Best Telescopes for Viewing Planets and Galaxies

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Stargazing is a wonderful hobby. You don’t need an advanced degree in astronomy to enjoy all the wonders the universe reveals to us each night. Sure, we can stare into the heavens with our own two eyes, but wouldn’t you rather have a closer view?

There is a better way to view the stars, planets, and even far-away galaxies. This article will look at a wide range of telescopes, specifically the best ones for viewing planets and galaxies. No matter your budget or astronomy knowledge, there’s a telescope out there that will exponentially enhance your stargazing experience.

Before we get into which telescopes you might be interested in purchasing, let’s first explain what makes a telescope suitable for viewing planets and galaxies.

What Makes a Telescope Good for Viewing Planets and Galaxies Explained

You’ve decided to purchase a telescope to better view the planets and galaxies. But do you know what qualities a telescope should have that make viewing these celestial bodies better? Here we’ll give you a quick education.

The planets in our solar system reflect light from the sun and therefore are visible to the naked eye. So you won’t need a telescope with the best light-gathering power to view the planets in our solar system. And since the light the planets reflect only fills a minuscule portion of the night sky, what’s more important, is a telescope’s field of view.

A telescope with a higher focal ratio is best for viewing planets. These are generally referred to as “slow telescopes.” Usually, scopes with a focal ratio of f/10 or higher are better suited for planetary viewing.

Viewing observable galaxies is a bit more difficult than focusing your telescope on Mars, which reflects more light than a distant galaxy.

To view galaxies, you’ll need powerful optics. Larger aperture telescopes with an aperture of 8 inches or greater are better suited for this task. Increasing the power of your scope’s eyepiece can also be valuable when viewing objects incredibly far away, such as galaxies. Some telescopes come with two or more additional eyepieces, which can be used for this purpose.

A good rule of thumb is that if your main interest is viewing planets in our solar system, look for a telescope with a higher focal ratio. Likewise, you’ll want a scope with large apertures to view deep space galaxies.

Aperture, Magnification, Focal Length, and Eyepieces

You might ask about the things you should be looking at when purchasing a telescope for the best views of the planets and galaxies. Aperture, magnification, focal length, and the type of eyepieces the scope comes with are all essential things to consider.


Aperture refers to the diameter of a telescope’s main optical component, either a lens or a mirror. The aperture size determines the scope’s light-gathering ability. Since deep-space objects can be pretty dark, a large aperture lens or mirror will significantly increase the scope’s ability to gather light. Your scope will need to gather as much light as possible to see far-off galaxies that don’t emit much light.

A scope’s aperture also determines how sharp an image appears. For viewing the planets in our solar system, a large aperture would show you much more detail than a telescope with a smaller one. The issue with larger apertures is mainly their weight and cost. Scopes with bigger apertures tend to be heavy and more costly.


The magnification capabilities of a telescope will depend on two factors. The first is the scope’s aperture size, and the other is the current atmospheric conditions. In addition, different eyepieces can also vary the magnification of a telescope.

However, using the highest magnification for your telescope might not provide you with the best images. Increasing magnification could spread out an object’s emitted light too much, resulting in a burry or unfocused view.

Typically, the best magnification level for a telescope is 50 times the aperture’s size in inches or twice its size in millimeters. Any magnification above that won’t help very much.

Focal Length and Eyepieces

The focal length is the distance between the main mirror or lens to the location where the image is formed. It’s not, however, the length of the scope’s tube.

A telescope’s focal length determines its focal ratio. The focal ratio is given as an “f” number.

For example, you may see a telescope advertised as having a focal ratio of f/5. Simply stated, the focal ratio is the speed of a telescope, much like f/stops on an SLR camera. The lower the f/number, the lower the telescope’s magnification will be. But with a lower number, you’ll have a wider field of view. The higher the number, the brighter the displayed image will be.

Eyepieces also have their own focal lengths. Therefore, using different eyepieces with your scope will change your magnification.

Types of Telescopes for Viewing Planets and Galaxies

Our list of the best telescopes for viewing planets and galaxies has a few different styles. Each is a little different in design. Below you’ll find a quick explanation of each.

Refracting Telescopes

A refracting telescope uses a lens to focus light into an image. The larger the scope’s lens, the longer its tube must be to focus the image properly. Issues with refracting telescopes tend to be chromatic aberrations. This happens when the wavelengths of light get split, and the colors arrive in the eyepiece at slightly different angles.

In addition, larger lenses tend to be costly and heavy.

Reflecting Telescopes

Reflecting telescopes use mirrors that cause light to reflect at different angles. With this technique, the light doesn’t need to travel as far as in a refracting telescope. Using mirrors instead of a glass lens, reflecting telescopes can have larger apertures than refracting, making them lighter and more cost-effective.

Catadioptric Telescopes

Catadioptric telescopes combine the best of both worlds and incorporate lenses and mirrors to focus light. The scopes are referred to as either Cassegrain or Maksutov types. They are much lighter and more easily transported due to their design.

They will, however, require collimation. Collimation is aligning all of the telescope’s components to ensure the best focusing of light.

Best Telescopes for Viewing Planets and Galaxies

We’ll cover a wide range of popular telescopes on the market, focusing on those best for viewing planets and galaxies. With so many different makes and models, this guide will give you a good starting point in your search for a better look into the great unknown.

Before purchasing, you’ll need to consider your budget and decide what features you’d like in a telescope. There are many variables to consider, including size, weight, and intended use. Each scope’s capabilities may lean more toward planetary viewing or for deep-space objects, but all of them can be used for both.

We’ve included several different makes and models, ranging from very affordable to those that require you to dig much deeper into your wallet. Curious amateurs and hobbyists can stay in the lower-priced categories. At the same time, those who are passionate about the hobby will find that the more expensive scopes might serve their purpose better.

Our selection of telescopes ranges from bare-bones straight out-of-the-box models without special features to those with add-on attachments, remote controls, and more.

Comparison Chart

Unistellar eVscope eQuinox – Smart Digital Reflector Telescope – Computerized, Go to Portable Astronomy for Beginners & Advanced Users, Adults or Kids – Comes with Tripod, Alt-Az Mount and Control App
41G3P0qNcWL. SL500
Celestron – NexStar 5SE Telescope – Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users – Fully-Automated GoTo Mount – SkyAlign Technology – 40,000+ Celestial Objects – 5-Inch Primary Mirror
41diBtDooZL. SL500
Orion SpaceProbe 130ST EQ Reflector Telescope Kit
Gskyer Telescope, Telescopes for Adults, 600x90mm AZ Astronomical Refractor Telescope,Telescope for Kids,Telescopes for Adults Astronomy, German Technology Scope
Zhumell – 50mm Portable Refractor Telescope – Coated Glass Optics – Ideal Telescope for Beginners – Digiscoping Smartphone Adapter
Orion 10022 StarMax 90mm TableTop Maksutov-Cassegrain Telescope
4110bK0yUrL. SL500
Telescope 80mm Aperture 600mm – Astronomical Portable Refracting Telescope Fully Multi-coated High Transmission Coatings AZ Mount with Tripod Phone Adapter, Wireless Control, Carrying Bag. Easy Set Up

Unistellar eVscope eQuinox

The Unistellar eVscope eQuinox telescope is on the higher-priced end of the market, but it offers a lot of value. This isn’t your typical telescope with a traditional eyepiece that you’d use to view deep-space objects. Instead, the Unistellar eVscope eQuinox uses an app that connects the telescope to your smartphone or tablet, which makes viewing much easier.

The app has a catalog containing over 5,000 viewable objects, including galaxies and stars, so you can quickly go from novice to expert. The app is available for iOS and Android devices.

One of its strongest features is the software’s ability to filter out light, even the light from bright inner cities. Filtering out unwanted light pollution makes viewing planets and celestial bodies much easier. It’s also a great benefit for viewing distant galaxies which don’t have a lot of light.

Other features include a built-in battery that lasts up to 12 hours. Up to 10 devices can connect simultaneously to the scope, making group viewing relatively easy. It’s a hundred times more powerful than a regular telescope. Its autonomous detection field allows its software to recognize objects in its field of view by comparing them to the data in its extensive database. It includes an easily mounted tripod with extendable legs and an integrated level.

The Unistellar eVscope Equinox has a focal length of 450mm, optical magnification of up to 50x, and digital magnification of up to 400x. Its mirror diameter is 4.5 inches, and the scope weighs just under 20 pounds.


  • Can connect up to 10 devices for group viewing
  • Multiple viewing options
  • Great scope for city use with its light pollution filters
  • Autonomous detection makes finding deep space objects and planets easy


  • Very expensive
  • It needs batteries or a power source to work
  • A bit heavy to take hiking

Celestron NexStar 5SE

41G3P0qNcWL. SL500

The Celestron NexStar 5SE computerized telescope is an excellent choice for viewing planets, galaxies, and everything else that’s viewable in outer space. This is a moderately-priced telescope for serious amateurs and professionals alike. With its 5-inch aperture primary mirror, it has powerful light-gathering abilities perfect for viewing the rings of Saturn or our own moon’s craters. If used in a location away from the city’s bright lights, you can also view deep-space objects like some of the closer galaxies.

A nice feature is that the NexStar 5SE comes with a computerized hand controller. It’s similar to your TV’s remote, but this controller will guide you through all the best objects to view from your location. This feature can significantly enhance opportunities to see all available to you with little or no knowledge of astronomy.

The computerized program will move your telescope into the perfect viewing position, saving you the time and trouble of locating planets and galaxies. All you’ll need to do is align and calibrate the telescope by entering your continent, country, state, the closest city, and the current time and the program will do the rest.

The NexStar 5SE has an aperture of 125mm, a focal length of 120mm, and a focal ratio of f/10. Its eyepiece has a magnification of 50x and a focal length of 25mm, and its highest magnification is 295x. It comes complete with a mounting arm and tripod.

Its database contains 38,181 viewable objects. However, it’s a bit heavy at just over 27 pounds, so it’s not easily transported when hiking or traveling. As a result, this telescope is on the higher end of the price scale; however, considering its ease of use and many time-saving features, it’s money well spent.


  • An excellent choice for a serious beginner
  • The high focal ratio for viewing planets
  • A computerized hand controller to find objects easily


  • Heavy and not easily transported
  • Requires batteries or power source to operate
  • A bit on the pricey side

Orion SpaceProbe 130ST EQ Refractor Telescope

41diBtDooZL. SL500

For those who are a bit more budget-conscious, the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST EQ Refractor telescope is a good choice. While not having all of the features that higher-priced telescopes offer, this one still packs enough punch without hitting your wallet too hard. It’s a good option for beginner-level stargazing enthusiasts, especially those more interested in viewing our solar system’s planets and not deep-space objects. However, it can still view a few of the closest galaxies.

The SpaceProbe 130ST EQ’s reflector optical tube is 24 inches long, making it easier to transport when hiking or camping. However, it’s a bit heavy at just about 24 pounds. Due to its short focal length design, it uses a parabolic mirror to assist incoming light in ensuring crisp detailed images. Its optical diameter is 130mm and has a focal length of 650mm. It has a maximum magnification of 260x and a focal ratio of f/5.

The kit contains the telescope, two eyepieces (10mm, 25mm), a tripod, and an accessory mounting head. Also included is Starry Night astronomy software and an Orion Moon Map. Both are great tools to assist you with where to look in the night sky and what you might see while doing so.


  • Easy to use
  • A basic scope for serious beginners
  • Low-priced
  • Tripod included


  • Heavy, not easy to transport
  • Not for serious stargazers
  • Low-quality aluminum tripod

GSkyer 600×90 AZ

The GSkyer 600×90 AZ telescope is a user-friendly, powerful telescope ideal for a novice stargazer. Its compact 24-inch length makes it easy to transport, which is especially important if you live in an area with a lot of light pollution. This entry-level telescope covers what a beginner would need for a relatively low price.

At just under 18 pounds, it could be considered transportable if taken in a car to your favorite nighttime sky-watching location, but it may be a bit cumbersome to take hiking.

This refractor-type telescope is traditional in design. It has a focal ratio of f/6.7 and a 90mm aperture. The maximum magnification is 360x, and the kit includes three eyepieces (5mm, 10mm, and 25mm). The short focal length gives the viewer a wider field of view, making it ideal for viewing deep space objects. But it’s not limited to far-away galaxies and can also be used to view planets and other objects in our solar system.

All in all, the GSkyer 600×90 AZ telescope is a solid choice as your first telescope. The tripod is included and is easy to attach. It’s one of the moderately-priced models and is more of a no-frills telescope, but it has a very short learning curve.


  • Moderately priced
  • Suitable for beginners of all levels
  • Easy to use
  • Includes eyepieces of varying sizes


  • Bare-bones, no-frills scope
  • A bit heavy to carry on a hike

Zhumell 50mm Portable Refractor Telescope

If you’re looking for a lightweight, portable telescope, the Zhumell 50mm is an excellent choice. At just over 2 pounds, you won’t be burdened while hiking to your favorite sky-watching location far outside of the city. Included with your purchase is a small nylon carrying bag that neatly fits all components, including the collapsible tripod. This could be an option if you want a small but powerful telescope that’s easy to transport.

The Zhumell 50mm requires no tools for setup. Simply attach the telescope to the tripod, and you’re ready to go. It has a focal ratio of f/7.2, making it ideal for celestial viewing, and comes with two eyepieces, 8mm and 20mm.

Although not as powerful as other telescopes on the market, its maximum magnification of 120x is an excellent starter telescope. A nice feature is the optional smartphone adapter which can be connected to the eyepiece. You can view objects through your phone and even take photos.

If you’re on a budget but still want to enjoy some amateur astronomy, the Zhumell 50mm may work for you. It’s incredibly lightweight, easy to transport, and simple to use. However, be aware that this is a no-frills scope and not meant to be used by those with more than the most basic knowledge of astronomy.


  • Includes a smartphone adapter
  • Low priced
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight


  • A no-frills telescope
  • No special features

Sky-Watcher Esprit 80mm Triplet APO

The Sky-Watcher Esprit 80mm triplet APO telescope is a good choice for viewing planets and galaxies. However, it does come with a high price tag and is better suited for those with a serious dedication to scanning the night skies. On the other hand, this refractor-type telescope weighs in at just under 9 pounds, so it’s possible to bring it to your favorite dark-sky location while camping or hiking.

A nice feature is that everything you’ll view will be right-reading. Many telescopes display images upside down, but with the Sky-Watcher Esprit, you’ll see everything in the right orientation. It has a fixed dew shield, so your images won’t be blurred or skewed by nighttime dew or frost. Using a rack-and-pinion focuser, you’ll have precise control of its focusing feature, providing you with crisp and clear images.

This telescope has a focal length of 400mm with a focal ratio of f/5. Its highest magnification is 120x. The Sky-Watcher Esprit has a doublet field flattener which minimizes distortion. With its precise focus and field flattener, you’ll see images much clearer than lower-priced telescopes. However, this professional scope does not come with a tripod.


  • High-end optics
  • Fixed dew shield
  • Lightweight and easy to transport


  • Expensive
  • Tripod not included

Explore Scientific FirstLight 90mm Doublet Refractor Telescope

This low-priced scope is an excellent choice for beginners. The FirstLight 90mm has a large 90mm aperture that brings in an enormous amount of light, making it perfect for viewing galaxies. It is also great for stunning looks at our own planets.

This versatile scope is excellent for the novice star gazer. Chromatic aberrations, a problem with a scope’s lens properly focusing all the wavelengths of color, are corrected using a doublet design for crisp and clear images.

The FirstLight 90mm has a focal length of 500mm and a focal ratio of f/5.5. It comes with a tripod and a smartphone adaptor for taking photos of your dark sky finds. The maximum magnification on this is 125x. Although suited for the beginner, this affordable telescope can be used by anyone. It’s a viable option for those interested in astronomy and don’t require any extra features.

The downside to this scope is that it lacks any special features. Everything you’ll need to view the night sky is included in the box, but please note that this telescope is more geared towards beginners.


  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to use
  • Includes a smartphone adapter
  • Great for general use


No frills telescope

iOptron 150mm Maksutov Cassegrain OTA

This telescope is a good choice for serious amateurs who don’t mind spending a little more for a high-quality viewing experience. It uses a Cassegrain reflector, a combination of a primary concave mirror with a secondary convex mirror. The primary glass mirror is a BK-7, and the secondary is a Rumak type. This type of telescope, also known as a “Mak,” is known for its excellent optical quality.

The iOptron 150mm Maksutov has a focal length of 1800mm and a focal ratio of f/12. It has a dual-speed focuser, so you can easily fine-tune your images. Unfortunately, it is a bit heavy, weighs over 13 pounds, and doesn’t come with a tripod. However, it comes with a twist-lock aluminum dew shield to keep your images from becoming blurry or skewed due to frost or dew. This makes for hassle-free viewing during lower-temperature evenings.

With its sizeable focal ratio of f/12, this scope is an excellent choice for those wanting highly detailed views of the planets. Its highest magnification ratio is 300x. Using a supplied adaptor, you can take photos by attaching your smartphone to the scope.


  • Great for beginners and experts
  • High-quality optics
  • Fixed dew shield


  • Very expensive
  • It does not come with a tripod

Meade 16” LX600 ACF f/8 Telescope With StarLock

If you are looking for something way beyond a beginner’s level of stargazing, this Meade 16” LX600 is a scope to consider. Don’t be shocked by its high sticker price. This one is a tool more suited for professionals and not for casual enthusiasts. Everything about this scope is of professional-grade quality, from its 3-inch diameter chromed steel tripod legs to its advanced Coma-Free optical system.

The Meade 16” LX600 comes with StarLock technology. This technology locks in on your target celestial object with extreme pinpoint accuracy. Once locked in, this scope will keep the object perfectly centered, even tracking the object during long exposures. This scope is perfect for viewing low-light galaxies with a 16-inch aperture and a focal ratio of f/8.

Included with your purchase are a sturdy, professional-grade tripod and heavy-duty fork mount, a 26mm Series 4 Super Plossl eyepiece, and an AutoStar II controller. But, again, it cannot be understated that this is a tool for the pros. All of the bells and whistles come with a very hefty price tag.


  • High-quality telescope geared towards professionals
  • It comes with StarLock technology
  • High-end optics


  • Very expensive
  • Not for beginners

Takahashi FC-100DC Fluorite Refractor

The Takahashi FC-100DC is a powerful refractor-type telescope. If you’re a serious sky-watcher and have a thirst for astronomy, this is a telescope you might want to consider. The price is a bit on the high end but nowhere near what you could spend on a professional-grade scope.

With its large 100mm aperture and high focal ratio of f/7.4, it’s a good choice for viewing planets and distant galaxies. It has a light-gathering ability of up to 204x. The optical tube has a fixed dew shield to help control frost and dew from accumulating on the lenses ensuring distortion-free viewing.

In addition, its 2.2-inch rack and pinion focusing allow for precise adjustments. This scope has a focal length of 740mm; however, its entire length is 815mm. The scope weighs around 6 pounds, so it could be used for hiking or camping.

Although this mighty telescope is excellent for all nighttime viewing, you’ll also need to purchase attachments separately to make the most of it. A tripod, finder scope, and mounting head are not included.


  • High-quality telescope for the serious novice
  • High-end optics
  • Lightweight and easy to transport


  • Expensive
  • Tripod, finder scope, and mounting head not included

TPO 6” f/4 Newtonian Reflecting OTA Telescope

This moderately priced scope is a good choice for the beginning astronomer who wants more than just an essential bargain stargazing tool. Its large 6-inch aperture has a light-gathering strength of 484x, making it a great choice for viewing deep space objects.

Newtonian telescopes like this one use a mirror to reflect and focus light. As a result, they offer a wider field of view, and although they can be used to view planets, they are used primarily for viewing galaxies.

The TPO 6” F/4 Newtonian Reflecting OTA mirrors are made from B270 white water optical crown glass, making them more stable than the glass used in similarly priced reflectors. The mirrors are also coated with 91% aluminum and a layer of quartz, making the mirrors much more durable.

This scope has a focal length of 610mm and weighs 6.9 pounds. It’s relatively compact and not too heavy, so it could be taken on hiking trips to your favorite dark sky location. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a tripod or mounting head, so you’ll have to purchase those much-needed items separately.


  • High-end optics
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Light-gathering strength of 484x


  • A bit expensive
  • Not for novices
  • Tripod and mounting head not included

Celestron AstroMaster LT 70AZ

This low-priced telescope is perfect for beginners. The AstroMaster LT 70AZ is a refractor-type scope that is easy to use with minimal setup required. It’s an ideal starter kit with everything you’ll need to begin your journey to the stars and beyond. The telescope is perfect for viewing our solar system’s planets but can also be used for glimpses at galaxies and other deep space objects.

Its 70mm aperture provides an adequate amount of light to view various objects. Furthermore, it has a focal ratio of f/10, allowing for crisp planet views.

This kit has everything a beginner needs, including a sturdy tripod, mounting head, and two eyepieces (20mm and 10mm). Its light-gathering power is 100x. The focusing mechanism uses rack and pinion technology, ensuring smooth and easy focusing for crisp images. However, please note that it’s manufactured from plastic, which may be somewhat fragile.

If you aren’t looking for a professional telescope, the Celestron AstroMaster is a good choice. This scope is perfect for beginners and those who don’t want to spend much money. Its traditional design makes it easy to use and doesn’t require much effort to operate.


  • Great for newbies to stargazing
  • Low price
  • Lightweight and easy to transport
  • Easy to use


  • Bare-bones telescope
  • Some components are made of plastic

Orion 10022 StarMax 90mm TableTop Telescope

If you’re looking for a moderately-priced scope for viewing both planets and deep-space objects, this Orion 10022 is a good option. This one is slightly different than traditional telescopes that consist of a telescoping tube attached to a tripod.

The Orion 10022 StarMax is a tabletop scope that simply needs a sturdy surface to sit on. With its fast setup and nearly “out of the box” readiness, it’s a great scope for beginners and experienced users.

It has an aperture of 90mm, large enough for viewing distant celestial bodies, and the telescope’s focal ratio of f/13.9 makes it great for planetary viewing. In addition, this scope is lightweight with a compact design and tops the scales at a little over 12 pounds, so it can be transported easily. It comes with two eyepieces, 10mm and 25mm.

Although a tripod isn’t included, it can be attached to one using a threaded adaptor. Altogether, this compact scope is a powerhouse, and its moderate price fits within most budgets.


  • High-quality telescope at a very reasonable price
  • Powerful optics and a large focal ratio of f/13.9
  • Very easy to set up and transport


  • Tabletop design isn’t ideal for outdoor use
  • Tripod not included

Celestron CPC 1100 Computerized Telescope

The Celestron’s CPC 1000 is a higher-priced scope for the serious amateur star-watcher who doesn’t mind paying more for a high-quality tool. It has a substantial 11-inch aperture which lets in a lot of light, with a light gathering strength of 1589x, and its highest magnification is 558x. The CPC 1100 will enable you to see deep into space or get a clear and close-up view of the rings of Saturn.

What makes this scope stand out is its automatic functions.

The CPC 1100 uses an internal GPS receiver that will download the date and time from orbiting satellites to pinpoint its position. You won’t need to enter your exact latitude and longitude; its internal system will do it for you. Once your position is known, you can use the remote hand control and pick what you’d like to do next. Finally, you can choose what to view from its 40,000 objects database.

Although relatively quick and easy to set up and break down, the tube alone weighs in at 65 pounds. It comes with a hefty, heavy-duty steel tripod that weighs 19 pounds. This isn’t a telescope to take with you hiking, but it’s easily transported by car to your favorite dark sky location.


  • Internal GPS receiver
  • Large 11-inch aperture
  • The computerized program makes finding objects easy


  • Very heavy
  • Extremely expensive
  • Requires batteries or power source to use

Hexium 80mm Refracting Telescope

4110bK0yUrL. SL500

The Hexium 80mm Refracting telescope is a low-cost option for those just beginning to star watch. It comes with an 80mm aperture and focal ratio of f/6.7. Although considered a starter telescope, it’ll still give you excellent views of the planets and some deep-space galaxies. With a maximum magnification of 180x, this isn’t a high magnification tool. It has a focal length of 600mm.

Everything you’ll need is in the box, including an aluminum tripod. Also included are two eyepieces (10mm and 25mm), a smartphone attachment for taking photos, and a carry bag. Its lightweight design makes it easy to transport and take while hiking.

The Hexium 80mm telescope has no high-tech features and is a good choice for beginners.


  • Easy to use and set up
  • Low-cost, functional telescope
  • Includes everything you need


  • Not a high-quality scope
  • No frills and bare-bones

Apertura AD12 Dobsonian Telescope

The Apertura AD12 Dobsonian is an excellent choice for serious amateur astronomers. It is on the higher end of the price range, but its price tag isn’t astronomical. With its sizeable 12-inch aperture, it has a lot of light-gathering strength. Perfect for viewing far-away galaxies, although it’s also an excellent scope for viewing planets. Its maximum magnification is 169x.

This scope’s focal length is 1,520mm and has a focal ratio of f/5. Supplied are two eyepieces (9mm and 300mm). The Apertura AD12 has high-quality optics that are finished with an aluminum and silicon dioxide coating to ensure consistently bright views. Its optical tube is steel, so you know it’s extra durable.

It has a battery-operated cooling fan attached to the rear of the mirror to help the scope reach ambient temperature quickly. The fan helps to eliminate the problems associated with dew or frost accumulating on the optics. It requires 8 AA batteries which are not included. The Apertura AD12 also has a laser collimator to keep your images highly focused.

This Newtonian reflector-type scope doesn’t come with any computerized program to assist you in finding objects in the nighttime sky. Another downside is its weight. Fully assembled, the Apertura AD12 weighs just over 85 pounds. So if you are looking for an easy-to-transport scope suitable for hiking, this isn’t the one for you.

The Apertura AD12 scope is better suited for those with a serious interest in astronomy.


  • Easy to use and set up
  • High-quality optics
  • A large 12-inch aperture
  • Great for both viewing galaxies and planets


  • Expensive
  • Not easily transported
  • Very heavy at over 85 pounds

Most Telescopes Do Both Planets and Galaxies

Depending on your focus, you can purchase a scope more geared towards planets or one better for galaxies. Larger apertures are best for deep-space viewing, while those with higher focal ratios are more suited for planets.

However, most telescopes on the market can be used for both types of viewing. Some scopes won’t cost you an arm and a leg if that’s what you’re looking for. Otherwise, there are certainly ones that can cause sticker shock but have all the features that may make the extra cost worthwhile.

Do you have a telescope that you use to view planets and galaxies? Is it one that we discussed in this article? Let us know what your favorite scope is in the comments section below.

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