How Much Is a Telescope? Choose Great Quality First

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Telescopes use lenses and mirrors to collect and focus light from distant objects such as planets, the moon, and the stars. Astrophotographers use them to explore the sky and photograph different planets, stars, galaxies, and nebulae. There are thousands of models of telescopes available on the market today, and they vary a lot in price. So, how much is a telescope?

The cheapest telescope starts at around $100, while the more expensive models may cost up to $500 or even more. The price depends on several factors, such as the size or type of telescope, its optical quality, and other features it has. The more expensive a telescope, the better its visibility and performance.

The price of a telescope depends on its features, size, and brand name. Low-end telescopes are priced at $200 while high-end ones can cost up to $5000 or more, depending on the specifications you want in your scope.

How Much Is A Telescope?

Telescopes have been used for many centuries but it is only recently that they have been made smaller and more affordable. Now anyone who is interested can own one. But how much is a telescope? How much should you spend?

Telescopes are traditionally expensive, but technological advancements in recent years have led to more reasonably priced options. There are some great choices from the top telescope manufacturers.

Here are some of the best telescopes for astrophotography.

How much does a space telescope cost? The cost depends on the type of telescope you buy, the features it has, and the quality of the optics. The first consideration is what you want to do with your telescope. If you only want to observe the moon, you can get one very cheaply for less than $100 or so. But this will be quite limited and not useful for any form of astrophotography beyond the moon.

Professional grade telescopes can cost up to $25-30 thousand dollars while hobby telescopes can be bought for as little as $200-300 dollars depending on the size of the lens. I spent in the region of $450 for my first telescope which was the Celestron 130slt. I have managed to do some beginner astrophotography with this telescope.

How much is a telescope? This one cost me a few hundred dollars.
My first telescope the Celestron 130slt with Az-Alt mount

The first telescope I had came with an az alt mount. The mount includes a tripod and may include a tracker to move with the stars. An alt-az mount is generally cheaper but only allows you to take exposures of a shorter length. I was able to take exposures of a maximum of 30 seconds reliably. An Equatorial mount costs more and this is what I now have.

The ability to locate objects in the sky is very useful to an astrophotographer or astronomer. I chose a telescope with a GoTo system, which is a computerised system with a hand controller, to find objects in the sky. This also adds to the cost of your telescope.

Best Reasonably Priced Telescope for Beginners

A good telescope lets you explore the universe in all its beauty and wonder. As an astrophotographer, I am constantly amazed and in awe of the size and beauty of our universe.

For those looking for an easy way to explore the night sky, there are many telescopes available in the market, but what makes one better than another? We need to consider the choices out there to find the best telescope for the price.

One important factor that you need to consider when choosing a telescope is your budget. If you’re on a tight budget and need something affordable and still good enough for beginners, pick anyone from these few:

  • Celestron Telescope model 114AZ 114mm Reflector Telescope – Cost $250
  • Celestron AstroMaster 114AZ70 114mm Refractor Telescope – Cost $300
  • Orion SpaceProbe 3 AZ Reflector – Cost $100
  • Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope. – Cost $500

The best reasonably priced telescope for beginners is the 114mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope because it is affordable without sacrificing quality. The 114mm Newtonian Reflector Telescope has the best views of the moon and planets. The cheapest model noted here does not have tracking or computerized tracking and so can only be used for some limited astrophotography. For that, you’ll need to get a higher-cost model.

The Orion SpaceProbe 3 Altazimuth Reflector telescope is a product designed for novice astronomers. It is relatively affordable and easy to assemble. The Orion SpaceProbe 3 Altazimuth Reflector Telescope has a three-inch diameter mirror, which allows for high-quality views of celestial objects such as the moon and planets. Star clusters like the Pleiades and some nebulae can also be observed with this beginner telescope. Not really for astrophotography as it has no tracker.

The Celestron NexStar 130SLT telescope is a great option for beginners because it has an easy-to-use mount with a database of over 40,000 objects. It also includes a variety of eyepieces and is quite transportable. It can be used for beginner-level astrophotography and I used it for almost one year.

What to Search for When Buying a Telescope

A telescope can be used in many ways, which is why when you are looking for one it’s important to know what your intended use is going to be. Will you be using it for astrophotography, if so, you’ll need to spend a little more on the telescope mount and the quality of the telescope. This is especially true if you want to photograph deep-sky objects like me.

If you are interested in long-distance deep-space observation, then you will need a telescope that has an aperture of 12 inches or larger. If not, then any size between four and six inches will work.

Understanding the Types of Telescopes

Telescopes all have in common one thing, they all function the same way, by collecting light from a distant object and focusing it.

There are three main categories: refracting, reflecting, and compound. Refracting telescopes usually use a lens to create an image and only allow light from a certain point to be seen. Reflecting telescopes also use lenses but reflect them off mirrors at the front of the telescope instead; this allows for more light to enter through the lens and makes it easier for us to see what is happening in space. Compound telescopes combine elements from both refracting and reflecting telescopes by using both lenses as well as mirrors at the front.

Reflecting telescopes use mirrors to collect light. It is these mirrors that bounce light onto an object and then magnify it so that it can be seen more clearly through lenses or other instruments. The first reflecting telescope was made in 1668 by Isaac Newton with a mirror shaped like an elliptic paraboloid.

What Affects the Price of a Telescope?

Many factors go into determining the price of a telescope. The most important factor, however, is what kind of telescope you want to buy. Here’s an interesting video by Nico Carver showing the differences in what you can see from differently priced telescopes.

The cost of a telescope can be significantly influenced by the level of magnification power it offers. Large telescopes with higher levels of magnification are usually more expensive than smaller telescopes with less magnification power.

The cost of a telescope depends on the type and size of the telescope. The size and type of a telescope will affect what you can see and how much it will cost.

The size and type determine the price range. For example, a small handheld telescope typically costs less than $50, while a large refractor scope can cost up to $3000 or more.

Different telescopes also have different uses. Some are better for beginners, while others are better for more advanced hobbyists or professionals.

The more expensive quality telescopes magnify images while avoiding distortion.

I hope that the information I have given you on this page has enabled you to start your search for a suitable telescope. Good luck with your choice and in your journey into astrophotography!

Best Quality Telescopes

There is a big difference between a cheap and a high quality telescope. In this section we’ll look at three of the best quality telescopes. Here are my three top choices:

  •  Celestron NexStar 8 SE telescope. It has an 8 inch aperture which is a good size. It is built with quality in mind. It has a computerized alt azimuth mount and the tracking and optics are excellent. 
  • Orion SkyQuest XT8 Dobsonian telescope. Again an 8 inch aperture with fantastic optics. This quality telescope is very stable and offers impressive views of astronomical objects. 
  • Meade Instruments LX200-ACF telescope is very high quality and could be said to be professional level. The optics are great and offer a very flat field. It has a computerized Goto mount. It is not cheap but is worth the investment because of the enjoyment you’ll get from using it.

Those are my top three choices of top quality telescopes.

Is a Telescope a Good Investment?

If you spend a lot on a telescope you may wonder if it has any investment value. I think this is more likely to be true for older quality telescopes. However, it depends on what you mean when you ask about the investment value of a telescope. Are you wondering what value it will have if you sell it in the future?

I can respond that a telescope is worth the investment if you are prepared to put in the time and use it. A telescope will reward you in spades if you find astronomy as interesting as I do! Only you can know whether buying a telescope is worth the investment of money and time. What are you hoping to get from your telescope?

Let’s see if we can compare the new price and sale price of telescopes and answer the question of investment value.

Long Term Value of a Telescope

If you use a high-quality telescope for a long time the rewards are huge! You will get value for your initial investment. High-quality telescopes can cost a lot but they give better viewing and astrophotographic experiences which you will never forget!

The way to think of this is that if you spend $1000 on a telescope and use it for 10 years, that is only $100 per year! Marvellous value indeed.

Telescope Resale Value

Generally, a high-quality telescope that is looked after well can keep most of its value even over a longer period. If you decide to sell it you may not get what you originally paid for it but may be able to sell it for a high percentage of what it cost you. 

Educational Value

If you want to learn about astronomy and find viewing planets or deep sky objects half as awe-inspiring as I do, then the educational value of a telescope is priceless. Here are some recommendations for the best telescope to view planets.