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The Best Telescopes Under $500

Finding the best telescopes under $500 can be difficult if you're not sure what you're looking for, that's why OPT is here to help! Like any other hobby, astronomy can seem a little daunting to get into at first. We strive to make it easy and compile lists like 5 best objects to see in deep space for beginners to help you find your individual astronomy need! 

To give you a little background, choosing the best telescopes vary on whether you want to view planets, galaxies, or get into astrophotography, so it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what scope might be best for your specific goals. 

OPT experts have compiled a list of the best picks, check them out below!

Top 10 Telescopes Under $500 

1. Celestron StarSense Explorer 114AZ

best telescopes under 500 - starsense explorer 114az

Tour the night sky with your smartphone and the StarSense Explorer DX 114AZ telescope—no experience required! The StarSense Explorer app calculates your position in real time and guides you with a list of currently visible objects. See planets, brighter nebulae and galaxies, star clusters, and double stars from the city. See faint, deep sky objects from darker skies. Dual-axis slow-motion controls on a manual alt-azimuth mount make it easy to follow arrows in-app to your target. Eyepiece viewing is ready when the app’s bullseye turns green.

    2. Celestron StarSense Explorer 130AZ

    best telescopes under 500 - celestron starsense explorer 130az

    Tour the night sky with your smartphone and the StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ Newtonian reflector telescope—no experience required! The StarSense Explorer app calculates your position in real time and guides you with a list of currently visible objects. See planets, brighter nebulae and galaxies, star clusters, and double stars from the city. See faint, deep sky objects from darker skies.

      3. Celestron NexStar 4SE

       best telescopes under 500 - celestron starsense 4se

      The portable NexStar 4SE is easy to set-up and includes alignment and tracking technologies that allow you to locate celestial objects and navigate the night sky with ease. Versatile enough to be used for both Deep Space and Planetary Astrophotography, it's perfect for beginner astronomers!


         

        4. Celestron NexStar 130SLT 

        best telescopes under 500 - celestron nexstar 130slt

        The Celestron 130SLT comes with a fully equipped NexStar computerized hand control, and pre-assembled tripod to be up and ready to use in minutes! Automatically locate and track 4,000+ objects, including over 600 galaxies, 300 clusters and dozens of beautiful binary stars. View the details of the lunar surface, Saturn's rings, the polar ice caps on Mars, the cloud belts on Jupiter or many other Messier Objects.

         

        5. Sky-Watcher Classic 200P

        best telescopes under 500 - sky-watcher dobsonian

        The Sky-Watcher Classic 200 P Dobsonian telescope has a "paraboloidal" primary mirror to eliminate spherical aberration and a four-arm, secondary- mirror bracket with fine supports (0.5mm thick), to reduce diffraction spikes and light loss. In addition, a 2-inch focuser with a 1.25-inch adapter is included, allowing the use of either eyepiece size. The Tension Control Handle provides user-friendly tension adjustment that can quickly and easily increase or decrease tension between the telescope tube and where it sits on the Dobsonian mount.


           

          6. Meade StarNavigator 90

          best telescopes under 500 - meade starnavigator

          The Star Navigator Next Generation 90 mm (3.54-inch)provides everything a beginner needs to start observing in one place. Those new to astronomy can enjoy an easy pathway to access Go-To capable instruments at an affordable price for years. 

          With the assistance of Meade's AudioStar computerized controller and easy to operate robotic mount, the Next Generation 90 mm can be used to view a wide range of celestial objects. Toggle between the two eyepiece sizes included with this telescope to hone in on specific targets and goals, and use the AudioStar to take a guided tour of the night sky. 

           

          7. Celestron AstroMaster 130 EQ w/ Motor Drive

          best telescopes under 500 - celestron astromaster

          The Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ MD comes complete with a pre-assembled mount and tripod. The Celestron CG-3 equatorial mount is stable, with setting circles and slow-motion controls on both axes for easy, smooth tracking and now a clock drive which continually tracks objects in right ascension. Strict adherence to Celestron's tough quality standards for; manufacturing, assembly, and testing ensures that each optic not only performs well but remains durable after years and years of use.

             

            8. Meade StarPro AZ 102 mm Refractor Telescope

            best telescopes under 500 - meade starpro

            The Meade StarPro AZ 102 mm Refractor Telescope is the perfect mid-range choice for this list. It's an extremely capable visual telescope that is easily used for smartphone astrophotography with the included smartphone adapter. Beginners in the hobby will be stunned by the incredible sights available through this telescope and more seasoned astronomers are sure to be impressed by this little system's abilities. Some telescopes will be better for strictly visual use, some will be better for strictly astrophotography use, but this is OPT's choice for the happy medium that will satisfy everyone.

             

              9. Celestron PortableTravel Scope 70

              best telescopes under 500 - celestron travel scope

              The Celestron Travel Scope 70 was designed with traveling in mind while offering exceptional value. The Celestron Travel Scope is made of the highest quality materials to ensure stability and durability and comes with two full-size eyepieces and a 5X24 finderscope. All this adds up to a portable package that gives you a lifetime of pleasure with a minimal amount of maintenance. Featuring a compact and portable design with ample optical performance, the Celestron Travel Scope 70 is ideal for terrestrial as well as casual astronomical observation.

               

              10. MEADE ETX90 OBSERVER WITH CARRYING CASE

              best telescopes under 500 - meade etx90 observer

              The Meade ETX90, 90 mm Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope provides close-up views of the solar system and celestial objects anytime, anywhere. The ETX90 Observer is a sophisticated, heavily automated, and highly portable telescope setup that is ideal for a beginner or anyone else on the move frequently who wants to engage in visual astronomy. It includes exceptional features like AudioStar, GoTo technology, and a large 30,000 object database. Exploring and night-sky stargazing is made fun, easy, and educational with the ETX90. See planets, stars, galaxies, and nebulae at the push of a button!


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