Looking up at the sky at night often reveals many black, empty expanses amongst the stars. This leads you to think that if the universe has a nearly infinite number of stars in it, shouldn’t the sky be littered with stars at all times? The night sky is in fact littered with countless stars. The human eye just cannot see them due to these stars being far too faint. Today, we’ll be talking about the best telescope for deep space. Telescopes that can capture light from far off celestial objects and make them visible.
We all know how telescopes work. They capture light and then direct it into a viewpoint. Their lenses are designed to gather huge amounts of light. This enables them to clearly capture celestial objects that are far away or faint. Telescopes project an image from the light that they capture. This image is then magnified and can be viewed by the user.
You can find a wide variety of telescopes in the market. However, not all of them are made equal. There are some factors that determine the performance and usability of a telescope. What we’re interested in today are deep space telescopes. As their name suggests, these scopes are designed for viewing objects that are really far away — objects such as distant galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters. A powerful deep space telescope can provide you with a superb view of what lies beyond the Milky Way galaxy. Let’s talk about deeps space telescopes in greater detail.
What is a Deep Space Telescope?
A deep space telescope is pretty much like any other ordinary telescope. What sets it apart is the fact that it has a far stronger set of optics. Deep space telescopes have large objective lenses. This larger aperture allows them to capture a greater amount of light to direct through their Optical Tube Assembly (OTA). Many people believe that the aperture is pretty much all that you need to take into account. Especially when you’re looking for a deep space telescope. A telescope’s aperture is most definitely important. It’s the primary factor in determining its ability to capture an image. However, there are some secondary factors that need to be thought of as well. These factors come together to refine further a telescope’s image capturing ability. They also determine its practicality and ease of use.
A telescope’s portability is really important. A telescope that’s too big will never be fun to use. It will confine you to a single area from where you can view the sky. If we focus solely on a telescope’s aperture, most deep space telescopes will be the size of your house. This severely limits its usability. You want to go for a telescope that you can fit in the back of your car. Or at the very least, move around without too much trouble.
The type of telescope should be considered as well. Most people prefer to use reflector telescopes since they’re relatively more affordable. They’re also better at capturing light and projecting images with lesser distortions. Reflector telescopes do require more maintenance. However, they’re a better option when compared to their refractor counterparts. A refractor needs additional accessories and parts to eliminate distortion. This makes them more expensive to use.
The last major factor that you should be focusing on is magnification. Magnification in a telescope can be a lot trickier than you might think. Too much magnification often results in an image becoming blurry or hazy. People tend to think that magnification is absolutely necessary for telescopes. However, magnification isn’t needed all the time. Sometimes you can view objects without having to magnify them at all. Any seasoned astronomer will tell you that magnification shouldn’t be used unless it is completely necessary. Staying away from magnification lets you view images with far greater clarity.
So far we’ve talked about components that are part of the OTA. Now, we’re going to divert our attention towards the base of a telescope; its mount. Every telescope needs a mount on which it can rest. A telescope’s mount ensures that it remains stable while you aim it and look through it. A stable mount becomes essential when dealing with larger aperture scopes with high magnification levels. There are two major types of mounts available for telescopes:
- There are basic altazimuth mounts that are liked for their smooth movements. A well-made altazimuth mount lets you make fine adjustments to your scope’s position quite well.
- Equatorial mounts offer a more intricate mounting experience. They let you make adjustments on two axis. These mounts are designed to make tracking the orbital movements of our planet easier. These mounts are pricier but offer far more value as well. Equatorial mounts are often equipped with motors for automatic movement. This, combined with astronomy software makes it much easier to direct your scope towards different objects in the sky.
Now that we’ve talked about deep space scopes for long enough, let’s take a look at a few great examples. There aren’t a lot of telescopes out there that manage to offer a satisfactory balance between performance, portability, and price. We’ve carefully handpicked the ones that do meet our criteria.
The Best Telescope for Deep Space Observation - Comparison Table
49 x 27 x 18 inches
14 x 47 x 21 inches
Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10
52 x 25.5 x 23.7 inches
Celestron NexStar 8SE
42 x 23.7 x 13 inches
Orion SkyView Pro 8
40.3 x 20 x 10.1 inches
- Placed on top of a dobsonian mount, this telescope is a great option for someone who’s about to buy their first serious telescope. It has an 8-inch wide main lens that captures loads of light.
- It has a heavy base that keeps the telescope quite stable. The telescope is easy to use as well.
- Its large aperture makes the telescope usable in brighter areas as well. It can operate decently in light polluted areas.
- The whole telescope has superb build quality. It looks great, feels great, and performs great.
- The telescope’s usage is quite simple, making it a good choice for beginners as well.
- The telescope’s mount style makes its outdoor usage limited.
- This is a rather high-end telescope that is designed to provide a rich star-gazing experience. It has built-in software that provides you with useful information about what you’re looking at.
- The telescope is a hybrid between a reflector telescopef and refractor telescope. This allows it to have a large focal length in a compact body.
- The telescope has a built-in GPS that allows the telescope to find objects in the sky.
- The telescope has great build quality. It’s built to last for quite some time.
- The telescope comes with an automated tracking system. It also has astronomy software that enriches your user experience.
- Meade keeps the software in this telescope updated. This further extends the lifespan of the telescope.
- Despite having a shorter body, the telescope is heavy and thick.
Orion 8946 SkyQuest XT10
- Another Dobsonian telescope with a large aperture. It packs a 10-inch wide objective lens, making the telescope quite powerful. The high-quality optics are a literal steal at this price point.
- At night time, this telescope can capture striking amounts of detail when viewing deep space objects.
- The entire telescope is easy to set up and use. You can use it whether you’re a beginner or an expert.
- The telescope packs amazing specs at an amazing price point.
- It offers incredibly sharp and clear image capturing.
- The telescope has a stable enough mount.
- The assembly process for the telescope can become confusing for someone new.
Celestron NexStar 8SE
- This hybrid scope stands out for being incredibly technology driven. It weighs a mere 16 pounds and has a very compact body. It features an 8-inch aperture and a large focal length. This makes the telescope quite powerful.
- The telescope’s movement is computerized. You type in what you want to see, and the telescope will find it by itself. The computer-driven controls make the telescope very easy to use.
- The telescope offers a wide magnification range.
- The telescope’s computerized movements make it beginner friendly. However, it is also built to meet the needs of more experienced astronomers.
- A great option for people who want to get the most out of astronomy as they learn the ropes.
- Without the computerized controls, the telescope can become rather difficult to use.
Orion SkyView Pro 8
- A powerful 8-inch telescope that is built with ease of use in mind. The powerful optics let you view far off objects quite clearly.
- The telescope has a computerized GoTo database that makes finding objects easier.
- It’s mounted on top of an equatorial mount that is stable and well-built.
- The telescope’s GoTo software, easy usability, and assembly make it a joy to use.
- The telescope’s specs and its mount make it a viable astrophotography option.
- The telescope is quite delicate and also tall. It definitely isn’t recommended for children.
- It’s quite heavy.
- The GoTo kit must be bought separately.
These are some of the best deep space telescopes out there. Each telescope offers a great combination of power and practicality. With a bit of practice, you can begin exploring the vast expanses of the universe with any of these devices.