Best telescopes 2023: For stargazing galaxies, nebulas and more

Man uses one of the best telescopes and binoculars to look at the night sky as the sun sets and telescopes are on tripods around him
(Image credit: Getty)

The best telescopes are designed to transform astronomers view of the heavens, aiding with stargazing and bringing glorious galaxies, nebulas, planets and other deep sky objects to our eyes in unparalleled depth and detail. 

Wondering which telescopes are the best and which one suits your needs? If so, there's no need to spend hours searching the internet because our expert panel has done the hard work for you. We test and review various telescopes, from entry-level to advanced models, encompassing different types like refractors, reflectors, catadioptric telescopes such as Maksutov-Cassegrains and even the latest smart telescopes.

So whether you want to view and take astrophotographs of the night sky from your smartphone, travel to a dark sky site with a more portable telescope or want to hunker down with a massive Dobsonian, we've got you covered.

If you're not sure what all the telescope jargon means, scroll to the bottom of this page, where we have explained all you need to know in our Telescope FAQ. You can also use the navigation bar on the left to switch between categories if you already have some idea of the type of scope you're looking for —  beginner telescopes, computerized GoTo, smart telescopes, best scopes for astrophotography and more.

At Space.com, we don't just review telescopes. We also have a full guide on the Best binoculars. And if you're looking to pair a telescope with one of the Best cameras for photos and videos, we've got you covered there too.

Telescope FAQ answered by
Gemma Lavender Headshot
Telescope FAQ answered by
Dr Gemma Lavender

Gemma is a contributing writer to Space.com, Live Science, science and space magazines How It Works and All About Space, history magazines All About History and History of War as well as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) kids education brand Future Genius. She is the author of several books including 'Quantum Physics in Minutes', 'Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual to the Large Hadron Collider' and 'Haynes Owners' Workshop Manual to the Milky Way'. She holds a degree in physical sciences, a Master's in astrophysics and a PhD in computational astrophysics. She was elected as a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society in 2011. Previously, she worked for Nature's journal, Scientific Reports, and created scientific industry reports for the Institute of Physics and the British Antarctic Survey.

The quick list


Best telescopes 2023: For stargazing galaxies, nebulas and more

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Best for beginners

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

Specifications

Optical design: Maksutov-Cassegrain
Mount type: Computerized Alt-Azimuth
Aperture: 4-inches / 102mm
Focal length: 1325mm
Highest useful magnification: 241x
Lowest useful magnification: 15x
Supplied eyepieces: 25mm
Weight: 23 lbs (10.44kg) 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
Buy it if

✅ It's your first telescope: This scope is easy to use and set up, making it perfect for beginner astronomers. 


✅ You want GoTo technology: You can easily find and track specific celestial objects  with little or no prior knowledge.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to travel with it: This telescope isn't the most portable as the tripod doesn't quite fold down entirely.

❌ You plan on doing long nights of stargazing: This telescope drains the AA batteries fast, so you'd need a separate power bank or power station in order to take it out with you.

The bottom line:

🔎 Celestron NexStar 4SE If you want to view the planets and bright objects in the sky quickly and effortlessly, the Celestron NexStar 4SE will certainly do the job. ★★★★

For beginner astronomers, the Celestron NexStar 4SE is an excellent choice. It offers user-friendly operation, capturing images that are both sharp and luminous while providing a substantial and tactile hand controller. Although the field of view is somewhat restricted, this is not a significant drawback since the SkyAlign software and GoTo system simplify object locating. Additionally, the hand controller offers the convenience of nine different slewing speeds, making it perfect for precise adjustments or swift exploration of the night sky.

One thing to keep in mind is that the NexStar SE scopes are power-hungry. It is advisable to use an external power supply, as a pack of AA batteries will not last long. This does limit portability, but it is not a deal breaker if you are willing to carry a portable power bank or power station.

Overall, in our Celestron NexStar 4SE telescope review, we found it to be a great telescope for beginners. It is easy to use, produces clear and bright images and comes with a variety of features that make it a great value for the price.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignSolid and sturdy build, signature Orange colors
PerformanceGreat for observing the moon and planets
FunctionalityAlignment correction can be tricky

Best Budget Telescope

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

Specifications

Optical design: Refractor
Mount type: Alt-azimuth
Aperture: 3.94-inches / 100mm
Focal length: 660mm
Highest useful magnification: 241x
Lowest useful magnification: 15x
Supplied eyepieces: 10mm, 25mm
Weight: 20 lbs (9.07kg)

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
Buy it if

✅ You're on a budget: Users on a budget will appreciate the modest price tag this telescope has, and it's also regularly discounted in the Prime Day/Black Friday sales.

✅ You're a beginner: We found it easy to set up and take down, and with it being relatively lightweight, you can easily transport it around with you.

✅ You want to take astrophotos on your smartphone: One feature we enjoyed was the lens cap which cleverly turns into a smartphone holder so you can capture images of the night sky.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You aren't confident locating objects yourself: This telescope doesn't have GoTo technology, so you'll need to be fairly confident in being able to locate specific celestial objects yourself (or utilize the help of a stargazing app).
❌ You want detailed views of deep sky objects: While this telescope can give great views of planets and the moon, objects further away may be a little underwhelming.

The bottom line

🔎 Celestron Inspire 100az Aimed at beginners and those looking to upgrade, this 4-inch refractor is at its best with the moon and planets and comes with a lens cap that converts to a clever smartphone holder for easy astrophotography. ★★★★

The Celestron Inspire 100AZ is a fantastic telescope that caters to beginners and anyone on a budget. It offers a wide range of accessories, ensuring great value for the price. It also boasts solid construction and user-friendly features, making it a breeze to use.

The telescope itself is built really well and is easy to use. It's got a 100mm aperture, which means it can gather lots of light and let you see faint objects like galaxies and nebulas. Plus, it's got a nice long focal length, giving you some great magnification for checking out planets and other up-close objects.

The Inspire 100AZ comes with a variety of accessories, including two eyepieces, a red LED flashlight (for preserving night vision), an accessory tray, a StarPointer Pro finderscope to make it easier to find your subject and a smartphone adapter for basic smartphone astrophotography.

Overall, the Celestron Inspire 100AZ is an excellent telescope for beginners and those on a budget. It's well-built, easy to use and comes with a comprehensive set of accessories. During our Celestron Inspire 100AZ review, we found 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 one of the best eyepieces to make the most of the Inspire 100AZ's optical system. The slight amount of false color shouldn't dampen your experience unless you are particularly fussy about color accuracy being spot on.

If you're looking for a telescope to get started with astronomy, the Inspire 100AZ is a great option.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignFairly lightweight
PerformanceExcels with lunar views
FunctionalityEasy setup and take down

Best for portability

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

Specifications

Optical design: Maksutov-Cassegrain
Mount type: Computerized Alt-Azimuth Single Fork Arm
Aperture: 4.0-inches / 102mm
Focal length: 1325mm
Highest useful magnification: Up to 100x with digital zoom
Lowest useful magnification: 15x
Supplied eyepieces: 25mm and 10mm
Weight: 6 lbs (2.7kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Go-to is great for beginners
+
Highly portable

Reasons to avoid

-
The finish doesn't feel premium
-
Other models offer better value for money
Buy it if

✅ You'll be traveling with it: This scope is our top choice for portability, so it's ideal if you plan on taking it away on camping trips or visiting dark sky sites.

✅ You're a beginner: If you just want to look at the moon and some planets, this will be a great choice. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want good quality parts: This telescope has an element of 'you get what you pay for', and while it's certainly adequate for basic astronomy, we found that the tripod isn't the best quality, the optics could be better and overall it didn't have much of a premium feel to it. 

The bottom line

🔎 Celestron Astro Fi 102 Best suited for viewing the moon and planets, this telescope is great for beginners and anyone with no prior experience. It can be a little tricky on the initial setup, and it's not the best quality scope we've reviewed, but it'll do the job. ★★★ 1/2

The Celestron Astro Fi 102 telescope is an excellent choice for beginners eager to delve into the wonders of the night sky, even without any prior astronomy experience. It is designed to be lightweight and portable, allowing for effortless transportation and setup. What's more, the telescope comes equipped with the SkyPortal app, which provides a seamless experience in locating and identifying over 100,000 celestial objects.

The Astro Fi 102 is a Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope, which means it has a large aperture and a long focal length. This combination gives it good magnification power, making it ideal for viewing planets. The telescope also has a wide field of view, which makes it great for viewing star clusters and nebulae without having to adjust the scope's position too much.

As discussed in our Celestron Astro Fi 102 telescope review, it is not without its flaws. The finish is a bit plasticky, and the materials used are not the best quality. However, these flaws are outweighed by the telescope's portability, ease of use, and good optical performance.

Overall, we think the Celestron Astro Fi 102 is a great value for beginners who want to start exploring the night sky quickly. It is lightweight, portable, easy to use and has good optical performance.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignHighly transportable, but tripod needs weighing down
PerformanceInitial setup can be tricky, but after that it's a breeze
FunctionalityLarge database of celestial objects on SkyPortal

Best GoTo

The Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25 on a tripod on a white background

Automatically track objects as they move across the sky with this high-quality Catadioptric telescope. (Image credit: B&H Photo)

Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25

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

Specifications

Optical design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
Mount type: Computerized alt-azimuth fork arm
Aperture: 9.25-inches / 235mm
Focal length: 2350mm
Highest useful magnification: 555x
Lowest useful magnification: 34x
Supplied eyepieces: 13mm, 40mm
Weight: 62.60 lbs (28.39kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Crisp views with no defects
+
Easy to set up
+
High-quality design

Reasons to avoid

-
Isn't very portable — best for backyard star gazing
-
Expensive
Buy it if

✅ You're an experienced skywatcher: This telescope offers a complete tour of the universe, although its easy setup would be a dream for beginners, this scope is best suited for more advanced, passionate astronomers.

✅ You want to view a wide range of subjects: This scope has a large aperture which enables clear and detailed views of a wide range of celestial objects, including planets, deep-sky objects and nebulas.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You don't have a big budget: This telescope is expensive, so anyone who doesn't have a big budget to spend on a scope may want to look at cheaper alternatives.

❌ You want something portable: Portability isn't one of the Evolution 9.25's strengths, so it's best used for backyard gazing.

The bottom line

🔎 Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25 A fantastic telescope suited to experienced and passionate skywatchers, with a price tag to match. It grants an impressive 10 hours of stargazing with its rechargeable battery, and can also allow for astrophotography. It's not the easiest to transport, but we think it's one of the best GoTo telescopes you can buy ★★★★1/2

The Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25 is an exceptional GoTo telescope that delivers breathtaking views of the night sky. It features a generous aperture Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube and a robust single-fork arm mount, ensuring stability and precision. The motorized mount includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, granting an impressive 10 hours of uninterrupted stargazing. Alongside the telescope, you'll find a delightful assortment of accessories, including a red dot finderscope, star diagonal, accessory tray, international AC adapter, hand control and 13mm and 40mm eyepieces.

The NexStar Evolution 9.25 is the ideal choice for experienced skywatchers who are looking for a high-quality telescope that offers a complete tour of the universe. It is also a good choice for astrophotography, as the motorized mount can track objects as they move across the sky. Built into the mount is the telescope's very own Wi-Fi network, allowing you to connect and control the instrument via the Celestron SkyPortal app (downloadable for free on iOS and Android) — leave your chunky hand controller at home!

While the NexStar Evolution 9.25 boasts an exceptional design, the only drawback is its weight. It's a tad bulky and not the easiest to transport, making it best suited for backyard use rather than frequent movement. Nevertheless, this minor trade-off is well worth it, considering the telescope's robust and high-quality features.

Overall, we think the Celestron NexStar Evolution 9.25 is an excellent choice for experienced and passionate skywatchers who have the money to spend on a high-end GoTo telescope.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignA bit bulky and tricky to transport
PerformanceCrisp views with no defects
FunctionalityMotorized mount a good choice for astrophotography

Best value for enthusiasts

The Celestron Astro Fi 130 on a white background

The Celestron Astro Fi 130's wide field of view will allow you to see large galaxies without having to reposition the telescope often. (Image credit: B&H Photo)
Best value enthusiast telescope: A guide to the night sky, packed with technology at a low price

Specifications

Optical design: Newtonian Reflector
Mount type: Computerized altitude-azimuth single fork
Aperture: 5.19-inches / 130mm
Focal length: 650mm
Highest useful magnification: 307x
Lowest useful magnification: 19x
Supplied eyepieces: 25mm and 10mm
Weight: 18 lbs (8.6kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Great portable entry-level telescope
+
Vixen dovetail for mount changes
+
Finds targets at the touch of a button

Reasons to avoid

-
Focuser is of low quality
-
Battery drains quickly
-
Useless without app
Buy it if

✅ You want a beginner-friendly, easy-to-use telescope: We thought this was a great entry-level telescope that can find targets at the touch of a button. It's good value and has enough power and features to last you beyond beginner status.
✅ You want a 'grab and go' telescope: We praised this telescope for its portability, making it great for on-the-go observations.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a 'traditional' telescope: We found that this telescope is completely useless without the app, so if you want a more traditional telescope without much of the newer technology, look elsewhere.

The bottom line

🔎 Celestron Astro Fi 102 A good telescope at an exceptionally good price, it has everything you'd need if you're just starting out, although we would recommend upgrading some of the included pieces. It can lose charge faster in cold conditions, though, so consider buying an additional power source ★★★1/2

When we reviewed the Celestron Astro Fi 130 telescope, we were really impressed with it and found it to be an excellent value for money. While it may not fall into the budget telescope category, it remains considerably more affordable than some other telescopes in this guide, making it a great choice in terms of cost-effectiveness.

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.

With a 130mm aperture, this telescope efficiently captures more light, enhancing the visibility of faint celestial objects in the night sky. Its 650mm focal length offers a wide field of view, allowing you to take in more of the sky. Not only is this telescope sturdy and lightweight, facilitating effortless transportation, but it also includes a stable tripod, a red dot finder and eyepieces, making it great value for the price.

The Celestron Astro Fi 130 is a great telescope for the price, but there are a few things that could be better, in our opinion. The battery life is a bit short, and the eyepieces aren't the best quality. We think you should consider upgrading the eyepieces for a better experience, but for value for money, we highly recommend this scope.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignVery sturdy build with well constructed tube and tripod
PerformanceMakes use of SkyAlign technology for easy alignment
FunctionalityGreat for lunar and planetary observing, but some views are fuzzy

Best motorized telescope

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

Specifications

Optical design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
Mount type: Computerized alt-azimuth fork arm
Aperture: 8-inches / 203mm
Focal length: 2032mm
Highest useful magnification: 480x
Lowest useful magnification: 29x
Supplied eyepieces: 25mm
Weight: 32 lbs (14.48kg)

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
Buy it if

✅ You're looking long term: There's no question that this telescope is pricey, but it's one that will last you for decades — it's not called 'The World's Most Beloved Telescope' for nothing.

✅ You want to use it for astrophotography: Thanks to the smooth and accurate tracking, this scope is a great option for taking stunning astro images of deep sky objects. 

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: Although this is definitely worth the money, and we'd recommend it if you can stretch to it, it is a pricey piece of kit. If you're on a budget or you're new to the craft, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives that will be more than good enough.

The bottom line

🔎 Celestron NexStar 8SE: An outstanding telescope with incredible optics that would suit a beginner, intermediate or advanced astronomer. It's great for astrophotography and gives beautifully bright and detailed views. Our only fault with it is that it can price out beginners. ★★★★1/2

The Celestron NexStar 8SE is a great telescope for beginners and experienced astronomers alike. It is easy to use yet powerful enough to allow for deep space exploration and astrophotography.

The Celestron NexStar 8SE is a telescope with an exceptional reputation, earning the esteemed title of 'The World's most beloved telescope,' and it's the number one bestseller on B&H Photo. This telescope features StarBright XLT optical coating and provides unparalleled clarity and contrast for viewing planets and the moon. Jupiter's moons, Saturn's rings and other deep-sky objects are breathtakingly vivid through the Celestron NexStar 8SE's 203.2 mm aperture lens. The image is free of chromatic aberration and color fringing, providing stunning night sky views.

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 handheld controller to point it at any object in its massive database. This includes planets, galaxies, double stars, star clusters and nebulas. The 'sky tour' is an excellent option for beginners and indecisive people, as it automatically points the telescope at 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 is a high-end telescope, and it comes with a substantial price tag. Nevertheless, it proves to be a worthwhile investment for those serious about skywatching or astrophotography. While it might be beyond the budget of casual astronomy enthusiasts, it is an excellent choice for those planning to immerse themselves in these activities for the long run.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignCan be transported as a fully-assembled setup
PerformanceOutstanding optics, slightly tricky to align if you're not used to it
FunctionalityEasy to assemble and disassemble

Best GoTo for smaller budgets

Product photo of the Sky Watcher Skymax 127

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

Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 SynScan AZ GoTo

Best GoTo for smaller budgets: The perfect mix of great tech and brilliant optics

Specifications

Optical design: Maksutov-Cassegrain
Mount type: Motorized alt-azimuth
Aperture: 5-inches /127mm
Focal length: 1500mm
Highest useful magnification: 150x
Lowest useful magnification: 60x
Supplied eyepieces: 10mm, 25mm and Barlow lens
Weight: 39.7 lbs (18kg)

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
Buy it if

✅ You don't have a big budget: If you want a telescope with GoTo but don't have the budget to spend on a really sophisticated instrument, this scope is a great option.

✅ You want simplicity: We found this scope to be incredibly user friendly and fairly simple to set up, and it offers information on over 40,000 astronomical subjects.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need a sturdy tripod: We noted that the stainless steel tripod was a little unstable in windy conditions, so you'll need to weigh it down.

The bottom line

🔎 Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 SynScan AZ GoTo A fantastic user friendly scope ideal for anyone who wants a GoTo system but doesn't have a large budget to spend on a telescope. The tripod can be a little unsteady, but overall we think it's a great product. ★★★★1/2

As an introduction to the world of GoTo skywatching, the Sky-Watcher Skymax 127 SynScan AZ 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. It comes with a good quality star diagonal, a 2x Barlow with a camera adaptor, a 6x30 finderscope, a stainless steel tripod and an accessory tray.

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

Aligning the Skymax 127 is a simple process, but beginners may need some practice to get it just right. We recommend becoming familiar with the telescope before dark by reading 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.

If we're being picky, we did notice that the stainless steel tripod can be a bit unstable. To help prevent your telescope from tipping over, we suggest supporting/weighing down the setup while slewing in windy conditions.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignTripod can be a little shaky
PerformanceAlignment may take practice for beginners
FunctionalityHand controller offers information on over 40,000 astronomical objects

Best for all skill levels

Celestron NexStar 6SE stock image on a white background

The Celestron NexStar 6SE has great technology and brilliant optics to match. (Image credit: Adorama)
A high quality telescope with excellent optics, but heavy users will need an external power source

Specifications

Optical design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
Mount type: Computerized alt-azimuth single fork arm
Aperture: 5.91-inches /150mm
Focal length: 1500mm
Highest useful magnification: 354x
Lowest useful magnification: 21x
Supplied eyepieces: 25mm
Weight: 30 lbs (9.5kg)

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
Buy it if

✅ You want easy, hassle-free calibration: The 6SE has convenient alignment technology, making it a quick and painless process.

✅ The whole family can use it: The 6SE can be used by anyone with any skill level, from beginners to more advanced users, meaning the whole family will be able to enjoy it no matter their experience.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want something portable: Due to its technology and components, it is a little on the heavy side. While it's not unreasonable, there are definitely lighter GoTos out there.

❌ Can be a tad noisy: We found the GoTo facility to be a bit noisy, so if you're going to be using it in your backyard, your neighbors may not be so happy!

The bottom line

🔎 Celestron NexStar 6SE Wit the Celestron NexStar 6SE's flawless optical coating, its ease of use and high-quality build, you have an instrument that is built to provide stunning views of the night sky for many years to come. ★★★★1/2

Celestron's range of NexStar telescopes is renowned 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 that excels in light-gathering capabilities and offers an extensive array of astronomical objects to explore, this is a great option. With its impressive 5.91-inch (150 mm) aperture, it outperforms the Meade StarNavigator NG 114, while the NexStar+ hand controller boasts an expansive database featuring over 40,000 objects. However, to fully maximize the telescope's potential, additional eyepieces will need to be purchased, and while the database includes a wide range of objects, not all of them can be observed in intricate detail.

The NextStar 6SE is a great telescope for exploring the night sky. It has a built-in tour mode that guides you to different celestial objects across the sky or within specific constellations. This is perfect for beginners who don't know what to look for, or anyone who wants to observe interesting objects without any faff.

The SkyAlign technology is easy to use and quickly gets you pointed in the right direction. The motorized mount also has nine slewing speeds and different tracking rates. All of this sounds great, but there is a downside. The NexStar 6SE's battery can drain 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.

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Test results
AttributesNotes
DesignStarBright XLT optical coating for crisp views
PerformanceAccurately tracks targets
FunctionalityNoisy motorized mount and obvious vibration

Best smart telescope

Best smart telescope: This smart telescope offers simple astronomy powered by a clever smartphone app

Specifications

Optical design: Newtonian Reflector
Mount type: Motorized GoTo alt-azimuth
Aperture: 4.49-inches / 114mm
Focal length: 450mm
Highest useful magnification: 400x digital
Lowest useful magnification: 50x optical
Supplied eyepieces: N/A
Weight: 19.8 lbs (9kg)

Reasons to buy

+
Simple, beautiful layout
+
Incredibly quick to view cosmos
+
Get enhanced astro photos
+
Smartphone app is reliable

Reasons to avoid

-
Average image resolution
-
Difficult to orientate in twilight
-
Focusing a little tricky at times
Buy it if

✅ You live in an urban area: There's a Smart Light Pollution Reduction feature that removes light pollution, making it a great scope to have if you don't live near a dark sky site.

✅ You want simplicity: This is an incredibly sleek, all-in-one telescope that has no need for additional accessories and can take you to your chosen celestial objects with ease.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: Unsurprisingly, this is an expensive bit of kit, so it'll price out most beginners and anyone who doesn't have a big budget.

The bottom line

🔎 Unistellar eQuinox 2: An easy-to-use motorized smart telescope that can locate night sky objects with the press of a button, the eQuinox 2 can have you exploring the stars in minutes with no prior knowledge, although,  its in-built camera isn't quite detailed enough. ★★★★1/2

The Unistellar eQuinox 2, the newest addition to Unistellar's lineup, stands as their most advanced smart telescope to date. Building upon the success of its predecessor, the eQuinox model, this telescope features a number of improvements. In our Unistellar eQuinox 2 review we tested its ease of use, durability and compatibility with smart devices, and found the smart telescope to be eminently usable, not least because of its Smart Light Pollution Reduction feature, which aids its use in urban environments.

It has a simple design with a single button on the telescope itself and a slotting mechanism with just two screws to hold it aloft the sturdy tripod, making this telescope one of the simplest we've ever reviewed (alongside the Unistellar eVscope 2 we reviewed). Users can get the telescope out of the box and be ready to use it in just a few minutes. The telescope can be synchronized with a smart device app (available on iOS and Android) via a quick pairing process. Once the telescope is paired with the app, users can manually slew the telescope and enhance exposure settings.

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