses concerning astronomical and terrestrial fields. The product weighs around 17.6lbs.
The product comes with optical components with full glass coatings. They have increased transmission coatings necessary for improved clarity and image brightness. The package also comes with an accessory tray for storing stuff conveniently. The retail price may be between $520-$525 in the market now.
- Its compact nature allows easy and quick no-tool setup.
- You can track the celestial objects smoothly at night.
- You can also see deep space objects such as the milky way, nebulas and more.
- The telescope is all about versatility and caters to a variety of uses.
- It is portable and allows easy use in the dark.
- The price tag maybe a little over budget.
5. BARSKA Anchormaster Spyscope Mahogany Floor Tripod
This exquisite masterpiece has a luxurious look at visual art. It comes with a powerful 15-45x magnification refractor scope that enables you to scan the celestial area. You can easily zoom in for detailed research and observation too. It has a dimension of 16 x 2.5 x 8 inches and weighs around 15.38lbs.
It also carries a reasonable aperture size of 50mm and an impressive focal length of 176mm. The achromatic lens scope comes fully coated and offers a spectacular sight. It also has image correction lenses that offer right-side images that make it easy for the naked eye to view.
This beautiful scope also comes with a floor tripod for mounting purposes. The tripod has polished brass joints and extendable legs for better support. This material of this elegant scope consists of mahogany wood and solid brass.
- You can easily zoom in with clarity for detailed observation.
- It has an outstanding optic that offers crisp views at maximum magnification.
- It doesn’t just look like a work of art, but it has top-notch functionality.
- The shiny brass is fully free from blemish.
- Set up is easy and quick at all times.
6. Orion 10016 StarBlast 6 Astro Reflector Telescope
This fun and capable tabletop reflector telescope offers a simple point and view feature. It is incredibly popular in both the beginners and the professionals, all due to its versatility and easy performance. The item comes with an aperture reflector optics of 6” that reveals amazing details about the moon, planets, star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies.
Its tabletop design enables the telescope to grab and go ready. The product has a dimension of 31.9 x 21.3 x 19.3 inches and weighs about 23.5lbs and comes pre-assembled straight from the box, which is a big thumbs up. You can expect a 1.25” Sirius Plossl telescope eyepieces of 10mm and 25mm sizes. Plus, it has a minimum magnification of 21.00x.
Some of the accessories that you can expect include an EZ Finder II aiming device, starry night software, eyepiece rack, and a useful high magnification of 300x. You can get the product with a price tag of between $345-$355 today.
- It offers a well-rounded performance with deep details.
- Its compact nature provides convenient portability.
- The product comes pre-assembled for a hassle-free setup.
- The parabolic mirror saves you from spherical aberrations.
- It has soft base bearings that offer little inertia for mini adjustments.
7. Celestron NexStar Computerized Telescope – Newtonian Reflector Optical Design – SkyAlign Technology
This computerized telescope provides a database consisting of more than 40,000 nebulas, stars, galaxies, and more. It can easily find your object through pinpoint accuracy and can track it. The telescope is fully compatible with eyepieces of 2-inches. You can use it during excursions, camping trips and more. It caters to both kids and adults.
This telescope is the biggest from the SLT family. The product has a dimension of 28 x 12 x 8 inches and weighs around 17.99 pounds. It possesses an aperture of 130mm that can easily gather sufficient light to even see beyond the solar system. It also has a focal length of 650mm. You can use it to view the cloud bands of Jupiter, the moon, and the rings of Saturn.
It has a SkyAlign procedure that enables you to view in minutes. You also get to receive a starry night software as a bonus. The product comes with an excellent 2-year warranty with unlimited access from the team for technical support. The customer support is responsive and available 24×7.
- It is extremely versatile and useable in any field.
- The telescope is compact that makes it transportable from once place to another.
- You can locate thousands of objects by simply positioning the eyepiece.
- You get to enjoy wide-field views at all times.
- It is very easy to collimate with the primary mirror.
8. LEFJDNGB Large Diameter Continuous Zoom Monocular Telescope
This telescope is the perfect choice for kids and the rookies in astronomy. The product has a dimension of about 45 x 9.3 x 15cm and weighs around 3.53 ounces. It doesn’t require any tools and is incredibly easy to setup. The telescope begins to easily locate objects at night with the utmost clarity. It has wide-angle eyepieces, a 5×2 finder mirror, and a 360o pan-tilted tripod.
The product has a multi-layer coating on the entire surface. This feature allows for sufficient light transmittance and a brighter image. It also has prism imaging that effectively reduces vignetting and easily restores color. There is a small color difference, and the effect of night vision is stronger.
- This telescope allows easy setup and is hassle-free.
- The brand carefully inspects the package before delivering it.
- The multi-layer coating prevents rusting.
- It carries a great night vision mode.
- You can view the images with clarity and interference.
9. Celestron StarSense Explorer Smartphone Telescope – Works with StarSense App to Help You Find Stars, Planets and More
This product uses any smartphone in the likes of Android and iPhone to locate planets, moon, stars, and more. You just need to follow the arrow, and it will guide you through the night sky with a tour. It has a dimension of about 39 x 16.5 x 9.2 inches and weighs over 14.08 pounds. The product comes with a 102mm aperture, 660mm focal length, and a maximum theoretical magnification of 240x.
It has a unique scope that uses your smartphone for analyzing star patterns overhead. Its sky recognition technology successfully calculates its real-time position. The product has an app that uses your exact location and time to tell you what is in the sky. You can view just about anything from even darker locations.
It has a manual altazimuth mount that features a smooth slow-motion dual-axis control for following on-screen arrows to locate the desired target. You can start viewing once the bullseye turns green. It carries XLT optical coatings of high transmission and a great aperture that gathers enough light to watch all the night objects. The item retails in between $395-$405.
- It is perfectly suitable for beginners.
- The package comes with many additional accessories.
- It is compatible with any type of smartphone.
- You can expect easy, smooth directions.
- Assembling and disassembling the product is quite easy.
10. Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope
This telescope measures up to 24 x 24 x 51 inches and weighs about 27 pounds. It has a 5.1 inch of an aperture that gathers enough light to view the moon and planets. The product also comes with a 24-inch-long design optical tube and a pleasing f/5 focal ratio. It also has a focal length of 650mm and a maximum useful magnification of 260x.
This telescope has a sturdy EQ-2 equatorial mount and a fully adjustable tripod. It manually allows slow-motion tracking of the celestial objects in the night sky. The telescope also has a counterweight bar length that measures up to 8 inches. This telescope is fitting for planetary and imaging lunar.
The complete package comes with two 1.25-inch Sirius Plossl eyepieces of 10mm and 25mm, tripod accessory tray, starry night astronomy software, 6 x 30 finder scope, collimation cap, 1.25-inch rack, pinion focuser and more. You can get the item for around $305-$315.
- It offers wide-field performance that makes it incredibly versatile.
- You will receive a lot of additional accessories to go with the telescope.
- The mount is quite sturdy that makes the product portable.
- It offers incredible clarity when you view the images.
- You can expect diligent customer service.
11. SVBONY Telescope OTA Focal Length 560mm for Exceptional Viewing and Astrophotography
This unique telescope comes prepared with an extra-low dispersion glass that provides crystal clear images. It easily produces an image of high contrast and color-true that is perfect for discerning observers. There is a 2-inch dual-speed toothed focuser with a gear ratio of 1:10 that enables you to achieve focus easily. Plus, the product has a dimension of 21.25 x 8.46 x 9.05 inches and weighs around 8.70lbs.
It has an aperture of 80mm and a focal length of 560mm. The appearance of the telescope comes with high-end quality paint that offers a delicate and exquisite feel. All of its optical surfaces fall under multi-coating that offers excellent views of both day and night. The price of the telescope falls between $395-$405.
- The accuracy in focus is admirable.
- Both the advanced amateurs and beginners can benefit from it.
- The rotation of the focuser is incredibly smooth.
- It has an incredible price tag for an ED telescope.
- The built quality is out of the park.
- The package doesn’t include the focus extension tube, which is not that big of a deal.
12. Sky-Watcher Classic 200 Dobsonian 8-inch Aperture Telescope – Perfect for Beginners
This telescope has a classic black & white look with a massive aperture with F5.9 modes. It has a dimension that spans about 49 x 27 x 18 inches and weighs over 34 pounds. This machine has proprietary tension control handles that allow accurate movement without requiring perfect balance.
The product borosilicate primary and secondary mirrors that have been fully multi-coated for delivering exceptional views. It also carries Teflon bearings that allow smooth azimuth movement. The telescope has an impressive maximum focal length of 1200.
The package comes loaded with accessories such as two eyepieces of 10mm and 25mm with super-wide angles, 2-inch Crayford style focuser with 1 ¼ inch adapter, and a 9 x 50 straight-through finder scope.
- The large aperture offers a bold viewing experience.
- It has a lightweight and sturdy design.
- The setting up procedure and disassembling is hassle-free.
- You can expect a smooth and solid focuser.
- The finder scope offers good crispy images all the time.
- The price can be a little intimidating.
13. Celestron 114LCM Computerized Newtonian Telescope
This computerized automatic telescope consists of all glass optics and can automatically find 4000 celestial objects. It can do so with the help of hand control and its Go-To mount. This telescope comes with the star locating technology, which is popular in advanced telescopes. The product comes with a dimension of 35 x 16 x 11 inches and weighs about 20 pounds.
The telescope also has a 114mm aperture and a focal length of 1000mm. You can expect a maximum magnification of 269x. It has the sky tour button that enables you to find what you are looking for; in case you are confused. Once you press the button, it will generate a complete list of the popular objects present in the sky for viewing. You can enjoy a 2-year warranty with this product.
The telescope comes with useful extra accessories such as an adjustable aluminum tripod, a Star-pointer red dot finderscope, two high-quality eyepieces of 9mm and 25mm, and a starry night software. Plus, you can download the Sky Portal app to enjoy added benefits. The price may fall under $395-$405.
- The product is fitting for everybody, especially for beginners.
- It does a great job of viewing deep-sky objects.
- You can set up focus finder and collimation without any hassle.
- It is extremely portable, which makes it easy to move around.
- You can enjoy a 2-year warranty with outstanding customer support.
Summing It Up!
Telescopes are always a good investment. They don’t just make the interior of your house visually attractive, but they come with tons of exciting stuff. Even though it is best to stay under a budget, splurging on a telescope is not going to waste. You can get into amateur astronomy and have fun with the telescope and what it has to offer. Viewing the planet is so much easier now.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which eyepiece should I get if I wear glasses?
You should go for the 2-inch 32mm Q70 eyepiece. The 6mm planetary edge is also a great choice. I am saying this to you out of my own experience. Plus, my grandfather also uses them on the regular. He wears glasses too and doesn’t have any problems with these eyepieces. The 32mm Plossl would also make a great choice.
Can you see nebulas, star clusters, and galaxies with this telescope?
Yes! You most definitely can. You can enjoy watching nebulas, galaxies, planets, moon, star clusters, and multiple objects. I enjoyed watching the cigar, andromeda, and sombrero galaxies. However, these celestial objects appear best when the conditions are right. In a polluted sky, they are hard to view with clarity.
Can I carry my telescope on a flight?
If you have enough luggage space and time, then you can. But it usually depends on the size of your telescope. There are telescopes out there with different sizes and styles. For most parts, you will be able to carry it on board. However, if your telescope is too big, then the chances to take it with you are minimal.
Is it possible to stargaze with a telescope? If so, then which model is the best for it?
Stargazing is possible with most of the telescopes. It usually depends on the telescope’s nature and the features that it possesses. You would require a telescope with a high light-gathering power at all times to stargaze at night. You won’t be able to do so with telescopes that carry very little ability to gather light.
The Orion 8974 SkyQuest XT8 Plus Dobsonian Reflector Telescope, Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope, and the Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope are great choices for that.
Will it give me a detailed view of the moon?
Yes, of course! They will give you just enough clarity to view the moon in detail. But I do recommend you purchase a filter during the full moon because the brightness could overwhelm its details during the full phase. Make sure that you go for a telescope with additional accessories such as extra lenses and filters. It will help you make detailed observations of the moon.
Does the telescope allow you to take pictures of what you are viewing?
Unfortunately, you can’t. However, you can use your smartphone to do so. Just hold your device lens right up against the eyepiece after you locate the object and click it. Make sure to properly place your camera lens by moving it around. Once you find the sweet spot, start snapping away for your gram or work.
Can I still use the telescope if the battery gets discharged?
Yes, it is possible, but you need to aim it by pushing the telescope lightly properly. However, it is advised not to do so because there are chances of damaging the motors that control the movement. The battery doesn’t control the viewfinder and the lens. It is best to avoid doing this, so you don’t cause technical damages to your telescope.
Are these telescopes easy to assemble? Can you move it around?
All of these telescopes are easy to set up at all times. The assembling and disassembling process of the product is equally. They don’t give you’re a hard time and take hours to do so. Plus, you will receive an instruction manual to guide you. Some telescopes also come assembled straight from the box.
To answer your second part of the question, Yes, they are easy to move around from one place to another. The portability of these telescopes is admirable. You can easily store them in the trunk of your car when you are traveling too.