The Best Telescopes for Beginners
Perhaps as long as humankind has existed, we've been fascinated with the night sky. Before Google Maps and GPS, people in ancient times used the stars to help navigate them through the world. People even used the placement of planets and stars in the sky to know when to plant and harvest crops. Constellations were named and stories developed to entertain, teach lessons, and preserve culture and religion. Astrology is used to this day as a way to predict the future, plan auspicious dates for weddings in certain cultures, and more.
Before the invention of telescopes, study and observation of the night sky was limited to the naked eye. Telescopes have been around since the 17th century, and with them even amateur stargazers can get a closer, more detailed look at the heavens above. Whereas for a long time in human history people thought of Earth as the center of the universe, we've since learned this isn't true. Staring up at the stars and planets can make you feel both incredibly small and yet at one with the universe at the same time. While it's certainly possible to do so without the aid of any tools, once you move past this stage we recommend getting a beginner's telescope for a truly enhanced experience that can provide you with a lifetime of wonderment and amazement. With that, we bring you two telescope recommendations to get your celestial journey started.
Most User-Friendly: Celestron NexStar 5 SE Telescope
The Celestron NexStar 5SE Computerized Telescope is our more expensive beginner telescope pick however you end up with a much better view and stargazing experience when you shell out a little more cash. Its 5-inch aperture results in crisp views of planets, the moon, and nebulae. A computerized database with 40,000 objects in its database helps you to locate and track points of interest in the night sky automatically. It comes with a sturdy steel tripod and features a single fork arm design. A computer hand control on the mount's side can be removed to select alignment and manage movements. The auto-alignment and identification features particularly impressed users, resulting in being ready to observe celestial bodies in just a few minutes. If you can't decide what objects to look for, there is a Tour feature where the telescope will actually give you a guided tour of the night sky! You can easily disassemble the telescope and tripod for transportation or storage. No tools are required for setup.
Budget Pick: Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope
The Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope is a budget-friendly pick intended for It features 4.5-inch aperture for clear and detailed views of the solar system, star clusters, nebula, and more. It is best for observing brighter deep sky with lunar and planetary imaging. Due to its compact size and built-in base handle, it also makes for a great portable telescope so you can easily travel with it outside the city for even clearer views away from light pollution. The 17mm Explorer II eyepiece provides medium-power views and the 6 mm Explorer II eyepiece can increase magnification from 26x to 75x, offering an amazing closeup, detailed look at the moon's craters, rings on planets, and more. The telescope easily swivels on its base and you can use the Orion EZ Finder II to aim a red dot at the object you want to see for a rewarding view. Reviewers appreciated the included Starry Night Astronomy software for planning your stargazing session and learning about celestial objects.
Stargazing can provide countless hours of recreation, learning, and wonderment for kids and adults alike. Most of us don't spend much time gazing at the heavens but looking up can give us a whole new perspective on life, meaning, and our place in the universe. Before your first stargazing session, find a good location and check the weather forecast so that you won't be disappointed by clouds. Spend some time perusing an astronomy book to learn about the night sky and set objectives for what you want to see. Finally, choose a beginner-friendly telescope and set your sights high for an unforgettable experience.