Are you on the hunt for a good telescope that will not break the bank? If the answer is yes, you’re in for an adventure. The truth of the matter is that buying a telescope is going to be much tougher than you could ever imagine. There are tons to choose from and you need to figure out how much you’re willing to spend in advance. The good news is that there are plenty of telescopes that could be one of the best telescopes under 500 bucks. Within this guide, you’re going to learn more about finding the best refractor telescope under $1000. Be sure to take this information into consideration when attempting to make the right investment for you.
Buying Guide For The Best Telescope Under $1000
Buying a telescope is not as easy as one would think. In fact, there are so many factors that must be considered before the initial purchase. And, all the factors will determine the level quality, reliability, and usability of the telescope. To help make your shopping expedition go smoothly and quickly, a list of these factors is listed below in this in-depth buying guide.
One of the main features of a telescope that will determine the image quality is the optics. Clear imaging is a necessity and without it, the telescope will be rendered useless. To achieve the clearest images in all weather conditions, the telescope must feature multicoated optics. The coating utilized most often for these applications is known as Antireflection Blue Film, which is designed to reflect more blue light than other wavelengths that are visible to the naked eye through a telescope. Since the coating is very thin, it will not alter the image. But, it will provide you with clear visibility of the moon, planets and other far away objects.
The capabilities of a telescope are amazing, with each feature playing a major role. Without the proper magnification, seeing objects so far away would not be possible. Unlike Galileo’s telescopes, modern refracting telescopes are capable of magnifying objects up to 13 billion light-years away. However, the distance will depend on the magnification and focal length capabilities. So, pay close attention to these features when investing in a new refracting telescope.
While many people focus more on the telescope’s features, it is important to pay close attention to the mount. Without a high-quality mount, it will be nearly, if not impossible, to move the telescope in directions necessary to view all the objects in the solar system. A high-quality mount will not only allow you to see those objects but also will provide you with the necessary capabilities to track them as well.
There are two mounts utilized for telescopic applications, Equatorial (EQ) and Azimuth (AZ or ALT). These mounts are similar but move slightly different. For example, the Alt-Azimuth mount is capable of moving up, down, left and right. However, the user must move the AZ and ALT simultaneously to track celestial objects. To perform these actions properly, the user must practice for quite some time. However, this mount is less sophisticated than the EQ mount, making it more suitable for beginners.
The EQ mount features two axes for angle and incline. The first step to setting up the mount, so it is capable of tracking the objects in the universe involves proper alignment. You must align the mount with Polaris, but even with this, you must still know the coordinates to track the objects. These mounts are more suitable for experienced astronomers since all the processes involved are difficult to achieve without the proper skills.
The focal length and aperture, an opening or hole that allows light to pass through freely, of the telescope’s optical system, will determine the sharpness of the Depth of Field, the area behind and in front of the object that the lens is focused on. Apertures are measured in either millimeters or inches. Larger apertures provide better clarity and more brightness than smaller apertures.
The shutter speed is also determined by the aperture. For example, a low f/stop does not require the shutter to remain open but only for a short period of time, allowing for a faster shutter speed. Be sure to pay close attention to the size of the aperture, since it will determine the brightness and clarity levels.
1. Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope
The Celestron NexStar 6 SE is considered one of the best refracting telescopes under $1000. This model features a state-of-the-art technology and premium-grade components to ensure durability and clear visibility of celestial objects. To ensure ease-of-use, the telescope is equipped with a GoTo mount, which is fully automated to track those celestial objects.
- Celestron's iconic "orange tube" design is updated with all the latest features to provide the best stargazing experience for beginners and experienced observers alike. Light Gathering Power compared to human eye is 459x
- 6-inch aperture with excellent light-gathering ability provides impressive views of the Moon and planets, along with deep sky objects like the Orion Nebula, while retaining a compact form factor
- Fully automated GoTo mount with database of 40,000+ celestial objects automatically locates and tracks objects for you. Focal Length-1500 mm (59 inch). Focal Ratio-10. Apparent Field of View-0.83°. Linear Field of View (at 1000 yds)-44 feet (13 m)
- Getting the perfect alignment is easy
- Mount work exceptionally well
- Allows fully automated object tracking
- Very tough and rugged
- One of the most powerful in this price range
- A tad more expensive
Aligning the telescope will never be easier, thanks to the embedded SkyAlign Technology. This technology not only reduces the time it normally takes to perform the alignment but also allows users who are not familiar with the night sky to perform the task utilizing three bright objects.
All in all, the Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope is great. It is best for professionals who want the best view humanly possible.
2. Celestron NexStar 130SLT Telescope
Do you want a computerized telescope that will remove the guesswork from the equation? If so, you will want to spend a little time learning about the Celestron NexStar 130SLT Telescope. You can purchase the telescope only or you can buy it with the accessory bundle. Either way, you won’t have to worry about emptying your bank account. This telescope is great for many reasons. For instance, it is very tough and can withstand a few bumps and drops. Additional perks will be explored in greater depth below.
- Aperture: 130mm; focal length: 650mm; compatible with 2 inch eyepieces
- Focal ratio: 5; focal length of eyepiece 1/2: 25mm/9mm.Before you can begin observing, you must setup your hand control, align your finderscope and align your telescope
- Magnification of eyepiece 1/2: 26x/72x; finder scope: star pointer; mount type: motorized altazimuth
- Excellent magnification
- Features a computerized hand control
- SkyAlign makes alignment easier
- Very durable
- Available with many accessories for a higher price
- FOV is impressive
- Just 18 pounds when fully assembled
- Mount could use some work
This scope offers a great field of view. The apparent field of view is 1.7 degrees. At 1,000 yards, you’ll receive a linear field of view of 91 feet. That is pretty impressive. When compared to many of its competitors, this telescope wins in this category.
To ensure that you’re getting great views of those planets, you need to make sure that you have plenty of magnification. The NexStar 130SLT telescope can deliver the magnification that you need. It has a minimum magnification of 19x. That will give you the ability to see close objects clearly. If you’re trying to see targets that are further away, you can zoom up to 307x magnification.
The NexStar 130SLT Telescope is great, but not perfect. The mount needs a lot of work. Other than that, the telescope works exceptionally well for the intended purpose.
3. Celestron NexStar 127SLT Mak Computerized Telescope
If you’re willing to spend a tiny bit more, you’ll definitely want to check out the Celestron NexStar 127 SLT Maksutov Telescope. This scope isn’t much more expensive than its competitors. Nevertheless, it offers a handful of additional benefits. The telescope comes with plenty of accessories and it should be a good choice for hobbyists and many professionals. So, what sets it apart from the alternatives? You’ll find out below.
- High quality 127mm (5") Maksutov-Cassegrain
- Quick-release fork arm mount, optical tube and accessory tray for quick tool no set up
- StarPointer finderscope to help with alignment and accurately locating objects
- Sturdy and capable of lasting a lifetime
- StarPointer finderscope improves accuracy
- Includes an auxiliary port
- Fork arm mount can be quickly released
- Quick and easy set up
- Not too heavy
- Requires 8 AA batteries
Accessories And Port
This telescope comes with The SkyX software. That will make a big difference in the long run. It also includes an auxiliary port. That will give you the ability to connect the telescope to many different accessories. For instance, you can use this port to connect the telescope to your GPS. With the addition of the software, the price looks that more generous.
There is no doubt that it can be immensely difficult to zoom in on those stars and planets. Thankfully, this telescope is designed to simplify this problem. The scope is equipped with a StarPointer finder scope. This will make your life so much easier. With the addition of the innovative finder scope, you’ll easily be able to find those objects that you’re looking for. Perfect alignment and accuracy will be much easier to achieve thanks to this feature.
The Celestron NexStar 127SLT Mak is great, but not perfect. You’re going to be required to buy AA batteries frequently. That can make this telescope a little more expensive to operate over a period of time. Still, it is definitely worth the low cost.
4. Orion 110016 StarBlast 6 Astro Reflector Telescope
There are plenty of great telescopes out there. However, some of them are best for on the go usage. If you want a more stable and permanent telescope, you’ll want to check out the Orion 10016 StarBlast. This scope isn’t overly expensive and it is very stable. It can be mounted to plenty of surfaces. The scope weighs just 23.5 pounds. Therefore, you won’t have any trouble finding a place to install it. If you want to use it on the go, you might need to buy a good tripod. Nevertheless, this telescope is still a good investment for the low price. In fact, it could easily be one of the best telescopes under 500.
- A fun, capable, and simple point-and-view tabletop reflector telescope popular among both beginners and seasoned astronomers thanks to its ease of use and versatile performance
- Substantial 6" aperture reflector optics reveal good detail on the planets and Moon, as well as bright deep-sky objects such as nebulas, galaxies, and star clusters
- Compact tabletop design gives the StarBlast 6 reflector great grab-and-go portability - weighs just 23.5 lbs.
- Very sturdy
- Lightweight and easy to move
- 300x magnification is good for most
- Provides good details of moons and planets
- Great for beginners and experts
- Won’t break the bank
- Awkward to move around
Again, this scope weighs just 23.5 pounds. That makes it slightly lighter than many of the alternatives. When you’re ready to go, you won’t have any troubles trying to get it from one location to the next. The shape of the scope makes it a little awkward to move around, but it won’t be too bad. In fact, you won’t break a sweat when moving this telescope around.
Despite being so affordable, this scope is still capable of delivering great magnification. In fact, it offers 300x magnification. While this might not be enough for everyone, it should prove satisfactory for most astronomers. In fact, this should be plenty for hobbyists. As long as you know what you’re doing and you find a good location, you should be able to spot those stars with this telescope.
While the Orion 10016 Telescope won’t be right for everyone, it will make a great investment for most. After all, it is affordable, lightweight and surprisingly powerful for the cost. That makes it well worth checking out in greater depth.
5. Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST
Are you looking for an outstanding telescope that won’t break the bank? If so, you’ll owe it to yourself to check out the Orion 09007 Telescope. This scope offers a wealth of features and it’ll be sure to satisfy pretty much everyone. It is affordable enough to be a great investment for most astronomers. The scope is equipped with a very tough stand. You can guarantee that the stand is going to keep the telescope upright at all times. It works great and won’t break easily. This is just one of the main things that make this telescope a good investment.
- This 5.1 inch aperture reflector telescope gathers an ample amount of light for great views of the planets and Moon, as well as brighter galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters
- Short 24 inch long optical tube design for easy portability and fast f/5 focal ratio for pleasing wide-field performance makes the SpaceProbe 130ST EQ a very versatile telescope the whole family can enjoy
- Sturdy EQ-2 equatorial telescope mount and adjustable tripod allows manual slow-motion tracking of celestial objects as they appear to migrate across the night sky , Counterweight bar length - 8 inches
- Very durable
- Stand keeps the telescope steady at all times
- Comes with tons of accessories
- Very affordable
- Allows for slow-motion tracking
- Weighs just 27 pounds for easier portability
- Mount needs some improvements
You’ll be happy to know that this scope comes with an abundance of accessories. For instance, it includes a pinion focuser, tripod accessory tray, Starry Night astronomy software, and a collimation cap. With this combination, you shouldn’t have to worry about buying anything else in the near future. It also makes this telescope a great overall deal.
Slow Motion Tracking
Another great thing about this telescope is that it offers slow-motion tracking of objects in the sky. The telescope is mountable and adjustable. When you’re using it, you’ll have little to no trouble tracking stars or meteors. You’ll be able to follow them from point A to point B very easily.
Easy To Transport
You should also know that some telescopes are difficult to transport. This will not be an issue with the Orion. This telescope weighs just 27 pounds. Even if you’re weaker than the average individual, you’ll have no trouble moving it from one location to the next.
All in all, this Orion Telescope is pretty good. It does have a minor flaw, but this shouldn’t be considered a deal breaker. Thanks to the low price, it is really hard to lose with this telescope.