If you look at higher-end units, however, you might find something called extra-low dispersion glass. Aperture is typically measured in millimeters, though you may sometimes see it represented in inches, especially with beginner telescopes. The telescope features an ED lens (extra-low dispersion) for crystal clear image rendering, which is a cut above the standard optical lenses that you see most commercial telescopes toting. Our primary concern is about the product’s durability. Unfortunately though, if your ambitions exceed showing your kids the Milky Way from your backyard, you may need to budget for something that is pricey. Aperture: 3.5″ (90mm)Magnification: 36-91xFocal length: 910mmMount type: Adjustable tripodWeight: 14.2 lbs (6.44 kg)Features: WiFi connectivity, lightweight for transportingBest for: Intermediate, computer literate. The mount features significantly larger base castings, which improve stability. Reflectors are best at observing large deep-sky objects, such as Messier objects, nebulae, and galaxies. The Gskyer will be better suited for introducing you to the world of astronomy. If you’re buying this to set up and stargaze from a backyard, you can probably find something suitable for under $100. The Equatorial mount is sturdy and is easily adjusted for smaller children. High-end: $1,000+ – High-end telescopes are distinctly different in two ways, the size of the aperture and focal length. It was very sturdy and we had no concerns about the scope toppling over, even when our enthusiastic kids wanted to take a look at the sky. – Reflector telescopes tend to work better for deep-space objects because they have higher apertures and don’t suffer from any chromatic aberration. The higher the magnification, the more detail you will see. If you are considering getting a telescope, either for recreational or academic purposes, you’re in good company. It’s also capable of both terrestrial and celestial viewing which makes it perfect for multi-faceted pro-level observations. If you’re looking to observe deep-sky objects in crisp quality, you’ll want an aperture of around 140mm. The mount has integer gear ratios and permanently programmable Periodic Error Correction. It has a 6″ (150mm) aperture and a 1200mm focal length. Nothing is more frustrating than an object that jumps out of view and takes forever to find again. The 120mm lens gave us stunning views of the moon, planets, nebula, and star clusters. The Meade Infinity 102mm comes with 3 eyepieces that give a choice of low, medium and high powered magnification. Its high-quality optics provide precise observation of both planets and stars, at distances up to 1,500 lightyears away. It stands on a sturdy adjustable-height tripod with an equatorial mount. Note that this refractor scope does not come with a mount, so you will need to use an existing one or purchase one. Closer to home, we looked at the moon and planets in our Solar System. The GoTo mount is a stand that deserves its own category. Lots of factors go into buying a refractor telescope. It will be easy to move from place to place, while still being strong enough to clearly render images. Orion’s 9836 120mm f/5.0 Refractor Telescope might be the better choice if you’re just testing the astrophotography waters. A small size refractor telescope is the best starter scope for a beginner as they provide a good balance between convenience features, optical performance, and cost. We were able to focus on an object and easily keep it in view as it moved across the sky. However, upper mid-range or high-end refractors are mostly apochromatic now, meaning they account for the halo effect caused by chromatic aberration, so either will work! A telescope could magnify infinitely—but without good aperture it won’t matter. Apertures for this range typically fall between 120 and 200 mm. Binoculars are also a low-cost alternative. What you’ll need depends on what you’re looking to observe! Telescopes are a popular gift for children as well as for adults. Refractors are more compact than reflectors, making them much easier to lug around to different locations. On the downside, its red-dot finder is reportedly mediocre quality. For beginner stargazers, this is a cheap refractor telescope that offers great quality. These models typically begin to include an apochromatic feature, which negates the chromatic aberration effect that plagues cheaper versions. Orion 120mm ST Refractor Telescope. It comes with two eyepieces, finderscope, adjustable tripod, equatorial mount, and access to astronomy software, Starry Night. We were amazed at the crystal clear images of the moon, planets, far-away galaxies, star clusters, and deep sky objects. Naturally, you don’t want that. Another useful calculation for those who are not too technical is to use the aperture size in inches and multiply it by 50. Most products in this range provide better eyepiece focusers, which are capable of magnifying the image between 50x to 200x of its normal quality. Aperture: 3.1″ (80mm)Magnification: 30-120xFocal length: 600mmMount type: Not includedWeight: 22 lbs (9.97kg)Features: High-quality glass optics, 10:1 dual-speed focuserBest for: Great for beginner advancing to Intermediate. For example, you might be able to see just as much with 3 inches of aperture in the countryside as you would with 6 inches in the city. GoTo mounts are motorized and usually include a computerized keypad. If you’re buying for a child, look for products that are specially optimized for young users. A good telescope can open up the entire universe. This unit has many features in common with our number one pick, but it comes with a price tag that is a little bit more palatable. Bargain: $50-$150 – Similar to buying a musical instrument, telescopes under the price of $150 use cheap parts—the optical components in telescopes are expensive to produce correctly!