Only a precious few of us can hop onto a spaceship and shoot off into the stars. Even the few who can do that are severely limited at the moment. However, what pretty much anyone of us can do is buy an astronomy telescope. Astronomy telescopes are powerful, easy to use, and considerably more affordable than a spaceship. In fact, you can get your hands on a pretty decent scope for no more than 300 dollars. Today, we’re going to talk about the best telescopes under $300 in 2020. We’ll be reviewing the latest telescope models in the market. Models that are designed to provide the user with exceptional viewing power.
But before we get into our reviews, let’s talk about astronomy telescopes for a bit. The reason behind discussing them is to develop an understanding of the product. Whenever you’re about to buy something technical, knowing more about it helps. It makes the buying process easier.
Astronomy telescopes are complicated to build and easy to use. These optical devices are designed to capture light and direct it into our eyes. Their large apertures allow them to capture larger amounts of light than our eyes. This makes it possible for telescopes to spot objects that would normally be invisible to the human eye.
An astronomy telescope can be a great investment. It provides you with a window to the universe. You can view the stars, the planets, and even farther off objects from your backyard. However, you should keep in mind that at 300 dollars, you aren’t going to find a god tier telescope. The thing with astronomy telescopes is that more power equals more expense. However, this doesn’t mean that a cheap astronomy telescope is always going to be bad. As long as you know what to look for, you can get a pretty decent set of equipment.
Astronomy telescopes have two variants. Both of these variants operate in more or less the same manner. The only difference between them is the arrangement of their Optical Tube Assembly (OTA) and the main lens that they use.
There are Refractor telescopes that use convex lenses to direct light to a focal point inside their sealed body. A refractor telescope requires less maintenance and looks cooler. However, they’re more expensive and are also prone to image distortions. These distortions are usually more apparent in low to mid-tier telescopes.
The other type of telescopes is called Reflector telescopes. Reflector telescopes use simpler optics that make them less expensive. They use mirrors to capture and direct light into an eyepiece. These telescopes have an open body that exposes their optics to the environment. Due to this, reflector telescopes often require more maintenance work.
Regardless of what type of scope you’re interested in, there are a handful of things that you should keep an eye out for. Being able to identify these things will help you pick a telescope that suits your needs and requirements better.
Features to Look Out For
The aperture of a telescope describes the size of its objective lens. The objective lens is the primary lens of the telescope that will be capturing light. A larger objective lens means that a telescope has a bigger aperture. A bigger aperture means that your telescope has greater viewing power. There’s a general belief in the astronomy community that a bigger lens is always better. This is true, but only to an extent. The size of a telescope’s lens isn’t everything. The quality of the lens is important as well. A smaller lens with better quality and possible coating may perform well.
The focal length of a telescope is as important as its aperture. The focal length describes the distance light must cover after passing through the telescope’s lens before it converges. A longer focal length lets you get a more focused yet narrower field of view. A shorter focal length means that you get a wider FOV with lesser focus.
Many people think that magnification must be really important in a telescope. Magnification is useful, but it isn’t the biggest factor that you should be concerned with. Many gimmicky products market themselves by stating huge magnification levels. Your telescope’s magnification shouldn’t be so powerful that it exceeds the image quality of a telescope. If your telescope has a small aperture and cannot capture enough detail, magnifying what it projects will produce a blurred image.
Now that we all know enough about telescopes, let’s go through a few amazing options that are available in the market.
The Best Telescope Under 300 in 2020
Celestron 114LCM Computerized Telescope
Celestron Inspire 100AZ
Orion StarBlast II 4.5
Orion SkyQuest XT6
Gskyer Powerseeker AZ90600
24x, 60x, 120x
- This telescope is equipped with a massive 114mm main lens. This allows the telescope to produce great images of celestial objects.
- The telescope has an in-built computerized mount. The mount makes pointing the telescope in the right direction simple.
- Its computerized system lets users enjoy star gazing without having to worry about any technicalities.
- The telescope comes with a red dot finder that makes manual aiming easier. It features multiple magnification levels as well.
- The OTA of the telescope has a decent build quality. The telescope’s body is made of aluminum.
- Comes with computerized controls.
- Its optics are well-made.
- The provided tripod is very stable.
- The computerized system runs on disposable batteries that aren’t provided.
- An eye-catching refractor telescope that will be great for novices and adept astronomers. This telescope has a decent 100mm aperture and a short focal length. This combination produces high-quality images with a wide FOV.
- It comes with two eyepieces that allow you to choose between multiple magnifications.
- Its focusing mechanism is marked and designed to be as easy to use as possible.
- The telescope has a built-in smartphone adapter. This lets you quickly turn your equipment into an astrophotography setup.
- The telescope’s design makes it versatile. You can use it to take pictures of what you’re viewing.
- Its usage is incredibly simple.
- Gives a lot of value at a great price point.
- The telescope is rather heavy.
- This telescope has a generous aperture and an even more generous set of accessories. It comes with an equatorial mount that lets you navigate the night sky with great ease.
- Its provided tripod is adjustable and comes with an accessory tray. You also get a number of eyepieces.
- The telescope has a red-dot sight for easier aiming and an Orion MoonMap 260. Its plentiful accessories let you get the most out of the telescope.
- The telescope’s assembly is easy.
- Its powerful specs make the telescope quite capable at producing quality images.
- Comes with a lot of accessories.
- The telescope is quite bulky. It’s not the best telescope for people who want portability.
- The Orion SkyQuest XT6 is a Dobsonian style reflector telescope with an impressive 150mm aperture. The telescope has a sturdily built body and a long 1200mm focal length.
- This telescope packs mighty specs at a jaw-dropping price point. Its OTA’s build quality is superb.
- The telescope is mounted on a stable base that is designed to be used on flat surfaces. Its stable base allows for vibration free star gazing.
- The telescope comes with eyepieces, and a finder scope as well.
- The telescope has great build quality.
- It’s powerful enough to view deep sky objects as well.
- The lens of the telescope can be upgraded later on.
- The telescope’s bulky body makes it very hard to carry around.
- It only comes with a single eyepiece.
- This refractor telescope features a coated objective lens. This greatly enhances the telescope’s ability to capture clear images.
- The telescope comes with three eyepieces that give you plenty of magnification levels to choose from.
- The aluminum body of the telescope is well-built. The steel tripod that comes with the telescope boasts decent quality as well.
- The telescope comes with an accessory tray as well.
- Gives you three eyepieces with varying magnification levels.
- Has a very sturdy and stable tripod.
- The telescope’s high-quality optics produce great images.
- The assembly process for this telescope is hard.
These are some of the best telescopes that you can get for 300 dollars. Note that pretty much all of these telescopes are quite capable of doing their job. They don’t come with any fancy bells and whistles, but they’re more than capable of helping you navigate the night sky. Remember that astronomy is a growing hobby. One should buy an affordable telescope at first and experiment with it. Practical experience will help you figure out whether you want to pursue this hobby or not. And if you do want to pursue it, then in what way. You can always move onto a more powerful telescope in the future. However, all the telescopes that we’ve covered today are going to keep you happy throughout your beginner to intermediate phase.