Telescope buyers guide — 25 reviewed

Trying to find that perfect holiday gift? Astronomy reviews 25 great telescopes that are proven performers.
By | Published: May 19, 2009 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Telescope buyer's guide -- 25 scopes reviewed

This review, “Super scope buyer’s guide” appeared in the November 2003 issue of Astronomy magazine.

I love to observe. Planets, star clusters, galaxies, the Sun — it really doesn’t matter. Any object you call “celestial” evokes a thrill within me.

Over the years, I’ve looked through thousands of telescopes. As you might guess, the most memorable views were through those of the highest quality. First and foremost, this means optical quality. But there’s more. I’ve seen that mechanical excellence, ease of use, size, accuracy of drive, and other factors are each highly important.

So when asked to compile my “favorite 25” I said, “No problem.” And guess what? It really wasn’t a problem.

The list is divided into three groups: refractors, reflectors, and compound telescopes. The first group, refractors, also includes a dedicated solar telescope composed of a hydrogen-alpha filter permanently mounted on a refractor.

Within each group, telescopes are arranged alphabetically by brand name. Their apertures range from 2.7 inches to 20 inches, and there’s also a wide range in price. In all cases, however, the telescopes listed here are not toys — at least, not children’s toys. Each is a quality instrument that will support many years of sky exploration, and each gets my wholehearted recommendation.

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