Best Telescope For Viewing Planets And Galaxies Uncovered

The Best Telescope For Viewing Planets And Galaxies -Celestron NexStar 130SLT vs Orion SpaceProbe 130ST

Humans have been fascinated with the heavens for as long as they’ve existed, and stargazing is a passionate hobby for many people out there. I should know – I’m one of them.


But, just like there’s no perfect car for all of us, the choice of your telescope largely depends on how comfortable you are with it.  Apart from that, you can pick out your first telescope based on features, price, observing interests, etc. The sky is literally your limit.


If you were to ask me to choose my first telescope all over again, I’d have to go with either the Celestron NexStar 130SLT or the  Orion SpaceProbe 130ST. Why those two telescopes? Because either of them could be the best telescope for viewing planets and galaxies.


However, chances are, you’ll only be looking to purchase one telescope, and that’s why I’ve decided to do a Celestron NexStar vs Orion SpaceProbe review. Hopefully, reading this article will help you find a telescope special enough to give you an out of this world experience.



3 Factors To Consider Before Buying A Telescope To See Planets

Before getting to my review, however, I’d like to point out some factors you should keep in mind before buying a telescope for yourself.


If you pay close attention here, then there’s nothing stopping you from going out in the world and selecting a telescope to suit your needs – without relying on anyone else.


Ready? Let’s go.

Factor No.1 – Aperture

If you know camera aficionado (or are one), you’ve likely heard of apertures. Simply put, the aperture of a telescope is the width (or diameter) of its light-catching lens.


Now, let’s talk about why an aperture is important. You see, the bigger the aperture is, the better you’ll be able to see in the distance. Also, a large aperture will capture more details, as opposed to a smaller one.


Although, that’s not to say that small telescopes aren’t good enough. You can still see plenty, even with a small telescope, especially if you live at a distance from bright city lights. But, if you want an in-depth look at the heavens, then you’ll need a telescope with a big aperture.


You can check out the details of a telescope’s aperture somewhere around its focuser. Also, note that an aperture’s diameter is measured in millimeters generally. You should opt for a telescope that has an aperture of at least 70mm, to begin with. You can go higher, of course, but don’t opt for anything lower than that.


Factor No.2 – The Mount


A mount is to a telescope, what a tripod is to a camera. The mount’s job is to support your telescope while you utilize it for observing the sky.


Some telescopes come with pre-attached mounts/tripods, while others have a type of sliding lock to hold the telescope on the mount with a screw.


When it comes to mounts, however, what you’re looking for is balance. That’s why stands that are specifically designed for a telescope tend to work best for astronomy. Such platforms have a more robust system in place to attach the telescope to the stand, such as plates or rings.


You’ll also want to opt for a mount that has mobility and can move in all directions. Mounts that can swing in all four directions are referred to as ‘alt-az’ mounts.


Thanks to technology, you also have the option of going for an equatorial mount that can track the movement of stars. That’s pretty awesome, right? Who’d have thought telescope stands were so important?

NexStar 130SLT

Factor No.3 – Telescope Type

You’re are likely to come across 3 kinds of telescopes in your search for the best telescope for viewing planets, and these are:


  • Catadioptric Telescopes (also known as Compound Telescopes). This type of telescope utilizes a combination of lenses and mirrors to see far into the reaches of space. They’re also comparatively lighter than other types of telescopes.


  • Refractors are my favorite type of telescope because they’re pretty easy to maintain. You’ve likely run across a refractor at least once in your life – they’re the telescopes that have a lens at the beginning of the tube. But, refractors can get pretty pricey as the size of their aperture increases – so keep that in mind.


  • Lastly, reflectors, as the name suggests, are the kind of telescopes that have a mirror at the back of the tube. Generally, reflectors are the most economical telescopes of the lot. But, if you do end up purchasing one, be careful not to jostle it around much, because then you’ll have to get its optical alignment adjusted.


Reviewing the Celestron NexStar 130SLT

Did you know Sir Isaac Newton is credited for reflector telescopes? I know you’re probably wondering how that’s related to the NexStar 130 SLT? That’s easy, the NexStar 130SLT by Celestron is a reflector telescope of Newtonian Design. Talk about a blast from the past.


Thankfully, the NexStar 130SLT is a much more evolved version of Newton’s design, and it’s aperture measures at a superior 130 mm. Remember I said you can go higher than 70 mm but not lower, well, you don’t have to worry about photon deficiency with the 130SLT.


In fact, you’ll be able to view wonders like Saturn’s rings and the Moon’s surface in startling detail. You might even want to call it the best telescope to see planets.


If we talk about optics, then the 130SLT’s aluminized glass mirror is certainly a plus. Apart from that, the telescope’s secondary mirror is held securely in place by a spider that appears pretty tough.


The Celestron also comes equipped with not one but two eyepieces. One eyepiece measures around 25mm and it’s perfect for looking at galaxies, while the other measuring 10mm is ideal for gazing at planets.


But, here’s what I love best about the NexStar 130SLT – the SkyAlign system. Do you recall reading about mounts? The NexStar comes equipped with a revolutionary alignment technology that’s super-quick to set up and even easier to use.


Plus, I’m also all in favor of the telescope’s GoTo mount that helps you track celestial objects as they move.


There’s not much that the NexStar 130SLT doesn’t have.


Reviewing the Orion SpaceProbe 130ST


If you’re on the lookout for the best telescope to see planets, that also happens to be relatively inexpensive, then you can’t do much better than the SpaceProbe 130ST from Orion.


But, don’t let the SpaceProbe’s economical price-tag fool you, because the telescope is not only perfect for beginners, but it’s also very popular among the stargazing community.


Even though the 130ST’s aperture is marked as 5.1 inches, that translates into roughly 129mm – which is almost the same as the NexStar 130SLT by Celestron. And here’s another thing that the SpaceProbe has in common with the NexStar – they’re both Newtonian inspired reflectors.


The 130ST delivers some excellent views with a focal ratio of f/5, and this combined with its aperture can gather plenty of light for you to get a real close look at galaxies, nebulas, and more.


If we talk about accessories, then the SpaceProbe comes equipped with two Sirius Plossl eyepieces. One eyepiece measures 65x while the other provides magnification at 25x. The telescope also features a 6×30 finderscope, a 1.25-inch rack and pinion focuser, and some really great astronomy software.


Finally, the SpaceProbe comes equipped with the EQ-2 mount and adjustable tripod. The telescope’s equatorial mount offers manual slo-mo tracking of celestial objects as they move across the sky.


All in all, the SpaceProbe 130ST provides great value for money with its features.


The Final Verdict On The Best Telescope For Viewing Planets And Galaxies

There’s a reason why I said I’d choose between the NexStar or the SpaceProbe if I had to buy my first telescope all over again.


Both these telescopes are truly fantastic options for beginners. The only difference, according to me, is the price range of the two. There’s no doubt that the NexStar 130SLT by Celestron is armed to the teeth with mind-boggling features that any stargazer would love.


But, it’s also equally true that not every new stargazer will be able to afford the NexStar 130SLT. So in the hunt for best telescope for viewing planets and galaxies, it’s down to your budget basically. Both products are great, that’s for sure.


On the other hand, the SpaceProbe may not exactly be in the same class as the NexStar, but it definitely exceeds the quality-price ratio for many people, including me.


So, the final verdict is that both the NexStar 130SLT and the SpaceProbe 130ST are winners of this contest. And, whichever telescope you pick, according to your budget, will truly make you feel like a winner too.

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Best Telescope For Viewing Planets And Galaxies Uncovered

time to read: 7 min