Best Telescope Accessories of 2017

When you first purchase a telescope, it usually comes with standard optics that don’t immediately require additional optics right off the bat. Compared to cameras, which are regularly updated along with a specific line, telescope manufacturers take greater time to produce new models with different features and capabilities. Particular models will have the same manufacturer, they don’t operate along a particular “line” of products like cameras, binoculars, or other optics do.

All telescopes are made to see the stars, but some have limits as to how far and what they can see. Any two telescopes will differ on power and quality of view based on the size and quality of their optics.  However, if you take a good look at two or more telescopes, you’ll probably notice that most have similar mounts, tripods, viewfinders, and so on.

Here are examples of telescope accessories we think you should be familiar with in the case that something breaks or needs replacing.

Eyepieces

Eyepieces are going to be your primary investment. They will determine what you can and cannot see and what the quality of the object will be. Eyepieces can range anywhere from as small as 2.5 mm to greater than 60mm. We know you’ll have a multitude of options to choose from when it comes to eyepieces, and that is why we’ve determined the best eyepieces for amateur astronomers. One thing to be cautious of however is whether or eyepiece is interchangeable across different manufacturers. Most eyepieces are diverse, but there are some made specifically for a particular brand.

Below are eyepieces renowned for their quality and the views they provide for their users:

Celestron 8 to 24mm 1.25 Zoom EyepieceCelestron Lens

It’s no surprise that Celestron tops our list once again. Celestron manufactures some accessories to compliment their already widely popular telescopes. Celestron’s 1.25-inch eyepiece is one such accessory that users have widely applauded. What’s great about this eyepiece that it is compatible with telescopes that accept a 1.25-inch eyepiece, so you don’t have to worry about buying from any specific brand. With a field of view (FOV) of 40-60 degrees, you’ll get crisp images of our moon and even deep sky objects.

  • Those who wear glasses will have no problem with this eyepiece. It has a folding eyecup which allows people with glasses to lean in close.

Meade Instruments Series 4000 8 to 24-Millimeter 1.25-Inch Zoom Eyepiece

Meade’s version of the 1.25-inch eyepiece is not too dissimilar from Celestron. Apart from a slight price difference, Meade offers a similar, high-quality eyepiece compatible with telescopes that can sport 1.25-inch eyepieces. For quick and easy zooming, Meade is your maker when it comes above average atmospheric filtering and image quality.

  • There is a small difference with the Celestron eyepiece in that the 24mm setting offers a 55-degree FOV instead of 60. It’s not the largest distance in the world, but if you’re particular about what you want to see, the Meade eyepiece does offer a slightly smaller FOV than Celestron.

Orion 3.0mm Edge-On Planetary Eyepiece

Of the 1.25-inch eyepieces, Orion’s Edge-On takes the cake for the highest power but with overall stats that make it one of the best in our opinion. Not only will you be able to see objects and planets with its wide FOV, but happy customers have reported being able to see the moons of Jupiter and the individual bands that give it its distinctive look.

  • A 20mm eye relief gives it one of the most comfortable positions for those with glasses.

SVBONY Telescope Lens 0.91″ 23mm Wide Angle 62 Degree Aspheric Eyepiece HD Fully Coated for 1.25″ 31.7mm Astronomic Telescopes

SVBONY is not a well-known optics manufacturer, but in this case, we couldn’t resist placing their 1.25-inch eyepiece on our list. For one, the price is unbeatable. Like Meade and Celestron, it is also compatible with telescopes able to support a 1.25-inch eyepiece.

  • Surprisingly, it sports a 62-degree FOV, slightly larger than both Celestron and Meade. This difference can mean a great deal depending on what you’re looking for, but this can give you a bigger picture of deep space beyond our moon and solar system.

Mounts

Altazimuth mounts are some of the more common mounts you see on telescopes today. They allow you to maneuver your telescope up and down and side to side. The loss of diagonal or full range of motion doesn’t mean you’ll be losing out when it comes to seeing objects. Advances in digital altazimuth technology have allowed users to better track objects as they move across the sky, something that previously wasn’t available to amateur astronomers.

Meade Instruments Coronado AZS MountMeade Mount

Meade has constructed one of the simplest altazimuth mounts on the market. For a reasonable price, the Coronado provides smooth and stable controls for sizable telescopes. Also, it comes with an accessory tray—can’t beat that. Since your focus will be on slow and steady movements, the Coronado employs slow motion control cables that will help prevent sudden or sharp movements.

  • Weighing in at only 7lbs, it is portable and accessible to someone looking to take it beyond their front or backyard.

Orion’s VersaGo II isn’t designed to hold the heaviest of telescopes, but it does the job. A beginner’s or children’s telescope would fit good on this mount; in fact, any telescope less than fifteen pounds is supported by the VersaGo II. Since it is one of the smallest altazimuth mounts on our list, it is also one of the simplest—allowing you to install and remove your telescope with ease.

  • An accessories tray in the middle of the three legs gives you an accessible place to access interchangeable parts and optics.

 Twilight II Heavy-Duty Dual-Head Altazimuth Mount and Tripod

The Twilight II is perhaps the most unusual altazimuth mount because it can carry not one, but two telescopes on each of its primary mounts. In theory, you could use one telescope for normal viewing while the other could be for astrophotography. Although a little pricey, the Twilight II is an excellent investment if you have more than one telescopes with different features.

  • The Twilight II, understandably, is the heaviest of the mounts. Weighing in close to 25lbs, it’s no wonder it’s able to sport two telescopes at once. However, if you do plan to utilize its dual telescope feature, make sure you have a stable and ample power supply nearby because they will draw large amounts of power.

Equatorial mounts are rarer than altazimuth but not entirely uncommon. Two (advanced) telescopes you’ll find them on are the 80mm TwinStar Silver and the Celestron Advanced VX 8″. You’ll also commonly find them in observatories attached to much larger and powerful telescopes and peering out of the domes that house them.

As far as amateur telescopes go, they are less common but provide a more stable system for tracking moving objects according to Earth’s rotation (some pretty advanced stuff!). They are also going to be much more expensive than altazimuth mounts.

Celestron CG-4 German Equatorial Mount and Tripod

The CG-4 tops our list for the best equatorial mount because of its reliability and sturdiness. With equatorial mounts, the key is adjusting to the rotation of Earth, and to do this correctly, they need to be planted firmly on the ground. Celestron’s CG-4 accomplishes its goal of being strong, sturdy, and versatile as to what you can track as the night progresses.

  • A German equatorial mount sports counterweights that are perfect for larger telescopes designed for astrophotography or prolonged exposure in the night sky.Meade German

Meade LX70 German Equatorial Mount

Meade’s LX70 German mount is similar to Celestron’s CG-4 in design, but on the interior, the differences begin to show. Like Meade’s altazimuth mount, the LX70 features slow motion controls for cool control over the telescope. Everything is right where you need it on the mount including the latitude/elevation controls and the accessory tray.

The LX70 is also the priciest equatorial mount on our list, but on the bright side, you can attach it to any telescope twenty pounds or less. It would be a major bummer if it were only applicable to Meade’s telescopes.

  • A steel body and frame ensures that everything is strong enough to survive a journey to an excellent location or an accidental tip over.

Orion 9055 Min-EQ Tabletop Equatorial Telescope Mount

The Min-EQ Tabletop mount is exactly as its name suggests. It’s designed for smaller telescopes weighing less than 7lbs. This equatorial mount is ideal for portability where larger mounts might be too bulky or spacious. Campground and raised platforms will be great locations to place the Min-EQ.

Because equatorial mounts are rare and expensive, the Min-EQ is a bargain when it comes to price. The only problem is you probably won’t be able to mount a full-size Celestron or Meade telescope on it. However, if you do have a lighter telescope in your possession, the stability you will get with the Min-EQ will be unparalleled.

  • Children’s or beginner’s telescopes with less bulk on the primary tube are excellent pieces to fit on the Min-EQ.

Finder Scopes

Finder scopes are a useful addition to a telescope and not meant to be overlooked. Telescopes with motorized or computer tracking systems are rare and expensive, so you’ll usually find yourself using the old point and look method that astronomers have been using for hundreds of years.

Finder scopes usually come in the form of a red dot sight like the ones that appear on firearms. However, these are long lasting and designed to help track far away objects as they move across the sky day or night depending on your telescope’s capabilities. What separates finder scopes from each other is how well it tracks and object and (if it has a red dot sight) if it is easily aligned.

Here are our recommendations for the best finder scopes applicable across different models and brands of telescopes:

Celestron Star Pointer Telescope Finder Scope

Celestron’s star pointer is a fundamental finder scope which has day and night uses thanks to the power provided from its 3V battery. For its size and power, the Star Pointer is easily aligned with any 6-inch or larger telescope.

For a meager price, you’ll get an incredible two-year warranty which is sometimes better than most telescopes that you’ll eventually attach it to. This doesn’t mean you should run wild and tossing it around like a toy, but it will protect the finder scope against most basic accidents or inconsistencies.

Of the finder scopes on our list, the Star Pointer is probably one of the best all-around devices—low price, easy setup, and versatility are all hard to beat.

SVBONY 5×24 Finder Scope

SVBONY’s 5×24 finder scope is a classic design—a throwback to some of the early days of astronomy. This doesn’t detract from its capabilities, however, as the 5×24 has a magnification feature that is unlike most finder scopes.

The 5×24 is designed to give you a level of precision that you just don’t find with other finder scopes. The screws located near the eye port allow for more accurate alignment in combination with its low power magnification. This means that not only will you be almost guaranteed to lock on to an object, but you’ll stay on it and get a proper view.

Due to its versatility and power as a finderscope, the 5×24 may have more success and a more powerful telescope. It’s not pricey, but you wouldn’t put this scope on a children’s telescope that can’t see very far.

Orion 7211 Black 6×30 Right-Angle Correct-Image Finder

Orion’s 6×30 image finder is a lot like SVBONY’s 5×24 in that they both have magnification features, with Orion’s being slightly more powerful. The 6×30 scope is shaped difOrion Image Finderferently than most straight facing scopes in that it is bent upward at the bottom, so you don’t have to squat down to look through a straight one. For those of us that have back problems, we know how much pain that can be!

The 6×30 has a magnifying power of 6x across a 30mm diameter objective as the name suggests. These features are sure to give you a crisp, clean view of your object by way of the 6×30’s tracking and your eyepiece’s viewing power.

Another Orion scope makes our list, this time the more powerful 9×50 CI finder scope. As the most powerful of the scopes on the list, you’ll get one of the most enhanced looks at the object your tracking compared to all other scopes. Like the 6×30 scope, it too is made at a right angle which circumvents hunching and squatting over. Because of its shape, the 9×50 can be ideally used on a Dobsonian telescope, a type of reflector.

As the most expensive of the scopes, you should invest in this scope if you are looking for the best tracking and best imaging possible from your telescope.

Telrad Finder Sight

Telrad’s finder sight is one of the simpler ones on the market, but its high price will leave you wondering what makes it better than the rest of the scopes on our list. This is because the Telrad is preferred by both amateur and professional astronomers who enjoy “star-hopping” or quickly moving from one star/object to the other in quick succession.

If you plan on viewing as many stars and objects as possible, then you’ll want a scope that can easily adjust to quick change of pace. Other scopes will have to be magnified and readjusted depending on how long and how closely you look at an object.

The price compared to other scopes is going to put some people off, but this doesn’t mean that the Telrad isn’t capable of doing everything normal scopes do without the magnification features.

FiltersGosky Filters

A telescope filter is designed to dilute almost every atmospheric anomaly or distortion that might come between you and a celestial object. Some objects are also incredibly bright (like the sun), depending on how close they are and you’ll need a filter to see them.

Gosky Telescope filters set 1.25”

The set of filters that are made by Gosky do just about everything when it comes to filtering out unnecessary light. Sources like street lamps, cities, cars, and aircraft are only some examples of things that could inhibit your ability to see at night. Gosky’s set of filters come in seven different colorations to enable you to see different colored planets, stars, and objects at the utmost quality.

 

TwinStar Silver 80mm iOptron Telescope Review

It may look similar to the NexStar 4 SE, but the iOptron might just be the most user-friendly telescope on your list. Apart from being hands-free in most respects, the 80mm iOptron, in particular, is a similarly advanced telescope with a unique way of looking at the stars. While some astronomers might enjoy the classical method of hand-held maneuvering, the iOptron circumvents the trouble and time this process might take you.

The stars aren’t going anywhere, but nobody wants to take too much time to see them.TwinStar Silver 80mm iOptron Telescope

Mount

The iOptron mount utilizes an equatorial mount, a rare but flexible mounting system. It is different from other mounts, like the altazimuth, in that it accounts for the Earth’s spin. You won’t notice it when you’re standing on solid ground, but our planet rotates on an axis. This rotation provides viewing problems for amateur astronomers who are searching for objects in the sky. No object will always be in the same position twice.

The iOptron’s equatorial mount compensates for this problem and provides a range of viewing anywhere above the horizon. That’s right, anywhere. Most telescopes with altazimuth mounts can only move along the horizontal and vertical axis and take the time to get to their desired position.

A computerized GPS system eliminates the need for manual maneuvering of the telescope. All you have to do is tell the telescope where you want to look (according to its 80,000 object database), and it will move in that direction.

Price

For being very user-friendly while sporting two state-of-the-art systems, the 80mm iOptron is a little less than five-hundred dollars. It’s almost unbelievable to think that you can have this type of telescope, with its ease of assembly, for that price.

Optics

It comes equipped with a 25mm and a 10mm (1.25″ diameter) interchangeable eyepieces for increased or lesser magnification. The iOptron would be nothing without its light gathering power. With a focal length to aperture ratio of (f/5), the iOptron is one of the fastest snapshooters among modern telescopes, ensuring that you receive the best quality view in the shortest amount of time.

Overall

It was difficult for us to find much to slander in the iOptron. While it is almost ready to go right out of the box, its computer systems will take some getting used. It is still a complex machine to operate and requires some careful read through of the instructions.

8 AA batteries power the mount as opposed to a dedicated plug-in source, enabling you to take it beyond the confines of your home. This just means that you will have to gauge the power carefully and always carry spares, lest they die on you right when night falls.

Celestron Advanced VX 8″ EdgeHD Telescope Review

It would be fitting that one of the crown jewels of Celestron’s stock would be the 8″ Advanced VX telescope. This machine tops our list as the most expensive telescope for valid reasons, not the least of which is its power to look deep into space and still capture high-quality moments with its ultra-fast f/ratio. Celestron Advanced VX 8 EdgeHD

Why the steep price?

At nearly two-thousand dollars, it can be hard to reason with someone why you would need this telescope, but Celestron makes a very tempting offer. It may not be marketed as for beginners, but with the proper instruction and focus, anyone can become acquainted with its mechanics.

The Celestron’s optics and systems require an extraordinary amount of power, the equivalent of a car battery. It might be difficult to find a sufficient source of energy (though that’s not to say there are none). Celestron, therefore, offers a bundle that includes a 12-volt power supply. A 12-volt equivalent and an adapter will be needed if you plan to substitute your own.

A 2-year warranty is included on the telescope in the case of any unfortunate accidents. While this telescope is not as large nor as heavy as the LightBridge, its various parts are incredibly intricate and valuable. It probably doesn’t need to be said twice, but you should handle each piece with extreme caution and reference.

Optics

A standard VX comes equipped with a 40mm eyepiece, allowing for 51x magnification, but the highest magnification the VX can go is 480x. This optic grants the VX astrophotography capabilities, but the quality will depend on how far you want to magnify the image.

The eyepieces are also interchangeable with 20mm and 25mm pieces. If you are unsatisfied with what you’re getting from the 40mm, feel free to change it out with a smaller or larger one, but a good idea would be to double check the eyepiece and the telescope are compatible.

Some users have reported the VX is ideal for planetary viewing but is still capable of searching deep space. A 9×50 finder scope comes with your purchase, an excellent tool for tracking even the dimmest of objects in the night sky.

Mount

Like the iOptron, the VX makes use of the extraordinary equatorial mount, allowing for a broader range of movement across the sky when compared to those with altazimuth mounts. Celestron’s version of the equatorial mount is different from the iOptron’s and allows for greater stability and vibration resistance when planted on the ground.

Overall

When you decide to buy the VX, you should also be considering why you’re deciding on this one as opposed to all others.

It may be because you want to get the most out of astrophotography with one of the best optical telescopes on the market. But two-thousand dollars is a deep investment. You want this telescope to last you a long time.

The VX is a worthwhile machine that will satisfy anyone from the beginner to the astro-enthusiast. The trick is to become experienced and knowledgeable about everything the VX offers to maximize its stargazing potential.

Celestron NexStar 4 SE Review

After the 90 GT, we wondered what sort of telescope Celestron would produce next. It would probably be something straight out of the pages of a science fiction book if it were anything more advanced than the 90 GT. Indeed, Celestron seems to be moving in the direction of hands-free telescope movement, in particular with the development of the NexStar 4 SE.

At first glance, it looks like there’s a telephone connecting the telescope to the motorized altazimuth mount and tripod, but this is a next generation object tracking system. Many of the features common across Celestron products also appear in the 4 SE. Celestron NexStar 4 SE

Price

Where you end up purchasing the 4 SE will depend, but one thing that reviewers can’t deny is the unbeatable price. The 4 SE isn’t universally known as an entry-level/beginner telescope, but its hands-free control system makes it pretty easy to use.

The telescope’s small body means its optics can’t see the furthest distances into space, but that doesn’t mean that they sky isn’t full of objects within viewing distances. In addition to purchasing the 4 SE, you receive a 40,000 object database. These objects may not all be visible each night, but each night will yield a different sight.

Features

In addition to the control system, many features such as SkyAlign allow the user to line up three, bright celestial objects in the sky for viewing. The StarPointer finder scope will help you lock on and stay in view of whatever object(s) you want to track.

A new feature that the 4 SE sports is the StarBright XLT system. We mentioned that the 4 SE’s size limits its viewing range. To complement this, the StarBright system maximizes light transmitted from objects to the telescope. A 102mm aperture is the stock opening for light to travel through. This is such a small opening that you can understand why the StarBright system would need to be utilized.

You can also engage in light astrophotography with the 4 SE. It is not a dedicated astrophotography telescope. The pictures you take and what you’ll be able to view will be limited.

Assembly

If you’re looking at purchasing this telescope after handing your Vixen Space Eye off to your kids, you’re in the right direction. Most 4 SE users have raved about the telescopes portability and weight, making it easy to transport beyond the confines of your home and the surrounding area. Don’t get too over-confident, however, just like the 90 GT, it is quickly moved and if not rooted properly, can tip over with not too much force.

Overall

For the price, the 4 SE comes equipped with a majority of the features that appear individually in other telescopes. Don’t forget about its small but worthwhile ability to engage in astrophotography. It’s no surprise that the 4 SE is one of the best all around telescopes out there.

A major gripe is going to be the viewing range, but that shouldn’t limit your search for new objects in each night sky. With the 40,000 object database courtesy of Celestron, who knows what you will find in the last frontier!

Meade Instruments LightBridge 12-Inch Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope Review

You haven’t seen any telescope until you see the LightBridge 12-Inch Truss Tube. At first glance, one might think this telescope belongs out in the desert with a giant radar dish attached to it. For what it’s worth, the LightBridge is unlike any telescope on our list. The price is steep, and not meant for amateurs or beginners. Professional astronomers or stargazers with deep pockets will take one look at the LightBridge and say, “mine.”Meade Instruments LightBridge 12-Inch Truss Tube Dobsonian Telescope

Parts and Assembly

At about one-thousand dollars, the LightBridge is no toy to be handled lightly. It will most likely be delivered in two different shipments, due to its size. The LightBridge sports a 12-inch aperture, for which it is named, as there are similar LightBridge’s with larger and smaller aperture.

The first thing that will catch your eye about the LightBridge is its design, called a Dobsonian truss tube and named after John Dobson, the man who championed their design. What’s the difference between a truss tube and a conventional telescope mounted on a tripod? The difference is the light gathering power and the sophisticated optics which provide the bulk of the cost of the telescope.

The LightBridge, while still capable of viewing objects that others can do with ease, is a far ranging step above standard telescopes because of its focus on light gathering.

Power

This telescope’s primary requires lots of power to operate and magnify, hence why it even has a cooling fan at the base. If you’re planning on bringing this telescope with you beyond the confines of your home, be sure to bring an adequate power supply because the LightBride has unmatched light gathering potential.

As with all telescopes, the ability to see far away objects depends on your telescope’s ability to gather light. The LightBride’s 12-inch aperture has a 1524mm focal length, among the largest of amateur telescopes available for purchase.

Handling

The LightBridge is going to be the most complicated telescope to maneuver on our list. Apart from weighing in, when fully assembled, at close to forty pounds, it is still mounted on an altazimuth axis. This mount allows for movement on the vertical and horizontal axis, but only by hand. It does come with a red dot finder located near the eyepiece to help you in your search for objects.

However, many customers have praised the LightBridge’s portability, with many loading it into the back of their cars (it folds nicely) and taking it away from centers of light pollution. For being a giant telescope worth nearly a grand, Meade Instruments took the time to ensure that the LightBridge would be fully accessible.

Overall

One question you’ll be asking yourself, is the LightBridge worth the nearly thousand dollars required to obtain it? As we mentioned before, this is no beginner’s telescope that comes after the Vixen Space Eye. If you have a deep pocket, the LightBridge is an ideal and portable telescope whose range extends far beyond most the telescopes on our list.

Keep in mind that range and quality of view do not always match up well with each other on standard telescopes. However, the LightBridge is engineered to amplify range and quality to their utmost capacity with some of the most powerful optics available to amateurs stargazers.

Orion StarBlast 4.5 Telescope Review

If you’re feeling bold, then perhaps you are willing to take the leap straight from the Vixen Space Eye to the StarBlast 4.5. This telescope is widely considered to be excellent entry-level telescope after a children’s. Apart from its name, which gives some credit to its capabilities, the StarBlast is manufactured by Orion Telescopes and Binoculars, who specialize in making high-tech viewing equipment.

Most users have reviewed the StarBlast positively by saying how easy it was to set up, and how quickly they were able to start stargazing.

What’s the difference between the StarBlast and similar user-friendly telescopes?

Range and View

The StarBlast is a reflector telescope, featuring a wide body and a small aperture over a sixty-six-degree angle.

What does that mean?

The telescope will be able to include more objects in its field (and more for you to view) while still retaining the power to see things so far away it’s almost unbelievable. Sure, we may see the various planets in our solar system and glimpse stars and nebulas outside of it, but what about the Andromeda galaxy, our closest neighbor?

That’s right, the StarBlast has the jaw-dropping power to see objects outside our galaxy, and it can be yours for under two-hundred dollars.

Optics

The power to see those objects requires incredibly intricate and advanced optics, hence the hefty price. However, the quality of such views and the pictures you take will be unmatched by almost any telescope in this price range.  Two eyepieces come with the telescope—a 15mm and a 6mm and a maximum magnification of being 75 times the original setting when using the 6mm eyepiece.

Handling

The StarBlast weighs more than the other telescopes we’ve reviewed—close to twenty pounds. It isn’t too difficult to move if you’re a burly adult or teenager. However, the size of the tripod and the large body of the StarBlast are not to be underestimated when children are near. While it may be an easy telescope to use, it’s handling is another criteria altogether.

The EQ-1 mount introduces slow-motion controls to the telescope market, making the tracking of celestial objects easier without the need of advanced computer systems that raise the price of more sophisticated telescopes.

Overall

We found it incredibly difficult to find bad things to say about this extraordinary telescope. There’s no doubt that the optics are extremely delicate, so you have to be careful during the initial assembly. The opportunity to view objects outside our solar system is well worth the couple hundred required to obtain the StarBlast.

Meade Instruments Infinity AZ Telescope Review

What? How did a product not made by Celestron make our best telescopes list? The reasons will vary, but the factor that concerns most buyers of telescopes is the price. Meade Instruments manufactures the Infinity AZ, and for the price, we know you’ll be pleased with what you get.

The Infinity AZ is a 70mm telescope, identifiable by its long barrel. Like the 90 GT, this body allows the telescope to see deeper into space than most. The ability to see deep into space for such a minuscule price is hardly a deal to pass up. The further the view range, the more magical the wonders of space become. Meade instruments infinity AZ

What do you get?

We are easily enticed by the low price of the Infinity AZ, but what exactly do you get? The 70mm scope allows for an excellent view range of space compared to the smaller or larger apertures. It rotates along an altazimuth mount, allowing generous freedom of movement.

Is the price the only difference maker? The answer is no. Unlike most telescopes that are made for or are primarily used at night, the Infinity AZ can be used during the daytime for activities such as birdwatching.

The telescope utilizes what’s called a rack and pinion focuser. Many refractor telescopes share this mechanism of focusing. However, it is prone to wear and tear due to the gears involved. Users should keep watch on the body of the Infinity AZ if they use it regularly.

Eyepieces and Viewfinders

The Infinity AZ, when purchased, comes with three interchangeable eyepieces and two lenses that allow you to adjust the magnification. Some customers have reported seeing as far as Jupiter and its various moons.

With careful calibration of the telescopes knobs, you can adjust the quality of your view. A red dot viewfinder also comes in the assembly, canceling out the chronic problem of “skipping” when trying to track an object in the night sky.

Overall

The Infinity AZ is not the most powerful telescope out there, but it gets the job done. Many reviewers have identified it as an excellent entry-level telescope after the Vixen Space Eye. It’s variable optics will allow for different magnification and power settings.

The price is important to take into account when looking for an upgraded telescope. You can count on the fact that you will never run out of things to look for.

Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Review

Astrophotography is exactly how the name sounds—taking pictures of the great unknown. However, astrophotography requires a different type of telescope altogether. The NexStar 130 SLT is built by the same company, Celestron, that makes the AstroMaster 114 EQ, also a great telescope. There are fundamental differences that come with the 130 SLT, specifically the optics that are involved for the telescope to specialize in astrophotography.

It is not uncommon to see people modify their typical telescopes to be astrophotography capable. However, this process can be very risky if you don’t know what you’re doing. That is why the 130 SLT, being dedicated to astrophotography, will be the best choice for you to avoid all the risks of modding. NexStar 130 SLT

Differences with Normal Telescopes

To start, the 130 SLT is computerized, unlike most telescopes that you can simply look through with no questions asked. SInce the 130 SLT is a dedicated astrophotographer, the computer systems, and the photography software can be a little tricky to operate. Most customers have found issue with errors that usually stem from a mix-up in the process of setting the telescope up to take pictures.

You can count on the 130 SLT being more delicate and sensitive to sudden movements than most telescopes. You might have the perfect picture of a celestial object lined up, and then lose the entire focus because of vibration or disturbance. Be careful around it and its computer hardware!

Aperture

The 130 SLT packs a large 130mm aperture, giving it the ability to collect light on a broad scale, which is perfect for astrophotography. If you are unfamiliar with aperture, here’s a quick rundown:

  • Smaller the Aperture (big numbers)— The less light enters the lens, but you will get more precise and sharper photos.
  • Bigger the aperture (small numbers)— The more light enters the lens, allowing for better depth of field and more light gathering from distant objects.

It can be quite confusing to remember the inverse details of aperture, but it’s important just to practice and test the limits of the 130 SLT. The telescope also sports a feature called SkyAlign, enabling you to align and focus on up to three bright objects in the sky. There are innumerable numbers of stars and objects giving off an extraordinary amount of light, so don’t feel limited!

Mount

The 130 SLT comes equipped with a motorized Altazimuth mount. This makes it easier to track objects as they move across the sky instead of using your hands. The real difference maker is the brightness of the object you are looking at. If you are trying to look at a far away planet or object, there’s a good chance it might not generate enough light for the telescope to see.

Similar to the accessories of the AstroMaster, Celestron provides you with a 4,000 object database to scour the sky for. Having the database is one thing, but the night sky is never the same as the evening before, so be on the lookout for new objects that appear each night!

Overall

The 130 SLT will be one of the more tricky telescopes to handle given its purpose, but that doesn’t mean it’s unfriendly to beginners. It will cost you a couple of hundred bucks, but you have to put that into perspective. You’ll be receiving one of the best astrophotography telescopes out there with some different features included.

With all the various tools and programs included, rest assured that you’ll be taking and saving pictures of the stars and planets in no time.

Celestron COSMOS 90GT Review

We all know that telescopes are some of the most advanced and intricate pieces of technology in the modern age. But have you considered a telescope that you can control…from an app on your smartphone? Celestron continues to amaze us with new and innovative products, this time with the COSMOS 90 GT.

You’ll be able to differentiate the 90 GT from other, powerful Celestron products by its longer, tubular body. You’ll also notice that there is no place to properly grip the telescope. The 90 GT is a completely hands-free telescope, except for the controls you make on the smartphone/tablet app. Celestron COSMOS 90GT

Apps and WiFi

Unlike most telescopes, this one is perhaps the best to be controlled within the vicinity of your home, assuming you have WiFi close by. The COSMOS Celestron Navigator app is free to download for iPhone, iPad, and Android smart devices.

This telescope seems like it’s a product of the next generation and more in tune with the larger, more advanced telescopes used by research institutions. Why bother fiddling with your hands when an app, database, and controls are all on your smart device?

A drawback to this telescope is that it can only be controlled through a WiFi connection to its associated apps. If you’re out in the wilderness hoping to use this telescope, the only solution would be to use your smart device as a mobile hotspot. Regardless, the 90 GT is a preferred stay-at-home telescope.

Tripod

One aspect of the 90 GT that can be difficult to adapt to is the stabilization of the tripod. Many users have reported problems with their view because the tripod’s legs are always displaced and at different levels. You will find the process of using this telescope harder than usual if you live near inconsistent terrain. Even streets can be uneven with cement being bumpy and rough.

You may have to innovate to get the tripod on solid and sturdy ground. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem if you have a mobile, flat surface for the tripod to stand on. A side walk will also make a good substitute.

Accessories

Like most Celestron products, the 90 GT comes with at StarPointer finderscope, always a handy addition for anyone who has trouble tracking objects with just their hands. The COSMOS Navigator App that controls the telescope will be immensely useful in finding stars and identifying constellations.

The 90 GT is perhaps the best in its class at generating fine views of planets. While planets do not produce nearly as much light as stars, the 90 GT makes up for this by employing a 90mm refracting lens. It also comes equipped with two differing size eyepieces (20mm and 10mm) for different magnifications, depending on how far you want to look up into the sky.

Overall

The 90 GT is a fantastic and outrageously advanced telescoped to be able to be controlled by your smartphone. The telescope will automatically adjust to the commands given to it and with the correct placement of the legs, give you quality viewing.

While some may find its requirement of WiFi to be problematic, the 90 GT will compensate you by giving you some of the best views of the planets in our solar system. Perhaps you’re interested to see what the long fabled rings of Jupiter look like?

The COSMOS 90 GT can help you with that.

Vixen Space Eye Telescope Review

So your kids have been crying and pulling your clothes begging for you to get them a telescope. The question is, can you trust your children to handle such a delicate, intricate piece of equipment? Maybe they want to be astronauts or astronomers one day, and there is a telescope perfect to suit their unquenchable thirst to explore.

The Vixen Space Eye is an excellent family-friendly telescope that has brought people of all ages together through its power to make the distant stars light up in its lenses. Let’s explore how the Space Eye has earned its reputation. Vexin Space Eye

Assembly and Parts

One of the reasons behind the Vixen’s family-friendly nature is its weight. At a comfortable scale of 6 pounds (minus the tripod), the Space Eye is the lightest telescope on the market. This makes it easier for younger children to carry it around without close adult supervision. Nevertheless, you’ll want to be careful considering the telescope and its optics are still pricey.

Be careful, however—just because the telescope is light doesn’t mean it isn’t easy to tip over by accident if bumped or hit.

Eyepiece

The Space Eye is constructed with a single 50mm eyepiece which makes it suitable for entry point magnification. It also comes equipped with a slow motion 5×20 finder scope for an easier time tracking objects as they move across the sky. People with telescopes that are not equipped with finder scopes might experience their object “skipping” as they view it.

This is a refracting telescope, which according to our guide, means that it makes use of a primary lens as its objective. The maximum magnification of the Space Eye is 100x the original. This gives it a noticeable punch to its viewing power but not on the level of the Astromaster, the next step up.

The Space Eye can come equipped with a 51x magnification and additional 70mm, 20mm, and 4mmm eyepieces depending on the customer. You are likely to pay extra for these modifications.

Mount

To be able to look up into the night sky in the first place requires a particular type of mount. The Space Eye makes use of an altazimuth (alt-azimuth) mount that allows it to objects on the vertical and horizontal axis.

Overall

Prices vary on the Space Eye, but one thing you can count on with this telescope is reliability. It doesn’t have the most powerful optics in the world, but it will give you a good first impression of the stars. For its unbeatable low price, the Space Eye is fun for not just one user, but the entire family.