Astrophotography in April 2023: what to shoot in the night sky this coming month

April 2023 brings an opportunity for perhaps the ultimate shot for any astrophotographer – a total solar eclipse – but only those who are prepared to travel to remote areas of the globe. For everyone else, the month is peppered with astronomical highlights, from the year’s first decent meteor shower to a rare conjunction of bright planet Venus and the Pleiades, surely one of the night sky’s most beautiful and most often photographed sights. 

Add the rise of a full ‘Pink moon’ and plenty of opportunities to shoot the crescent moon and April 2023 is a great month to dust-off that camera and tripod and get outside looking up.

Thursday, April 6: a full ‘Pink Moon’

The rising full moon is always a great subject for astrophotographers (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

If you’re not already an expert at photographing, the rising full moon each month and you’re not trying hard enough. It’s mainly about being in the right place at the right time, so check your local moonrise time and be punctual at a location with a good view low to the eastern horizon (a second or third-floor window works well). The trick is to catch it as it appears draped on orangey hues alongside buildings or mountains in the distance. Use a 70-300mm lens, a tripod and a remote shutter release and experiment with short exposures – the rising full moon is a bright object indeed. 

Read: How to photograph the full moon

Sunday-Monday, April 9-10: The moon occults Antares

Just before or after midnight depending on your location (use the Stellarium Web Online to check) look southeast you’ll be greeted by a waning gibbous moon close to the brilliant Antares, the brightest star in the constellation of Scorpius. This red supergiant star is positioned directly above the Milky Way’s center. From North America only the moon will obscure Antares, causing it to vanish from sight for about an hour. 

Tuesday, April 11: Venus and the Pleiades

Venus in the Pleiades from 2020. (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

The highlight of the astrophotography month for many will be this pass of Venus just 2.5° from the Pleiades (also called M45). Get yourself an unobstructed view of the western horizon immediately after sunset, but bear in mind that you’ll need to work fast because the planet and the Pleiades will sink below the horizon within an hour or so. If you’ve not yet tried to capture M45, here’s a great excuse. You can try a night either side, too, when Venus will be almost as close. 

Read: The best cameras for astrophotography

The Old Ruins at Portencross under the Milky Way. 30secs at f/11, ISO100. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Thursday, April 13: April’s dark sky window opens

Today it’s Last Quarter (or Third Quarter) moon, which sees our satellite half-lit from our point of view. Better still, it rises after midnight, and will rise about 50 minutes later each night for the next week. Cue this month’s dark sky window – which means it’s time for astrophotographers after nightscapes to get moving! If that’s not enough to get you roused, know that it’s also International Dark Sky Week. 

Saturday, April 15: Crescent moon and Saturn

If you can hack the early start then there’s a pretty conjunction between Saturn and a 27%-illuminated crescent moon. The action happens low on the east-southeast horizon just before sunrise. You’ll need a wide-angle lens to capture them together. 

Read: When to photograph the moon

Thursday, April 20: total solar eclipse

The Baily’s Beads effect is seen as the moon makes its final move over the sun during the total solar eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017, above Madras, Oregon, USA. (Image credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)

It’s a New Moon today, but this month it’s what it causes that will most interest astrophotographers. Occurring only once every 18 months or so on average, a total solar eclipse happens when a New Moon exactly covers the Sun, though only from a very narrow path of totality across Earth’s surface. That path is barely 60 miles wide today – about as narrow as it can ever be – and it crosses the tiny remote town of Exmouth in Western Australia as well as Timor Leste and West Papua. Expect jaw-dropping images from some of the 50,000 or so eclipse-chasers who will make the trip to the southern hemisphere. 

Friday, April 21 and Saturday, April 22: A crescent moon, Pleiades and Venus

Across these two evenings, there will be a chance for astrophotographers to grab a wide field view of a slender crescent moon close to the Pleiades. Just to add to the spectacle, bright Venus will hang just above and dimmer Mercury below.

Saturday-Sunday, April 22-23: Lyrid meteor shower

When a moonless night sky meets a meteor shower it’s time to get your camera on a tripod. If you get lucky with a clear sky then expect about 20 ‘shooting stars’ per hour during the peak of the Lyrids meteor shower. That occurs in the early hours of Sunday in Europe and as soon as it gets dark on Saturday in North America. The ‘shooting stars’ will appear to come from the constellation Lyra, 

Read: How to photograph a meteor shower

Sunday, April 23: Venus and a crescent moon 

Aim towards the western horizon after sunset today and you’ll see a 15%-lit crescent moon showcasing the beautiful phenomenon of “Earthshine – sunlight reflected from Earth back onto the dark limb of the moon. It’s possible to capture it using a camera, but only in the first few days of the lunar cycle before it gets drowned out by the growing brightness of the moon. 

Tuesday, April 25: Mars and a crescent moon

Again in the western sky shortly after dark will be the spectacle of a now 30%-lit crescent moon close to the red planet Mars. The two objects will be about 3º from each other, so easy enough to capture in the same field of view with a telephoto lens. 

Wide-angle shot of the month: Lyrids meteor shower

(Image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The key to photographing a meteor shower is to experiment with different settings until you get a great-looking image of the night sky. Then use either a shutter release cable on lock or your camera’s built-in intervalometer, to take as many identical shots as possible over as many hours as possible. You’re bound to capture one or two ‘shooting stars’. Here’s the basic technique:

Read: How to photograph a meteor shower

Read more:

Astrophotography: How-to guides, tips and videos (opens in new tab)
Astrophotography tools: the best camera, lenses and gear (opens in new tab)
• The best lenses for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
• The best star tracker camera mounts (opens in new tab)
• Best equatorial mounts (opens in new tab)
• Best deep-space telescopes (opens in new tab)
• The best light pollution filters (opens in new tab)
The best CCD cameras for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
The best spotting scopes (opens in new tab)
The best binoculars (opens in new tab)
The best microscopes (opens in new tab)

Read more:

Astrophotography: How-to guides, tips and videos (opens in new tab)
Astrophotography tools: the best camera, lenses and gear (opens in new tab)
• The best lenses for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
• The best star tracker camera mounts (opens in new tab)
• Best equatorial mounts (opens in new tab)
• Best deep-space telescopes (opens in new tab)
• The best light pollution filters (opens in new tab)
The best CCD cameras for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
The best spotting scopes (opens in new tab)
The best binoculars (opens in new tab)
The best microscopes (opens in new tab)

Read more:

Astrophotography: How-to guides, tips and videos (opens in new tab)
Astrophotography tools: the best camera, lenses and gear (opens in new tab)
• The best lenses for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
• The best star tracker camera mounts (opens in new tab)
• Best equatorial mounts (opens in new tab)
• Best deep-space telescopes (opens in new tab)
• The best light pollution filters (opens in new tab)
The best CCD cameras for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
The best spotting scopes (opens in new tab)
The best binoculars (opens in new tab)
The best microscopes (opens in new tab)

We Put the Samsung S23 Ultra’s Camera to the Test

To say that we’ve hit a point in smartphones where they’ve become more of a camera than a mobile device is neither a groundbreaking statement nor a hot take. Not only do you want your phone to shoot a great video with good resolution, lighting, and depth-of-field for your social media, but you want one that’s flexible, with enough hardware options (lenses, optical zoom, and a large enough sensor) to shoot in any given circumstance.

In the case of the Samsung S23 Ultra, it exacerbates this point entirely. Combining its array of hardware with smart and functional software to create awesome photos and videos. We had a chance to spend the better part of a month with the latest flagship device from Samsung, and we were blown away by the results, particularly the 10x optical zoom and increased stabilisation. Oh, and they’ve fixed the Instagram upload quality issue.

RELATED: We put an $800 smartphone against Apple’s flagship iPhone 14 Pro Max in a battle for the ages.

Samsung S23 Ultra Tech Specs at a Glance

Arguably the most important smartphone feature of them all is the camera. We’ve had the chance to go hands-on with the latest flagship Samsung S23 Ultra for a month, checking out everything from the performance to the battery life (which is an absolute standout feature of this phone). However, what you really want to know about is the 200MP sensor and optical zoom options. But first, the specs.

Galaxy S23 Ultra
Price from $1,949 AUD
Display 6.8-inch QHD AMOLED
Refresh rate 1 – 120Hz adaptive
Rear cameras 200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto, 10MP 10x telephoto
Front camera 12MP selfie
Chipset Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Storage 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Battery 5,000 mAh
Charging 45W wired/10W wireless
Water/dust resistance IP68
Size 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9mm (6.4 x 3.0 x 0.35 inches)
Weight 233g (8.2 ounces)
Colours Phantom Black, Cotton Flower, Botanic Green and Mystic Lilac

As you could probably tell from the tech specs of the Samsung S23 Ultra listed above, it’s a powerhouse of a smartphone. Without taking it to the absolute limits with a bench test, we’re more than confident that this it’s far more powerful than anyone would need for any amount of daily duties. And while the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy helps substantially with performance for power users, you’ll really notice the difference when it comes to battery life and video processing.

RELATED: Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra BMW M Edition is the Best Smartphone You’ll Never Have.

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Samsung s23 ultra camera

Samsung S23 Ultra camera array | Image: Supplied

How Good Are the Cameras on the Samsung S23 Ultra?

And now for the main event, how do the cameras perform on the Samsung S23 Ultra? Well, let’s start with the specs by the numbers vs. its main competitor, the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Samsung S23 Ultra iPhone 14 Pro Max
Main camera 200MP, f/1.7 48MP, f/1.78
Ultrawide camera 12MP, f/2.2 12MP, f/1.78
Macro cameras

3x 10MP, f/2.4

10x 10MP, f/4.9

2x 12MP, f/2.8

3x 12MP, f/2.8

Selfie camera 12MP, f/2.2 12MP, f/1.9

You can see from the stats above just how close they’re on paper. Where the Samsung S23 Ultra outdoes the iPhone 14 Pro Max in sheer megapixels for the main camera, the iPhone has the upper hand in the megapixel department for the macro lenses at 2x and 3x zoom.

However, that’s hardly the full story because the Samsung S23 Ultra has a trick up its sleeve in the form of optical zoom at up to 10x f/4.9 optical zoom whereas the iPhone can only muster up to 3x. Essentially, using the zoom function on the iPhone simply crops in a shot taken from the 3x lens, whereas the Samsung is capable of up to 10x without cropping which equals quality.

Of course, it’s worth mentioning here that the S23 Ultra can “zoom in” all the way up to 100x, however, use cases for this are fairly limited. On the other hand, the Astrophotography mode is exceptional, but we’ll be covering that one in our full review.

RELATED: $2,000 Samsung 34-inch Odyssey OLED G8 Curved Gaming Monitor Doesn’t Play Fair.

Samsung S23 Ultra Photo Samples

Sample photos were taken on our Samsung S23 Ultra, all of which were taken at 200MP.

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Samsung s23 ultra 200mp photo example 8

Samsung S23 Ultra 1x (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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Samsung S23 Ultra 10x (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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Samsung s23 ultra 200mp photo example 10

Samsung S23 Ultra 30x (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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Samsung S23 Ultra 200MP image (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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Samsung S23 Ultra 200MP image (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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Samsung S23 Ultra 200MP image (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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Samsung S23 Ultra 200MP image (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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Samsung S23 Ultra 200MP image (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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Samsung S23 Ultra 200MP image (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

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Samsung S23 Ultra 200MP image (compressed for web quality) | Image: Ben McKimm / Man of Many

Now, let’s check out the video features.

Video is a Standout Feature of the Samsung S23 Ultra

In terms of video capability, the Samsung S23 Ultra is capable of filming up to 8K footage from its main sensor at 30fps, gone is the sub-par 24fps. From there, all five of its cameras have the ability to film 4K footage at 60fps with stabilisation available across the board.

How Does That Translate to Social Media?

What you’re probably wondering is how all this translates to Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube shorts. Well, here’s a sample we filmed in 4K30 before YouTube compressed the video to FullHD, something Samsung devices have traditionally struggled with.

We’ve also linked the TikTok and Instagram Reel videos via the buttons below.

Check out the Instagram Reel Check out the TikTok

RELATED: Samsung’s New Odyssey Neo G9 Monitor is 57 Inches of Gaming Insanity.

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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra | Image: Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra | Image: Samsung

How Much Does the Samsung S23 Ultra Cost?

So you’re impressed by the cameras… well here’s how much the device costs.

Pricing for the Samsung S23 Ultra starts at $1,949 AUD with 256GB of storage. Keep my mind, that 256gb is the bare minimum you’ll want if you plan on shooting any amount of video in 4K. We recommend looking at trade-in options to shave some of the initial cost and jumping up to the 512gb model that’s priced from $2,249 AUD or maxing out at $2,649 AUD for the 1TB model if you’re a content creator.

  • Samsung S23 Ultra 256gb – from $1,949 AUD
  • Samsung S23 Ultra 512gb – from $2,249 AUD
  • Samsung S23 Ultra 1TB – from $2,649 AUD

Buy the Samsung S23 Ultra

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The Best Telescopes of 2023

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The best telescopes of 2022

Whether you’re surveying the solar system or looking to do some deep-sky stargazing, the best telescope is a must-have optical instrument. Using lenses, mirrors, or a combination of both to gather and focus light, optical telescopes increase the apparent size of distant objects — e.g., other planets and stars — so that we can observe them more clearly.

Optical telescopes are typically categorized into three main types: refractor, reflector, or catadioptric. Each type comes with own strengths and weaknesses, which you should consider when selecting a scope. For instance, refractor telescopes are generally considered to be better suited for viewing objects within our own solar system. If you’re primarily interested in observing the moon or any of our planetary neighbors, refractor telescopes are a good place to start. Conversely, if you’re interested in studying deep-space objects, a refractor scope likely isn’t the best bet for you. 

Category is just one of the many factors you’ll need to consider when shopping for a telescope, which is why the selection process can seem so daunting. But don’t worry — we’ll give you some clarity on what to look for when scoping out scopes, including which features you should focus on or ignore. We’ll also provide our picks for the best telescopes for certain use cases and applications.

Best Overall: Celestron NexStar 8SE

Best for Beginners: Celestron NexStar 5SE

Best for Kids: Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ

Best for Astrophotography: Sky-Watcher EvoStar 100

Best Value: Gskyer AZ90600 Refractor Telescope

Best for Viewing Planets: Sky-Watcher Skymax 127

Best WiFi-Enabled: Celestron NexStar Evolution 8

Best Tabletop: Orion 10033 Funscope

Best Portable: SARBLUE Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope

Best for Planetary Photography: Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 SynScan AZ

How We Picked the Best Telescopes

To determine the best telescopes, we leveraged years of personal experience, as well as information gleaned from interviewing optics specialists and experts in the field of astronomy and astrophotography. These resources allowed us to create a specific criterion for evaluating each telescope: 

Aperture: A key component of any telescope, the aperture is the diameter — usually expressed in millimeters — of the primary lens or mirror of a telescope. Aperture determines the amount of light the telescope lets in. In general, a bigger aperture means a brighter image means better clarity. Bigger aperture also commonly means bulkier builds (so less portable) and more expensive (so not budget-friendly). When we evaluated each telescope, we considered whether the aperture was suitable to a specific task, as well as the cost-per-millimeter to determine value.

Magnification: When evaluating the magnifying power of each telescope, we stuck to the general guideline — you want about 50x per inch of aperture to determine useful magnification.

Type: Because each of the three main types of telescope (refractor, reflector, and catadioptric) has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, we knew what to expect in terms of design, size, and value. We examined how the strengths and weaknesses of each telescope compared to those expected of their particular type to help determine the overall quality and value.

Size: The size of a telescope can tell you a lot about its overall quality. For example, larger telescopes tend to have larger optical components and apertures, which gives you some idea of their light-gathering ability. The size of a telescope also impacts its portability, which we factored into our evaluation since many users will likely need to move their telescope from location to location. 

Value: Bang for buck is almost always an important consideration, no matter what instrument or piece of equipment you’re talking about. Telescopes are no different. We examined which telescopes gave you the most in return for your hard-earned cash.

Related: Best Space Gifts: Brilliant Ideas for Astronomy Lovers

The Best Telescopes: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Celestron NexStar 8SE

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Perfect for the Backyard. Celestron

Why It Made The Cut: The powerful, fully automated Celestron NexStar 8SE features a large, 203-millimeter aperture that allows users to enjoy crystal-clear views of the night sky from the comfort of their own home. 


– Aperture: 203 millimeters / 8 inches – Focal Length: 2,032 millimeters / 80 inches

– Magnification: 81x

– Price: $1,599.99


– 203-millimeter Schmidt-Cassegrain computerized telescope

– Fully automated mount programmed with 40,000+ celestial objects – SkyAlign technology enables quick setup and alignment – StarPointer finderscope included


– Runs through batteries quickly

The Celestron NexStar 8SE is a powerful Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope that features a wide, 203-millimeter aperture, a long 2,032-millimeter focal length, multi-coated optics, and up to 81x magnification all of which allow users to observe everything from the moon and planets to deep-space objects like faraway stars and distant galaxies with crystal clarity. 

Along with its premium optics, the NexStar 8SE comes with an abundance of features to get the most out of your home stargazing experience, including a fully automated GoTo mount that can automatically locate and track more than 40,000 celestial objects. It also features Celestron’s proprietary SkyAlign technology, which gets the telescope set up and ready to observe the stars in a matter of minutes. 

Though this telescope is perfect for placing in your backyard and viewing the night sky, the NexStar 8SE’s easy-to-break-down design makes it simple to take apart and store, or, if need be, transport to another location.  

The NexStar 8SE is both larger and costlier than its sibling, the NexStar 6SE, but the sizable difference in light-capturing ability give it an edge in terms of optical performance. If you’re looking for a great telescope to use at home, almost any of the NexStar series telescopes will do. However, if you’re looking for the absolute best telescope overall, then you should consider the NexStar 8SE.

Best for Beginners: Celestron NexStar 5SE

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Automated Mount. Celestron

Why It Made The Cut: Combining premium optics, great value, and seamless functionality, the Celestron NexStar 5SE makes locating your favorite celestial bodies a breeze for beginners and curious amateurs. 


– Aperture: 125 millimeters / 5.0 inches – Focal Length: 1250 millimeters / 49.2 inches

– Magnification: 50x

– Price: $899.95

Pros: – 125mm Schmidt-Cassegrain computerized telescope – Fully automated mount programmed with 40,000+ solar system objects – SkyAlign technology enables quick setup and alignment – Compact and portable

Cons: Short battery life when using AA batteries for power

Thanks to its slew of novice-friendly features, the Celestron NexStar 5SE is our pick for the best telescope for beginners. The 5SE doesn’t pack quite the same performance punch as its big brother, the Nexstar 6SE, but its 125-millimeter aperture, 50x magnifying power, and multi-coated optics are more than enough to produce clear, crisp images of the moon and planets.

The NexStar 5SE’s easy-to-use tracking system utilizes an automated mount to pinpoint and focus on any of the more than 40,000 celestial bodies stored in its vast database. The ease and speed at which these objects are located, as well as the resulting image that follows, will also appeal to beginners, as it rewards their stargazing efforts immediately. 

Even though the NexStar 5SE weighs nearly 30 pounds, it breaks down fairly easily, making it a breeze to transport. And, thanks to its intuitive design, reassembling the telescope is a breeze, so usersespecially beginnerswon’t have to worry about any complicated steps or procedures.

Looking for a more budget-friendly option for beginners? Popular Science’s Astromaster Refractor Telescope works with Bluetooth to let you capture compelling photos and videos. 

Best for Kids: Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ

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Red Dot Finderscope. Celestron

Why It Made The Cut: The Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ is easy to set up, simple to use, and comes with everything a junior astronomer needs to start their stargazing sojourn.     


– Aperture: 70 millimeters / 2.8 inches – Focal Length: 900 millimeters / 35.4 inches

– Magnification: 45x (10 millimeter eyepiece); 90x (20 millimeter eyepiece)

— Price: $148.29


– 70 millimeter refractor Optical Tube Assembly (OTA)

– Fully coated glass optics improve light transmission

– Manual alt-azimuth mount makes object tracking easy

– Includes 10-millimeter and 20-millimeter eyepieces

– Compact, lightweight, and portable


– Mediocre tripod 

The best telescope for kids is one that delivers an exciting experience for young stargazers without overstressing their parents’ budget. The Celestron AstroMaster 70AZ satisfies both those requirements, thanks to its ease of use, high-quality optics, and reasonable price tag.

The AstroMaster A70 is a refracting telescope with a 70 millimeter (2.8-inch) aperture, 900 millimeter (35.4-inch) focal length, and your choice of magnification (either 45x or 90x) depending on which eyepiece you use. The telescope sits in an easy-to-operate alt-azimuth mount, which moves vertically and horizontally and connects to the included steel tripod. Also included with the AstroMaster are the aforementioned 1.25-inch eyepieces, a finderscope, an image diagonal, and free software to help young astronomers develop their celestial knowledge. 

Best for Astrophotography: Sky-Watcher EvoStar 100

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The Sky Watcher EvoStar 100 is one of the best telescopes.

Why It Made The Cut: The EvoStar’s large aperture, powerful magnification, and easy-to-use focuser make this option the best telescope for astrophotographers.  


– Aperture: 100 millimeters / 5.9 inches

– Focal Length: 900 millimeters / 35.4 inches

– Magnification: 197x (maximum)

– Price: $947.59


– 100 millimeter refractor OTA

– Proprietary Metallic High-Transmission Coatings (MHTC) minimize chromatic aberrations

– Includes 2 inch dual-speed Crayford-style focuser

– Comes with foam-lined aluminum hard case


– Doesn’t include mount or tripod

Even at its relatively high price point, the Sky-Watcher EvoStar 100 offers great value and premium optical performance — for both visual astronomers and astrophotographers. 

This dual-element refractor features a 100-millimeter (4-inch) aperture, 900-millimeter (35-inch) focal length, and a max magnification of 197x. The EvoStar’s optical class is coated with Sky-Watcher’s MHTC, which minimizes chromatic aberrations and helps deliver the tack-sharp, color-corrected images. Rounding out the EvoStar’s photo-friendly features is its dual-speed Crayford-style focuser, which will allow you to quickly find focus regardless of the eyepiece or camera you are using. 

The Sky-Watcher EvoStar 100 telescope is OTA-(optical tubes assemblies) only, so it doesn’t come with a mount or tripod. However, the Skymax does include a Vixen-style dovetail plate, so you will be able to attach it to virtually any telescope mount.

In lieu of a tripod, the EvoStar 100 comes with several accessories, including a finderscope, dielectric diagonal, and foam-lined aluminum case. For more options, here are the best telescopes for astrophotography.

Best Value: Gskyer AZ90600 Refractor Telescope

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All-in-One. Gskyer

Why It Made The Cut: The Gskyer AZ90600 refractor telescope offers more features and accessories than any other similarly priced kit, making it a great overall value.


– Aperture: 90 millimeters / 3.5 inches

– Focal Length: 600 millimeters / 23.6 inches

– Magnification: 120x (maximum)

– Price: $267.99


90 millimeter refractor OTA

– Fully coated, anti-reflective blue film optical components

– Includes three removable eyepieces (24x, 60x, and 120x)

– Easy to set up and use 


– No carrying case

You would be hard-pressed to find another telescope kit that offers the same amount of bang for your buck as the Gskyer AZ90600. This refractor telescope features a 90-millimeter (3.5-inch) aperture, 600-millimeter (23.6-inch) focal length, 120x maximum magnification, and three replaceable eyepieces: 5 millimeter, 10 millimeter, and 25 millimeter. The Gskyer AZ90600’s anti-reflection fully coated blue film components improve light transmission and ensure views are clean and crisp. 

In addition to the three replaceable eyepieces mentioned above, the Gskyer AZ90600 also comes with a 3x Barlow lens that triples the magnifying power of each eyepiece and a full-size alt-azimuth aluminum tripod that supports multiple heights and viewing positions.

Rounding out the Gskyer AZ90600’s long list of exceptional features is the fact that it’s fairly easy to set up and use straight away. This telescope is also fairly lightweight, meaning that if you don’t particularly like your current stargazing station, you can easily pack up and move somewhere else.

Best for Viewing Planets: Sky-Watcher Skymax 127

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Matched Primary and Secondary Mirrors. Sky-Watcher

Why It Made The Cut: Combining a slower focal ratio and narrower field of view with a 127-millimeter aperture and fully coated, high-contrast optics makes the Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 an ideal scope for viewing planets. 


– Aperture: 127 millimeters / 5 inches

– Focal Length: 1540 millimeters / 60.6 inches

– Magnification: 250x (maximum)

– Price: $550


– 127 millimeter

Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope

– Proprietary MHTC enhances brightness, color, and contrast

– Vixen-style dovetail plate supports almost all telescope mounts

– Lightweight and portable


– Doesn’t include mount or tripod

If you’re interested in viewing the moon, planets, and other celestial bodies in our solar system, then as the best telescope for viewing planets and galaxies, the Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 is an excellent choice. This 127-millimeter Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope delivers excellent optical performance with high contrast and virtually no chromatic aberration. That performance combined with the Skymax’s slower f/12 focal ratio and narrower field of view allows users to observe the moon, planets, and other solar system objects in great detail.

The Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 telescope is OTA only, meaning it doesn’t include a mount or tripod. However, the Skymax does include a Vixen-style dovetail plate, so you will be able to attach it to virtually any telescope mount. 

Best WiFi-Enabled: Celestron NexStar Evolution 8

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Impressive Optics. Celestron

Why It Made The Cut: The Evolution 8’s operation works through solid WiFi technology, making it easier to hone in on your target while getting beautiful, clear visuals. 


– Aperture: 203.2 mm / 8 inches

– Focal Length: 2032 mm / 80 inches

– Magnification: 480x (maximum)

– Price: $2,199


– Clear views without visual defects

– Simple set up and alignment

– Comes with a wide array of accessories

– WiFi control works well


– Expensive

– Not for beginners

– Lacks portability

The Celestron NexStar Evolution 8 lets you view the deep sky free from visual distortions, like coma, color fringing, and warping. This telescope’s mount features its own WiFi network., which allows you to connect your phone to control the telescope using the Celestron SkyPortal app. A touch of a button sets the telescope to find the object for you.  

It also comes with some notable accessories, including an attachable camera with hand control and StarPointer Pro finderscope with red-dot technology. The motorized mount can track objects, making this model an option for those who want to dabble in astrophotography too. The ease of controls create a fun telescope to use. However, the price puts it out of contention for beginners, and the weight limits its portability.

Best Tabletop: Orion 10033 FunScope

© Provided by Futurism
The Orion 10033 FunScope is the best tabletop telescope.

Why It Made The Cut:  The FunScope provides great views but keeps the setup simple and the design highly portable.


– Aperture: 76 mm

– Magnification: 20mm eyepiece (15x); 10mm eyepiece (30x)

– Price: $94.99


– Simple setup

– Comes with detailed book of Moon’s surface

– Easy to transport


– Not good for astrophotography

The Orion 10033 FunScopeis ready to go almost from the time you open the box, making it great for beginners. Tabletop models are designed for use on a flat, sturdy surface, but at just four pounds, the Orion FunScope is a cinch to pack for a camping trip. This telescope also comes with two eyepieces (20mm and 10mm) a detailed guide to the surface of the moon to help budding astronomers know what to look for. 

However, if you want to try your hand at astrophotography, this isn’t the model for you. Its manual mount cannot follow celestial objects.

Best Portable: SARBLUE Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope

© Provided by Futurism
Compact and Lightweight. Sarblue

Why It Made The Cut: The Sarblue is lightweight and compact, but still provides views that will make kids and grown-ups ooh and ah.


– Aperture: 60 mm / 2.36 inches

– Focal Length: 750 mm / 25.53 inches

– Magnification: 37.5x (maximum)

– Price: $129.99


– Good portability because of compact and lightweight design

– High-quality lens

– Can use with a phone

– Affordable

– Appropriate for phone photography


– Low magnification

The SARBLUE Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope is a beginner model that’s appropriate for kids or adults. It offers a good focal length, 750 mm, despite its relatively short 200 mm tube. Adults appreciate it as a travel scope, while kids can enjoy it in the backyard or on nighttime family outings. 

Despite its affordable price, it comes with a high-quality lens that’s optimized with a simple knob focus. A standard ¼-inch screw hole allows it to mount to a compatible tripod. However, it comes with a small tabletop tripod that works in many situations. The accessories include a phone mount so you can get a start on astrophotography without an expensive camera. The only downside is that it doesn’t have the greatest magnification at only 37.5x.

Best for Planetary Photography: SkyWatcher Skymax 127 SynScan AZ

© Provided by Futurism
Stellar Views. Sky-Watcher

Why It Made The Cut: The Sky-Watcher Skymax let you see the planets up close and capture vivid photos. 


– Aperture: 127mm

– Focal Length: 1,500 mm/ 59 inches

– Magnification: 300x (maximum)

– Price: $550


– Long focal length does well for in-system photography

– Package includes Barlow lens

– Vixen dovetail fixture fits a variety of mounts


– Not good for deep-space objects

The Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 SynScan AZ offers an impressive focal length that hones in on objects within our solar system, like the moon and planets. If that’s where your photography focus lies, then this is the telescope for you. There’s no need to purchase a separate Barlow lens since this model comes with one. That lets you get ultra-sharp views of objects like craters and storm fronts on Jupiter. 

The lens quality prevents optical defects, for clearer, brighter views. The Skymax can be bought with or without the GoTo mount. However, it has a Vixen dovetail fixture that’s compatible with a wide range of mounts, so you can decide what system will work best for you. The downside is that the focal length doesn’t work for objects outside of our solar system. At least, not if you want to take photos.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Telescope


When shopping for telescopes, the aperture should be one of your top considerations. The aperture determines how much light a telescope lets in, which, in turn, determines the brightness and clarity of an image. Generally speaking, the bigger the aperture, the brighter the image, and the further you’ll be able to see. Keep this maxim in mind when shopping scopes, especially if you have a particular use or object in mind. If, for example, you want to observe the deepest, darkest space, then you know to look for a scope with a larger aperture—because a larger aperture will gather more light, which will allow you to see further. However, also keep in mind that big apertures usually mean big components and big price tags, so you’ll have to weigh that against your budget and need for portability.   


Telescope size is an important consideration for a number of reasons. The first is that the size is a good indication of aperture, which, as mentioned, is critical in determining an image’s quality and how far you’ll be able to see. The second is that size determines portability. If a telescope is too large to transport to the desired location, then it’s not much use to you. Even a tiny telescope with a small aperture produces better images than the telescope you don’t use at all.  


Because of their inherent strengths and weaknesses, it’s helpful to consider the type of telescope when making your selection. As mentioned earlier, there are three basic types of telescope: refractor, reflector, and catadioptric. In general, refractor telescopes are best suited for observing objects in our solar system. They are also well-suited for astrophotography. On the negative side, refractors tend to be heavier and carry a higher cost-per-millimeter when it comes to aperture. Reflectors, on the other hand, usually offer better value than refractors, and they are better suited for deep-sky observations. Reflectors also tend to require more maintenance than a refractor, as their internal components are more likely to be covered with dust and debris. A catadioptric, or compound, telescope incorporates both refractor and reflector elements (i.e., lenses and mirrors) in its design. In many ways, compound telescopes offer the best of both types. However, one notable drawback is that compound telescopes, especially quality ones, do not come cheap. 


Q: How much does a good telescope cost?

Quality telescopes range in cost and value. There is no set price limit or range for a “good” telescope, any more than there is for a “bad” telescope. However, there are some general pricing rules you can keep in mind when it comes to specific types and subtypes of telescopes. In general, most types of refractor scopes cost more than other scopes with similar apertures. Reflector scopes tend to be much less expensive than other telescopes, especially compared to those used for deep-sky observation and astrophotography. Catadioptric, or compound, telescopes often start at a higher price point and only get more expensive as you move up the quality ladder.

Q: Which telescope is best to see planets?

The Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 is our top choice for viewing planets. The Skymax 127 pairs excellent optical performance with virtually no chromatic aberration with a slower focal ratio and narrower field of view, allowing users to observe the moon and planets in awe-inspiring detail.

Q: What is the most powerful telescope for home use?

Generally speaking, the most powerful home telescopes currently available are those with either a 350-millimeter (14-inch) or 400-millimeter (16-inch) aperture. Larger models do exist, though they aren’t readily available. One of the most powerful home telescopes you can buy is the Meade 14-inch LX200-ACF.

Q: How big of a telescope do I need to see Saturn?

So, the good news is that you can see Saturn with your naked eye. But if you want to get a closer look at its rings and details, you will need a telescope with an aperture of at least 50 millimeters (2 inches). Catadioptric telescopes starting at 100-millimeter (4-inch) apertures are a good choice for observing Saturn thanks to their enhanced light-gathering ability and high magnification.

Q: How do I clean a telescope lens?

How do you clean a telescope lens? First, you only want to clean them when they’re dirty. Lenses can be cleaned using a microfiber cloth. Whether you’re removing dust or fingerprints using a brush or lens fluid in combination with a microfiber cloth, you want to be sure to clean using a very gentle hand as to not damage the lens. 

Final Thoughts on the Best Telescopes

The best telescope is the one that satisfies the observational needs of the most people without completely emptying your wallet. To achieve this, it should feature an aperture large enough to facilitate clear observations of local and some deep-sky objects. The best telescope for you should also be easy to operate and transport, and it shouldn’t require a ton of maintenance. 

The Celestron NexStar 6SE champions these features better than any other telescope. It’s powerful enough to provide crystal-clear views of the solar system and deep space. Its intuitive functionality means that virtually any level of stargazer can easily use it. The 6SE is easy to assemble, disassemble, and transport, so you can bring it anywhere. It’s not what you would call an inexpensive instrument, but the 6SE’s high degree of power, performance, and portability does justify its price. 

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.

The post The Best Telescopes of 2023 appeared first on Futurism.

5 planets will align on March 27 and you won’t want to miss it. Here’s where to look.

© brightstars via Getty Images
On Mar. 27, a planetary parade made up of Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Uranus will march across the sky.

On Mar. 27, a planetary parade made up of Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Uranus will march across the sky.

At this particular time of the year, amateur astronomers are participating in the Messier Marathon. Originally conceived by the late comet hunter, Don Machholz, it takes place around the time of the new moon, and within a week or so of the Vernal Equinox. 

It is during this particular time of year, that all 110 of the various deep sky objects cataloged by the French astronomer, Charles Messier, come into view. Those with telescopes and a good knowledge of the sky, will stay up from dusk to dawn, looking for and logging as many Messier objects as they can. Sometimes, there are organized marathons scheduled, such as at the recent International Star Party in Flagstaff, Arizona. Even for assiduous amateur astronomers, the Messier Marathon poses a significant observing challenge 

Related: Night sky, March 2023: What you can see tonight 

A different type of challenge will be posed for sky gazers on the evening of Mar. 27. Maybe we could echo the 1986 hit song by The Bangles, for that night will truly be a “Manic Monday” as there will be an opportunity to catch sight of five planets, a famous star cluster and the moon all in one evening.

But like the Messier Marathon bagging all of these objects is going to be a challenge, especially with some of the planets.

In fact, I would strongly suggest that you stake out an observing site with a clear and unobstructed view of the western horizon if you hope to see two of these distant worlds. Make sure you do not have any tall objects — buildings or trees — in that direction. Your best option is looking out over a westward-facing shoreline that is perfectly flat and wide open with nothing to block your view. 

And also make sure to have a good pair of binoculars, as they will be extremely beneficial in your making a sighting. The best kind is either 7 x 35 or 7 x 50. The first number refers to magnification — in both cases, “7 power.” The second number refers to the size of the objective lens — the large lens at the front of the binocular — measured in millimeters. 

If you’re hoping to catch a look at the planetary parade, our guides to the best telescopes and best binoculars are a great place to start. If you’re looking to snap photos of the night sky in general, check out our guide on how to photograph the moon, as well as our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography. 

Twilight time 

Interestingly, our first two planets are studies in contrast. One is the smallest planet (Mercury) and the other is the largest (Jupiter).

Once you have found a proper viewing site, and with binoculars in hand, wait until approximately 20 to 25 minutes after the sun has set. And your viewing time is going to be short. Both planets will set beyond the horizon only 25 to 30 minutes later.

Both planets will be shining brilliantly, Mercury will glow at magnitude -1.4, which is just a trifle dimmer than Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Jupiter will appear even more dazzling at magnitude -2.1, which is twice as bright as Mercury. But what will make a sighting problematic will be that both may be very difficult to see through the bright evening twilight. 

And that’s where your binoculars come in. 

Your best chance to pick both planets up is initially to slowly sweep low along the western horizon with the binoculars; then after you hopefully have found them, seek them out with your naked eye. Mercury will be to the right of brighter Jupiter. On the evening of Mar. 27, they will be separated by just 1.3 degrees (just over one-finger width at arm’s length.)

If you sight them, congratulate yourself. It is no mean feat to catch two planets positioned so close to the setting sun. Within just a day or two, Jupiter will disappear from view into the glare of the sun. Mercury, on the other hand, will be moving away from the sun’s vicinity and will become a bit easier to see during the next couple of weeks.

Evening Beacon 

In contrast to Mercury and Jupiter, the third planet on our list will be very easy to see: dazzling Venus, the so-called “Evening Star” (although “Evening Beacon might be a better term). It’s the first planet to look for when the sun goes down. Venus is becoming increasingly prominent as it slowly gets higher in our western evening sky with each passing night. Right now, it’s setting around 10:15 p.m. local daylight time. But two months from now, Venus will be noticeably higher in the west-northwest sky about an hour after sunset, and not setting until close to midnight. 

A planet racing away 

The fourth planet on our list is Mars. Several months ago, Mars shone brilliantly because it was relatively close to Earth; back on Nov. 30 it was 50.6 million miles away from us and appeared like a very bright fiery hued star, shining with a steady glow. A week later, like two racing cars going around on a track, we passed Mars in our respective orbits — Earth on the inside and Mars on the outside. And ever since then, we’ve left Mars far behind — in our side view mirror, preverbally speaking.

On Mar. 27, Mars will be 131.4 million miles (211.4 million km) from Earth — more than 2.5 times more distant than it was late last fall. It has correspondingly faded, appearing only 1/13 as bright compared to early in December. Yet it is still fairly conspicuous because it still ranks among the 21 brightest stars in terms of brightness.

And you can make an instant identification of it, by simply looking up at our fifth celestial object of the evening, the moon. On this night, our natural satellite will resemble a fat crescent phase. And if you look off to the moon’s upper left, that bright yellow-orange “star” will be Mars.  

Have a Life Saver!  

Now, use the binoculars again, and look just off to the left of Mars and you’ll catch sight of M35, a star cluster in the constellation of Gemini the Twins. It ranked fifth among my list of personal deep-sky favorites in the wintertime sky. Long-time deep-sky columnist for Sky & Telescope, Walter Scott Houston wrote: “I feel that M35 is one of the greatest objects in the heavens. Observers with small telescopes will find it a superb object. The cluster appears as big as the moon and fills the eyepiece with a glitter of bright stars from center to edge. With 15 x 65 binoculars it was like a fat Life Savers candy, all white and glistening.” 

Seventh planet from the sun 

Our fifth and final planet is the next-to-last out from the sun: Uranus. 

Barely visible to the unaided eye on very dark, clear nights, use Venus as a benchmark to find it. On Monday it will be just three degrees — roughly equal to one-third of the width of your clenched fist held at arm’s length — to the upper left of that dazzling planet. Again, use your binoculars to scan this region of the sky. What you’ll be looking for is a faint star, but the tipoff will be its pale greenish tint. That will be the third largest planet and next to the planet Neptune, the most distant planet from the sun.

There you have it: five planets, a famous star cluster and the moon. Think you’ll be able to sight all seven? As we’ve noted, a few will be easy but others will be more difficult. If skies are clear Monday evening, good luck and good hunting!

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmers’ Almanac and other publications. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

Samsung’s Gallery app is adding creepy teeth to baby photos

© Provided by Android Police

Samsung recently caught flak for beautifying moon photos using AI magic, with people calling the tweaks excessive. Going overboard with AI enhancement of astrophotography may be a bad look for a brand making some of the best Android phones around, but it is far worse when such features start messing with people’s kids. The Remaster option in the Samsung Gallery app appears to be adding nightmarish teeth to pictures of toothless babies, and it’s just about as creepy as you’d think.

Features like Photo Unblur and the Enhance option in Google Photos are great, because they improve images predictably and subtly. Samsung has similar intentions with its Gallery app’s Remaster feature, but a reader of The Verge had a rather disturbing experience with it on their Galaxy S23 Ultra. In an attempt to enhance a picture of their seven-month-old baby, they found the Remaster option helpfully removing snot from the picture, but also adding brilliant white teeth to the baby’s open mouth.

Interestingly, the Remaster feature is acting similarly on one other photo from the same user, but we and The Verge failed to recreate the issue using images of babies from the internet. The repeatability of the issue for one user suggests it is feature misbehavior, but the fact that we can’t recreate the issue casts doubt on how widespread it is.


All things considered, the remaster feature should clean up photos, touch up blemishes, maybe sharpen results, and apply color and exposure correction. However, the instant a red tongue is converted to white teeth, we are inclined to believe AI trickery is afoot, and Samsung software shouldn’t be adding elements to the image.

The Korean brand didn’t comment on the matter, but a description of the Remaster feature on its website states it just “removes shadows and reflections automatically.” The person facing the toothy issue says this is more disturbing than the moon beautification controversy. These cases are a little different in that the moon beautification is automatic, but you can keep the toothless baby pictures if you choose to avoid using the Remaster feature. In our book, though, a feature delivering unsightly results is as good as unusable, but Samsung can easily rectify this with a software update.

It’s a great time for CT residents to view the night sky

If you are interested in astronomy, there will be some excellent opportunities for viewing and photographing the night sky in the coming months. Spring (March – May) is known as “galaxy season” to amateur astronomers, with a greater number of galaxies visible in the night sky than any other time of year.

Many amateur astronomers take advantage of this time to observe and photograph these amazing objects.

Galaxies are huge swirling masses of stars, cosmic gas and dust held together by gravity. With the recent deployment of the James Webb telescope, we are learning much more about their age and origins. There are estimated to be billions of galaxies in the universe, each containing billions of stars. They are present in a variety of shapes and sizes, and typically span light years across. The galaxies we can observe are millions of light years away, and it is really amazing that we can see them at all at that distance, even with a telescope.

The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to our Milky Way, at a distance of 2.5 million light years away.

  • John Natale

    There will be some excellent opportunities for viewing and photographing the night sky in the coming months of spring. John Natale

  • John Natale

    There will be some excellent opportunities for viewing and photographing the night sky in the coming months of spring. John Natale

  • John Natale

    There will be some excellent opportunities for viewing and photographing the night sky in the coming months of spring

  • John Natale

    There will be some excellent opportunities for viewing and photographing the night sky in the coming months of spring.

Most of us have seen the amazing photographs of galaxies taken with the James Webb telescope, either in the news, on-line or in astronomy magazines. However, you may not know that a photograph taken from your own back yard with only amateur equipment can also reveal some excellent detail of deep sky objects, including the glowing stars present within the massive spiral arms of galaxies, and the regions of new star formation or “nebulosity” interwoven between them.

Unlike other forms of photography, astrophotography involves taking a series of long exposures or videos, and then processing them digitally afterward with a technique known as image “stacking.” This results in a much brighter composite final image with greater detail than would otherwise be possible. After capturing and saving the desired images on a laptop computer, image stacking can be done with a variety of different astronomy-specific software applications, and additional software can be used to give the photos their final touches.

When taking photos of galaxies or any other deep sky objects, selection of the right equipment is key. As far as the telescope itself is concerned, telescopes with shorter focal lengths and a wider field of view (such as a small refractor or reflector telescope) are best for beginners to learn on. As you gain expertise, telescopes with bigger apertures, longer focal lengths and a narrower field of view can also be used.

Cameras used for astrophotography have extremely sensitive optical sensors, specialized to gather dim light from distant objects, and are usually electronically cooled to reduce optical noise. A standard 35mm camera can also be used instead of an astronomy camera, but modifications may need to be made to achieve good results. The camera is typically connected to the back of a telescope and to a laptop computer, where images can be downloaded and viewed on the computer screen while capturing them. In addition, one of the most important pieces of equipment needed for astrophotography is a sturdy equatorial telescope mount, which automatically tracks the movement of the stars to allow in-focus images without star trails.

What is the best way to learn astrophotography? The most important thing you can do is to join a local amateur astronomy club, where you can go to observing events (aka “star parties”) and meet other like-minded amateur astronomers. Most clubs have members with a wide range of expertise and interests, and you can learn a lot in a very short time. I belong to the Thames Amateur Astronomical Society in southeast Connecticut, but there are also others in the state including the Astronomical Society of Greater Hartford and the Astronomical Society of New Haven. No matter where you are located, there is likely to be an amateur astronomy club in your area.

When learning this hobby there is also a lot of information available from various on-line forums such as the “Cloudy Nights” forum, where you can find others with the same equipment you have and post your questions. Other on-line resources that I have found useful for learning this hobby include web sites or you-tube channels for Heavenly Backyard Astronomy, Astroforum, Star Stuff, Martin’s Astrophotography, AstroBackyard and Late Night Astronomy. Last, I have found Astronomy Magazine to be a great source of information as it provides equipment reviews, good articles, and tips on what to look for in the night sky each month.

Whether you are an experienced or beginning amateur astronomer, I encourage you to try your hand at astrophotography, and galaxy season is a great time for that. Starting out in this hobby can be expensive, and can have a large learning curve, especially for those with little or no background in photography or astronomy. However, if you if you have the time and patience to learn, it can be a very rewarding and enjoyable hobby.

John Natale is an amateur astronomer and resident of East Haddam. For additional information on amateur astronomy or astrophotography, he can be contacted at



Look up! See Venus shine next to the young moon tonight

© Starry Night Education
Venus will shine close to the moon on March 23.

Should your local weather forecast suggest that Thursday evening (March 23) will be fair and clear it will be well worth making a mental note to be outside about an hour after the sun goes down. If you head outside at that early evening hour and if you have a clear and unobstructed view toward the west, you will be treated to a lovely pairing off of the two brightest objects in the night sky. 

You’ll immediately notice the crescent moon; appearing as a slender sliver, its disk will be illuminated just 6% by sunlight. And hovering well above and slightly to the left of the lunar crescent will be the planet, Venus, shining like a brilliant silvery-white celestial lantern of magnitude -4.0. 

The two objects will be separated by roughly 6.5 degrees, which is roughly equal to two-thirds of the apparent width of your fist held at arm’s length. This won’t be an exceptionally close approach between these two objects but their great brilliance makes them an eye-catching sight in the early morning sky.

Related: Night sky, March 2023: What you can see tonight [maps]

The following evening (Friday, March 24), it will appear that they will have switched positions. On that night, a slightly wider (12%) lunar crescent will be hovering well above and slightly to the left of Venus. 

Of course, what we’ll see is an illusion of perspective. The moon is 233,400 miles (375,700 km) from Earth, while Venus is 492 times more distant at 115 million miles (185 million km) away. Venus is becoming increasingly prominent as it slowly gets higher in our western evening sky with each passing night. Right now, it’s setting around 10:15 p.m. local daylight time. But two months from now, Venus will be noticeably higher in the west-northwest sky about an hour after sunset, and not setting until close to midnight.

Venus shines like a beacon through the fading dusk; the first planet to look for when the sun goes down. At sunset, face west and look about one-third up from the horizon to the point directly overhead — about 32 degrees above the western horizon — to find Venus. Your clenched fist held at arm’s length is roughly 10 degrees wide. So — the equivalent of roughly three clenched fists up from the horizon — will take you to Venus. 

Remember that the moon will appear almost directly below it on March 23 and almost directly above it on March 24. Later in twilight Venus becomes plainly visible. In a telescope, Venus’ disk is dazzling, yet unimpressive. It’s still relatively small and 80 percent illuminated — a gibbous (less full) phase.

And lastly, if clouds obscure your view of Venus and the Moon on either Thursday or Friday evening, don’t fret. Your next opportunity to see them together again will come on Sunday, April 23. 

If you’re looking for a telescope or binoculars to observe the night sky, our guides for the best binoculars deals and the best telescope deals now can help. Our best cameras for astrophotography and best lenses for astrophotography can also help you prepare to capture the next skywatching sight on your own. 

Fancy taking a more in-depth moonlit tour of our rocky companion? Our ultimate guide to observing the moon will help you plan your next skywatching venture whether it be exploring the lunar seas, mountainous terrain, or the many craters that blanket the landscape. You can also see where astronauts, rovers and landers have ventured with our Apollo landing sites observing guide. 

Editor’s Note: If you snap a photo of the moon and Venus and would like to share it with’s readers, send your photo(s), comments, and your name and location to 

Joe Rao serves as an instructor and guest lecturer at New York’s Hayden Planetarium. He writes about astronomy for Natural History magazine, the Farmers’ Almanac and other publications. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook

Calling on Kilkenny stargazers – exciting astrophotography competition launched!

‘Reach for the Stars’, the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS) astrophotography competition, has returned for the third year running and is calling on Kilkenny’s budding astro-photographers to submit their images.

The competition, which opened for entries today (23.03.23), is seeking the best astro-photographs taken in Ireland over the period 1st May 2022 to 28th April 2023. It is calling for submissions under two distinct categories:

  • Out of this World: Images depicting scenes / features or elements of astronomical interest. For example, deep space images or images of the solar system.
  • Back on Earth: Astro-landscape images that depict a feature or element of astronomical interest and capture elements such as nature, cityscapes, buildings or monuments, land, or water.

Launching the competition today, Dr. Eucharia Meehan, CEO and Registrar of DIAS, said: “DIAS is delighted to launch the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition for 2023.

“Over the last two years we have been treated to a vast array of stunning images from photographers in Kilkenny and across the island of Ireland and we’re looking forward to seeing what this year’s entrants have to offer.”

Entries to the ‘Reach for the Stars’ competition will be judged by Brenda Fitzsimons, Picture Editor, The Irish Times; John Flannery, Vice-President, Irish Astronomical Society; Peter Gallagher, Senior Professor and Head of Astronomy and Astrophysics at DIAS and Niamh Breathnach, Director, Alice Public Relations.

Entrants may submit up to two images per category to the competition. The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday, 28th April.

All entries to the competition will be screened by a shortlisting panel to ensure they meet the eligibility criteria. The shortlisted images in each category will then go forward for consideration by the judging panel and for an online public vote.

Prize Package

The winning photographers in the two categories, as selected by the judging panel, will receive a prize package that includes:

  • Publication of their images on the DIAS and Irish Times websites;
  • A VIP tour of DIAS Dunsink Observatory – with the opportunity to peer through Ireland’s largest refractor telescope.
  • One pass for up to four guests for ‘Race to Space’, a fully immersive escape room experience, hosted at DIAS Dunsink Observatory. 
  • A €500 voucher for photographic / telescopic equipment; and
  • A 12-month digital subscription to The Irish Times.

Last year’s winner in the ‘Back on Earth’ category was Felix Sproll from Galway City. His image ‘Milky Way Arch over Pine Island’ captured the Milky Way in a clear night sky over Pine Island at Derryclare Lough in Connemara, Co. Galway.

The winners in the ‘Out of this World’ category were Tom Dineen and Raluca Dana Lica from Naas, Co. Kildare. Their winning image ‘A Fiery Rosette’ captured the Rosette Nebula – an emission nebula in the constellation of Monoceros, located about 5,200 light-years away from Earth.

Further information, including the competition guidelines and entry form, is available at ‘’.


Best telescopes 2023: Stargaze galaxies, nebulas and more

We’ve rounded up the best telescopes for stargazing in this comprehensive guide. As well as picking the very best models, we’ve included telescopes to suit every level of astronomer and catered for every budget. 

At the bottom of the guide, we’ve described what type of telescopes are most suited to which activity (e.g., Lunar or deep space observations). This may help you decide what is best for you out of the models we’ve selected to be on this list.

If you’re an avid bargain hunter, check out our telescope deals page, which is regularly updated with the best telescope deals as we find them. Deals aside, though, if you’re seriously interested in getting the best stargazing experience, this is the guide for you as we’ve listed the best models from top manufacturers, available now at reputable retailers.

Best telescope deal March 2023

Aside from this comprehensive list, we do also have brand-specific telescope guides for Celestron, Skywatcher, Meade, and Orion deals for those loyal to their favorite brands. Like this guide, we also keep those updated year-round, so they’re always worth checking out.

We also have selected our favorite budget telescopes under $500, best beginner telescopes and best telescopes for kids incase you’re looking for those specifically.

Aside from telescopes, the best binoculars can be useful skywatching devices, too and the best cameras or best cameras for astrophotography will help you capture wonderful night sky images if night sky photography is an avenue you want to consider. 

While you’re here though, we’ve listed the best telescopes overall for beginner, enthusiast and professional observing respectively.

Best telescopes 2023

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Beginner telescopes

The Celestron Inspire 100AZ comes with a plethora of helpful accessories, but after our full review, we’d recommend updating the eyepieces (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

Best for budding skywatchers who want to get up and running quickly


Optical design: Refractor

Mount type: Alt-azimuth

Aperture: 3.94″ (100 mm)

Focal length: 25.98″ (660 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 241x

Lowest useful magnification: 15x

Focal ratio: f/6.5

Supplied eyepieces: 10 mm, 25 mm

Weight: 20 lbs. (9.07 kg)

Reasons to buy


Excellent range of accessories


Great intro to astrophotography


Easy to assemble

Reasons to avoid

Slight false color in optics

Limited to short exposure photography

An excellent telescope for the beginner or those on a tighter budget, the Celestron Inspire 100AZ is a great choice for those looking for a complete package that offers more in the way of accessories than most starter telescope bundles.

The Inspire 100AZ comes with a 90-degree erect image diagonal with a 1.25-inch fitting that makes the telescope suitable for terrestrial (daytime/on land) and celestial views, a pair of eyepieces (20 mm and 10 mm), a red LED flashlight for preserving vision, an accessory tray, StarPointer Pro finderscope and a smartphone adapter for basic astrophotography. Be mindful that given the refractor’s focal ratio, the Inspire 100AZ is limited to short-exposure photography.

During the observations we made in our Celestron Inspire 100AZ review, we noticed a small amount of false color (purple color fringing), and a slight blurring in the field of view was noticeable. The latter is easily resolved with a careful selection of eyepieces, so we recommend investing in additional eyepieces to make the most of the Inspire 100AZ’s optical system and to ensure that it translates into the quality of your photos, if you’re taking them False color, on the other hand, is to be expected in telescopes at this price point but it doesn’t ruin the experience unless you’re exceptionally particular about color accuracy. 

The overall build of this refractor is impressive. The StarPointer is a pleasant surprise since it’s able to pick out faint stars under moderate light pollution for an accurate star-hopping experience.

Not the most attractive telescope and could be considered as looking a little ‘toyish,’ but the optical quality is good (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Best lightweight and portable go-to mount scope for beginner sky watchers


Optical design: Maksutov-Cassegrain

Mount type: Computerized Alt-Azimuth Single Fork Arm

Aperture: 4.01-inches (102 mm)

Focal length: 52.16- inches (1325mm)

Highest useful magnification: Up to 100x with digital zoom

Supplied eyepieces: 25 mm and 10 mm

Weight: 6 lbs. (2.7kg)

Reasons to buy


Go-to is great for beginners


Highly portable

Reasons to avoid

Finish feels a little cheap

Other models better value for money

After undertaking our Celestron Astro Fi 102 telescope review we’d say this is perfect for beginners who don’t have prior knowledge of the night sky but want to start learning and enjoying it straight out of the box.

It’s not a budget scope by any means, but if you’re looking for a telescope that comes from a trusted brand that is highly portable, this one is worth your consideration. 

This is a good grab-and-go option when weighing in at just 6lbs (2.7kg). It doesn’t have a huge footprint as some telescopes do, so you can leave it set up at home without compromising your space too much, though it is easy enough to pack away and reassemble at will.

We think the final finish on the telescope looks and feels a little toyish, and compromises such as the materials used have been made to keep the scope as lightweight as possible. Despite the slightly lackluster final finish though, the image is attractive, and you can explore the detail on the Moon’s surface, Saturn and its rings, Mars and Jupiter. You may also see nebulae and other deep sky objects in the right sky conditions. 

It’s very quick and easy to sync with Celestron’s SkyPortal app, which contains approximately 100k celestial objects to explore.

In our full review of the Nexstar 4SE we found it can drain AA batteries very quickly. Plug it in to the mains or use a portable power station instead (Image credit: Jonathan Lansley-Gordon)

Best for finding planets and other celestial objects easily with Celestron’s SkyAlign technology.


Optical design: Maksutov-Cassegrain

Mount type: Computerized Alt-Azimuth Single Fork Arm

Aperture: 4 inches (102 mm)

Focal length: 52.16 inches (1325mm)

Highest useful magnification: Up to 100x with digital zoom

Supplied eyepieces: 1.25 inch

Weight: 21 lbs (9kg) fully assembled

Reasons to buy


Quick, uncomplicated setup


Celestron’s high-quality build


SkyAlign technology

Reasons to avoid

Restrictive portability

Narrow field of view

Power hungry

Boasting the build quality we’ve come to expect from the other models in Celestron’s NexStar range, the 4SE is optically comparable with the aforementioned Celestron Astro-Fi 102 but instead of relying on a smartphone, this model comes with a chunky and tactile hand controller. It is a good buy for beginner astronomers as it’s very simple to use and produces a clear and bright picture which is why we gave it four out of five stars during our Celestron NexStar 4SE telescope review.

The field of view is somewhat limited, which some users may find frustrating when manually slewing, but as Celestron’s SkyAlign software and GoTo system finds objects for you, this isn’t a deal breaker. The hand controller also allows nine different slewing speeds allowing for small corrections or a quicker scan of the night sky if you choose.

Given the power-hungry nature of the NexStar SE scopes, an external power supply is advised. The scope can otherwise quickly drain a whole pack of AA batteries. This does further limit portability further unless you are using it in combination with a portable power station (opens in new tab).

The Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 114AZ is not computerized, but some skywatchers prefer the hands-on approach (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

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Best for backyard moon and planet gazing without compromising on optical quality


Optical design: Reflector

Mount type: Alt-azimuth

Aperture: 4.49″ (114 mm)

Focal length: 39.37″ (1,000 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 269x

Lowest useful magnification: 16x

Supplied eyepieces: 10 mm, 25 mm

Weight: 10.41 lbs. (4.72 kg)

Reasons to buy


Simple to set up and align


Good intro to astrophotography


Suggests targets to observe

Reasons to avoid

Lacks computerized mount

Lacks precision

Currently on back order

Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 114 can be enjoyed by beginner and intermediate skywatchers alike. It will be especially desirable to busy users who lack the time required for lengthy set-up procedures. During our Celestron StarSense Explorer LT114 review we timed assembling this telescope — it took less than 20 minutes!

Celestron’s StarSense technology is built into this reflector, which provides an extremely easy way to align the telescope. The skywatcher needs to download the StarSense app from Google or Apple (opens in new tab) and take a smartphone image through the eyepiece, the app then works out which stars are in the telescope’s field of view to calculate which way it is facing, clever.

The app not only provides an immersive experience but also offers interesting information on each of the targets you observe, giving you a better understanding of what you’re looking at.

You can enjoy the gas giant of Jupiter (opens in new tab) by using the 10 mm eyepiece. The views are clear, but you’ll need a selection of eyepieces (check out our best eyepiece buying guide) and filters in order to pick out the coloration of the atmospheric bands. The planet’s largest moons are visible as clear, sharp points of light. Views of the moon, Venus (opens in new tab) and the Beehive Cluster (Messier 44) are also pleasing and clear.

We found that the StarSense Explorer LT 114 is built sturdily and operates smoothly when slewing from one target to another. The scope needs to be manually operated, so you don’t get the ease of tracking that computerized telescopes would offer. However, some skywatchers prefer the hands-on versus electronic approach, and what’s more, the price is lower. 

Of course, you get the usual high-quality optics that we’ve come to expect with Celestron telescopes and the aperture is a good size too. All in all, this is an excellent choice for a budget-friendly backyard telescope.

Best telescopes for enthusiasts

Automatically track objects as they move across the sky (Image credit: Celestron)

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Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25

Best GoTo scope for seeing the universe in HD at this price point


Optical design: Schmidt-Cassegrain

Mount type: Computerized alt-azimuth fork arm

Aperture: 9.25″ (235 mm)

Focal length: 92.52″ (2,350 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 555x

Lowest useful magnification: 34x

Supplied eyepieces: 13 mm, 40 mm

Weight: 62.60 lbs. (28.39 kg)

Reasons to buy


Crisp views with no defects


Easy to set up


High-quality design

Reasons to avoid

Isn’t very portable


The optical system of the Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25 (opens in new tab) ranks as one of the best we’ve ever had the pleasure of observing the night sky through. With no interference or optical defects in the field of view, this high-quality instrument offers sights of a wide selection of astronomical targets with impressive clarity and contrast. 

Although it is expensive (sitting around $2850), you get a lot of value for money with this telescope and its setup. The list of accessories you get include an attachable camera, a red dot finderscope, an international AC adapter, hand control for a seamless AutoAlign process and 13mm and 40mm eyepieces.

The stand-out piece of equipment with the NexStar Evolution 9.25 is undoubtedly its single-fork arm. Observers can slew from one target to the next and continue onwards at the touch of a button for up to 10 hours of continuous use, thanks to its rechargeable lithium-ion battery.  

Built into the mount is the telescope’s very own Wi-Fi network, allowing the instrument to connect and control via the Celestron SkyPortal app (downloadable for free on iOS (opens in new tab) and Android). Being motorized, the mount can track objects as they move across the sky, making the NexStar Evolution 9.25 a must-try for astrophotography.

If you have the budget and if you’re looking for a complete high-definition tour of the universe, then we fully recommend this GoTo to seasoned skywatchers. The only downside is that the NexStar Evolution 9.25 is tricky to transport due to its weight, meaning that skywatchers will need to consider this before planning any trips beyond the backyard — a small trade-off given the telescope’s robust and high-quality design.

The Celestron Astro Fi 130’s wide field of view will let you explore wide galaxies without having to move the scope too much (Image credit: Celestron)

A guide to the night sky, packed with technology at a low price


Optical design: Newtonian Reflector

Mount type: Computerized altitude-azimuth single fork

Aperture: 5.19-inches (130mm)

Focal length: 25.59-inches (650mm)

Highest useful magnification: 307x

Focal ratio: f/5.9

Supplied eyepieces: 25 mm (26x) 10mm (65x)

Weight: 18lbs/8.6kg

Reasons to buy


Great entry-level telescope


Vixen dovetail for mount changes




Finds targets at touch of button

Reasons to avoid

Eyepieces limit observations

Focuser of low quality

Battery drains quickly

Useless without app

When we reviewed the Celestron Astro Fi 130 telescope we liked it a lot and think it’s excellent value for money. While it’s not necessarily a budget telescope, it is a lot more affordable than a few of the other telescopes in this guide, we think it’s excellent value for money.

If you’re new to stargazing, or even if you just don’t have a lot of experience, this telescope can give you an astronomy experience to marvel at using telescope technology and good optics, serving as a virtual guide to the night sky.

A 130mm aperture means that plenty of light is able to travel through the lens, making the night sky targets clearly visible and giving you amazing views of stars. A focal length of 650mm means you’ll get a wide field of view (you can see a lot at once).

This telescope is also sturdy but still lighter than some other scopes you might consider for the same experience, so it scores well on ease of transport. You also get a stable tripod, a red dot finder and eyepieces, which makes this even better value for money. 

We can only think of two things that let you down a bit with this model: the battery life drains a little quicker than you might want, and the eyepieces aren’t the best. We think you should consider upgrading the eyepieces for a better experience, but for value for money, we highly recommend this scope.

Best Computerized or GoTo telescopes

‘The World’s most beloved telescope.’ A worthy investment for serious skywatchers (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Best motorized scope for deep space and astrophotography, giving excellent image clarity and detail


Optical design: Schmidt-Cassegrain

Mount type: Computerized alt-azimuth fork arm

Aperture: 8-inches (203 mm)

Focal length: 80-inches(2032 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 480x

Lowest useful magnification: 29x

Supplied eyepieces: 25 mm

Weight: 32 lbs (14.48 kg)

Reasons to buy


Sharpness across the entire field of view


Good value for money

Reasons to avoid

On the heavy side

Hard to fault for the price

The first of three of the NexStar telescopes on this list, and for a good reason. The Celestron NexStar 8SE is an excellent option for beginners and seasoned skywatchers. This telescope makes it easy for novices to view the night sky without knowing much about astronomy. At the same time, more experienced stargazers can use it to explore deeper into space or even attach a camera for impressive astrophotography.

If you pay a good chunk of money for a telescope, you can expect to receive exceptional optics with extraordinary views of a wide range of celestial objects.

The NexStar 8SE by Celestron is renowned and has earned the title ‘The World’s most beloved telescope.’ It is the number one bestseller on B&H Photo (opens in new tab). Featuring StarBright XLT optical coating, this telescope provides unparalleled clarity and contrast for viewing planets and the moon. Jupiter, its moons, Saturn, and its rings are breathtakingly vivid with no chromatic aberration or color fringing. Its 203.2 mm aperture lens allows for excellent views of deep-sky objects.

In our Celestron NexStar 8SE review, we walked you through what it’s like to get everything set up, and it’s very straightforward. No prior knowledge of the night sky is needed, as you can use Celestron’s SkyPortal app or any other stargazing app to help you find two stars for the alignment process.

Once the telescope is aligned, you can use the solid-in-the-hand, hand-held controller to direct it to any item in its massive database. This includes planets, galaxies, double stars, star clusters, and nebulae. A fantastic option for beginners and indecisive people is the ‘sky tour,’ which automatically directs the telescope to different interesting cosmic objects.

The motor runs smoothly, and the results are precise. Automatic tracking is a dream for astrophotographers, enabling them to take long exposures, which can then be stacked post-shoot to create beautiful images.

The Celestron NexStar 8SE comes with a hefty price tag, but it is well worth the investment for those serious about skywatching or astrophotography. Although it may be too pricey for those who are only casually interested in the solar system, it is an excellent choice for those who plan to engage in these activities for the long term.

The supplied tripod could do with extra support but aside from that, this is a very user-friendly scope (Image credit: Sky-Watcher)

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Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 SynScan AZ GoTo

Best GoTo for smaller budgets — the perfect mix of great tech and brilliant optics


Optical design: Maksutov-Cassegrain

Mount type: Motorized alt-azimuth

Aperture: 5″ (127 mm)

Focal length: 59.05″ (1500 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 150x

Lowest useful magnification: 60x

Supplied eyepieces: 10 mm, 25 mm & Barlow

Weight: 39.7 lbs. (18 kg)

Reasons to buy


Very user friendly 


Simple altitude-azimuth mount


Excellent clarity and contrast

Reasons to avoid

Tripod is a little shaky

Needs extra support in windy conditions

As an introduction to the world of GoTo skywatching, the Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 SynScan AZ (opens in new tab) is a must-have for observers on a tighter budget. The SynScan AZ hand controller offers information on over 40,000 astronomical objects, which includes the most complete catalogs (Messier, NGC, IC and SAO) of deep-sky and solar system targets.

The astronomer has everything they need for a successful night under the stars: good quality star diagonal, 2x Barlow with a camera adaptor, 6×30 finderscope, a stainless steel tripod and an accessory tray.     

Assembling the instrument is easy and, given the weight of 39.7 lbs. (18 kg), the Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 SynScan AZ is light enough to carry across the backyard without a great deal of effort. Skywatchers have the choice of powering the Servo Drive with 8 AA batteries or a 12V power supply — because batteries tend to drain quickly in when it’s cold, we recommend investing in the latter for uninterrupted observations with the SynScan technology.

Alignment is simple, using two stars to set the instrument up, but beginners may need practice in getting this just right — we recommend becoming acquainted with the Skymax 127 before dark, ensuring that you read the manual from cover to cover.

In terms of optical prowess, we don’t have any complaints. We can fit a waxing gibbous moon phase in the field of view and, after tweaking the focuser, the craters and lunar mare come into exquisite focus, with lovely contrast and clarity. A moon filter offered even better sights. Slewing over to the star-forming region, the Orion Nebula (Messier 42), is also picked out easily with the 5-inch (127 mm) aperture — it appears as a dusty patch of light with the Trapezium Cluster’s member stars dazzling with brilliant clarity at the nebula’s heart.

The stainless steel tripod can be a bit unstable, so we suggest supporting the setup while slewing in windy conditions.

Celestron NexStar 6SE — has great technology and brilliant optics to match (Image credit: Celestron)

A power hungry, but high quality telescope with excellent optics


Optical design: Schmidt-Cassegrain

Mount type: Computerized alt-azimuth single fork arm

Aperture: 5.91″ (150 mm)

Focal length: 59″ (1500 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 354x

Lowest useful magnification: 21x

Supplied eyepieces: 25 mm

Weight: 30 lbs. (9.5 kg)

Reasons to buy


StarBright XLT multi-coated optics


High-quality build


Easy to set up and align

Reasons to avoid

Limited eyepieces

Drains batteries quickly — AC power cord required

Celestron’s range of NexStar telescopes has a well-deserved reputation for excellent optics, user-friendly assembly and a plethora of features. The telescope exemplifies all of these which we outlined in our Celestron NexStar 6SE review.

If you’re looking for a telescope with great light-gathering capabilities and a vast selection of astronomical objects to explore, this is an excellent choice. The 5.91-inch (150 mm) aperture provides superior performance compared to the Meade StarNavigator NG 114, while the NexStar+ hand controller contains an expansive database with over 40,000 objects. Unfortunately, extra eyepieces will need to be purchased in order to get the most out of the telescope, and even then, not all objects listed in the database can be viewed in great detail.

The NextStar 6SE offers a great way to explore the night sky using its ‘tour mode’. It will guide you through different targets across the sky, or in specific constellations, so you can observe like never before. This is perfect for those who don’t know what to look for or just want to get straight to observing interesting celestial objects that have been chosen for them.

The SkyAlign technology is simple to use and gets you pointed in the right direction fast. The motorized mount also has nine slewing speeds on top of its different tracking rates. All of this sounds brilliant, and it is, but there is a downside. The NexStar 6SE’s battery can drain very quickly, so we recommend powering the setup with an external power source.

Astrophotographers may initially be displeased with its slow f/10 focal ratio, limiting the NexStar 6SE to being a planetary or lunar imager at best. Still, there is the facility for more advanced users to switch out the secondary mirror for their camera, increasing the focal ratio to an astrophotography-friendly f/2.

The huge aperture lets in heaps of life so it’s a great choice for faint subjects (Image credit: Sky-Watcher)

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Sky-Watcher Flextube 300 SynScan Dobsonian

The best GoTo Dobsonian telescope for huge light gathering capability


Optical design: Parabolic Newtonian

Mount type: Dobsonian

Aperture: 12.01″ (305 mm)

Focal length: 59.01″ (1,500 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 600x

Lowest useful magnification: 43x

Supplied eyepieces: 10 mm, 25 mm

Weight: 72 lbs. (32.66 kg)

Reasons to buy


Good for faint targets


Collapsible for easier transport 


Built to last

Reasons to avoid

Heavy at over 32kg

Just about portable due to size and weight

The larger the aperture of your telescope, the more light it can drink in, allowing you to resolve the finer details in astronomical objects and see deeper into the universe. With a 12-inch (305 mm) objective lens, this collapsible Dobsonian from Sky-Watcher lives up to the nickname of ‘light bucket.’ 

The Dobsonian telescope offers a simple design. Its GoTo feature and motorized alt-azimuth mount, navigated with a SynScan hand controller, make it easier than ever to calibrate the telescope and get fantastic views of the night sky.

Over 40,000 targets are offered in the database and, we have to say that seeking out faint fuzzies was our first port of call with the Sky-Watcher Flextube 300 SynScan. The Andromeda Galaxy (Messier 31) is an incredible sight, with some dust lanes visible and the bulge glowing brightly. Its satellite galaxies are also visible as points of light in the field view.   

This Dobsonian telescope has a focal ratio of f/4.9, making it suitable for photography. Those with the ability to do so can capture stunning images with this device, taking advantage of the abundance of photons it can gather.

The Sky-Watcher Flextube 300 SynScan is heavy, but its collapsible design allows it to be easily stored in the trunk of a car for when you need to go to dark-sky parks or star parties.

Despite its costly nature, the Sky-Watcher Flextube 300 SynScan is a must-have for any hobbyist, given its generous aperture, excellent imaging capabilities, and GoTo capability.

Best Smart telescopes

The Vaonis Vespera is small and reasonably priced for a smart telescope (but still expensive) (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

Best for tech fans — smart views of the night sky for beginners and veterans alike


Optical design: Apochromatic (APO) quadruplet refractor

Mount type: Motorized GoTo alt-azimuth

Aperture: 2-inch/50 mm

Focal length: 8-inch/200 mm

Highest useful magnification: 33x equiv.

Supplied eyepieces: N/A

Weight: 11 lbs. / 5 kg

Reasons to buy


Fully automatic operation from app


Creates shareable images


Easy to use


Cuts through light pollution

Reasons to avoid

Very expensive

Cannot observe planets

Basic images of the moon

Images lack sharpness and resolution

At $2499 (opens in new tab)/£1982, the Vaonis Vespera is the smallest and most reasonably priced smart telescope to date. This telescope from French startup Vaonis is a smaller, lighter version of its robotic older sister, the Stellina. 

Named after the Latin word for ‘evening,’ Vespera does not have an eyepiece like traditional telescopes but instead captures and shares images of the night sky with up to five connected smartphones or tablets through a mobile app called Singularity (opens in new tab).

The Vespera is effectively a camera for taking stunning pictures of deep sky objects, even in light-polluted cities. It is not intended for observing the moon and planets, but it can be used to capture remarkable images of star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. Here is all the information you need to know about how the Vespera works.

The Vespera is an impressive device that combines three technologies: star pattern recognition software, image live stacking technology, and an app. When switched on, its Sony IMX462 image sensor can detect a target in five minutes and take one photograph every 10 seconds (this varies depending on the target). This noise-canceling process can be seen in real-time on the Singularity app, resulting in a clearer, more contrasty and colorful image. We in our Vaonis Vespera review we found that the images were a little soft, but they could be enhanced with post-processing.

Additionally, it uses a planetarium to generate a ‘tonight’s best’ list of celestial targets and an algorithm to determine the camera settings for viewing each target.

This scope features both an inbuilt camera and an electronic eyepiece — the best of both worlds (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)

Best for bigger budgets — a sleek and smart astronomical imaging device


Optical design: Reflector

Mount type: Motorized GoTo alt-azimuth

Aperture: 4.5-inches (114 mm)

Focal length: 17.7-inches (450 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 50x optical, 150x digital

Supplied eyepieces: Fixed Nikon eyepiece

Weight: 19.8 lbs (9kg) including tripod

Reasons to buy


Effortlessly simple setup


Stunning, sleek design is jaw-dropping


Nikon eyepiece for those who want it


App is well-designed and easy to control

Reasons to avoid

Extremely pricey, especially for new astronomers

May not appeal to purist telescope users

The eVscope 2, a telescope designed with great finesse, is ideal for photographers who are new to astronomy and have a considerable amount of money (about $5000 (opens in new tab)) to spare or for astronomers who desire an all-in-one system that is effortless to set up and use. Even though it may not be greatly appreciated by experienced telescope users accustomed to a more traditional viewing method, it can still create remarkable images.

The Unistellar eVscope 2 is a step away from traditional telescope stargazing and instead hosts an in-built camera, sleek design and electronic eyepiece. It is the second iteration of the eVscope line and has some noticeable improvements in both design and accessibility. It features a 4.5-inch (114mm) reflector with a focal ratio of f/3.9, which makes it ideal for viewing celestial objects such as nebulae.

Inside is a 7.7MP image sensor and new to the eVscope 2 is an electronic eyepiece designed by Nikon for those that want to get tactile with the telescope. The simple layout, stylish design, and excellent smartphone app user interface makes the eVscope 2 a doddle to use and photograph the night sky with, especially with its enhanced tracking feature, which we were very impressed with in our Unistellar eVscope 2 review. 

Due to the high cost of all the premium features, in reality, it is reserved for those with a substantial budget.

You could be forgiven for likening the aesthetic of this hybrid telescope to a games console (Image credit: Robin Scagell)

Best for producing RAW and JPEG images of dark sky targets


Optical design: Refractor

Mount type: Motorized GoTo alt-azimuth

Aperture: 3.15″ (80 mm)

Focal length: 15.75″ (400mm)

Highest useful magnification: Up to 100x with digital zoom

Supplied eyepieces: N/A

Weight: 24.69 lbs. (11.2 kg)

Reasons to buy


Extremely portable


Great for astrophotography


Very easy to use

Reasons to avoid

Expensive compared to rivals

Not as appealing to traditionalists

Not widely available

The Vaonis Stellina telescope is unlike any other model on the market. It doesn’t even look like a telescope, a fact that may put off traditionalists. Boasting a smart design, it does away with the need for finderscopes and eyepieces. Instead, it relies on a Sony CMOS sensor and a smartphone app to provide stunning views and take amazing color images of the night sky. This telescope is more expensive than the competition, but it does include a free download of the Stellina app with 100 targets. 

While it isn’t ideal for studying planets, we discovered in our hands-on Vaonis Stellina review that it excels in producing images of bright deep-sky objects and the surface of the moon. It displays star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies in great clarity, with 6.4MP images at 3096 x 2080 resolution in JPEG and RAW format.

It is perfect for astrophotography or group viewing as up to 10 devices can be connected at once. It also comes with a light pollution filter which is helpful in areas that suffer from skyglow, and it can easily handle changes in weather. 

Though pricey, we think the Vaonis Stellina is worth the cost due to its sophisticated technology, sturdy and stylish build and reliability.

Best telescopes to observe planets

Due to the hefty 12.6kg weight, this telescope is best for back yard sky watching (Image credit: Jamie Carter)

Best for exploring deep space from your back yard


Optical design: Newtonian reflector

Mount type: German equatorial (EQ2)

Aperture: 5.1-inch /130mm

Focal length: 35.4-inch /900 mm

Highest useful magnification: 250x

Supplied eyepieces: 0.39-inch/10 mm (30x) and 0.98-inch/25 mm (75x)

Weight: 27.8 lbs/12.6 kg

Reasons to buy


Affordable equatorial mount


Good optics


Slow motion controls for fine adjustments

Reasons to avoid

Relatively heavy

Manual targeting

Sitting at a price of less than $300, the Sky-Watcher Explorer 130 EQ2 is an excellent choice for those serious about taking the first steps into the world of astronomy.

Unlike other models at a similar price point, this telescope ships with an equatorial mount. When it is aligned with the Earth’s axis, it makes it simple (after some practice) to track objects in the sky once you’ve found them, as the Earth rotates.

It has a good-sized aperture at 5.1 inches, which means, unlike the models above, you will be able to explore deep sky objects, albeit only the brightest ones.

While not as long as the Celestron Inspire 100AZ, the Sky-Watcher Explorer 130 EQ2’s long tube length results in f/7 and makes high magnification possible. During our review of the Sky-Watcher Explorer 130 EQ2, using the supplied Barlow lens, we could easily get sharp views of the Jovian System (Jupiter, its rings and moons) and Saturn’s rings looked impressive.

This telescope is best suited for backyard stargazing, mainly due to its 12.6kg combined weight, which makes it a little more of an ordeal to take it out and about on sky-watching trips.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Orion Skyline 6-inch Dobsonian Reflector Telescope

Best for getting closer to the finer details of celestial objects


Optical design: Reflector

Mount type: Alt-azimuth

Aperture: 152mm

Focal length: 1200mm

Highest magnification: 133x

Eyepieces supplied: 9mm and 25mm

Weight: 37.5lbs

Reasons to buy


High-quality optics


Powerful and clear views


Sturdy build


Great choice for beginner and intermediate astronomers

Reasons to avoid

Cheaper alternatives available

Not best suited to advanced astronomers

The Orion Skyline 6″ (opens in new tab) telescope is a great choice for beginner and intermediate astronomers alike due to its easy-to-use nature and high-quality optics.

This telescope offers an impressive 152mm objective lens, allowing for plenty of light to pass through and making night sky targets more visible. The multi-coated optics further enhance the viewing experience, ensuring a clear image of those targets. With a focal length of 1200mm, you can observe the finer details of celestial bodies, such as craters on the moon and features of other planets.

This powerful telescope offers up to 133x magnification, allowing you to observe celestial objects in incredible detail. With the included eyepieces, this level of magnification is perfect for viewing the moon and planets. You won’t miss out on any of the finer details.

It’s also well built and easy to use, a huge plus for those without bags of astronomy experience. However, you can get alternatives for a lower price, even if they don’t quite match the Skyline 6″ for quality of specs. We also like the Orion AstroView 90 (opens in new tab) a lot, for which this is a suitable replacement, however, it’s hard to find it in stock online. 

(Image credit: Celestron)

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Celestron Omni XLT 102

Ideal for intermediate-level skywatchers


Optical design: Refractor

Mount type: CG-4 equatorial

Aperture: 4.02″ (102 mm)

Focal length: 39.37″ (1000 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 283x

Lowest useful magnification: 15x

Supplied eyepieces: 25 mm

Weight: 33 lbs. (15 kg)

Reasons to buy


Very good quality optics


Sturdy design


Easy to accessorize 

Reasons to avoid

Average-quality focuser

Not ideal for absolute beginners

Two to four week lead time in some stores

The Celestron Omni XLT 102 is aimed at intermediate-level skywatchers, particularly those who have mastered setting circles and know how to use the right ascension and declination coordinates on the supplied high-quality CG-4 German equatorial mount.

Featuring Celestron’s StarBright XLT coating to maximize light transmission, the Omni XLT 102 boasts high-quality optics and aspheric shaping technology to reduce spherical aberration, a visual defect in which incoming light is concentrated at select points.

As such, the Omni XLT 102, with its mix of aperture and f/10 focal ratio, is able to produce excellent views of the planets, from Jupiter’s atmospheric bands and moons, to Saturn’s rings and craters on the moon, showing great contrast between areas in shadow and those bathed in daylight. While there is a slight amount of color fringing, views through the optical system are outstanding.

The refractor comes with a 25 mm eyepiece, 1.25-inch star diagonal, heavy-duty stainless steel tripod, accessory tray, spirit level, Starry Night Special Edition software and a 6×30 finderscope.

Best astrophotography telescopes

The Celestron Advanced VX8 comes packaged with Celestron’s imager focused Advanced VX mount (Image credit: Michael A. Covington)

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Best for pinpoint sharpness across the whole image


Optical design: Schmidt-Cassegrain

Mount type: Motorized equatorial

Aperture: 8″ (203.2 mm)

Focal length: 80″ (2,032 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 480x

Lowest useful magnification: 29x

Supplied eyepieces: 40 mm

Weight: 61 lbs. (27.67 kg)

Reasons to buy


Great-sized aperture


High-quality optics for flat field


Seamless motorized mount

Reasons to avoid

A little heavier than most

Lens cap can be fiddly

Celestron’s EdgeHD technology turns Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes into high-quality astrographs with perfectly flat fields. The way that the Schmidt-Cassegrain optics focus light usually means that the focal plane  — where the light comes to focus — is curved, but if you are imaging, your CCD camera’s sensor is flat. A curved focal plane on a flat CCD sensor results in field curvature, where stars at the edge of the field tend to blur. This is generally an unwanted effect for astrophotographers.  

We were pleased to find, during our Celestron Advanced VX 8 EdgeHD review, that the optics in the EdgeHD negate the blurred edges, creating a perfectly flat field right to the edge of the frame for pinpoint sharpness across the whole image. The optical performance that the Celestron Advanced VX 8 EdgeHD delivers is impressive, with crisp and clear views with no optical distortion or false color.

As an added bonus, the optical tube assembly comes packaged with Celestron’s Advanced VX mount, which is tailor-made for imagers, capable of photographing across the meridian (an imaginary north-south line) without needing to do a meridian flip. The setup also performs periodic corrections to remove errors when tracking objects and also features an auto guider port. 

The Celestron Advanced VX9.25 EdgeHD can carry a load up to 30 lbs. (13.6 kilograms) too, so the tube and all your imaging accessories are fully supported and stable. Also included are the standard NexStar+ hand controller, a 40 mm eyepiece, and access to Celestron’s SkyPortal app (opens in new tab) and Starry Night Special Edition software (opens in new tab). Check out our Celestron deals page to see if you can snap up a bargain.

This is a scope that is a great astrophotography all-rounder. Capture everything from planets to deep-sky subjects. (Image credit: Sky-Watcher)

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Sky-Watcher Skymax 150 PRO

Best for accessory loving astrophotographers


Optical design: Maksutov-Cassegrain

Mount type: Equatorial (EQ-5 Pro)

Aperture: 5.90″ (150 mm)

Focal length: 70.87″ (1,800 mm)

Highest useful magnification: 450x

Focal ratio: f/12

Supplied eyepieces: 28 mm

Weight: 13.23 lbs. (6 kg)

Reasons to buy


High-quality build


Excellent optics


Great for a wide selection of astrophotography

Reasons to avoid

Not all models come with a tripod

Comes with only one eyepiece

Sky-Watcher’s Skymax 150 is a great package for the price, with some models offering a high-quality equatorial mount for short-exposure astrophotography and long-exposure imaging. This well-constructed Maksutov-Cassegrain also comes with a single eyepiece with a focal length of 28 mm for a magnification of 64x.

Weighing in at 13.23 lbs. (6 kilograms), the Skymax 150 is suitable for most regular equatorial mounts — many makes and models will be able to take the load of both the telescope and extra accessories, including CCD or DSLR cameras, filter wheels and other such add-ons. For versatility in the type of mount you choose, a Vixen-style dovetail plate is supplied for a moderate price tag.

The Skymax 150’s optical prowess is outstanding, with no sign of optical distortion. The telescope is a great all-arounder, suitable for imaging everything from the planets to deep-sky galaxies and nebulas — and as you would expect for a telescope designed for giving great images. As an added bonus, the instrument is a breeze to use and accessorize.

The focuser is lovely and smooth to operate and the Skymax 150 keeps a good amount of fine focus once it’s been found — vital for those long imaging sessions.

Telescope types comparison

If your biggest question is, ‘which type of telescope type should I buy?’ let us help. Reflector vs refractor vs catadioptric telescopes: There are some key differences between how they work and how each type of telescope is helpful for different observations. Telescopes look visually similar from when the telescope was invented but there have been many improvements to both design and function over the years.

Before purchasing one of the best telescopes available, it is important to consider your desired outcome. Are you looking to observe distant star clusters, nebulas and galaxies? A reflector telescope is undoubtedly the most suitable option if the answer is yes.

Telescope Glossary

Aperture: The diameter of the primary mirror or lens, where the telescope collects light.
Field of view: Area of sky visible through the eyepiece.
Focal length: A telescope’s tube length. Short focal lengths offer a wide field of view and a small image.
Focal ratio: Also known as the telescope’s speed. Small focal ratios provide lower magnifications, a wide field of view and a brighter image.
Magnification: The relationship between the telescope’s optical system and the eyepiece. 

Alternatively, a refractor telescope is the best choice if you are mainly interested in seeing the moon and other planets in our own galaxy.

Another option would be a catadioptric telescope, which can work as a happy middle ground. Some models have computerized motors that make aligning and tracking targets easy and can even capture images for you, excellent news for astrophotographers.

The aperture size is one of the most important things to consider when purchasing a telescope, followed by the focal length. The main thing to remember here is that bigger isn’t always better. 

It all comes down to what subjects you want to view. Shorter focal lengths, saf about 20 inches (500 mm), will provide a field of view for you to take in large areas of the Milky Way and showpieces such as the Pleiades (Messier 45) and Orion Nebula (Messier 42). Meanwhile, high-power objects like the moon, planets or double stars need a telescope with a longer focal length of about 80 inches (2000 mm). 

If you can’t decide, there are plenty of compromises between aperture and focal length, but you must be willing to make a few trade-offs regarding the weight of your instrument, the field of view and its ‘power.’ Read on for what you can expect from the three major kinds of telescope: the refractor, reflector and catadioptric.

How does a refractor telescope work?

Refractors are usually supplied with a simple alt-azimuth mount that allows you to slew from left to right and up and down (Image credit: Celestron)

As their name suggests, refractors bend (or refract) the light that they gather to give you a view of your astronomical target. As telescopes go, they have a fairly straightforward assembly and consist of a main objective lens at one end that focuses light through to the other (the bit you look through). 

Intuitive to use, the refractor is often a popular choice of instrument for novice astronomers since they require little maintenance and are usually affixed to the simple alt-azimuth mount, which allows the skywatcher to slew from left to right and up and down in order to locate the desired target. Being easy to use means that these telescopes are also simple to manufacture, making them cheaper to buy with price points increasing with aperture size.

Refractors are particularly good at giving highly magnified and high-contrast images. Because of this, they are ideal instruments to use when looking at solar system targets such as the moon and the planets. The best refractors usually have an aperture of two inches (60 mm) or more and will provide reasonable views of astronomical objects. If you’re looking for a larger aperture, then a three- or four-inch (80 mm to 90 mm) will suit you best. 

The drawback of a refractor is that they can suffer from chromatic aberration, also known as color fringing. When a single lens doesn’t focus all of the colors emitted from a target object at the same point, bright objects such as the moon, Venus or Jupiter usually have a colored halo around them. Many refractors are manufactured as achromatic or apochromatic (also known as Extra Dispersion (ED) telescopes) to reduce this problem.

The achromatic refractor is cheaper than the apochromatic refractor and, combined with its efficiency, is often the type of telescope that novice astronomers go for. Even if you decide to go for the more expensive achromat, you’re still likely to get a stubborn degree of purple fringing around some targets. 

Unless you’re a seasoned skywatcher and you can afford to go for the more expensive apochromat — which corrects for such an effect by using exotic glass for the lenses — this degree of color fringing will not ruin your observing experience to any great extent. If you decide to go for the expensive option, you will be stunned by the views you will get through these excellent telescopes. 

Something to consider though: you might find that some apochromats come without a tripod, so you’d need to buy one separately along with any other accessories.

How does a reflector telescope work?

Reflector telescopes are excellent for low-magnification targets such as galaxies and nebulas (Image credit: Orion)

There are two common types of reflector telescope — the Newtonian and the Dobsonian. However, the way these instruments operate is exactly the same — they both use mirrors to reflect light to create an image of the object you’re looking at. 

The Newtonian telescope comprises a curved-light collecting mirror, which can be found at the tube’s base. The light that hits this mirror is reflected back to the front of the tube, where a smaller flat mirror — orientated at 45-degrees — brings light to the observer who can see their chosen object.

The Newtonian can be found on alt-azimuth mounts, but you shouldn’t be too surprised to find this type of reflector is more popularly affixed to an equatorial mount, allowing the telescope to follow the rotation of the sky while being aligned with your hemisphere’s celestial pole. This reflector is a favorite in the amateur astronomy community due to its versatility by observing a wide selection of astronomical targets and allowing for astrophotography. With Newtonians, you can also buy a large aperture for less money — for instance, an eight-inch (203.2 mm) reflector would cost you less than a refractor with the same aperture, allowing you to get much more value for your money. 

On the downside, the Newtonian doesn’t come hassle-free, especially regarding maintenance. You might find yourself having to have optical mirrors realigned as well as the mirror’s surfaces repainted since they can eventually become tarnished. If you choose to go for a reflector of this sort, you should always choose one with mirrors with a protective coating as they will last longer.

Some beginners to the hobby of astronomy might find setting up and using an equatorial mount tricky and that’s where the Dobsonian comes in. These telescopes give the capabilities of a reflector without the complexities an equatorial mount will bring since it employs an alt-azimuth mount. Dobsonians are very simple to use and can easily be pulled into orientation when looking at astronomical objects. If you’re not confident in navigating your telescope though, then GoTo or computerized Dobsonians and Newtonians (that slew to objects for you) are on the market — but at a higher cost. 

Whatever reflector you choose, these telescopes are excellent for low-magnification targets such as galaxies and many types of nebulas.  

How does a catadioptric telescope work?

The short optical tube allows high power magnifications in smaller packages. (Image credit: Meade Instruments)

To get the best of both reflectors and refractors, manufacturers developed the Schmidt-Cassegrain and the Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes. These catadioptric telescopes generally correct issues found in refractors and reflectors.

The Maksutov-Cassegrain corrects the problem that the reflector experiences — an aberration effect called ‘coma,’ which can make objects look distorted and appear like they have a tail. This effect is reduced or banished with the combined efforts of a mirror and a corrector lens. The Maksutov is ideal for beginners or for those who don’t have the time (or money!) to complete any extensive maintenance on their instrument since the tube’s optics are sealed off. 

This catadioptric is very robust and is the ideal family telescope. Packed into its short optical tube is a system that allows you to target higher magnification objects such as the planets, moon and double stars. You’ll be able to pick up a Maksutov for a very good price and, if you struggle to find objects and your way around the night sky, then both this type of catadioptric telescope and the Schmidt-Cassegrain can be found in abundance and equipped with a GoTo system.

What you get with a Schmidt-Cassegrain is very similar to the capabilities of the Maksutov. It will allow you to make general observations of planetary targets and stars. It is also possible to expand the telescope’s field of view with the help of corrector lenses, allowing you to view an even wider selection of astronomical targets.  

The catadioptric telescope is also suitable if you want to try astrophotography, but combine this with their marked improvement on your standard telescope and you should expect a substantial rise in cost compared to standard reflect and refractors. 

How we test the best telescopes

To guarantee you’re getting honest, up-to-date recommendations on the best telescopes to buy here at we make sure to put every telescope through a rigorous review to fully test each instrument. Each telescope is reviewed based on numerous aspects, from its construction and design, to how well it functions as an optical instrument and its performance in the field.

Our expert staff and knowledgeable freelance contributors thoroughly test each telescope. This ensures honest reviewing based on the telescope’s price, category, and intended use. For example, a 10-inch Dobsonian should not be compared to a 2.76-inch refractor, even though they may be the best in their own class.

We assess the ease of setup of both computerized and motorized mounts, as well as their reliability, accuracy, and noise level. Additionally, we decipher whether a telescope comes with appropriate eyepieces and tripods. We also make suggestions for any additional kits that may be beneficial for the best experience possible.

With complete editorial independence, are here to ensure you get the best buying advice on telescopes, whether you should purchase an instrument or not, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.

Stargazers to descend on Kerry for Skellig Coast Dark Sky Festival

Following a very successful inaugural festival in 2022, the Skellig Coast Dark Sky festival will take place again this weekend. With a fresh new line-up of events, there are events to suit every level of stargazer.

ne of the festival’s highlights this year will be the number of astrophotography events including an astrophotography exhibition trail across the Iveragh peninsula co-ordinated by the Astrophotography Club Ireland. 

Other events over the weekend will include multiple opportunities for guided stargazing across the Friday and Saturday nights, talks on astronomy-related folklore and history from Seán Mac an tSithigh and Paul Callenan, archaeology and rock art events, and child-friendly activities.

Exhibition photos have been curated by the Astrophotography Club Ireland and will be available to view at locations such as Cill Rialaig Arts Centre, The Blind Piper Caherdaniel, Goldens of Kells, and at Skellig Six 18 Distillery and Visitor Experience who have sponsored the festival. 

Festival coordinator Aoibheann Lambe said of this year’s evenets are now and exciting. 

“We are delighted to have such a focus on astrophotography at the festival this year; its an area of photography that is currently very popular.”

This years festival is being co-organised by the LIVE project and the Comhchoiste Ghaeltacht Uíbh Ráthaigh. The LIVE project has been co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through its Ireland Wales Cooperation Programme.