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Best Telescopes Under $500

Updated on December 21, 2017

Are you looking to buy the best telescope for the money under $500?

Choosing the right telescope to explore the beauty of the sky is a tough decision for anyone. Astronomy is fascinating and, dare I say, classy hobby. By using a powerful telescope you can enjoy astonishing views of the night sky.

If you're newbie looking to buy the best telescope that let you enjoy your hobby without breaking the bank then this is the right place to start your search.

A few months back when I was looking to buy a telescope, I made a fatal mistake of buying a cheap one for under $100. It cost me almost $85 and lots of frustration. The objects were not clear at all as it was extremely difficult to focus. I sold it on ebay and after some research bought my new telescope that cost me $629 (including shipping). See sidebar for the Dobsonian reflecting telescope that I purchased.

The important lesson that I learned is... you get what you pay for.

So true for me.

To help you not to waste your money and avoid frustration, I've put together a collection of best astronomy telescopes under $500 along with features and reviews. If you're just starting out in this hobby, you will find these telescopes under $500 a right fit. You'll enjoy a better and clear view of the objects and will enjoy your time stargazing.

You can always sell them at good price and upgrade to a more expensive one later on if you really need it.

Read this page till end and you'll end with a best telescope under $500 to enjoy your hobby.

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Best Telescopes For Astronomy Under $500

If you want to have small and portable telescope that you can easily carry with you then you'll definitely appreciate this telescope from Celestron. This small but powerful telescope is an excellent way to start your astronomy adventure.

It allows to you see clear, vivid images of the moon, rings of Saturn and many deep sky objects. Not just the planets you can actually view the details as well. For a limited time this powerful telescope is available for $469 only. It is a steal at this price. Check out the cool features below.

Cassegrain Telescope from Celestron

Celestron - NexStar 4SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000+ Celestial Objects - 4-Inch Primary Mirror
Celestron - NexStar 4SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000+ Celestial Objects - 4-Inch Primary Mirror
Amazon Price: $499 Features: *4-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope; StarBright XLT high transmission coatings come standard. Cassegrain is a unique combination of reflector telescope and refractor telescope. *StarPointer finderscope to help with alignment and accurately locating objects *Quick-release fork arm mount, optical tube, and accessory tray for no-tool setup *SkyAlign allows you to align on any three bright celestial objects, making for a fast and easy alignment process *Nearly 40,000-bject database with 200 user-definable objects and expanded information on over 200 objects

A Short Instructional on Astronomy Telescopes

Specifically the Difference Between a Refracting Telescope and a Reflecting Telescope

A refracting telescope uses a series of lenses to focus the light rays down a single tube to your eye. Refractor telescopes were the earliest form of Astronomy telescopes and usually are long tubes with an eyepiece at one end, similar to a "spyglass". The are particularly well suited as beginning telescopes because they can usually be found at lower prices than reflecting telescopes. They also offer sharp images and allow you to see easy to recognize planets and stars.

Reflecting telescopes, on the other hand, uses a single or a series of curved mirrors to reflect light rays to a specific spot for viewing. Because mirrors are very effective at moving light rays, reflector telescopes are often made in odd shapes that make viewing easier for the telescope user. Sir Isaac Newton is credited with building the first reflecting telescope in 1668 and since that time they have become the dominant form for professional Astronomy telescopes.

Reflector telescopes are generally better for deep space Astronomy, such as viewing galaxies and other far off Astronomical phenomenon. Refractor telescopes are better for viewing the detail of closer planetary bodies because they provide a more direct brighter image.

There is one more category called Combination telescopes that use a combination of Reflecting and Refracting technologies to create a hybrid that can be more effective that either on their own.

For absolute beginners this reflector telescope is a must. It is quite easy to set up and it's easy for a beginner to find objects in the sky. It is a little cumbersome to carry as it doesn't have a carrying case. With detailed user manual and lens you can assemble it yourself and enjoy the sky.

Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
Orion 8945 SkyQuest XT8 Classic Dobsonian Telescope
Amazon Price: $399.99 Features: *203mm (8") aperture and 1200mm focal length Dobsonian reflector telescope allows you to reach deep into space for jaw-dropping images *Big-aperture Dobsonian telescope optics + point-and-view ease of use = out-of-this-world value *Included Orion 2x Shorty Barlow Lens doubles the magnification of virtually any 1.25" eyepiece *The included Beginning Stargazers Toolkit provides plentiful reference material for nighttime observing *An amazing value compared to purchasing each item separately

This reflector telescope comes with software to help you explore the deep sky objects quite easily. If you don't like to read books then this software will be a great help in understanding the sky and its objects. Especially if you're buying a telescope for kids who have flair for astronomy then this is what you are looking for. Enjoy 50% off on this great telescope and bring home a great deal.

Follow @NASAGoddard on Instagram for Great Astronomy Photography


Another great combination telescope for beginners. Comes with software with a map of the sky and supplementary lens to let you enjoy clear, sharp views of the planets in our solar system. Available with free shipping.

If you have small budget less than $300 and wondering if you could find a best telescope that let you enjoy sharp and clear objects in sky then this is the right one for you. With so many great features like other telescopes and a smart design it is most recommended refracting telescope for kids and teenagers who have love for astronomy. It is a perfect one to give as a gift to special ones in your life who love to explore deep sky.

Good Astronomy Books

NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe - Get the most out of your new telescope with this fascinating book about Astronomy

NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe
NightWatch has been acclaimed as the best general interest introduction to astronomy. The fourth edition has improvements over the 3rd edition in every chapter, including: The famous charts, ideal for stargazers using a small telescope or binoculars. A complete update of the equipment section, including computerized telescopes. An enlarged photography section, including how-to instructions for using the new generation of digital cameras for astronomical photography, both with and without a telescope The tables of future solar and lunar eclipses, planetary conjunctions and planet locations, updated through 2018. This edition includes for the first time star charts for use in the southern hemisphere. There are also dozens of new photographs throughout the book that show the latest thrilling discoveries made by current space observatories and probes.

Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope - and How to Find Them - Another good Astronomy book for amateur telescope hobbyist

Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope – and How to Find Them
Turn Left at Orion: Hundreds of Night Sky Objects to See in a Home Telescope – and How to Find Them
If you are even contemplating the hobby, buy this book. Spiral binding gives huge, easy-to-reference diagrams and descriptions for those who have never looked down a scope. I own a dobsonian 8" and can confirm the sketches as dead-on for what you can expect to see. Painfully easy to use. I like the addition of southern objects, as I plan to eventually vacation in S.A. with the telescope. There isn't a book out there that can approach this in its step-by-step starhopping instructions.

Used Telescopes Under $500

Tips On Buying A Used Telescope Under $500

Used Telescopes can offer a Unique opportunity to get a top notch telescope inexpensively

You can save money by buying used telescope online. However there are a few things that you should keep in mind so you aren't disappointed.

First of all look at the reputation of the seller themselves. Do they have positive ratings or not? What are people are saying about him?

Another thing is to make sure there are photos provided of the telescope from all angles. Any signs of rust or cracks and you should move on. Authentic sellers always take good pics of their products so the buyer can see if there is any fault or not.

Also look for the user manual. Many people make mistake of not paying attention to the user manual when buying used items and face problems later.

Ask how long the telescope was in use and why they're selling it. When I was selling mine, I clearly stated that it was a few weeks old and was selling because I wanted to buy a better one for viewing deep sky objects.

Last but not the least, is the product priced fairly. Check out the original price of the product online at Amazon and use common sense to see if the seller is asking a fair price or not. You may ask on astronomy forums as well.

Your turn to sound off on this Best Telescopes lens - Did you learn anything new? Are you a beginning telescope user or advanced?

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    • Danext profile image

      Dan Lema 

      6 years ago from Tanzania

      This is a great hub, very informative...keep up the good work!!

    • profile image

      AidanJames LM 

      8 years ago

      Love all these great telescope lenses on Squidoo including this one!

    • happy-birthday profile image

      Birthday Wishes 

      8 years ago from Here

      Yes, thanks a lot for sharing those telescopes under 500$! Wonderful review lens!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I have a friend who owns a 12 inch Meade - he absolutely loves it!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Beautiful lens.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I enjoy looking at the night sky. I just don't like being up all night, especially when it's cold.

      Once as a kid my family went to Mt. Palomar to see the 200" telescope.

    • LaughingLady LM profile image

      Helen Phillips Cockrell 

      8 years ago from Virginia

      What a beautiful lens! Blessed!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      WHOAA! you just made my day! Last time I looked at telescopes like this they were closer to $2,000 - 3,000. Lot more motivated to buy one at $500! Thank you!


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