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Have you been looking for a telescope that will help you to better enjoy the beauty of the night sky? If so, then you’re in the right place! In this post, we will review the best telescopes for astrophotography available on the market today.

Best Overall

Celestron NextStar 8SE Computerized Telescope

Aperture: 203.2mm

Focal Length: 2032mm

Mount Type: Computerized Single Fork Altazimuth

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Best Value
Dobsonian Telescope

Orion SkyQuest XT8

Aperture: 203mm

Focal Length: 1200mm

Mount Type: Dobsonian

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Best Refractor
Refractor Telescope

Celestron Advanced VX

Aperture: 150mm

Focal Length: 1200mm

Mount Type: Computerized Equatorial

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Our top 5 picks

These are our top 5 picks for the best telescopes for astrophotography in the current market.


The Celestron NexStar 8SE is a remarkable computerized telescope that combines power, precision, and portability.

Featuring a Schmidt-Cassegrain design, this telescope offers exceptional versatility and performance for both celestial and terrestrial observations.

With an impressive 8-inch aperture and a focal length of 2032mm, it delivers high-resolution views of celestial objects with remarkable clarity.

The Schmidt-Cassegrain optical system of the NexStar 8SE consists of a primary mirror, a secondary mirror, and a corrector plate.

This design effectively combines the light-gathering capabilities of a large aperture with the compactness of a folded optical path. The result is a telescope that offers a long focal length in a compact and portable form factor.

Equipped with Celestron’s advanced computerized technology, the NexStar 8SE features a motorized single fork arm altazimuth mount and a built-in GoTo system.

This allows for easy and precise automated tracking of thousands of celestial objects. Simply enter your desired target using the intuitive hand controller, and the telescope will accurately align and track it, providing you with breathtaking views of planets, star clusters, galaxies, and more.

The NexStar 8SE comes with a versatile 25mm eyepiece, providing a magnification of 81x. Additionally, it includes a 1.25-inch star diagonal that ensures comfortable viewing angles.

The stainless steel adjustable tripod offers stability and can be easily adjusted to suit your preferred viewing height.

Whether you’re a seasoned astronomer or a beginner exploring the wonders of the night sky, the Celestron NexStar 8SE is a telescope that will inspire and delight.
Its Schmidt-Cassegrain design, combined with advanced computerized features, makes it an ideal choice for observing planets, star clusters, nebulae, and other celestial objects with incredible detail and clarity.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 203.2mm (8 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 2032mm (80 inches)
  3. Focal Ratio: f/10
  4. Optical Design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
  5. Mount Type: Single Fork Arm Altazimuth
  6. Finder Scope: Red-dot finder scope included
  7. GoTo System: NexStar Computerized System with SkyAlign
  8. Eyepiece: 25mm (81x magnification)
  9. Tripod: Stainless Steel Adjustable Tripod


  1. Schmidt-Cassegrain Design: The telescope’s Schmidt-Cassegrain optical system combines the advantages of a large aperture with a compact design, delivering excellent performance in a portable package.
  2. Computerized GoTo System: The NexStar 8SE features a motorized mount and an advanced GoTo system, making it easy to locate and track celestial objects. Its database of thousands of objects provides a wealth of observing opportunities.
  3. High-Quality Optics: With its 8-inch aperture and long focal length, the telescope offers impressive image quality and resolution, allowing for detailed views of planets, star clusters, and more.
  4. Portable and Easy to Set Up: The compact and lightweight design, along with the included stainless steel tripod, makes the NexStar 8SE easy to transport and set up at different observing locations.
  5. Versatile Observing Capabilities: Top of the line selection for astrophotography, the NexStar 8SE’s versatile design and compatibility with accessories make it a versatile choice.


  1. Learning Curve for Advanced Features: Mastering the advanced functions of the telescope may require a learning curve and additional external resources, such as guides or tutorials, to fully utilize its capabilities.
  2. Power Requirements: The telescope’s motorized functionality requires an external power source, which means you need to ensure a stable power supply during your observations.

  3. Limited Accessories Included: The telescope comes with basic accessories, and additional items like eyepieces and filters need to be purchased separately to enhance your viewing experience.

The Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is a powerful and user-friendly telescope that offers exceptional views of the night sky. With its large aperture and sturdy construction, it is a popular choice among amateur astronomers and astrophotographers.

Featuring an 8-inch (203mm) parabolic primary mirror, the XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope gathers a significant amount of light, allowing for impressive views of celestial objects.

Whether you’re observing the Moon, planets, or deep-sky objects, this telescope delivers sharp and detailed images with excellent contrast.

The Dobsonian design provides a stable and easy-to-use platform for the telescope. The telescope sits on a robust wooden Dobsonian base, which allows for smooth and precise movements.

It offers simple manual tracking, making it ideal for both beginners and experienced observers.

With a focal length of 1200mm and a focal ratio of f/5.9, this telescope provides a versatile range of  magnifications, making it suitable for a variety of astronomical observations.
It comes with two eyepieces, a 25mm and a 10mm, providing magnifications of 48x and 120x respectively, offering different viewing options for various objects.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 8 inches (203mm)
  2. Focal Length: 1200mm
  3. Focal Ratio: f/5.9
  4. Mount Type: Dobsonian
  5. Includes a 2″ Crayford focuser that accepts 1.25″ and 2″ telescope eyepieces
  6. Eyepiece: 25mm Sirius Plossl eyepiece
  7. Finder Scope: EZ Finder II reflex sight
  8. Optical Design: Newtonian reflector
  9. Includes DeepMap 600, MoonMap 260 and collimation cap
  10. Weight: 41.2 lbs (18.7 kg)


  1. Impressive Light-Gathering Power: With its 8-inch aperture, this telescope gathers ample amounts of light, allowing for stunning views of celestial objects. It provides enhanced details and clarity, making it ideal for observing planets, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.

  2. Enhanced Stability: Equipped with a solid and stable base, the telescope ensures minimal vibrations during observations. This stability is crucial for achieving sharp and steady images, particularly when using higher magnifications or capturing astrophotography.

  3. Expandable Features: The Orion SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian is compatible with a wide range of accessories.


  1. Bulky and Heavy: The XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope is a large and relatively heavy telescope, making it less portable compared to smaller and more compact models. It may require additional effort for transportation and setup.
  2. Manual Tracking: The telescope’s Dobsonian mount requires manual tracking, which means you need to continuously adjust the telescope to keep objects in view. This can be challenging when observing at high magnifications or tracking fast-moving objects like planets.

The Celestron Advanced VX 6″ Refractor Telescope is a versatile and powerful telescope, offering exceptional features at an affordable price.

It boasts a 6″ (150mm) f/8 objective lens, providing high contrast views ideal for observing planets and other celestial objects.

The German equatorial mount, known for its rigidity and minimal flexure, is thoughtfully designed for superior performance with smaller telescopes.

The AVX mount caters to the needs of astroimagers, equipped with features like PEC (Periodic Error Correction), an autoguider port, and the ability to image across the meridian.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 150mm (6 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 1200mm
  3. Focal Ratio: f/8
  4. Optical Design: Refractor
  5. Magnification with Included Eyepiece: 60x
  6. Finderscope: 9×50
  7. Highest Useful Magnification: 354x
  8. Limiting Stellar Magnitude: 13.4
  9. Optical Tube Weight: 19 lbs (8.62 kg)
  10. Mount Type: Computerized Equatorial
  11. Total Kit Weight: 78 lbs (35.38 kg)


  1. High-Quality Optics: The 6″ f/8 objective lens ensures bright and clear views of planets and other celestial objects, making it ideal for planetary observations.

  2. Compact and Portable: Despite its powerful performance, the Celestron Advanced VX 6″ Refractor Telescope remains relatively compact and portable, allowing you to take it to dark sky sites for optimal viewing conditions.

  3. Advanced Features: With features like PEC, autoguider compatibility, and All-Star Polar Alignment, this telescope caters to both experienced astronomers and beginners.

  4. Dual Saddle Plate: The dual saddle plate accommodates various dovetail sizes, providing flexibility in mounting different optical tubes.

  5. Celestron PWI Software: The telescope comes with Celestron’s PWI telescope control software, offering advanced features like PointXP mount modeling for accurate pointing and tracking.

  6. Starry Night Software: Included with the purchase, Starry Night Special Edition Software provides detailed information about celestial objects and enables telescope control via computer.


  1. Price: The Advanced VX 6″ Refractor Telescope falls in the mid-level range, making it a significant investment for some aspiring astronomers.
  2. Learning Curve: Beginners may need some time to familiarize themselves with the advanced features and functionalities of the telescope.

  3. Weight: The total kit weight, including the mount and tripod, is relatively heavy at 78 lbs, which may limit portability for some users.

The Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope is an advanced and user-friendly telescope that combines high-quality optics with a fully computerized Altazimuth mount.

With its 130mm Newtonian Reflector objective lens, this telescope delivers exceptional views of celestial objects, making it perfect for celestial observing.

Setting up the NexStar 130SLT is a breeze, thanks to the quick-release fork arm mount and the pre-assembled, adjustable stainless steel tripod.

The telescope comes with a StarPointer™ red-dot finderscope, which aids in alignment and accurate object location, ensuring a seamless stargazing experience.

This telescope offers a versatile range of observations, from revealing lunar surface details and Venus phases to polar caps on Mars and Jupiter’s moons. You can even enjoy breathtaking views of Saturn’s rings.

Equipped with a computerized Altazimuth mount, the NexStar SLT telescope allows for automatic tracking of celestial objects as they move across the night sky.

The NexStar+ hand control makes slewing to 40,000+ celestial objects effortless, and the SkyAlign technology ensures quick and easy setup.

You can power the NexStar 130SLT using 8 AA batteries or a PowerTank portable battery for remote dark sky locations. Additionally, a 12V AC adapter can be used for power supply.

The telescope comes with a comprehensive set of accessories, including a StarPointer™ red dot finderscope, star diagonal, and two eyepieces (25mm and 9mm).

The telescope is also compatible with various Celestron accessories, such as StarSense AutoAlign, SkyPortal WiFi module, and PowerTank Lithium.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 130mm (5.12″)
  2. Focal Length: 650mm (26″)
  3. Focal Ratio: f/5
  4. Optical Design: Newtonian Reflector
  5. Resolution (Rayleigh): 1.07 arc seconds
  6. Mount Type: Computerized Altitude-Azimuth Single Fork Arm
  7. Height Adjustment Range: 762mm – 1270mm (30″ – 50″)
  8. Slew Speeds: 9 slew speeds – max speed 3°/second
  9. Tracking Modes: Alt-Az, EQ North, and EQ South
  10. Power Requirements: 12 VDC – 8xAA Batteries (not included)
  11. Software: Celestron Starry Night Special Edition Software and SkyPortal App


  1. High-quality optics and computerized mount for excellent celestial observations.
  2. Easy and quick setup with no-tool assembly and SkyAlign technology.
  3. Versatile viewing capability, ideal for both night-sky observing and daytime wildlife observations.
  4. Comes with bonus Starry Night Special Edition Software for enhanced astronomical knowledge and planning.
  5. Compatible with a wide range of Celestron accessories, offering room for future upgrades and enhancements.


  1. No periodic error correction for the mount.
  2. The altazimuth mount might have limitations for certain types of astrophotography.
  3. Auto guiding not available with this telescope for long-exposure photography.

The Sarblue Mak60 Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope is a perfect choice for beginner astronomers, offering both convenience and excellent performance in a compact package.

Although designed with beginners and casual observers in mind, this tabletop telescope boasts powerful optics that make it surprisingly useful for beginner astrophotographers as well.

Its 60mm aperture and 700mm focal length allow for clear and detailed views of celestial objects, making it a rewarding experience for capturing stunning images of the night sky.

The Maksutov-Cassegrain optical design, incorporating mirrors and lenses, ensures minimal aberrations, resulting in sharp and high-contrast images.

Whether you’re exploring the Moon’s craters, the planets, or distant star clusters, this telescope provides enjoyable and visually captivating views for both observing and astrophotography.

The telescope’s lightweight and portable design make it an ideal companion for on-the-go observing sessions.

It comes with a tabletop tripod that offers stability and convenience during setup, allowing you to start observing or capturing images quickly and easily.

To aid in locating celestial objects, the telescope includes an adjustable red-dot finder, making it user-friendly for navigating the night sky, even for those new to astronomy or astrophotography.

Key Specifications:

  1. Aperture: 60mm (2.36 inches)
  2. Focal Length: 700mm
  3. Focal Ratio: f/11.7
  4. Includes 20mm eyepiece
  5. Optical Design: Maksutov-Cassegrain
  6. Mount Type: Tabletop Tripod
  7. Weight: 2.5 lbs (1.13 kg)


  1. Compact and Portable: The tabletop design and lightweight construction make the Mak60 telescope easy to carry and set up, making it a convenient option for astrophotographers who like to travel to different locations for capturing celestial images.
  2. High-Quality Optics: The Maksutov-Cassegrain design delivers crisp and detailed views of celestial objects with minimal optical aberrations. This ensures that the images captured during astrophotography are clear and of high quality.

  3. Versatile Observations: The telescope is suitable for a wide range of celestial targets, including the Moon, planets, and brighter deep-sky objects. This versatility allows astrophotographers to capture various types of celestial images with a single telescope.

  4. Affordable Entry-Level Option: The Mak60 telescope provides an affordable entry point into the world of astronomy and astrophotography without compromising on performance. It is a budget-friendly choice for beginners looking to explore astrophotography.


  1. Limited Aperture: The 60mm aperture restricts the telescope’s light-gathering ability, making it less suitable for capturing fainter and more distant celestial objects. Astrophotographers may find it challenging to capture dimmer objects with this telescope.
  2. Tabletop Stability: While the tabletop tripod provides convenience, it may be prone to slight vibrations, which can impact the quality of long-exposure images. Careful handling and stabilization techniques may be required during astrophotography sessions.

  3. Limited Accessories: The telescope may benefit from additional eyepieces or filters to enhance the astrophotography experience, which may need to be purchased separately. Extra accessories can add to the overall cost.

  4. Manual Tracking: The telescope’s tabletop mount requires manual adjustments to track objects as they move across the sky. For astrophotography, this may require practice and patience to achieve accurate tracking during long-exposure shots.

Telescope for Astrophotography Buyers Guide - What To Look Out For

As the night sky beckons with its infinite beauty, more and more avid stargazers are turning to astrophotography to capture breathtaking celestial moments.

The key to achieving awe-inspiring results lies in choosing the right telescope for astrophotography.

However, with a plethora of options available, navigating the world of telescopes can be daunting.

Worry not, for this all-inclusive manual aims to unravel the process and aid you in discovering the ideal telescope to begin your astrophotography expedition.

However, if you seek a deeper understanding of what to consider when selecting a telescope for astrophotography, make sure to consult this guide.

Understanding Different Types of Telescopes

Before we dive into the intricacies of astrophotography telescopes, let’s explore the different types available:

1. Refractor Telescopes

Refractor telescopes utilize lenses to gather and focus light, making them ideal for capturing bright and detailed images.

Their sealed tube design requires minimal maintenance and provides excellent contrast.

Refractors are great for beginners due to their ease of use and crisp visual clarity.

2. Reflector Telescopes

Reflector telescopes work by reflecting light off a curved mirror. With their large apertures, they excel at capturing faint deep-sky objects.

Reflectors are affordable and versatile, but require regular collimation to maintain optimal performance. Ideal for intermediate astrophotographers seeking budget-friendly options without compromising image quality.

3. Catadioptric Telescopes

Catadioptric telescopes, such as Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain designs, combine lenses and mirrors to offer a compact and versatile setup.

These telescopes provide excellent image quality and are well-suited for capturing celestial objects.

Catadioptrics are a popular choice among experienced astrophotographers due to their portability and versatility.

Also, if you are on a budget you should consider using a smartphone for astrophotography.

Key Factors to Consider

When selecting a telescope for astrophotography, several essential factors should guide your decision-making:

1. Aperture

The aperture, or diameter of the telescope’s main optical component, directly influences its light-gathering capability.

A larger aperture allows for brighter and sharper images, especially when capturing faint deep-sky objects.

Aim for a telescope with at least a 4-inch aperture to ensure satisfactory results.

2. Focal Length

Focal length determines the magnification and field of view of your astrophotographs.

Longer focal lengths provide higher magnification but result in a narrower field of view, ideal for capturing smaller celestial objects in exquisite detail.

Conversely, shorter focal lengths offer a broader field of view, making them suitable for wide-field astrophotography.

3. Mount and Tracking

A sturdy mount with precise tracking capabilities is crucial for astrophotography.

An equatorial mount, such as German equatorial or computerized GoTo mounts, compensates for the Earth’s rotation, ensuring that your subject remains centered during long exposures. Invest in a stable mount to avoid distortions caused by vibrations or movement.

4. Camera Compatibility

Consider whether your chosen telescope is compatible with your camera setup. Some telescopes come with specific camera adapters, while others require additional accessories for attachment.

Ensure that your telescope supports astrophotography-specific cameras or can accommodate conventional DSLRs with T-rings.

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types of telescopes and key factors to consider, you’re ready to begin your astrophotography journey.

Remember, the telescope you choose will profoundly impact the quality of your images. So, invest wisely and prepare to capture the wonders of the cosmos like never before. 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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