7 Best Compound Telescopes for Beginners

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Telescopes are necessary tools for those who are passionate about astronomy. Back in the day, they were very expensive and not everybody could use them. Now, you can find a lot of different types of telescopes with affordable prices. Also, they come for every user level, from beginners to professionals. All you have to do is pick the right one for you and your budget.

There are three types of telescopes available on the market: refractor, reflector, and compound. In this article, we are going to show you the best compound or catadioptric telescopes. Based on their features, specs, and performance, these Maksutov-Cassegrain or Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes stand out from the crowd.

Before we start with our top, let’s find out more about these telescopes. Compound telescopes combine the technology from reflecting and refracting telescopes. This means that they use both lens and mirrors to form an image. Also, they are compact and easy to transport. Usually, compound telescopes have a bigger aperture which means that they can form sharp and clear images

1. Meade ETX 90

Meade ETX 90

Image source: Amazon

In this Meade ETX 90 compound telescope review made by TelescopeReviewer, this device is depicted as one of the best choices for beginners. This model is easy to use, even as a first telescope. Also, you won’t have to assemble it because you can use it out-of-the-box. Its large aperture of 100-150 mm is going to offer sharp images. Also, it comes with a great focal length of 1250 mm.

The best thing about this device is that it has a 26mm Plössl eyepiece which offers 48x magnification. This scope is great for both sky and land observation. When it comes to image contrast and resolution, the Meade telescope tends to outperform other devices in its price range.

2. Orion 9825 Apex

Orion Mak

Image source: Amazon

This is another great Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope for beginners. It comes with a good price and many amazing features. The Orion 9825 telescope has a 25mm eyepiece included. The eyepiece combined with the 127mm aperture is going to offer sharp and clear images. Because of its compact design, this device is also portable.

In order to help you carry the device the manufacturer also added a soft carrying case. This telescope is better for daytime use because it offers high magnification views. However, you can use it during the night to view Jupiter and Mars. You will need to buy a tripod because the Orion Apex doesn’t come with one.

3. Celestron Advanced VX

Celestron VX

Image source: Amazon

While its names might confuse you, the Celestron Advanced VX is a good telescope for beginners because it is simple to use. Also, this is a great Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. It uses StarBright XLT coating on the glass. This helps maximize light transmission and therefore it forms better images.

You will be pleased to know that it comes with a VX mount which provides more stability. This is a durable and resistant telescope. Unfortunately, this is a pretty expensive device compared to the other ones in this top.

4. NexStar Evolution 9.25

Image source: Amazon

This telescope is made by Celestron and it comes with a lot of extra accessories. The NexStar includes different eyepieces, lenses, and filters which are going to come in handy. For beginners, it is better to get used to the telescope before you change the accessories. It is compatible with smartphones and it has a rechargeable battery.

Just like the other Celestron telescope, the NexStar Evolution comes with a rather high price, even for its specs. However, you need to consider all of the included accessories. Also, this telescope has a special optical coating which helps form better images. The 9.25” aperture is big enough for a beginner’s telescope.

5. Celestron NexStar 127SLT Mak

NexStar 126 SLT Mak

Image source: Amazon

This is a more affordable option from Celestron. Also, the 127SLT Mak is easy to transport because it has a more compact design. As its names states, it has an aperture of 127 mm which is great for celestial and terrestrial observing. Unlike the other Celestron telescopes in our top, this model is a Maksutov-Cassegrain compound telescope.

It comes with a StarPointer finderscope which is a great feature for beginners. Also, you won’t have to worry about a tripod because it is included in the package. This telescope has a database which contains about 4,000 celestial objects. This is another amazing feature for entry-level users.

6. NexStar 8 SE

NexStar 8 SE

Image source: Amazon

As you can observe, the NexStar telescopes from Celestron are some of the best devices for beginners. This is why another NexStar telescope takes a spot in out top. The NexStar 8 SE is a good Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope for those who are passionate about stargazing. It has an aperture of 200mm and it comes with a special tripod.

Also, it has a database that contains more than 40,000 celestial objects. Unfortunately, these features and specs come with a high price. Despite this fact, if money is not a problem, then you should pick one of the NexStar models.

7. Bushnell Northstar 3.5 Inch

Bushnell Northstar 3.5 Inch

Image source: Amazon

Last but not least, the Bushnell Northstar gets a spot in our top. This great Maksutov-Cassegrain scope comes with a 1200mm focal length and an aperture of 3.5” Also, this telescope has a GoTo capacity incorporated. This is a great additional feature for beginners who want to learn more about astronomy.

The Northstar comes with a special tripod so you won’t have to buy one separately. When it comes to the price, this telescope has a medium price and a great quality-price report. However, for a beginner, it can be a little tricky to use at first.

These are just some of the best compound telescopes for beginners. You can also find professional Maksutov or Schmidt-Cassegrain for advanced users. One thing you should consider is that compound telescopes are more compact and they combine the technology from reflecting and refracting telescopes.

Once you picked the right catadioptric telescope for you, it’s better to read an in-depth review and find out more about the product. Also, follow all of the maintenance instructions if you want to use that device for a long time.

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Robert Adkins is an IT graduate student in his 30’s who lives in Lake Worth, FL. He loves working with digital technology. Here at Gadgets Living, Robert is a Technology writer who also works on developing and improving the website’s interface

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