There are many telescopes on the market today. Even limiting your budget to less than $1,000 can leave you with an overwhelming array from which to choose. However, there are a few characteristics that define the best of these scopes. For instance, large apertures, top notch refractor technology, strong optics, portability, and ease of assembly should combine to create a genuinely quality telescope regardless of which model you choose. In addition, they should possess strong reviews from previous buyers. The following scopes all possess these qualities, making them some of your best options if you wish to find the best telescope under $1,000.
Celestron NexStar 6 SE Telescope
Portability, ease of use, and performance define Celestron’s new NexStar 6 SE telescope. This telescope provides more convenience and many of the same features as more expensive telescopes. For instance, the NexStar 6 SE weighs in at only 30 pounds and requires no tools for assembly, making it easy to carry. Once assembled, the NexStar 6 SE is also easy to use. For instance, it possesses a star diagonal that makes it more comfortable to use. In addition, the hand control allows you to input the planet or other object you wish to see. The scope’s design automatically focuses on the planet or other object you request, while the StarPointer technology provides a simple way to align the scope and obtain the clearest possible view. The scope may also be aligned to two or three bright objects in the nighttime sky using its StarFinder features. Portability and ease of use, complements the NexStar’s outstanding performance. A 6-inch aperture provides 44 percent more light gathering capabilities, and a 1500mm lens offers intense viewing precision. StarBright XLT high transmission coatings also improve the scope’s light gathering abilities. In addition, a 40,000 object database gives you the opportunity to understand the sky you are exploring. The result is a top-notch scope for a reasonable price that receives high praise for its reliability and performance.
Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
The SkyQuest telescope from Orion, with its classic Dobsonion reflectors and 10-inch aperture, is characterized by simplicity and optical strength. The scope’s aperture is the largest of Orion’s series, providing light gathering capabilities that outperform its XT6 and XT8 counterparts. Reviewers praise the aperture for providing views of deep-sky objects that would otherwise be invisible to both the naked eye and smaller scopes. The included 25mm eyepiece, as well as a focuser and a finder, allow you to both locate and focus on celestial objects with a fair amount of accuracy and ease. While reviewers tend to find the scope awkward to carry, due to its shape and the position of its carrying handle, they also praise its optics that allow them to view the nighttime sky clearly even before purchasing any additional eyepieces or accessories. The scope is designed simply in order to keep the cost lower. This simplicity includes no computerized elements and two springs at the base that allow the scope to attach and detach within moments. The scope’s simplicity is amplified by a relatively light weight of 30 pounds and a design that keeps the scope balanced and comfortable throughout hours of viewing. The result is a high-performing scope for an appealing price.
Skywatcher 10” Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope
The Skywatcher collapsible Dobsonian scope comes with several aperture sizes. The 10-inch model provides powerful optics in a convenient package for an affordable price. This scope is ideal for amateurs who want to enjoy clear views of the nighttime sky without spending thousands of dollars on complicated scopes. In addition to the large 10-inch aperture, the Skywatcher comes with two different eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), as well as a 1200mm focal length and a 2-inch focuser to amplify its views. The scope’s most distinctive feature, however, is its collapsible tube. The tube is designed to fold into itself in order to make it smaller and easier to transport. Reviewers find this feature to be extremely useful, reporting that it allows the scope to fit inside the trunks of small cars and providing a less awkward way for one person to carry the scope without assistance. Reviewers also praise the Skywatcher for its relative ease of set up, which requires less than an hour and is accompanied by instructions that most find easy to follow. In addition, they report that the scope operates smoothly and provides superb views for an outstanding value.
Skywatcher ProED 100mm Doublet APO Refractor Telescope
The Skywatcher ProED telescope with 100mm doublet and APO refractor earns high praise from reviewers for its views that rival those of scopes with larger apertures. The appeal of this scope is not in the size of its aperture but instead the technology underlying the refractor. The scope is an ED or extra-dispersion scope, which focuses the light differently from other types of scopes, eliminating fuzzy edges around the objects being viewed. The result is that the scope is capable of transmitting more light to your eye even with a smaller aperture, resulting in sharper, clearer views that would otherwise only be possible with a larger scope. Reviewers confirm that the Skywater ProED offers stunning views for its size. Another appealing feature of this scope is its relatively low price. Most scopes that provide the optical capabilities of this one cost significantly more money. In addition to its optical abilities, the Skywatcher ProED provides a number of accessories, including an aluminum carrying tube, two eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), a 2-inch dielectric diagonal, and a 2-inch focuser. The Skywatcher ProED is ideal for amateurs who want to achieve clear views of the nighttime sky within a budget.
Meade Personal Solar Telescope
The personal solar telescope from Meade is a small, relatively inexpensive scope that provides excellent views of the sun. The scope itself comes with a 40mm aperture in a light weight package of about 2 pounds. In addition, the scope itself possesses no moving parts, making it even easier to use and simpler to carry from place to place. Reviewers report enjoying beautiful views of the sun, including prominences and sun spots. While astrophotography is more complicated with this scope, it is possible, with reviewers capturing acceptable photographs of the sun and its activity with this scope. Many reviewers report enjoying views and performance from the scope that exceed their expectations considering its small size. In addition to its performance, the Meade PST comes with a 20mm Kellner eyepiece and can also take any traditional eyepiece you wish to purchase. To make it even easier to use, the Meade PST is threaded to attach to almost any type of tripod, and reviewers also report that the scope is easy to put together with the use of the included instructions. The result is a scope that, for less than $1,000, is a small and powerful way to enjoy views of the sun.