Humans have been interested in the stars probably as long as there have been humans. There’s something about those distant twinkling lights that fascinates and calls to the dreamer in everyone. Sure, we now know that stars are massive balls of burning gases, but that doesn’t take away from their majesty.
Not to mention that stars, as a site of fusion, created the building blocks of everything we know.
Exploring the stars, planets, and many specks of space junk in-between is enjoyable, informative, and fun. But telescopes can be notoriously expensive.
Astronomy enthusiasts will often gladly shell out hundreds of dollars for an advanced home model, while Astronomers patiently wait months and even years for their turn at the scientific telescopes across the globe.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend big bucks, or wait for years, to get your hands on good, effective, and affordable options. We’ve selected two of the best affordable telescopes to help narrow your search.
Whether you’re looking for a new telescope for a beginner, or an affordable starter model for a recent enthusiast, these are a good place to start.
Orion Observer 70mm II AZ Refractor
The Orion Observes deserves its place among some of the best affordable telescopes available right now. A little more flexible and far-reaching than many affordable and introductory telescopes, but for the same low cost.
- 70mm Refractor:
A 70mm refractor is a good starting place. Small enough to be more durable than the larger refractors and lenses, but large enough to give you a better view of the sky.
These refractors are big enough to easily spot lunar details and can see Jupiter and Saturn. You won’t get the detail you might with a larger telescope. But, there’s just something magical about the first time you locate a solar body on your own.
It’s also designed so that you’ll be able to spot bright-sky objects like star clusters and some nebulas.
- Altazimuth Telescope Mount:
An altazimuth telescope mount is an important feature in any starter telescope. These mounts help you focus on space objects by providing a stable and secure foundation for the telescope.
They also help you find the objects in the first place. The mount is designed to allow slow-smooth movement both horizontally and vertically. That smooth movement is important, you’re more likely to spot relevant objects when you’re moving at a slow-smooth pace.
- Additional Accessories:
This telescope also provides some of the accessories you’ll need to get started.
It comes with two eyepieces, one 25mm eyepiece, and a 10mm eyepiece. You’ll also get a red-dot sight to help locate where you’re looking in the sky.
But the best accessory for true beginners is the Orion Moon Map 260. This guide will help you spot and identify many of the most important lunar features. Especially for kids, finding lunar features is a great way to train yourself on how to use the telescope.
Plus, it’s just fascinating and fun to do!
Best Affordable Telescope – Celestron – PowerSeeker 60AZ Telescope
The Celestron PowerSeeker is designed with beginners in mind. It’s a quality telescope that’s easy to use, portable, and powerful enough to show some of the most-loved features of the nighttime sky.
Even more, experienced astronomy enthusiasts can find a use for this handy little telescope as a good mobile option. Perfect for camping, taking to the local park, or anywhere with a good view of the nighttime-sky.
The PowerSeeker is a good option for astronomers who know that the best view isn’t always in your backyard.
- 60 AZ Refractor:
One of the most common refractor sizes for beginners, this refractor is powerful enough to see solar planets, lunar details, and more.
The smaller refractor is also a good option for young kids since it’s a little hardier and more durable than a larger refractor or more complex telescope. That durability also contributes to its value as a portable telescope.
Since dark-sky locations are usually remote, having a telescope that can be taken to the nearest dark sky viewing spot is a serious advantage.
- Altitude Slow Motion Rod:
The Altitude Slow Motion Rod is one of the most important features of this telescope. Especially when it comes to beginners and child-users. One of the most frustrating things about learning to locate space object is overshooting your target and having to adjust over and over to capture the object you want to see.
The slow-motion reel helps you move more carefully and precisely. It’s designed not to swoop through large areas of the sky without giving you the opportunity to absorb what you’ve seen. That makes it easier to locate distant objects, like Jupiter. Or better yet, one of the 4 moons of Jupiter that’s visible with this telescope.
- 2-Year Warranty:
Celestron is one of the most popular telescope brands out there. One of the reasons for that is their 2-year warranty. Telescopes are, by their very nature, somewhat delicate instruments. Having a good warranty protects you from shipping damage, manufacturer error, and many other issues.
That peace of mind is important. Especially since this telescope will hopefully be a camping companion and means of exploring the stars for years to come!
This telescope also comes with a variety of accessories to extend its usefulness and versatility. Two different eyepieces and a 3x magnification Barlow lens mean you have 6 additional ways to modify and tweak your view of the skies.
While there are many different beginners telescopes out there, you want to make sure you get the best. After all, it’s easy to lose interest in this fascinating hobby if you can’t see the space objects you’re looking for!
We’re confident that both of these telescopes are some of the best affordable telescopes you can find, and that your interest will only grow while you use them.
Both of these telescopes offer a lot of flexibility. They are both good options for lunar viewing and spotting other solar objects. Both will let you see some bright sky objects. Best of all, both are designed to help even novice astronomers find their target with confidence and ease.