Beginner Telescopes Guide

The BEST astronomy telescopes for beginners. 

Your first astronomy telescope is arguably the most important because, if the views it provides do not amaze and delight, your interest in astronomy will crash and burn on the runway! We don't want that so have created this category and populated it with our favourite beginner astronomy telescopes. 

Before choosing your first telescope, think about what most interests you. 

If you want an easy to use large aperture telescope for visual astronomy (not astro-photography) then a Newtonian reflector telescope on a Dobsonian mount is best because it provide the largest aperture for your money. Larger apertures collect more light so faint targets are brighter and easier to see. 

If you are most interested in observing the Moon, planets and brighter deep sky objects, then consider a refractor or Maksutov telescope. 

If you want to photograph the night sky then a short / medium focal length refractor telescope on a motorised German Equatorial Mount ('GEM' or 'GEQ') will track the target as it moves across the sky, enabling you to make multiple long exposures. 

Perhaps you wish to control your astronomy mount using a handset, smartphone, tablet or computer. Or instruct it to automatically find a target, centre it in the eyepiece then track it. All this is possible with a computerised GOTO astronomy mount. 

The telescopes shown below are affordable, yet have enough light gathering ability and resolving power for you to view details on the Moon’s surface, see Saturn's rings, Jupiter's cloud belts, and its brightest moons. 

A number of deep-sky targets can also be observed, including famous Messier Objects like the globular cluster in Hercules (M13) and the Great Nebula in Orion (M42). 

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Sky-Watcher Heritage-76

The Sky-Watcher Heritage-76 is our most affordable telescope but don't be put off by it's low price. It is made by one of the biggest names in the business. The 76mm (3") diameter Newtonian optics provide views that are brighter and clearer than the 60mm 'toy' telescopes available in department stores. Introduce your kids to stargazing for only a little more than the cost of a video game!

Sky-watcher Heritage 100p

The Heritage 100p is essentially a smaller, more affordable, version of the hugely popular Sky-Watcher Heritage-130p Flextube. Low maintenance and easy to use so suitable for kids and the compact size makes it an excellent choice for taking on holiday. Don't let the low price put you off, it will easily outperform similarly-priced models found at department stores and camera shops. It requires a sturdy garden table to stand on but has a 3/8" thread in the base so can be fitted to a suitable photo tripod. 

Sky-Watcher Heritage-130p Flextube

Our best-selling Beginner Telescope! The Heritage-130p is easy to use and has the same Parabolic Primary Mirror as the highly acclaimed Explorer-130P so provides wonderful views of the Moon, planets and the brighter Deep-Sky Objects.

The collapsible patented FlexTube system makes it easy to transport and store. 

Celestron Astromaster 80EQ MD

Kids love the Astromaster 80EQ MD because it 'looks' like a telescope (a long tube with a lens at the front, an eyepiece at the rear, mounted on three legs).
It is also features a German Equatorial Mount with slow motion controls and a motor for automatic tracking of targets as they move across the sky. 

Observe Jupiter and a number of it's moons, Saturn and it's rings and the Moon's deep craters and dark flat plains. An excellent introduction to astronomy. 

Sky-Watcher SkyMax-102 AZ Pronto

Easy to use, grab-and-go telescope for visual astronomy and high power daytime terrestrial observations.

The compact but powerful Maksutov Cassegrain telescope is ideal for observing the lunar surface, bright planets, double-stars and other bright deep-sky objects. 

The telescope includes a well engineered, easy to use Alt-Azimuth mount with slow motion cables, on both the horizontal (azimuth) and vertical (altitude) axes.

Ursa Major 8" f/6 Dobsonian

The Ursa Major 8" f/6 is a popular Dobsonian telescope and a good all-rounder. At £339 it is a little expensive for a beginner telescope but for many astronomers it is all the telescope they need!

High quality Newtonian optics provide wonderful views of Mars with surface shading and polar cap. Jupiters weather bands and several Moons, Saturn with its rings (including the Cassini division!) and Venus and its phases. You can also observe many deep sky objects, like M42 / Orion Nebula, star clusters and Galaxies, like M81 and M82. 

Hmm, so what else will I need? 

Useful accessories include a 0.9x 1.25" Moon filter, a Planisphere, a good book and a red light torch. The telescopes are supplied with two eyepieces but at some point you will want more. Most astronomers own three or four eyepieces. We suggest you become familiar with what you have before buying additional eyepieces but are happy to advise if you are in a hurry. You will also need a warm coat, thick socks, and a hat! 

Consider also joining your local astronomy society or an online astronomy forum like Stargazers Lounge

We like to help so if you have questions or are looking for support please Contact Us smiley

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Sky-Watcher Heritage-76 Mini Dobsonian
Sky-Watcher Mercury-707 AZ
Sky-Watcher Heritage-100P
Sky-Watcher Heritage-130P Flextube
Sky-Watcher SkyHawk-1145PS AZ Pronto
Sky-Watcher Evostar-90/660 AZ Pronto
Ursa Major 6'' f/8 Planetary Dobsonian
Sky-Watcher SkyMax-102S AZ Pronto
Ursa Major 8'' f/6 Dobsonian
Bresser Messier 6'' Tabletop Dobsonian
Sky-Watcher Classic 200P Dobsonian
Sky-Watcher StarTravel-102 AZ GTe
StellaLyra 8'' f/6 Dobsonian
Sky-Watcher SkyMax-102 AZ GTi

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