Best Portable Telescope: Our Top Picks
- Best for Beginners: Celestron – PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope at Amazon
- Best for Affordability and Performance: Gskyer Telescope AZ70400 at Amazon
- Best for Kids: TELMU Telescope- Astronomical Refracting Telescope at Amazon
- Best for kids or a Beginner Astronomer as a Christmas or Birthday Gift: OYS Telescope- Astronomy Refractor with Tripod, Phone Adapter, Backpack at Amazon
- Best for Quality According to The Price: Celestron – 80mm Travel Scope – Portable Refractor Telescope at Amazon
- Best for Kids: Meade Instruments – Infinity 50mm Aperture, Portable Refracting Astronomy Telescope at Amazon
- Best for Beginners According to Overall Quality: Celestron – 70mm Travel Scope – Portable Refractor Telescope at Amazon
- Best for Kids and Beginner Astronomers: Astronomical Telescopes + Travel Monocular Telescope Scope at Amazon
- Best for Beginner Astronomers: Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope at Amazon
- Best for Kids as a Gift: Emarth Telescope, 70mm/360mm Astronomical Refractor Telescope with Tripod & Finder Scope at Amazon
Telescopes are an amazing invention. We can observe such an object which we can’t imagine through our naked eye. Space has been at the center of human interest since ancient times. The invention of the telescope opened up a whole new world for inquisitive-minded people. In the beginning, telescopes were too large for bearing easily. But over time it has become compact and portable.
Why Do You Need a Portable Telescope?
Astronomers have to travel to different places to observe space silently and beautifully. Observing the sky quietly you must need to leave light pollution and you need to make sure that that place is a dark sky location. This type of journey is some kind of adventure.
You are an astronomer and you are planning to make your astronomy holiday successful? You will need a portable and lightweight telescope that you can unpack and set up in a minute. When you find a suitable place for you then you can easily go there with your telescope and just unpack the box and set up the telescope and enjoy your astronomy holiday.
A portable and compact telescope is not only suitable for your astronomy holiday but also when you decide to travel, you can easily pack the telescope. That’s why your simple travelling may be more interesting and enjoyable.
If you love traveling, you will want a telescope that will be compact and can provide you a clear view of the sky.
Types of Portable Telescope
The optics of refractor telescopes are designed with lenses. The cost of this type of telescope is not so much. But they become more expensive as their aperture increases. There are two different types of refractor telescope. E.g. apochromates, achromats. Apochromates give better quality though these are more expensive.
Large refractor telescopes were very popular for research purposes in the half of the 19th century. But for a time it lost popularity. Meanwhile, reflecting telescopes became popular. In reflecting telescopes single or curved mirrors are used instead of lenses. Maximum powerful telescopes are reflector telescopes.
A Dobsonian telescope is one kind of refractor telescope. It is also called the Newtonian telescope. This telescope was designed with an altazimuth mount. Its inventor was John Dobson. It was the first portable, low-cost, and easy to manufacture telescope.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Telescope
The main purpose
When we decide to buy a telescope, we think about what things we need to consider when choosing the best telescope. At first we have to think according to our expectations. Basically no telescopes are perfect. We have to find a suitable combination for us. That’s why we need to know about the features of telescopes.
Live Viewing and Recording
From ancient times the sky has been the center of human interest. When people have been seeing the sky especially at night, they have been trying to capture what they saw. Every medium has been used from smooth backrests of rocks to drawing books. In the late 1800s the invention of film and cameras opened a new aspect. From that time photography took place as the king of all media for a century.
Nowadays the video cameras for capturing the planets, the moon, the sun are available in millions of today’s households. Photographs of static drawing can’t rival the reality and emotional effects of a dynamic video recording.
Richard Berry, one of the pioneers of electronic imaging for amateur astronomers, summed it up: “Seeing a video recording isn’t experiencing the real thing, but it’s the next best thing. Although it is impossible to reproduce the effect of a live video in the pages of a magazine, it is utterly wonderful to see the Moon, the planets, or the Sun on your television looking as good as they ever appear in a high-power eyepiece.”
You can capture 1800 images by recording 1 minute. To capture Jupiter’s colorful cloud belts, it needs an exposure of 2 or 3 seconds on a relatively slow and 4 to 8-seconds needs for a while more distance, fine-grained film and dimmer Saturn. But you will get fractions of second to capture the fleeting moment of Earth’s turbulent atmosphere. For this reason, professional astronomers try to invest in installing adaptive optic systems for their telescope.
Astronomical imaging is known as Astrophotography. It is a kind of photography of areas of the night sky, celestial events and astronomical objects like the sun, the moon, planets. The moon was the first astronomical photograph. It was taken in 1840. But for recording the sun, the moon clearly, the star clusters, planets, dim stars, nebulae and galaxies, we had to wait a long period of time for film and camera’s improvement.
Basically astrophotography has two styles. One is long exposure shots and the other is short exposure shots. Long exposure shots are used for showing stars streaking across the sky in a dizzying array. But short exposure shots are more traditional. They are used for glamour photos of the milky way.
To capture one from between them, you need high quality cameras and features. You need a camera like a DSLR. It doesn’t mean, you have to spend plenty of money. An entry level’s camera is enough.
Beginners (most for children)
If you plan to give a telescope to your children or your siblings. You can buy some entry level telescopes. You won’t need to spend plenty of money. You will get within your budget range, an amazing entry level telescope.
You are an amateur astronomer. You need not to worry. There are various types of telescope in the market. We hope they will be suitable for you.
For experienced level astronomers, you have to keep mind various kinds of telescope features. E.g. aperture, eyepieces, mounts, high quality optics, battery backup etc.
Aperture is the most important feature of a telescope. Actually it is the light collecting region of telescopes. The diameter of a refracting or reflecting telescope is aperture. For observing the faint object of the sky, increasing aperture is the easiest way. If you have a 3.1-inch aperture, you have to sit in a dark place to observe the space but if you have a 6 or 8-inch telescope, you can see the same galaxy from a typical suburban backyard.
Magnification of a telescope is the combination of two different optical systems. Magnification is the value of dividation of the focal length of the telescope by the focal length of the eyepiece.
Eyepieces are another important tool of telescopes. Because it is related to magnification. Basically an eyepiece works by the light which is captured by your telescope and magnifying the image which you can see.
Another important limb of telescopes is mount. It works to support the scope.
Types of telescope’s mounts
- Altaziuth: This mount is the simplest mount with two motions. It is also known as alt-az.
- Equatorial Mount: It is better than non-computerized mount for astronomical observing over a long time and astrophotography. For earth’s diurnal motion, when we are going to observe static stars are seen moving across the sky. If you observe the static stars, you will see that they will float quickly without sight on both axes. But equatorial mount has eliminated this problem.
- Motorized Mount: The equatorial axis of the mount is often equipped with a motorized “clock drive”. With the apparent diurnal motion of the sky, this clock drive helps to rotate that axis one revolution in exact sync in every 23 hours and 56 minutes.
Actually this is the adapter of the smartphone for the telescope. You also find the adapter for the camera in the market.
Additional features and carrying cases of telescopes
High quality optics, good quality mount, eyepieces beside these, telescopes have another important feature. That is finder. It works to help you to find out your object. And you also need a suitable carrying case for your telescope.
Which Type of Telescope Will Be Most Outdoor Resistant?
For outdoor travelling, refractors are more suitable than reflectors. Because they are rugged. Refractor telescopes are more resistant to obfuscation than the reflector telescopes.
How Versatile is a Travel Telescope?
When we travel to our beloved place, we usually want to observe the day and night view. If you have interest in both astronomy or the natural heavenly beauty of the day. We think, refractor telescope will be a good choice for you.
On the other hand, your interest is for celestial viewing. A reflector may be a better choice. Because it will provide you with a large aperture which will gather more light at night.
If you want to do photography. You can adapt a DSLR camera to a refractor telescope and that telescope, you can use as a telephoto lens.
Top 10 Best Portable Telescopes Review
1. Celestron – PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope
This is an amazing Newtonian reflector telescope for beginners. If you are a new telescope user, this power seeker series will give a totally new experience. Because it will provide you with a perfect combination of quality, value, features, and power.
Mount’s Quality: This telescope’s mount is a manual German equatorial mount. It will provide you with a slow-motion altitude rod for smooth and accurate pointing. Just adjust your desire position and enjoy your observation.
Portability: It is lightweight, compact, and portable for adults and kids also.Variable Magnification and optics
Quality: The Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ telescope has two eyepieces (4mm and 20mm) plus a 3x Barlow lens to triple the power of each. The developer also gives you access to download the starry night software package.
- Brand: Celestron
- Model Name: Celestron PowerSeeker
- Object Lens Diameter: 127 mm (5-inch)
- Telescope Mount: Equatorial Mount
- Finder Scope: Finderscope
- Item Weight: 21.4 Pounds
2. Gskyer Telescope AZ70400
You are looking for a telescope which is well balanced between affordable and performance? We think this telescope will give the same as your expectations. It is an affordable and high quality telescope and price is only 99.99$
Optics Quality: Gskyer Telescope AZ70400 will introduce you with the combination of 70mm aperture, 400 mm focal length which will give precise and high resolution images. We know, finder scope is another important tool for a telescope. This telescope has 5×24 with cross hair lines finder scope.
Portability: Gskyer is a compact and portable telescope for travelling. For packing it takes around 15-30 minutes. and it is suitable for both adults and kids for their observing fun.
It is not more complicated for beginners. In other words, it is comfortable.
- Type: Refractor
- Objective Lens: 70mm(2.75″)
- Focal Length: 400mm(f/5.7)
- Mount: Altazimuth
- Eyepiece: Low: 25mm(16X), High:10mm(40X)
- Barlow lens: 3X
- Max Magnification: 120X
- Finderscope: 5×24 with cross-hair lines
- Zenith Mirrors: 48°Erecting BAK4 prism
- Tripod: 65cm(31.5″) height adjustable Aluminum tripod
3. TELMU Telescope- Astronomical Refracting Telescope
It is suitable for kids who have interest in science and want to discover the mystery of the universe.
Optics Quality: This telescope is one kind of perfect to explore the moon and stars. It will create stunning images which will protect your eyes. Because TELMU Telescopes have high quality optics with 40mm (f\5.7) focal length and 70mm aperture and fully coated optic glass lens.
Multiple Accessories: TELMU Telescopes are designed with two replaceable 1.25” kellner eyepieces (K6mm/67X, K25/16X). It has a 5×24 finderscope. This combination will give you High Magnification.
Extra Gift: You will get a phone holder with TELMU Telescope and also get a phone adapter as a gift You can take images or videos. So you can share your experience with your friends and family.
- Specifications:Optical Design: Refractor
- Aperture: 70mm(2.75in)
- Focal Length: 400mm(15.75in)
- Resolution: 3 secs
- Focal Ratio: F5.7
- Finderscope: 5*24
- Zenith Mirrors: 45°Erecting prism Diagonal
- Diameter of the Eyepiece: 1.25″
4. OYS Telescope- Astronomy Refractor with Tripod, Phone Adapter, Backpack
This telescope is compact & portable and good quality optics with variable magnification.
Optics quality: OYS telescope will give you stunning images with brightness and clarity. Because it has 400mm (f/5.7) focal length and 70mm aperture. The optic is fully multi-coated optical glass with high transmission.
Variable Magnification: It is a refractor telescope which will introduce you to the variable magnification. The refractor telescope includes two 1.25’ telescope eyepieces for 20x and 44x. They are k20mm and k9mm.
Type of Mount: For smooth and accurate pointing, it has a pan handle Alt-AZ control. You can use this telescope for celestial viewing at night and also can observe nature, wildlife etc. In a word it is a travel telescope which will give you day night performance.
Portable for Travel: You are looking for a telescope which is quick and easy to set up? Or you are thinking, will you give this to your kids or a beginner astronomer as a Christmas or birthday gift? We think it is a better choice for you. You can capture images by it. Because you are getting a phone adapter. The OYS telescope is lightweight. It has an adjustable tripod which can be packed up in the custom backpack. Grab it and go anywhere.
- Brand: OYS
- Objective Lens Diameter: 70 Millimeters
- Telescope Mount Description: Altazimuth Mount
- Item Weight: 2.2 Pounds
- Lens Coating Description: Fully Coated
5. Celestron – 80mm Travel Scope – Portable Refractor Telescope
This telescope will provide you Super Optics, Powerful eyepieces, Bonus Bag, Tripod, Smartphone adapter and software.
Uperior Optics: Celestron – 80mm Travel Scope will introduce you with some high quality features like a lightweight frame, a potent 80mm objective lens, fully- coated glass optics and a custom backpack to carry it all.
Powerful Eyepieces for up-close Viewing: This telescope provides you two different high quality eyepieces which are 20mm and 10mm. they will give you high-power views of terrestrial objects during the day and celestial objects at night.
Large Aperture: The aperture of this telescope is 80mm that provides brighter and enhanced views compared to 70mm models.
Bonus Bag, Tripod, Smartphone adapter and software: It can be taken anywhere. You will get a smartphone adapter and full-height adjustable tripod and Pan Handle Alt-AZ control with clutch for smooth and accurate pointing.
You can download the top rated astronomy software programs free.
- Brand: Celestron
- Model Name: Travel Scope
- Objective Lens Diameter: 80 Millimeters
- Item Weight: 4.5 Pounds
- Lens Coating Description: Fully Coated
6. Meade Instruments – Infinity 50mm Aperture, Portable Refracting Astronomy Telescope
It is a good quality telescope overall and it’s price is crazy.
Optics Quality: Meade Instruments- Infinity is designed with 600mm focal length (Focal Ratio: f/12), 50mm (2-inch) aperture. Pack-and-pinion Focuser
MOunt: Making the pointing easy, it has an Altazimuth mount
Multiple Accessories: This telescope has three types of eyepieces for magnification. They are high(4mm), medium(12mm), Low(20mm). Those give you variety for any viewing situation and 2x Barlow lens doubles the magnifying power of each eyepiece.
Pointing the scope at objects, for 5×24 optical finder scope will be more easy.
It provides astronomical software and instructional DVD.
- Aperture: 50mm
- Optical Design: Achromatic Refractor
- Focal Length: 600mm
- Focal Ratio: 12
- Barlow: 2x
- Lowest useful magnification: 7x
- Highest useful magnification: 100x
- Diagonal: 90 degree
- Tripod: Aluminum
7. Celestron – 70mm Travel Scope – Portable Refractor Telescope
Superior Optics: Celestron – 70mm Travel Scope will introduce you with some high-quality features like a lightweight frame, a potent 80mm objective lens, fully- coated glass optics, and a custom backpack to carry it all.
Powerful eyepieces for up-close viewing: This telescope provides you two different high quality eyepieces which are 20mm and 10mm. they will give you high-power views of terrestrial objects during the day and celestial objects at night.
Large Aperture: The aperture of this telescope is 70mm that provides brighter and enhanced views compared to the 70mm model.
Bonus Bag, Tripod, Smartphone adapter and software: it can be taken anywhere. You will get a smartphone adapter and full-height adjustable tripod and Pan Handle Alt-AZ control with clutch for smooth and accurate point.
You can download the top rated astronomy software programs free.
Model Name: 21035
Objective Lens Diameter: 70 Millimeters
Item Weight: 3.3 Pounds
Lens Coating Description: Fully Coated
8. Astronomical Telescopes + Travel Monocular Telescope Scope
It is perfect for adventurous kids, adults astronomy beginners to explore and learn. It is suitable for both cosmic view at night and wildlife & nature view during the day.
Optics Quality: By this telescope’s FMC objective Lens your observing will be smooth and fun. 70mm aperture, 400 mm focal length, max magnification 120, and 5*20 finderscope. From this, you will get high-quality images.
Portability: It is a portable and compact telescope.
5X24 Finder Scope:
- Adjustable tripod
- A carry bag
- Lens tube
- Phone clip
- A set of photo telescope
- Bluetooth self-timer
This Telescope is a perfect birthday gift
- Optical design: refractor
- Aperture: 70mm
- Focal length: 400mm
- Focal ratio: F11.25
- Eyepiece1: 25mm;16X
- Eyepiece2: 10mm;40X
- Max magnification: 120
- Finderscope: 5*24
- Zenith mirrors: 48°erecting BAK4 prism
- Mount: altazimuth mount
- Optical coating: multilayer broadband coating
- Barlow lens: 3X
- Resolution: ≤4.0
9. Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope
It is an overall high-quality telescope for beginners.
Optics Quality: From this telescope, you will get a large aperture (5.1-inch) which will gather an ample amount of lights for great views of the moon, planets as well as star clusters, galaxies, and nebulas. Spaceprobe 130ST EQ will provide you a portable 24” long optical tube with an f/5 focal ratio for Amazing wide field performances which will make observing more enjoyable.
Mount Quality: It has an equatorial telescope mount which is a sturdy and slow-motion tracker so that you don’t miss the celestial object.
Portability: Complete assembled telescope weighs just 27 lbs. for convenient transport
Multiple accessories: This telescope has two eyepieces (25mm and 10mm), a 6×30 finder scope, pinion focuser, collimation cap, tripod accessory tray, and the most important thing is starry night astronomy software.
- Optics design: Reflector
- Optical diameter: 130mm
- Focal length: 650mm
- Focal ratio: f/5.0
- Eyepieces: plossl 25.0mm, 10.0mm(1.25)
- Magnification with included eyepieces: 26x,65x
- Lowest useful magnification: 19x
- Highest useful magnification: 260x
- User level: Beginner
- Best viewing: Brighter deep sky
10. Emarth Telescope, 70mm/360mm Astronomical Refractor Telescope with Tripod & Finder Scope
This telescope is affordable and good quality overall.
Optics quality: This telescope will introduce premium quality optics. It is designed with 360mm (f/5.1) focal length and 70mm aperture and fully coated optical glass. This combination creates stunning images and also protects your eye. Emarth Telescope is the perfect one for kids or beginners.
Multiple accessories: It has two interchangeable eyepieces (K10mm:51X, K25mm:128X) with a 3x Barlow lens, which will give you high magnification. This telescope provides you a 5×24 finderscope with a mounting bracket.
Portability: Emarth telescope is portable and compact. You can easily pack or unpack. For its adjustable aluminum tripod, it allows different observing positions. This telescope will give you a smooth experience for daily bird watching, wildlife watching, or stargazing, moon watching.
If you have an Emarth kids telescope. You will get lifetime Emarth VIP customer service. When you will face any problem with your optics products, you can easily contact them.
- Brand: Emarth
- Life Expectancy: Barlow
- Objective Lens Diameter: 70 Millimeters
- Telescope Mount Description: Altazimuth Mount
- Item Weight: 2.9 Pounds
- Lens Coating Description: Fully coated optical glass
Some Warm Tips For Your Telescope
- If you face trouble with showing a blurred picture, you can easily fix the focus by using a focus wheel.
- Avoid taking your telescope to an environment of a larger temperature.
- When you will use this telescope outdoors, then wait for the product temperature as the same as the outdoors temperature. It will give you a better quality of observing.
- Don’t focus the telescope on the sun.
- When you are indoors and observing the outdoor target, please open the window.
- While you will observe the sky, you can see only the outline of the moon and can’t see the star or other planets clearly.
Best Portable Telescopes – Buying Guide
The telescope is an amazing instrument. You can easily get an experience of the cosmic view of the sky. For thousands of years, what people wanted, telescopes have made possible. Telescopes have come a long way since Galileo’s time. Over time, its design has made unprecedented improvements. They have been more powerful, lightweight, compact, and portable.
If you are an amateur astronomer, choosing the best portable telescope will be more suitable. It may be overwhelming, choosing a telescope from so many confusing specs and features. From this best portable telescope buyer guide, you will get an idea about telescopes which will help you to choose the telescope as per your expectation.
Fixing Your Passion
Before buying a telescope, you have to fix your passion. It means what you actually want to do.
A reflector telescope is also called a reflecting telescope. There are many types and subcategories of reflector telescopes. But one thing is common. That is a mirror. Curved mirrors are used for reflector telescopes which work to reflect and focus light on the eyepiece for viewing.
The simplest type of reflector telescope is the Newtonian telescope. These telescopes have a large concave mirror and a diagonal secondary mirror. There are other types of a reflector telescope. That is a Cassegrain reflector.
Whatever, don’t worry. The main fact is that the mirrors inside a reflector telescope give good clarity. Reflector telescopes don’t cause chromatic aberration like the alternatives.
This is another choice of telescopes. Lenses are used for optics instead of mirrors. Refractor telescopes can lead to chromatic confusion, which causes some distortion when you look at the eyepiece. However, the additional advantage of the telescope is its durability. Since the lenses are fixed, the chance of accidental displacement is less.
Though it is a reflector telescope, these are special for some reason. These telescopes are a better choice for you if your main priority is portability.
Dobsonian telescopes introduce us to a large optical tube and a sturdy base. These telescopes have a large tube that can collect a lot of light without having the considerable length that other models have.
If you want to observe the celestial view of the space smoothly, you have to look into three main details.
The first thing is aperture. Actually, It is the light-gathering abilities of a telescope. Aperture is the diameter of the objective lens. The size of this lens affects the telescope’s light-gathering abilities. A wider aperture is Always suggested because it allows more light so that we can get a brighter image.
The second is focal length. It is a fact of magnification power. The focal length is the distance between the focal plane where the image is formed and the objective lens.
The third and final is the focal ratio which represents the clarity of the image. It is also known as F-ratio. You can get an F-ratio by dividing its focal length by the aperture. A lower F-ratio means that you are getting a brighter and clear image.
Eyepiece and Focus
Eyepieces are important tools of telescopes. Various types of eyepieces give you different types of magnification which can also affect the field of view.
You have to pay attention to the Barlow lens and focuser. The Barlow lens helps to increase the focal length a bit for more magnification. These can be used with the standard eyepiece.
The work of eyepieces is moving the eyepieces up and down. Focuser adjusts the eyepiece for different eyes for improving clarity.
Base and Mount System
Mount is the most important tool for observing the sky. Tripods are easy to keep the scope steady.
You also have to pay attention to the mount system. Standard altazimuth mount helps you to move the telescope vertically and horizontally. Meanwhile, an equatorial mount removes the problem of the earth’s rotation.
Finderscope, Making Your Observing Easy
The finder scope will help you where you have to point your telescope for getting a better experience of view.
Portability Features, You Can Easily Travel
Making stargazing stress-free you need some portable features like travel cases, folding tripods, and other portability features. Sometimes telescopes are heavy to carry. So choosing a compact model can remove this problem.
Some Useful Extras which will Make Your Observing More Smoother
Many telescopes will provide you with some additional features which will make your experience smoother and amazing. E.g. astrophotography mounts to get a high-quality image, a computerized telescope which will point the object automatically.
Frequently Ask Questions
What type of telescope should I buy?
Before buying a telescope, you have to fix your passion. It means what you actually want to do. Because no telescope is perfect.
How size telescope do I need?
Actually, it depends on your expectation. The size of the aperture minimum of 2.7-inch is better.
How far can a telescope see?
It depends on the aperture of the telescope.
Can I also use these telescopes for wildlife viewing?
Yes, you can.
Are portable telescopes powerful enough to view the rings of Saturn?
Yes, the portable telescopes are powerful enough to view the rings of Saturn. For observing the rings of Saturn you need at least 25x magnification. But A good 3-inch scope at 50x magnification can show them as a separate structure.