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When you think of telescope, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably galaxies and planets. But, did you know that you can also use a telescope to view other things in space?

So, if you’re interested in exploring the universe but don’t know where to start, read on for some suggestions about best telescopes for viewing planets and galaxies.


Best Overall
Equatorial Reflector

Meade Polaris 114mm

Aperture: 114mm

Focal Length: 1000mm

Mount Type: Equatorial

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Best Refractor
Starsense Explorer

Celestron DX 102AZ

Aperture: 102mm

Focal Length: 660mm

Mount Type: Manual Alt-Azimuth

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Best Budget
Reflector Telescope

Orion Skyscanner 100mm

Aperture: 100mm

Focal Length: 400mm

Mount Type: Altazimuth

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Our top 7 picks

These are our top 7 picks for the best telescopes in the current market. In no particular order, we think all the telescopes on this list, while some are better than others, will give you the best stargazing experience for seeing planets and galaxies, so let’s begin


This 114mm German equatorial reflector telescope by Meade Instruments is perfect for any budding astronomer.

The large aperture will provide you with plenty of light, making it easier to see fainter objects.

The slow motion motor makes it easy to track stars as they move across the night sky, while the low, medium, and high magnification eyepieces provide you with variety when viewing celestial objects.

The telescope also comes with a 26mm eyepiece, perfect for viewing the moon and stars with ease.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 114mm
  2. Focal length: 1000mm
  3. Focal ratio: f/8.8
  4. Optical design: Reflector
  5. Eyepieces: Kellner 26.0mm, 6.3mm (1.25″)
  6. Magnification with included eyepieces: 38x, 158x
  7. Lowest useful magnification: 16x
  8. Highest useful magnification: 228x
  9. Highest theoretical magnification: 228x
  10. Finder scope: Reflex sight
  11. Focuser: 1.25″ Rack-and-pinion
  12. Mount type: Equatorial
  13. Tripod material: Aluminum & Steel
  14. Weight, fully assembled: 19.0 lbs.
  15. Additional included accessories: Slow motion controls, 26mm, 9mm, and 6.3mm 1.25″ MA eyepieces, Red Dot Finder, 2x Barlow


  1. Versatility: The Polaris 114mm telescope offers a wide range of magnification options, allowing you to observe both detailed close-ups and wider celestial views.
  2. Beginner-Friendly: Perfect for those new to astronomy, this telescope is easy to set up and use.
  3. Stable Equatorial Mount: The telescope’s stable Equatorial mount and slow-motion control cables provide smooth and precise tracking of celestial objects, enhancing the viewing experience.
  4. Bonus Planetarium Software: The included AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition Software assists in learning the night sky and identifying thousands of celestial objects.
  5. Complete Accessories: The telescope comes with essential accessories, including eyepieces and a Red-Dot finder, providing convenience and value for money.


  1. Non-Computerized: The Polaris 114mm telescope lacks computerized compatibility, which means it requires manual adjustments to locate specific celestial objects.
  2. Limited Astro-Imaging Capability: While suitable for lunar and planetary observation, this telescope may have limitations in advanced astro-imaging pursuits.

This revolutionary telescope from Celestron harnesses the power of your smartphone to provide a guided tour of celestial wonders without the need for prior telescope experience.

Equipped with the award-winning and patented StarSense sky recognition technology, this telescope uses your smartphone to analyze star patterns in real-time and calculate its precise position overhead.

The StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ features a manual altazimuth mount with smooth, dual-axis slow-motion controls, ensuring easy tracking of celestial objects as guided by on-screen arrows. Its 102mm (4″) refractor boasts high transmission XLT optical coatings, delivering excellent light gathering ability to provide breathtaking views of the most captivating celestial objects.

Perfect for both city and dark sky sites, this portable telescope is an ideal companion for your outdoor adventures. Its complete kit includes essential accessories such as 25mm and 10mm eyepieces, StarSense smartphone dock, erect image diagonal, a red dot finderscope, and a sturdy full-height tripod.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 102mm (4.01″)
  2. Focal Length: 660mm (25.98″)
  3. Focal Ratio: f/6.5
  4. Eyepiece 1: 25mm (26x magnification)
  5. Eyepiece 2: 10mm (66x magnification)
  6. Highest Useful Magnification: 240x
  7. Lowest Useful Magnification: 15x
  8. Optical Design: Refractor
  9. Mount Type: Manual Alt-Azimuth
  10. Tripod Height Adjustment Range: Aluminum, 1244.6mm (49″) max height
  11. Total Kit Weight: 14.2 lbs (6.44 kg)
  12. Included Items: Optical tube, Mount and tripod (preassembled), 25mm and 10mm eyepieces, Erect image diagonal, StarPointer finderscope, Accessory tray, StarSense Explorer phone dock


  1. Smartphone Guided Tour: StarSense Explorer DX utilizes your smartphone to provide real-time guided tours of celestial objects, making stargazing accessible and enjoyable for beginners.
  2. Portable and User-Friendly: With a compact and lightweight design, the telescope is easy to carry and set up.
  3. Impressive Views: The telescope’s large 102mm aperture and high-quality XLT optical coatings ensure sharp and bright views of various celestial objects, from planets to deep-sky wonders.
  4. Versatility: Ideal for both city and dark sky locations, the telescope excels in revealing celestial objects in various environments, allowing for versatile stargazing experiences.


  1. Smartphone Dependency: The StarSense Explorer DX heavily relies on smartphone compatibility and the StarSense Explorer app for accurate object identification and navigation, which may be a limitation for users without compatible smartphones or app access.
  2. Limited Accessories: While the telescope comes with essential accessories, some users may prefer additional eyepieces or a Barlow lens for further magnification options.

The Orion SkyScanner 100mm TableTop Reflector Telescope is a remarkable entry-level telescope, perfectly combining big optics, straightforward operation, and unmatched portability for an unparalleled stargazing experience.

Its substantial 100mm (4 inches) parabolic primary mirror and 400mm focal length allow this compact reflector to unveil stunning, detailed views of celestial wonders, making it ideal for beginners and seasoned enthusiasts alike.

The telescope kit includes 20mm (20x power) and 10mm (40x power) 4-element eyepieces, enabling you to explore a wide range of magnifications.

The precise 1.25″ rack-and-pinion focuser ensures sharp and crisp views of the Moon, planets, and other celestial objects.

The Orion EZ Finder II red-dot sight aids in accurate alignment, making it simple to aim the telescope at the Moon, planets, and bright celestial objects.

Additionally, the telescope comes with a glare-reducing Moon filter and Orion’s MoonMap 260, helping you observe lunar surface features in more detail.

The SkyScanner 100mm is lightweight, weighing just 5.3 lbs when fully assembled and standing at 16 inches tall when aimed at the zenith.

Its compact size makes it an excellent grab-and-go telescope for impromptu stargazing sessions, road trips, camping adventures, or visits to the local park.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 100mm (4 inches)
  2. Focal length: 400mm
  3. Focal ratio: f/4.0
  4. Optical design: Reflector
  5. Magnification with included eyepieces: 20x, 40x
  6. Resolving power: 1.16arc*sec
  7. Lowest useful magnification: 14x
  8. Highest useful magnification: 200x
  9. Finder scope: EZ Finder II
  10. Focuser: 1.25″ Rack-and-pinion
  11. Mount type: Altazimuth
  12. Weight, fully assembled: 5.3 lbs. (2.4 kg)
  13. Additional included accessories: Orion MoonMap 260 reference map, Orion 1.25″ Moon Filter


  1. Portability: This telescope is lightweight and compact, offering grab-and-go portability for spontaneous stargazing adventures, road trips, and outdoor excursions.
  2. Impressive Optics: With a 100mm parabolic primary mirror and 400mm focal length, this telescope provides detailed and clear views of the Moon and planets.
  3. User-Friendly: The swivel base and EZ Finder II red-dot sight make it easy for everyone in the family to maneuver and point the telescope accurately, ensuring an enjoyable stargazing experience for all.
  4. Additional Accessories: The telescope kit comes with useful extras, including a MoonMap 260 reference map and Moon filter, enhancing lunar observation and exploration.


    1. Limited Light Gathering: The 100mm aperture, while sufficient for beginner-level observation, may not gather enough light for fainter deep-sky objects compared to larger telescopes with larger apertures.
    2. Fixed Altazimuth Mount: The telescope’s altazimuth mount lacks motorized tracking capabilities, which means objects will move out of the field of view as the Earth rotates, requiring manual adjustments.

The Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope is a powerful and versatile instrument designed for both beginner and intermediate astronomers.

With its 130mm aperture and 650mm focal length, this telescope offers exceptional light-gathering capabilities, allowing you to observe celestial objects in impressive detail.

The telescope features a sturdy and stable equatorial mount, which enables precise tracking of celestial objects as they move across the night sky.

The mount’s slow-motion controls make it easy to follow objects and make precise adjustments, ensuring smooth and accurate tracking during extended observations.

The SpaceProbe 130ST comes with a high-quality parabolic primary mirror, which helps minimize spherical aberration and delivers sharp, high-contrast images.

Its shorter focal length also provides a wider field of view compared to longer focal length telescopes, making it ideal for observing larger celestial objects like star clusters and nebulae.

This telescope is well-suited for both visual observation and astrophotography. The included rack-and-pinion focuser allows for precise focusing, while the adjustable eyepiece holder accommodates various eyepieces and accessories.

Additionally, the telescope’s tube is equipped with a convenient built-in handle, making it easy to transport and set up at your preferred observation location.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 130mm (5.1 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 650mm (f/5)
  3. Mount Type: Equatorial
  4. Focuser Type: Rack-and-pinion
  5. Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
  6. Includes two 1.25″ Plossl eyepieces (25mm and 10mm)
  7. Includes smartphone camera adapter
  8. Includes DeepMap 600, MoonMap 260 and collimation cap


  1. Impressive Light-Gathering Power: The 130mm aperture for its ability to capture a significant amount of light, resulting in clear and detailed views of celestial objects.
  2. Versatile for Various Observations: The telescope’s equatorial mount and slow-motion controls allows for smooth tracking and precise adjustments, making it suitable for both visual observation and astrophotography.
  3. Sharp and Contrast-Rich Images: Parabolic primary mirror and shorter focal length provide sharp and high-contrast images, particularly when observing star clusters, nebulae, and other deep-sky objects.
  4. Portable and Easy to Set Up: Built-in handle and compact design of the telescope to be convenient for transportation and quick setup.


  1. Learning Curve for Equatorial Mount: Using an equatorial mount may require some practice and familiarity with its operation, especially for beginners.
  2. Limited Accessories Included: While the telescope comes with essential accessories, additional eyepieces and filters may be needed to expand your observation options.

This impressive 70mm refractor telescope boasts fully coated glass optics and a lightweight frame, ensuring you enjoy bright, clear views of the Moon, planets, star clusters, and more for an unforgettable nighttime viewing experience.

Get ready to observe the wonders of the cosmos in no time with the quick and easy, no-tool setup of the AstroMaster 70AZ. Its manual Alt-Azimuth mount, equipped with a smooth and accurate panning handle and clutch, allows you to effortlessly navigate the sky and track celestial objects with precision.

Discover the Universe with the included accessories – a 20mm and 10mm eyepiece, an erect image diagonal, and a StarPointer red dot finderscope. The two eyepieces offer different magnifications, providing both low and high-powered views of celestial delights.

Download Celestron’s Starry Night Software, the premier astronomy software package on the market.

This powerful tool enriches your stargazing experience by providing a wealth of resources, knowledge, and a database of over 36,000 celestial objects, including 3D renderings of stars, exoplanets, and galaxies.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 70mm (2.76 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 900mm (35 inches)
  3. Focal Ratio: f/13
  4. Optical Design: Refractor
  5. Eyepiece 1: 20mm (.8 inches) – Magnification: 45x
  6. Eyepiece 2: 10mm (.4 inches) – Magnification: 90x
  7. Finderscope: StarPointer red dot finderscope
  8. Highest Useful Magnification: 165x
  9. Lowest Useful Magnification: 10x
  10. Mount Type: Manual Alt-Azimuth
  11. Software: Celestron Starry Night Basic Edition Software and SkyPortal App
  12. Total Kit Weight: 10.8 lbs (4.9 kg)


  1. Quick and easy, no-tool setup for hassle-free observations.
  2. Lightweight and portable design, perfect for on-the-go stargazing.
  3. Smooth and accurate panning handle Alt-Az control for easy tracking of celestial objects.
  4. Fully coated glass optics ensure bright and clear views of various astronomical targets.
  5. Included accessories, including StarPointer finderscope and erect image diagonal, enhance usability.
  6. Comes with Celestron’s Starry Night Software for extensive celestial knowledge and planning.


  1. Limited to manual Alt-Azimuth mount without computerized tracking.
  2. Relatively small aperture restricts the level of detail for deep-sky observations.
  3. The tripod could be sturdier for more stable viewing.

The Orion SkyQuest XT6 Classic Dobsonian telescope is a powerful and user-friendly instrument designed to provide exceptional views of the night sky.

With its large aperture, sturdy construction, and easy-to-use design, this telescope is an excellent choice for both beginner and intermediate astronomers seeking a high-quality viewing experience.

Featuring a 150mm (6-inch) aperture and a focal length of 1200mm, the XT6 Classic Dobsonian telescope offers remarkable light-gathering capability, allowing you to observe a wide range of celestial objects in impressive detail.

Whether you’re observing the Moon’s craters, the rings of Saturn, or distant nebulae, this telescope delivers crisp and clear views.

The Dobsonian mount design is known for its simplicity and stability. The XT6 features a sturdy wooden base and a smooth altazimuth mount, making it easy to navigate the night sky with precision.

The telescope’s large parabolic primary mirror ensures minimal optical aberrations, providing you with bright and sharp views of various astronomical targets.

Setting up the XT6 Classic Dobsonian is straightforward and requires no tools. The telescope’s tube assembly easily attaches to the mount, and the included red-dot finder helps you accurately locate objects in the sky.

The telescope’s intuitive design allows beginners to quickly familiarize themselves with its operation, making it an ideal choice for those new to astronomy.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 150mm (6 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 1200mm
  3. Focal Ratio: f/8
  4. Mount Type: Dobsonian
  5. Precision 2″ Crayford focuser with 1.25″ adapter, allowing use of 1.25″ eyepieces or optional 2″ eyepiece
  6. Includes 25mm eyepiece
  7. Orion Shorty 2x Barlow Lens
  8. Orion’s MoonMap 260, DeepMap 600, and Telescope Observer’s Guide
  9. RedBeam Mini flashlight
  10. Smartphone photo adapter
  11. Maximum Useful Magnification: 300x
  12. Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
  13. Weight: 36 lbs (16.3 kg)


  1. Impressive Light Gathering: The 150mm aperture provides excellent light-gathering capability, allowing for detailed observations of celestial objects.
  2. Stable and Easy-to-Use Mount: The Dobsonian mount offers stability and smooth movement, making it simple to navigate the night sky and track objects.
  3. High-Quality Optics: The large parabolic primary mirror ensures excellent image quality and minimizes optical aberrations.
  4. Beginner-Friendly Design: The intuitive setup and operation make it accessible for beginners to start exploring the night sky.
  5. Versatile Observations: The XT6 Classic Dobsonian is suitable for observing a wide range of celestial objects, including the Moon, planets, and deep-sky targets.


  1. Portability: The XT6 is a substantial telescope, weighing 36 lbs (16.3 kg), which may limit its portability for travel or outdoor excursions.
  2. Manual Tracking: The Dobsonian mount requires manual adjustments to track objects as they move across the sky.
  3. Collimation: Aligning the mirrors, is necessary for optimal performance but may require some practice for beginners.
  4. Limited Accessories: Additional eyepieces or filters may be desired for more diverse observing experiences.

The Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ reflector telescope features a large 130mm aperture and a focal length of 650mm, it delivers impressive light-gathering capabilities just like our previous entry in this list. Its high-quality parabolic mirror ensures sharp and detailed images of the Moon, planets, and deep-sky objects.

One of the standout features of this telescope is its compatibility with the StarSense Explorer app, available for iOS and Android devices.

By simply connecting your smartphone to the telescope and following the app’s instructions, you can align the telescope and automatically locate objects in the sky.

The app acts as your personal celestial guide, providing educational information and helping you explore the universe with ease.

The StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ features a manual Altitude-Azimuth (Alt-Az) mount, allowing for easy and intuitive movement of the telescope. Its adjustable-height tripod provides stability and can be easily set up without any tools.

The telescope comes with two eyepieces: a 25mm eyepiece for wider views and a 10mm eyepiece for higher magnification. The included 2x Barlow lens doubles the magnification of each eyepiece, providing added versatility in observing different celestial targets.

Designed with portability in mind, the telescope is lightweight and can be assembled and disassembled quickly. This makes it ideal for backyard observations, camping trips, or even for taking to darker sky locations.

With the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 130AZ Reflector Telescope, you can embark on a journey through the cosmos. Whether you’re just starting out or have years of experience, this telescope offers exceptional performance, convenience, and affordability, making it a fantastic choice for stargazing enthusiasts.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 130mm (5.1 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 650mm (25.6 inches)
  3. Focal Ratio: f/5
  4. Mount Type: Manual Altitude-Azimuth (Alt-Az) mount
  5. Eyepieces: Two 1.25-inch eyepieces included (25mm and 10mm)
  6. Barlow Lens: 2x Barlow lens included
  7. App Compatibility: StarSense Explorer app (iOS and Android)
  8. Tripod: Adjustable-height tripod included
  9. Weight: Approximately X lbs (varies based on configuration)


  1. Easy Alignment: Thanks to The StarSense Explorer app makes aligning the telescope a breeze.

  2. Smartphone Compatibility: With the StarSense Explorer app, you can use your smartphone to control the telescope and explore the night sky.

  3. Large aperture: 5.1 inches (130mm) aperture provides detailed views.

  4. Lightweight and portable.

  5. Compatible with various accessories and eyepieces.
  6. Included Eyepieces: 10mm and 25mm eyepieces and 2x Barlow lens provide different magnification options.


  1. Slightly higher price range compared to entry-level telescopes, but still considered reasonable for the quality and performance offered.
  2. Manual Alt-Az Mount: For this mount you’ll need to adjust the telescope’s position manually as objects move across the sky.

  3. Accessories Quality: It may benefit from higher-quality eyepieces or filters for specialized observations.

  4. Smartphone Battery Dependency: Your stargazing experience relies on the performance and battery life of your smartphone.

Key factors you should consider

Aperture, focal length, and optical design are key factors to consider when choosing a telescope. Larger apertures allow for more light-gathering power, enabling the observation of faint deep-sky objects with greater clarity.

Refractors and reflectors each have their advantages, with refractors being excellent for crisp planetary views, and reflectors excelling in capturing dim galaxies and nebulae.

Telescope mounts play a vital role in tracking celestial objects accurately. Equatorial mounts, with their ability to align with the Earth’s axis, allow for smooth and precise tracking of planets and stars as they move across the sky. On the other hand, altazimuth mounts are user-friendly and easy to operate, making them ideal for beginners.

Additional features such as smartphone compatibility, computerized tracking, and included accessories like eyepieces and finderscopes enhance the overall observing experience, making stargazing more accessible and enjoyable.

When choosing the perfect telescope for planetary and galactic observation, it’s crucial to consider your level of expertise, observing location, and portability needs. Follow our step-by-step telescope setup guide to discover and observe planets with precision!

From high-end computerized telescopes to beginner-friendly tabletop models, the market caters to a wide range of enthusiasts.

So, embark on your astronomical journey, and let your telescope be your guide to the captivating realms of planets and galaxies, igniting a sense of wonder and curiosity that will last a lifetime. Happy stargazing!

Bending space N’ time to bring you the best telescope and it’s accessories reviews for viewing planets, galaxies and deep space objects!

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