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6-Inch Telescopes

The definition of the “perfect” amateur telescope varies from person to person, but 6-inch telescopes could arguably take the prize regarding balancing functionality with portability. A 6-inch telescope nearly straddles the line between small and medium telescopes, offering plenty of light-gathering capability while comfortably packing into smaller bags and cases.

For its size, a 6-inch telescope offers tremendous power. Resolution can reach .76 arcseconds on a double-star system, and magnification can range as high as 304 times higher than the human eye. A 6-inch aperture telescope collects a large amount of light, making stars as dim as 14.7-magnitude visible to the eye. This makes them among the best beginner telescopes for astrophotography.

The first choice to make is between a reflector and a refractor. A 6-inch reflector telescope uses mirrors to focus incoming light onto a secondary mirror, which then directs it toward the eyepiece (located either at the rear or on the side of the telescope itself). A 6-inch refractor telescope, based on older but still relevant technology, uses carefully crafted lenses to focus incoming light into the eyepiece. At the 6-inch aperture level, reflectors excel at removing chromatic aberrations (those fuzzy auras around stars) and offering excellent light-collecting capacity at a lower cost. However, refractors stand out for their sharpness and contrast and the lower degree of maintenance, thanks to their closed-tube designs — both of which help to justify their higher cost.

What can you see with a 6-inch telescope? The answer: a lot. A 6-inch aperture is the minimum required to view objects like the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, or M83, whose spirals are clearly visible with a good-quality 6-inch. Additionally, these telescopes allow you to see clear, wide-field views of nebulae, clusters, and other deep-sky objects. The moon and planets will appear in sharp resolution, even when significantly magnified. That means you’ll be able to explore the moon’s craters, the rings of Saturn, and the atmosphere and moons of Jupiter.

In our selection, you can find 6-inch telescopes to fit every budget. At the low end, we have tabletop Dobsonians for entry-level astronomy. Even our higher-end 6-inch telescopes, like the Meade LX85 6” Newtonian Astrograph with Audiostar Equatorial Mount, are not out of reach for those with smaller budgets.

If you’re curious about the strengths and weaknesses of any of our 6-inch telescopes, contact our friendly and knowledgeable Sales Team. Each member of our team is an expert at the ins and outs of our telescopes and gear and can help you select the best unit for your goals.


Still have questions? We have answers.

What can you see with a 6 inch telescope?

A 6 inch telescope can reveal a lot of fascinating celestial sights. With it, you can observe bright star clusters, galaxies, nebulae, the Moon and its craters, and planets such as Jupiter with its four Galilean moons. You can also use a 6 inch telescope to look at comets, binary stars, asteroids, and other faint deep-sky objects. With a 6 inch telescope, you can see details of the lunar surface, such as mountains, craters and seas. You can observe Jupiter's cloud bands, Saturn's rings, Mars' polar ice caps and other features on the planets.

Can you see planets with a 6 inch telescope?

Yes, you can see planets with a 6 inch telescope. Not only will you be able to clearly observe Jupiter's cloud bands and Saturn's rings, but you may also be able to glimpse features on Mars and Venus as well as some of their moons. You might be able to spot Uranus and Neptune depending on the viewing conditions. Of course, all these objects appear tiny through a 6 inch telescope, but they are still visible!

Can you see galaxies with a 6 inch telescope?

Yes, you can see galaxies with a 6 inch telescope. However, since most galaxies are quite faint and far away, it will take dark skies (away from light pollution) and good viewing conditions in order to spot them. You may be able to view nearby galaxies such as Andromeda or the Whirlpool Galaxy with a 6 inch telescope. With a larger 7 or 8 inch telescope, you should be able to observe more distant galaxies beyond our own local group of galaxies.