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The Best Affordable Telescope For Amateur and Beginner Stargazers

You don't have to spend your savings to admire the celestials.


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Stargazing has emerged as a lockdown hobby. Whether you’re searching for Saturn’s rings, a meteor shower, or just browsing the stars, having the best affordable telescope makes navigating the night sky a cinch.

Types of Affordable Telescopes

This list is comprised of two types of telescopes: reflector telescopes and refractor telescopes. These are more affordable than other types of telescopes, but still offer endless features.

  • A reflecting telescope uses a single or a combination of curved mirrors that reflect light and form an image that you see from the scope. This type of telescope is a favorite to most astronomers due to its simplistic mechanisms and accurate results.
  • A refractor telescope uses two lenses to focus on light. These lenses are ‘convex’ shaped, which makes the object you’re focusing on appear closer to you than it is in reality. These are most suitable for viewing planets.

Meade Infinity 70mm f/10 Alt-Azimuth Refractor Telescope

$99.00, BHPhotoVideo

Why we like it:

  • Aperture: 70mm
  • 700mm Focal Length, f/10 Focal Ratio
  • 1.25″ Rack-and-Pinion Focuser
  • Manual Alt-Azimuth Mount

The Infinity 70mm f/10 Alt-Azimuth Refractor Telescope from Meade was created for amateur stargazers and explorers. Coming as a full kit, this is all you need to see the moon, planets and meteor showers. Manually tilt the alt-azimuth mount and lock into place, or use the slow-motion controls when tracking particular objects. The two eye-pieces allow you to magnify at 27x and 78x, with a 2x Barlow lens which also doubles the magnification.

Celestron ExploraScope 60AZ 60mm f/12 Alt-Az Refractor Telescope

$79.95, BHPhotoVideo

Why we like it:

  • 60mm Refractor-Style OTA
  • Focal Length: 700mm, f/12 Focal Ratio
  • Anti-Reflection Fully Coated Optics
  • 1.25″ Rack-and-Pinion Focuser

The Celestron ExploraScope 60AZ 60mm f/12 Alt-Az Refractor Telescope is ready to go from the box, combatting the common problem of light loss and blurry images by using fully-coated with anti-reflection coatings.

One reviewer wrote: “This super light weight, easy to use telescope is perfect for the casual night sky observer. It’s powerful enough to see Jupiter and some of its moons, as well as the rings of Saturn. The star finder scope is easy to align it comes with everything you need to get started.”

Cassini – 800mm x 80mm Reflector Telescope with Smartphone Adapter – White

$109.95, BestBuy

Why we like it:

  • 800mm focal length; f/10 focal ratio
  • Mars-Eye Electronic Red Dot Finder
  • 40x, 133x power magnification

Connect the Cassini SS-C80 800mm x 80mm Astronomical Telescope to your smartphone with the adapter, allowing you to film and take photos of your findings. Your phone can also assist you in navigating your way to discovering celestial objects. Also coming with an altitude azimuth yoke mount, you have full control using the slow-motion adjustment rod.

National Geographic CF700SM Telescope with Phone Adapter

$100.79, $179.99, Kohl’s

Why we like it:

  • Carbon Fiber designed, slow motion mount telescope
  • Red dot viewfinder
  • Wide field eyepiece
  • Slow motion Alt-azimuth

Designed with a carbon fiber appearance and featuring a slow-motion mount, this telescope is the perfect welcome to astronomy. For this price, this telescope goes above and beyond with technology, you can connect your smartphone for photography, and use the red dot viewfinder so you can direct your scope accurately. The wide-field eyepiece allows a more visible and highest quality image of the stars or planets.

Orion SpaceProbe II 76mm Altazimuth Reflector Telescope

$79.99, Walmart

Why we like it:

  • 76mm (3″) aperture reflector telescope
  • Stable altazimuth mount and tripod
  • Included 25mm and 10mm Kellner eyepieces provide 28x and 70x magnification options
  • Includes two 1.25″ telescope eyepieces, red-dot reflex sight, 1.25″ rack and pinion focuser, and MoonMap 260

This entry-level telescope is an opening for fans of astronomy to take their practice further. Stargazing can be done just about anywhere, as this lightweight and simplistic telescope is easy to move about.

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