A telescope is our entryway to observing the universe and its entirety. This incredible tool enables us to see faraway distances, watch the bright celestial entities that lie therein and discover more about the secrets of the cosmos.
If you’re planning to purchase one, you might be surprised by how expensive a telescope can be, with a high-quality one usually ranging from $200 to $2000! However, you may see some brands offering their products at affordable price points under $100. Does that mean that they aren’t any good?
Read on below as we’ll delve deeper into that and learn more about these telescopes under a hundred bucks, what they offer, and how they can be your good start in pushing your bounds in viewing and understanding the beautiful night sky.
Are Telescopes Under $100 Any Good?
Affordability doesn’t always imply low quality. Truth to be told, you can get a decent telescope under the $100 price tag. It’s the perfect way to start, especially if you’re interested in trying out Astronomy and beginning your journey as a stargazer.
You can get a telescope without spending prohibitive money. Just devote extra time scrutinizing the product, and you’ll find one ample enough to allow you to see distant celestial objects like the bright stars, planets, and constellations without breaking your bank.
Keep in mind that the best telescope is one that you can use to see distant celestial objects like the bright stars and planets, suits your needs, and brings you lots of fun exploring the dark skies.
What to Expect in Telescopes Under $100
If you’re planning to buy the best telescope under $100, be ready to be bombarded with limitless options available on the Internet. In general, here are what you can expect in the telescopes within this price range.
You can find refractors and reflectors for under $100, giving you the freedom to choose whichever type fits your preference. Refracting telescopes use two lenses, a biconvex objective lens, and a biconvex eyepiece. Meanwhile, the reflecting telescope utilizes a concave mirror to gather light and form the image.
Expect that the quality of lenses and mirrors from these telescopes is not suited for high-powered viewing. Yet, they will provide you with some good views of stars, constellations, and other astronomical objects.
Telescopes under the $100 price tag usually come in complete kits. That means you should be getting all the necessary parts and accessories apart from the main tube, like the tripod, mount, a decent eyepiece or two, sighting scope, and diagonal. Note that all parts are of fair quality, sufficient to give you an introduction to astronomy.
Perhaps, one of the best things about these budget-friendly telescopes is that they’re extremely compact, lightweight, and portable. They’re pretty small and usually weigh less than 5 lbs. That means you can simply pack it in its carrying case, throw it in your backpack, and bring it whenever you are headed outdoors.
What’s even great is that they’re easy to assemble. You can set it up with a few simple steps from the instruction manual, making it great for hiking and camping. Plus, they require minimal to no user maintenance, which means you can keep and store with ease and use them readily whenever you need them.
The aperture is widely regarded as the most important specification of a telescope. It refers to the diameter or the size of the lens or mirror that gathers the light. The bigger the aperture, the more light it collects, and the clearer, sharper, and brighter the image will be.
Typically, telescopes under this price range around 60mm to 70mm for refractors, while up to 100mm for reflectors. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to get a 70mm aperture. With one, you will be able to take a decent view of the Moon, see its distinct features like the disk and surface details, observe solar eclipses, and witness every planet in the Solar System.
While the aperture is the primary feature, note that the overall quality of the telescope determines the ending image you’ll see. After all, optical quality transcends just the aperture alone. Indeed, you can do a lot and locate many celestial objects with telescopes under $100, but expect that some deeper objects may appear fuzzy. Still, it’s enough to get you a good overview of the Universe.
A telescope’s mount has two main functions. First, it provides support to the telescope so you can view objects in the sky with stability. Second, it gives the tool smooth, controlled movement so that you can guide and point it towards your target.
While there are many types of mounts available, telescopes under $100 only offer two types of mounts: the tabletop and alt-azimuth mounts. Unlike the superior equatorial mounts, both options provide iterative up/down (altitude) and left/right (azimuth) movements.
Moreover, the mount on most units is affixed to the tripod compared to high-end ones where you need to connect them manually. Though you may be lucky to find rare equatorial mounts at this price point, chances are they will not be steady or secure enough for stable stargazing.
So, are telescopes under $100 any good? In general, these affordable telescopes will provide you good performance if you just know what to search for, what to steer away from, and what final unit to get while compromising in line with its worth.
It’s ideal for casual and recreational use and if you’re still beginning your adventure in exploring the cosmos. It also serves as the perfect starter kit to help you develop your skills and master using the instrument. Once you’re ready, you’ll be able to upgrade slowly to bigger and high-powered tools.
Just make sure to handle them with extra care as the majority of these models under $100 have plastic parts, which, if they become broken, can render your telescope useless. Still, these are not knock-offs and are excellent options offering you incredible value for your money.
Thanks to these telescopes, no one will be intimidated to try one of the most fulfilling hobbies and activities available. So, get yours now, and it could be your stepping stone into a limitless, fascinating realm – the Universe.