The wonders of the night sky have fascinated humans for centuries. Today, telescopes bring these wonders closer, allowing us to explore the cosmos from our backyards. With numerous options available, choosing the right telescope can be daunting. In this guide, we will explore the best telescopes for 2021, helping you find the perfect instrument for your stargazing adventures.

Understanding Telescope Types

Before diving into our top picks, it’s important to understand the different types of telescopes. Each type has its advantages and is suited for specific uses.

Refractor Telescopes

Refractor telescopes use lenses to gather and focus light. They are known for their excellent image quality and low maintenance. These telescopes are ideal for viewing planets and the moon.

Reflector Telescopes

Reflector telescopes use mirrors to collect and focus light. They are often larger than refractors and are excellent for deep-sky observing. Reflectors are typically more affordable than refractors of the same aperture.

Catadioptric Telescopes

Catadioptric telescopes combine lenses and mirrors to offer the best of both worlds. They are compact and versatile, making them great for both planetary and deep-sky observations. These telescopes are often more expensive but provide excellent image quality.

Top Telescopes for 2021

1. Celestron NexStar 8SE

The Celestron NexStar 8SE is a popular choice among amateur astronomers. It offers a great balance of performance, features, and affordability.

  • Aperture: 203mm (8 inches) – The large aperture allows for detailed views of planets, the moon, and deep-sky objects.
  • Focal Length: 2032mm – Provides a good balance between magnification and field of view.
  • Mount: Computerized Alt-Azimuth – The GoTo mount makes it easy to locate and track celestial objects.
  • Portability: Despite its large aperture, the 8SE is relatively portable and easy to set up.

2. Orion SkyQuest XT8

The Orion SkyQuest XT8 is a classic Dobsonian reflector telescope. It is known for its simplicity, large aperture, and excellent value.

  • Aperture: 203mm (8 inches) – Similar to the NexStar 8SE, it provides stunning views of various celestial objects.
  • Focal Length: 1200mm – Offers a wide field of view, ideal for deep-sky observations.
  • Mount: Dobsonian – Simple and stable, perfect for beginners.
  • Ease of Use: The XT8 is easy to set up and use, making it a great choice for novice astronomers.

3. Meade Instruments ETX90 Observer

The Meade ETX90 Observer is a compact and versatile catadioptric telescope. It is perfect for both beginners and experienced astronomers.

  • Aperture: 90mm – While smaller than the previous models, it still provides clear and crisp images.
  • Focal Length: 1250mm – Offers a higher magnification, ideal for lunar and planetary observations.
  • Mount: Computerized Alt-Azimuth – The GoTo mount simplifies object location and tracking.
  • Portability: The ETX90 is highly portable, making it a great travel companion.

4. Sky-Watcher ProED 80mm Doublet APO Refractor

The Sky-Watcher ProED 80mm is a high-quality apochromatic refractor. It is well-suited for astrophotography and visual observations.

  • Aperture: 80mm – Provides sharp and color-free images of celestial objects.
  • Focal Length: 600mm – Offers a wide field of view, perfect for wide-field astrophotography.
  • Optics: ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) glass – Ensures high contrast and minimal chromatic aberration.
  • Mount Compatibility: Compatible with various mounts, providing flexibility for different observing and imaging setups.

5. Celestron NexStar 4SE

The Celestron NexStar 4SE is a smaller, more affordable version of the 8SE. It is ideal for beginners looking for a computerized telescope.

  • Aperture: 102mm (4 inches) – Offers decent views of planets, the moon, and some deep-sky objects.
  • Focal Length: 1325mm – Provides good magnification for detailed observations.
  • Mount: Computerized Alt-Azimuth – The GoTo mount simplifies finding and tracking objects.
  • Portability: The 4SE is lightweight and portable, making it easy to transport and set up.

6. Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector

The Orion StarBlast 4.5 is a compact and affordable reflector telescope. It is perfect for beginners and young astronomers.

  • Aperture: 114mm (4.5 inches) – Provides good light-gathering ability for its size.
  • Focal Length: 450mm – Offers a wide field of view, ideal for scanning the night sky.
  • Mount: Alt-Azimuth – Simple and intuitive, perfect for beginners.
  • Portability: The StarBlast 4.5 is highly portable, making it a great choice for backyard astronomy.

7. Zhumell Z8 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector

The Zhumell Z8 is a high-quality Dobsonian telescope that offers excellent value for money. It is ideal for serious amateur astronomers.

  • Aperture: 203mm (8 inches) – Similar to the XT8, it provides stunning views of various celestial objects.
  • Focal Length: 1200mm – Offers a wide field of view, ideal for deep-sky observations.
  • Mount: Dobsonian – Simple and stable, perfect for beginners and experienced astronomers.
  • Ease of Use: The Z8 is easy to set up and use, making it a great choice for novice and seasoned astronomers alike.

Key Features to Consider When Choosing a Telescope

Aperture

The aperture is the diameter of the telescope’s main lens or mirror. It determines the amount of light the telescope can gather, affecting the brightness and clarity of the image. Larger apertures provide better views of faint objects but may be less portable.

Focal Length

The focal length is the distance between the telescope’s main lens or mirror and the point where the image is formed. It affects the magnification and field of view. Longer focal lengths provide higher magnification, while shorter focal lengths offer wider fields of view.

Mount Type

The mount type determines how the telescope is supported and moved. There are three main types:

  • Alt-Azimuth: Simple and intuitive, suitable for beginners.
  • Equatorial: Designed for tracking celestial objects, ideal for astrophotography.
  • Dobsonian: A type of alt-azimuth mount, known for its stability and simplicity, perfect for large reflector telescopes.

Portability

Portability is important if you plan to travel with your telescope or move it frequently. Smaller, lighter telescopes are easier to transport but may have smaller apertures.

Ease of Use

Consider how easy the telescope is to set up and use. Computerized telescopes with GoTo mounts can automatically locate and track objects, making them ideal for beginners. Manual telescopes may require more effort but offer a more hands-on experience.

Accessories

Accessories can enhance your observing experience. Look for telescopes that include essential accessories such as eyepieces, finderscopes, and tripods. Additional accessories like Barlow lenses and star charts can also be useful.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Telescope

1. Start with the Moon and Planets

Begin your stargazing journey by observing the moon and planets. They are bright and easy to find, providing a good starting point for learning how to use your telescope.

2. Use Low Magnification

Start with a low magnification eyepiece to locate objects and get a wide field of view. Once you have the object centered, switch to a higher magnification eyepiece for a closer look.

3. Invest in a Star Chart

A star chart or smartphone app can help you navigate the night sky and find interesting objects to observe. They are invaluable tools for amateur astronomers.

4. Join an Astronomy Club

Joining an astronomy club can provide valuable guidance and support. You can learn from experienced astronomers, participate in observing sessions, and gain access to telescopes and equipment.

5. Be Patient and Persistent

Stargazing requires patience and practice. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t see everything right away. With time and persistence, you’ll become more proficient at using your telescope and locating celestial objects.

Conclusion

Choosing the best telescope for 2021 depends on your individual needs and preferences. The Celestron NexStar 8SE, Orion SkyQuest XT8, Meade ETX90 Observer, Sky-Watcher ProED 80mm, Celestron NexStar 4SE, Orion StarBlast 4.5, and Zhumell Z8 are all excellent options that offer a range of features and capabilities.

By understanding the key features and benefits of each telescope, you can make an informed decision that suits your stargazing goals. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced astronomer, these telescopes provide a perfect balance of performance, features, and affordability.

Clear skies and happy stargazing!

By Tips Clear

Meet Thiruvenkatam, a professional blogger. With a keen interest in diverse subjects spanning technology, business, lifestyle, and more, He brings a unique perspective and wealth of knowledge to our platform. Drawing from years of experience and a passion for sharing insights, his articles and blog posts offer readers engaging and informative content that enriches their understanding and enhances their lives. Explore the world through his eyes and discover the depth of expertise they bring to our multi-author website

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