Are you looking to buy the best telescope to view the Moon and the stars? This review covers the ten best telescopes to buy. This is a fascinating time to be alive if you have an interest in the Moon. With a comparatively inexpensive telescope, anyone can indulge in amateur astronomy and, with a few, easy add-ons.
So you want to buy a telescope. Which telescope is best for you? Well, here you will find the ten best telescopes in 2023. But before you point your telescope at the Moon, you need to learn the fundamentals of buying the best Moon telescopes for beginners and how to pick the top telescopes for viewing the Moon or for your particular viewing interests.
Best Telescope to View the Moon
You will find a guide here on how to buy the best amateur and professional telescopes in 2023
And fortunately, there is no shortage of options for telescope-buying options for inexperienced astronomers and astrophotography enthusiasts.
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Our Overall Best-Rated Telescope Choice
The 10 Best Telescopes Out There 2023
In this section, we review the best telescopes available for amateurs and professionals.
Gskyer Astronomical Refractor Telescope, Travel Scope, 400mm AZ Mount 70mm Aperture
Gskyer Telescope is the best telescope for Moon watching with a 70mm aperture and a focal length to provide the best sky exploring experience with clarity. To focus on high magnification, it is high transmission coatings of completely coated optical glass so that you can have high-resolution images with brightness and clarity. You can improve your viewing power with a 3x Barlow lens of interchangeable eyepieces.
It is straightforward to install, and you can set it up quickly. Even your kids can simply use it and enjoy learning about space. It is the best birthday gift for children who love astronomy.
And with two bigger focus eyepieces, an erect-image diagonal, and a 5×24 finderscope with a mounting bracket, you can search and focus your image easily.
- No-tool Set Up
- High Magnification
- High-Quality Optics
- Decent aperture
- Adjustable Tripod and Carry Bag
- And 2-years Warranty
- A decent amount of chromatic aberration
Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope (Black)
The Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST reflector telescope holds a 5.1-inch aperture, which will gather an ‘ample’ quantity of light for observing solar system planets, the Moon, and nebulas.
Its optical tube design, about 24 inches long, makes for a very portable reflector that can be easily transported – it weighs a good 27 lbs, too — on summer night astronomy Moon-trips. It comes with many optional extras, including Moon Filter, eyepieces, Barlow Lens, and Telescope Accessory Kit, including finder scope, rack, tripod accessory tray, pinion focuser, and also a collimation cap.
It comes with a strong EQ-2 equatorial mount making it perfect for deep-sky observations, and the focal ratio (f/5) gives a pleasant wide-field performance.
- Short optical tube
- Lightweight design
- The 2x Barlow lens
- Crisp and clear viewings of the night sky
- Equatorial mount for professional viewing
- Fully equipped for Astrophotography
- Difficult setup to install
- Complicated and vague directions
Celestron – NexStar 8SE Telescope – Computerized Telescope for Beginners
The Celestron NexStar 8SE is the Big One — it has the largest aperture among the telescopes evaluated here and is the most capable and most costly.
And this versatile Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with an eight-inch aperture and 81X magnification will please both beginners and advanced telescope enthusiasts who can use it to view the Moon, and solar system planets as well as take digital images of some Messier objects.
The fantastic automated GoTo mount with a database of 40,000 objects and a SkyAlign feature is particularly useful for beginner-level users. You get free accessories, including an eyepiece and a finder scope.
And if you want to see the Cassini Division in Saturn’s rings or Jupiter’s Great Red Spot with your own eyes, this telescope will help you achieve that. The amazing Celestron NexStar 8SE has smaller 6-inch, and 4-inch siblings available at much lower price points.
- Easy star tracking
- Great Optics
- Light and portable
- Plastic accessories and short battery life
Celestron – NexStar 6SE Telescope
The amazing Celestron NexStar 6SE is a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, a quality component, and high-quality from each refractor and reflector telescope. The Celestron NexStar telescope is one of the best up-to-date compound telescopes within the Celestron range. It comes with a highly optimized computerized system and StarBright XLT lens coatings to make the Moon, stars, and planets in the line up without any issues. Due to its compact telescope, you can quickly move it to any place.
The 6-inch aperture and 25mm Plossl eyepiece give you a powerful magnification of 60x to 459x level of magnification. This telescope ranks highly exceptional, matched to others of the same range in tech used in it. The software of this brilliant telescope has a 40,000-object database.
- Portable and easy to setup
- Has a great set of optics
- Excellent and stunning 25 mm eyepiece
- Very light cylinder, and the tripod
- Steel tripod to provide extra-dependability
- Latest automated altazimuth mount and finderscope
- Increasingly costly
- Powered with 8AA batteries despite a reliable power source
- Mount prone to vibrations
- Cheap accessories
Meade Instruments 209006 Infinity 102mm AZ Refractor Telescope
This Meade Instruments Infinity 102mm AZ Refractor telescope has got a four-inch aperture with a focal length of 600 mm and a focal ratio of f/5.9. And this telescope comes with low, medium, and high magnification eyepieces and a 2X Barlow lens to double the eyepiece’s magnification.
It also has a red dot viewfinder to help you point your telescope and includes astronomical software and an instructional DVD.
This is a refractor-type telescope with an Altazimuth mount. While the telescope is suitable for beginner telescope users, it will not work as well for deep-sky observations or long-duration tracking of objects for astrophotography.
- Quality optics for basic viewing
- An affordable entry-level telescope
- Exceptionally easy to assemble
- Refracting telescope with lenses not collimating
- A lightweight and compact size
- Low-quality lens
- Alt-azimuth mount cannot be for astrophotography
- Components are plastic
- The telescope shows chromatic aberrations
Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
This Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 is no doubt going to be the best choice for you. It lets you see with its modern-day clarity and its sure value for your money. The model is a top-of-the-best brand with significance and a great price.
You can view the Moon and faraway galaxies, such as the Orion nebulae, with the Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 telescope. You can also get some of the best images of the night sky with this telescope. This is among the higher range of reflector telescopes, and you will see a superb balance between expenses, convenience, and clarity. It is suitable for every type of Moongazer; even newcomers can also use it easily, and Moon enthusiasts and professionals alike.
And the optical tube and easy-to-use finder let you view the most extra-terrestrial objects, such as star clusters, Moon mountains, and even obscure matter, including nebulae.
- A high-quality design and manufacture guarantee
- A large mirror of 203mm
- A clear view of Saturn’s rings and Moon’s craters
- Suitable for teenagers
- User-friendly with stunning quality
- Easy to set up
- Semi-proficient kit for beginners and intermediates
- The extreme clarity of the images
- The finder scope loses alignment quickly
- Not suitable for professional users
- No handles on the telescope
- Huge weight
This CSSEA Astronomical telescope is the best telescope for adults and kids. You can provide them with the absolute best gift to educate them to explore the universe and the Moon. The 360x70mm refractor Astronomy adjustable telescope can be an excellent observation of terrestrial objects like the Moon.
Furthermore, you do not need any tool to set it. You can set it up very quickly to find your favorite objects. This is the best telescope for kids and beginners to discover significant sky and all other objects like moons, planets, and clusters. You can also enjoy the natural objects found on the Earth’s long-distance like birds, wild animals, and mountains.
This telescope is so small that you can carry it anywhere without any difficulties. It is a low-cost telescope that will astonish you when you will purchase it.
- Tripod is great for children
- Easy to put together
- Lightweight and portable
- Came with a solar system and moon map
- Low cost and affordable price
- Tripod is not suitable for adults
- Difficult to align
Celestron – 70mm Travel Scope – Portable Refractor Telescope
This Celestron 70mm Travel Scope is the best, compact, easy-to-use telescope with many excellent features. It is a brilliant item for children, beginners, and also intermediate astronomers who want to improve their talent to explore the Moon. This portable telescope comes with a 2.76-inch aperture and a 70mm refractor. It further includes two eyepieces of 10mm, and 20mm, giving a magnification of 20x and 40x.
This telescope comes with detailed instructions, full-color, and The Sky X software so that you can explore the Moon and the stars. And with this software, there are printable sky maps, a 10,000-object database, and 75 enhanced images. Furthermore, due to all these features, you will be able to use this scope professionally to improve astronomy knowledge. The best part of this telescope is its phenomenal price and portability.
- Sturdy Made Design and Build
- Dual Powered Eyepieces
- Very easy to store or transport
- High-Quality Optical View
- Affordable Price
- High-Quality Photo Resolution
- Easy to Use
- Few Plastic Parts
- Flimsy Tripod
Celestron – AstroMaster 130EQ Newtonian Telescope
This Celestron NexStar 6SE scope is the smaller cousin with a 6-inch aperture. It has all the computerized whistles and bells like its 8SE version. It collects enough light with its primary mirror to make all the solar system objects accessible for telescopic observations.
And this telescope has a more exceptional ability to gather enough light so that you can view the planets, Moons, or celestial objects. The installation and deployment of this telescope take only a couple of minutes. It also comes with a high magnification factor and a unique red finder. Also, its compact form factor makes it travel-friendly on family trips to outdoor locations.
This innovative Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope also comes with the automated GoTo mount with a database of 40,000 objects and a SkyAlign feature. You can quickly learn how to explore and how to align for clear views.
- Light and portable
- Great Optics
- Easy star tracking
- Plastic accessories and short battery life
- Still on the expensive side
Learn the Different Parts of a Telescope
Below Are the Different Parts of a Telescope That You Need to Know About
Whether it is a reflecting or refracting telescope, the primary light-gathering part of a telescope is its primary lens or mirror — the bigger the mirror or lens of the telescope. Consequently, bigger is better when it comes to the mirror or lens size of a telescope.
While customer telescopes can be either refracting or reflecting, the real astronomical telescopes used by scientists are always reflecting telescopes, whether it’s the Keck Observatories or the Hubble Space Telescope. Mirrors are amenable to precision manufacturing and can also have smoother surfaces than lenses. Lenses further bend the light of different wavelengths differently, adding complications in focusing the final image.
Telescope Eyepiece Holder and Focuser
The eyepiece holder holds the scope’s eyepiece, and they are available in three different sizes; 0.965 inches or 2.45 cm, 1.25 inches or 3.18 cm, and 2 inches or 5.08 cm in diameter. The telescope focuser moves the eyepiece holder and adjusts the focus of the eyepiece.
Whether you treat the telescope mount as part of the scope or an accessory, you will need a good telescope mount if you are looking for the absolute best telescope for viewing the Moon. The scope mount carries the weight of the telescope and keeps the scope pointed in the right direction. Assume you observe a deep-sky object for a longer duration or do astrophotography, which will require having the telescope pointed at an object for many hours. In that case, the scope mount will make the telescope point at the right object as the Earth rotates underneath.
A well-built and stable telescope mount is one that will not vibrate for more than a second if you tap the telescope tube. The scope’s view should stay steady instead of wiggling when you focus the scope with the focus knob. And the telescope’s focus need not change when you let go of the focus knob.
There are essentially two types of telescope mounts: equatorial and altitude-azimuth.
An alt-az scope mount can move the telescope up or down (‘alt’) and left or right (‘az’). Equatorial mounts further move the telescope in two axes, one of which is aligned with the rotational axis of Earth.
Telescopes With “alt-az” Mounts are Superior for Casual Observers
Furthermore, small telescopes with alt-az mounts are a simple affair and can make for an excellent combo if you are looking for beginners’ best telescope. So, good quality alt-az mounts will have finely threaded slow-motion controls so that the telescope can be moved smoothly in small increments. These refinements become helpful when you are viewing a planet or the Moon at high magnifications.
Equatorial mounts are necessary if you are considering buying the best professional telescope. A scope with an equatorial mount will be needed for deep-sky astronomy and also for astrophotography. When you need to track an astronomical object for long durations, a telescope with an equatorial mount is the most suitable option. You need to adjust the scope along one axis only.
Telescopes with alt-az mounts are superior for casual observers – especially Dobsonians. Equatorial mounts are almost obligatory for astrophotography and high-magnification observations of the Moon or Jupiter, or Saturn. You need to learn polar alignment, which is to have the telescope’s polar axis aligned with Earth’s rotational axis.
Scope finders help you find objects in the sky. They are very useful when you are using the telescope under high magnification.
A popular type of finder is a miniature scope attached near the eyepiece of the main telescope. The finder has low magnification and, hence, a wide field of view. Finders come outfitted with crosshairs. When the finder is aligned with the main scope, when you center an astronomical object in the finder’s crosshairs, you’ll also get the celestial object in the main scope’s view.
So, optical telescope finders and reflex sights are types of finders that help you focus your telescope on your target. Reflex sights project a point of light on the sky.
What to Think About Before Buying a Telescope?
A telescope is chosen based on various factors: magnification, aperture, telescope mount, portability, price, and so on.
If you plan to buy a telescope and use it to do some astronomical observations of the Moon and even beyond, you have to pay attention to your stargazing locations. Do you also have easy access to a dark area away from the light-polluted night skies? You are not going to be able to see distant galaxies from your suburban backyard observatories.
Be informed that raw magnification is not everything. It’s not useful to excessively magnify the image created by a telescope’s primary lens or mirror as that will hardly turn a dim celestial object dimmer and a bright object blurry. It’s like how if you magnify a digital image too much, you’ll only see the pixels in it.
As to the technical specs of the telescope itself, the aperture is everything as it determines the scope’s light-gathering ability – an 8-inch telescope will be able to observe a Moon crater that is half as large as a lunar crater visible to a 4-inch scope. The 8-inch will further gather four times as much light as the 4-inch. Therefore, if you observe a faint galaxy, your target will be four times brighter with the larger scope.
But before you splurge on a telescope with a large aperture – and ‘larger’ usually means more expensive – you should give some thought to how much storage space you have and how you are planning to transport your telescope to different locations in case your suburban residential location is not ideal for stargazing.
Does Telescope Size Matter?
If your telescope sits someplace because it doesn’t fit inside your car, then it isn’t of much use. Better to buy a smaller telescope that’ll accompany you everywhere.
It also depends on what it is that you want to observe. If you plan to do deep-sky observations of galaxies, nebulae, and so on, then a larger telescope will help you collect more light from faint objects. If you plan to look at the Moon or planets, atmospheric turbulence will block you from stretching your scope’s magnifying abilities to their limits. Therefore, smaller telescopes are just fine for that.
Different Telescope Types
Reflecting scopes use a giant concave mirror to focus and gather the light from heavenly bodies or distant galaxies—all the great observatories of the world house huge reflecting telescopes that astronomers use.
One typical type of reflecting telescope is the Newtonian reflector. It was invented by the great Sir Isaac Newton – and has the primary mirror near the scope tube’s bottom. The eyepiece of this type of telescope is on the side of the scope.
Furthermore, reflecting telescopes of the Newtonian type additionally have a low center of gravity, making for a compact mount, which is relatively inexpensive.
Some of the drawbacks of reflecting telescopes include their need for maintenance, including periodic collimation or adjustment. Reflectors will also need occasional cleaning since dirt may accumulate on the open optical surfaces of the scope.
A refracting scope has a big lens at the front, which collects and focuses the light. Also, you look at that image through a smaller lens defined as an eyepiece.
So, refracting telescopes stay in shape more easily and is less cumbersome, requiring less careful handling. Refractors are best for planetary and lunar observations.
On the negative side, the massive lenses need careful manufacturing, making these telescopes quite expensive. Refractor telescopes are not suited for deep-sky observations, and they also tend to be heavier. Refractors are very long, and if the eyepiece is to be at a reasonable height while observing directly overhead objects, you need a sturdy and tall tripod.
Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescopes – Compound Telescopes
Compound telescopes are a modern invention from the 1930s, and they are designed to combine the best of both telescope types – reflectors and refractors. Those mirror-and-lens combos are usually very compact in their typical forms, such as the Schmidt-Cassegrain and Maksutov-Cassegrain.
With their ‘optical folding’ capability, those telescopes are just two to three times in length compared to their width. This makes for a lighter mounting. For amateur astronomers, this implies a highly portable large-aperture telescope with a long focal length.
Compound telescopes also have a sealed tube, making them dust-free even when you take them with you for night observing journeys. However, you’ll need to make sure the corrector plate is free from dew with a collar or extension.
So, with all the technological accessories, such as software that integrates the scope with your smartphone and lets you manage the telescope only by pointing your smartphone at a location or an object in the night sky, compound telescopes are pretty user-friendly for beginners.
Those can also be used for astrophotography. Therefore, compound telescopes are strong contenders to be the best professional telescope option.
How Do You Use a Telescope?
One crucial piece of advice for beginner users of the telescope is not to have unrealistic expectations. So, you might have seen those Hubble images of the Orion Nebula online and similar top Hubble photos. However, those were the result of several thousand professionals’ efforts using a multi-billion dollar space telescope.
And most astronomy images are ‘improved.’ Also, Cassini’s images of Saturn and Juno’s images of Jupiter are manipulated to increase the contrast.
Therefore, to use a telescope, you need to be in a dark place that should not be too cold. There should not be towering buildings or ambient light around.
It would help if you stayed clear of buildings as they emit heat at night, which can blur your target by increasing the atmosphere’s turbulence.
You want to adjust your eyes to the darkness for best-viewing results, which can take up to thirty minutes. Using ‘averted vision’ is one method you need to learn to observe distant objects. When you try watching from the corner of your eye, you will be able to detect faint objects more quickly than by trying to look at them directly.
Keep your telescope well by covering its lens with a cap when it is not in use. Dew and dust are enemies of astronomical observations.
Never touch the mirror or the lens inside the telescope, and keep additional eyepieces in a plastic container.
Camel hair brushes are the best choices to clean your scope lens. If you happen to spill anything onto the lens, use a special solution to clean the lens.
What Type of Telescope Should You Buy to Watch the Moon?
It all depends. What sort of observations do you want to make? What is your location? Do you want to watch the Moon and the solar system planets, or are you more fascinated by galaxies? Refractor-type telescopes will be the best bets for Moon and planetary observations, while reflectors are the best options for deep-sky astronomy. Compound telescopes try to combine the best of both worlds.
Make your decision depending on whether you are looking for the top telescopes for beginners or the best scopes for viewing planets, or the best professional scopes.
How Big Should The Telescope Be?
Bigger may be more beneficial when it comes to telescopes. The bigger the aperture, the more light can be collected by the telescope, which leads to a better image. You should also bear in mind the telescope’s weight, how portable it is, how large it is, and how much space you have for storage. The list can go on.
What is the Best Telescope for Kids?
When thinking about what telescopes to buy for kids, remember that the telescopes should be lightweight. Telescopes with a 4″ aperture would be good for kids’ purposes. The scope mount has to be kid-friendly so that children can see through the eyepiece. The mounts should be stable and sturdy so that the telescope doesn’t vibrate while observing.
Your first telescope for your child can be a basic one. And as they grow older, they can graduate to bigger ones. Remember that many well-known got interested in astronomy via a telescope that they got as a present when they were a kid – Neil deGrasse Tyson and Carl Sagan come to mind as two examples.
How Powerful Should Your Telescope Be?
Novice telescope customers are probably most likely to be misled by this factor. Telescope retailers may hype “200x” or “400x” magnification of their telescopes. Nevertheless, magnification or power is not what you want to be looking at in evaluating a telescope for purchase.
Because almost any magnification level can be achieved by using the required eyepiece, the aperture is the more accurate measure of a telescope’s capacity.
While modern telescopes are improving in terms of the electronic accessories they have, telescopes’ basic purpose has changed very little since Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei first observed Jupiter’s Galilean moons in 1610.
Therefore, while considering what the best professional telescope or the best telescope for viewing the Moon is, you can keep things quite simple by focusing on the telescope design, whether it’s a reflector-type telescope or a refracting telescope, or a combination design like a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope which combines the best of both telescope designs — and aperture.
The focal length, focal ratio, and user experience aspects (weight, telescope mount, etc.) are the next things to keep in mind. We suggest you go through each detail, and specification and read all the pros and cons thoroughly before selecting any brand.