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We analyzed 685 images shortlisted for the
Astronomy Lensman of the Year
contest in the past five years to find the
Best Telescopes for Astrophotography.
Overall, our number one all-round choice suitable for beginners is the Celestron Nexstar 8SE:
Celestron NexStar 8SE
Celestron’due south well-nigh popular advanced GOTO telescope package
Powerful 8-inch aperture
Easy-to-use computerized mount finds objects for you to view at the press of a button
All you need in 1 packet, with telescope, mountain, and tripod
Purchase on Amazon Check All Stores
This telescope works for both astronomy (observing) and astrophotography (imaging).
It gives you all you need in i, including a powerful 8-inch aperture telescope (known as the
when sold standalone) and a GOTO (computerized) mount that finds and tracks objects in the heaven for you which yous control via the handset.
Our research shows that this type of telescope (a Celestron
Schmidt-Cassegrain) is one of the all-time for astrophotography, particularly for photographing planets.
To brand this bundle excel for astrophotography fully you lot tin can add Celestron’s equatorial wedge that improves the mountain by allowing smoother tracking of astronomical objects as you photograph them with long exposures.
Here is an case image that was taken with this Celestron telescope tube:
Our upgrade pick is the Celestron CPC Deluxe 1100 Hd:
All-time for Astrophotography
Celestron CPC Deluxe 1100 HD Package
Celestron CPC 1100 EdgeHD Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope with Tripod
Huge 11-inch aperture optimized for astrophotography
All you need in one parcel, with telescope, mountain, and tripod
Computerized mount finds objects for y’all to view at a press of a button
Used by Stephen Hawking
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This was the telescope used at home past Stephen Hawking.
Information technology is an extremely powerful 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope combined with Celestron’southward computerized CPC mount.
This is an advanced all-in-one package for those with a higher budget only gives yous the very best telescope for both astronomy and astrophotography.
As noted in a higher place, Schmidt-Cassegrains (SCTs) are i of the best telescope types for astrophotography and this is 1 of the well-nigh powerful options available in 2022.
in the proper name refers to how the telescope has been optimized for deep heaven imaging just, similar the Celestron NexStar above, to excel for astrophotography yous tin can add the Pro Wedge to improve the smooth tracking ability of the mount.
Here is an case image taken with a Celestron xi-inch EdgeHD telescope:
Our budget choice is the Heaven-Watcher Quattro 200/800:
This is an imaging Newtonian type telescope that gives you a cracking cost-to-aperture ratio with a powerful telescope at a relatively inexpensive cost.
Our results show that this is one of the well-nigh successful telescope models for deep heaven astrophotography and is a great option for people looking to build a serious imaging setup without spending thousands.
Overall, our recommendation of the all-time telescope for deep heaven imaging is the Takahashi TSA-120:
Our option for deep heaven
Triplet Apochromatic Refractor Telescope for Astrophotography
120 mm Aperture
900 mm Focal Length
F/7.v Focal Ratio
Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Lenses
12.5 lbs Weight
Buy on OPT
Our data shows that Takahashi telescopes – and the apochromatic refractor telescope type – are the nearly successful for deep space photography of objects like galaxies and nebulae.
This is a triplet apochromatic refractor in a premium price bracket for serious astrophotographers.
Finally, our professional-level pick is the Planewave CDK 20:
Premium observatory-level Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) telescope
Huge xx-inch aperture
Fast f/6.8 focal ratio
Excels for deep sky astrophotography
Buy on OPT
This a very expensive model for advanced imagers only our data shows that these Planewave Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) telescopes excel for deep space astrophotography when combined with advanced mounts and dedicated astronomy cameras.
See here an epitome taken with a Planewave CDK:
Read on to run into the total results of our data analysis and for more details on each of our primal recommendations above.
Why You Should Trust U.s.a.
We are an independent astrophotography-focused publication that conducts objective enquiry to brand product recommendations.
For this review we have conducted a unique analysis to come across what telescopes were used to have nearly 700 of the best astrophotography images in the world in the past five years.
Best Telescope for Astrophotography: Data Assay
We analyzed all 685 images shortlisted for theAstronomy Lensman of the Yearcompetition for the by five years (2018 to 2022) to encounter what telescopes were used.
Of these 685 images, 342 used telescopes (the others used just camera lenses etc) and and then we tin examine these to encounter the nigh successful astrophotography telescopes.
Overall, we run across that Celestron models are the almost popularly used telescopes, followed by those fabricated by Takahashi, Sky-Watcher, and PlaneWave:
As for telescope types, apochromatic refractors and Schmidt-Cassegrains are the ii virtually commonly (and successfully) used:
The Takahashi FSQ-106 is the well-nigh successfully used individual telescope model in five years of the competition:
This telescope is a quadruplet apochromatic refractor telescope.
Information technology is generally very hard to find bachelor to buy in 2022 which is why we have recommended an culling Takahashi model in this article.
Telescopes for Planetary Astrophotography
If we focus on planetary imaging, nosotros run into that Celestron is the most successful manufacturer by some distance, with Heaven-Watcher in second:
This is then reflected in the elevation telescope types that are used in planetary imaging, with Schmidt-Cassegrains (made by Celestron) at number i:
This is why nosotros recommend the Celestron NexStar 8SE as a great entry-level option and the Celestron CPC 1100 Hd as the best upgrade option.
The highest aperture Celestron C11 and C14 Schmidt-Cassegrains are the most popularly used individual optical tube assemblies (OTAs) for planetary imaging:
The C11 is an 11-inch aperture SCT, the C14 is 14-inch, and the C8 is 8-inch.
They tin can exist bought as standalone OTAs or as part of packages with mount included – like the Nexstar 8SE and the CPC 1100 HD recommended here.
For more detail on planetary telescopes, meet our commodity on the Best Telescopes for Planetary Imaging.
Telescopes for Deep Sky Astrophotography
If we look at telescopes for deep heaven imaging we see Takahashi and Planewave leading:
Apochromatic refractors are and so the most ordinarily used telescope type, followed past imaging newtonians:
Apochromatic refractors and imaging newtonians are both telescope types that can be acquired relatively cheaply then are accessible to more people (although many premium models do be).
Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) telescopes from Planewave are observatory-grade, ultra-premium telescopes.
The meridian three individual models are then:
- Takahashi FSQ-106
- Planewave CDK17
- Sky-Watcher Quattro 200/800
You tin see the top 12 hither:
For a deeper dive on just deep sky imaging, see the All-time Telescopes for Deep Infinite Astrophotography.
We will now examine each of the superlative models that we recommend and explore the pros and cons of each.
Celestron NexStar 8SE
All-time Telescope for Astrophotography for Beginners
Our number 1 selection for beginners is the Celestron NexStar 8SE.
Our research shows that this type of telescope (a Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain) is one of the best for astrophotography, especially for planetary photography.
It has an eight-inch discontinuity, which is large and volition provide nifty views. It comes with a quality computerized mountain and so that y’all take all you need in one.
We accept selected this model every bit:
- It’s a great all-in-one package that volition work well for both astronomy and astrophotography
- It’south relatively affordable compared to some of the other 11-inch or fourteen-inch SCTs (they go more than expensive as the aperture gets larger)
You can watch a quick overview of the Nexstar SE telescopes here:
- Nifty Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope OTA that our results show is proven for astrophotography
- Large 8-inch aperture for neat lite gathering
- Long focal length is especially proficient for viewing and photographing planetary objects
- Perfect all-in-one parcel for someone looking for a great telescope to use for both astronomy and astrophotography
- Relatively expensive
- Fairly heavy and beefy
- You need to buy an additional equatorial wedge to get the very best out of this model for deep-space astrophotography
Here is an excellent overview of this telescope from the perspective of a beginners option for astrophotography:
The same 8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain telescope tube can be bought as a standalone OTA, or as part of the NexStar Evolution 8 package just the Nexstar SE bundle is cheaper and so we accept fabricated this our pick hither – encounter Celestron Nexstar Evolution 8 vs Nexstar 8SE if you want to compare further.
There is besides an Evolution Hard disk drive version, which has some features to make it better for astrophotography but is more expensive, and a Celestron 8-inch RASA, which has a shorter focal length to brand it ameliorate for deep sky imaging but information technology is more expensive still.
As an culling budget pick, there are also smaller (lower discontinuity) models in the same range that are cheaper. Come across the:
- Nexstar 4SE
- Nexstar 5SE
- Nexstar 6SE
Overall, the Nexstar 8SE is a peachy all-in-one bundle that is relatively piece of cake to utilize and perfect for someone looking for an all-in-one packet to get into astrophotography.
- Type: Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
- Discontinuity: viii inch (203 mm)
- Focal Length: lxxx inch (2032 mm)
- Focal Ratio: f/10
- Weight: 40.5 lbs (18 kg)
- Mount: Alt-Azimuth (Computerized)
Celestron CPC Deluxe 1100 EdgeHD
Best Astrophotography Telescope Packet
Our upgrade selection is the Celestron CPC Palatial 1100 HD telescope package.
This was the telescope used at dwelling by Stephen Hawking.
It is an extremely powerful 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope combined with Celestron’south computerized CPC mount.
This is an avant-garde all-in-one bundle for those with a higher budget but gives you lot the very best telescope for both astronomy and astrophotography.
As noted above, Schmidt-Cassegrains (SCTs) are one of the best telescope types for astrophotography and this is one of the about powerful options available.
in the name refers to how the telescope has been optimized for deep sky imaging by correcting for the
that is inherent in SCTs. This means that the stars should stay sharp and clear correct up to the edges of images.
It has an f/10 focal ratio, but it also has a functionality that Celestron calls
that allows the telescope to exist converted to a much faster f/ii focal ratio.
You tin sentinel this video from Celestron for a quick overview of this telescope range:
- Huge 11-inch discontinuity for smashing light gathering – the OTA in this package (the C11) is the almost successfully used model for planetary imaging in our data
OTA optimized for deep heaven astrophotography (and astronomy) and corrects the Coma that is inherent in regular SCTs
- Swell computerized mount that is like shooting fish in a barrel to use
- Ideally, for deep sky astrophotography, you should add together the Pro Wedge to increment the polish tracking ability of the mount.
Overall, this is a great option if you lot have the upkeep and you want the best all-in-i parcel you can simply setup and get stuck into at dwelling house for both looking through and for astrophotography.
- Blazon: Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)
- Discontinuity: 11 inch (280 mm)
- Focal Length: 110 inch (2800 mm)
Focal Ratio: f/twenty (but can exist adapted to f/2 using the
- Weight: 93 lbs (42 kg)
- Mount: Celestron CPC Computerized (GOTO) Fork Mountain
All-time Telescope for Deep Heaven Astrophotography
Our recommendation as the best telescope specifically for deep sky imaging is the Takahashi TSA-120.
Our data shows that Takahashi telescopes are the well-nigh successful for deep space photography of objects like galaxies and nebulae.
In improver, apochromatic refractors are the most successful telescope type for deep sky imaging and this is a triplet apochromatic refractor with high-quality extra-depression dispersion (ED) drinking glass.
Information technology is pocket-size, light and portable and so can be traveled with and doesn’t require as heavy duty a mount as some larger OTAs.
Hither is an instance paradigm taken with a Takahashi apochromatic refractor:
- Triplet apochromatic refractor with extra-depression dispersion (ED) drinking glass
- Relatively minor, calorie-free, and compact and and then portable and doesn’t require a huge, heavyweight mountain to support it
- You volition demand to buy a separate mount
- Non to be used for astronomy, only astrophotography
Overall, this is a great selection for serious deep sky imagers that want a relatively light telescope but ultra-loftier quality optics.
- Type: Triplet Apochromatic Refractor
- Aperture: iv.8 inch (119 mm)
- Focal Length: 35.4 inch (900 mm)
- Focal Ratio: f/vii.5
- Weight: 12.five lbs (5.seven kg)
- Mount: Not included
Sky-Watcher Quattro 200P
All-time Upkeep Telescope for Astrophotography
Our astrophotography contest information in a higher place shows that this telescope is the tertiary most successful telescope for deep-sky imaging, and 5th most successful overall.
It is a relatively upkeep telescope so is notable that it is holding its own alongside some really avant-garde specialist telescopes that toll a lot more.
This is a existent bargain if y’all can find information technology in stock. You become a big 8-inch aperture and an extremely fast focal ratio of F/4.
- Proven performer for deep space astrophotography
- Great value in terms of aperture to cost
- Adequately large and beefy and not so portable
- Not a package, so you will have to take a separate mount
Overall, reflectors like this are slightly harder to handle than refractors due to the weight and size but this provides cracking value and our findings show that information technology tin can produce astronomy images at the highest level.
It also works for both observing and imaging, which is an reward over the apochromatic refractor models (like the Takahashi above).
At that place are as well 10-inch and 12-inch versions of this telescope bachelor that are more powerful just more expensive.
- Type: Newtonian Reflector
- Discontinuity: 8 inch (203 mm)
- Focal Length: 31.4 inch (800 mm)
- Focal Ratio: f/three.9
- Weight: 21 lb (ix.5 kg)
- Mountain: Not included
Best Professional Telescope for Astrophotography
Finally, our professional person-level option is the Planewave CDK 20.
This a very expensive model for avant-garde imagers but our information shows that these Planewave Corrected Dall-Kirkham (CDK) telescopes excel for deep space astrophotography.
These CDKs are usually combined with avant-garde mounts like the Software Bisque Paramount ME II, and dedicated astronomy cameras like those from SBIG and FLI.
You lot can lookout a video here of an astrophotographer using the fourteen-inch CDK14 with a Planewave L-350 mount:
- High aperture
- Extremely long focal length
- Professional-level quality
- Very expensive, just for those with extremely loftier budgets and non something that a casual astrophotographer will buy to use a abode
- Very heavy and volition need to exist used with a premium heavyweight mount
Overall, our data shows how successful Planewave CDKs are for producing the almost stunning astrophotography images and so this is an pick for serious enthusiasts building the all-time setups money can purchase.
- Type: Corrected Dall-Kirkham
- Aperture: 20 inch (508 mm)
- Focal Length: 136 inch (3454 mm)
- Focal Ratio: f/6.eight
- Weight: 140 lbs (63.5 kg)
- Mountain: Not included
FAQs: Astrophotography Telescopes
Which blazon of telescope is all-time for astrophotography?
There are broadly three types of telescope that piece of work well for astrophotography:
– like the Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain models. These are nifty for both observing and imaging. Depending on the size you get these tin be reasonably compact but can get fairly large and heavy. These are particularly good for planetary photography.
– these can be very minor and portable (but get bigger at higher apertures). They are used exclusively for imaging and non observing. They are particularly skillful for deep sky imaging.
Newtonian Imaging telescopes
– these tend to be very big and bulky just generally give the best bang for buck in terms of ability for price. These are too more often than not practiced for deep sky imaging.
What is best for you will depend on your budget and preferences regarding size and ease of utilize.
Aside from the telescope type, you likewise need to consider whether to purchase as a bundle with a telescope, mount, and tripod all in one, or to only buy the telescope tube (OTA) and get the other bits separately.
Can you practise astrophotography with any telescope?
You lot can definitely practice some form of astrophotography with whatsoever telescope, the best telescope types for astrophotography are listed in a higher place.
1 thing that is cardinal is having an equatorial mount, rather than alt-azimuth. Broadly, alt-az mounts are good for astronomy, and equatorial are good for astrophotography.
This is why dobsonians are not bad for observing but not so skillful for astrophotography, since the dobsonian mount is a version of an alt-az.
Note the Celestron packages recommended in this article utilise alt-az mounts, but these can exist converted to (finer) equatorial with the addition of a component called a wedge.
What size telescope do I need for astrophotography?
Information technology depends on what type of telescope y’all go for.
Telescope size is normally measured in discontinuity, with the higher this is the better the telescope will be as it ways that information technology can assemble more light and produce ameliorate visuals and images.
All the same, apochromatic refractors used for astrophotography can often have fairly small apertures due to the fact that they:
- Take brusque focal lengths to allow broad-field imaging
- Will be used with high-resolution cameras
- Will exist used with loftier-quality mounts
This so means that you can shoot long exposures to assemble the low-cal for the image and then the need for high aperture diminishes.
In short, higher aperture is better just information technology is non as of import when compared to using a telescope for astronomy where you need the high aperture to create an visual good enough for you to look at in real time with your eyes. Whereas for astrophotography yous can build a setup that gathers the low-cal needed over a long exposure.
What’due south the all-time telescope focal length for astrophotography?
Higher focal lengths are meliorate for photographing the moon and planets, as you are zooming in closer to objects that are relatively near to the world.
Lower focal lengths are better for deep infinite imaging, as you are capturing a wider surface area of space as these objects are much larger and farther abroad.
One matter to pay attending to is the focal ratio. This is the f-number (f/two, f/ten, etc) which is calculated past focal length divided by discontinuity.
The lower this is, the better, as information technology indicates that the telescope is faster and better for imaging.
What’s the all-time telescope for astrophotography beginners?
In that location are a few options for beginners’ astrophotography telescopes:
- We recommend here a telescope packet like the Celestron Nexstar 8SE, or one of the smaller options in the same range (the 4SE, 5SE and 6SE). This is because they are easy-to-use bundles with everything you need all in i and are also great quality telescopes.
- If y’all have a DSLR or similar photographic camera, you lot could go for a pocket-size apochromatic refractor telescope.
- If you want the absolute easiest option and take the money and then you could consider a smart telescope – see our article on the Best Smart Telescopes (Stellina vs eVscope 2 vs eQuinox vs Vespera).
What are the best telescopes for astrophotography with DSLR cameras?
Any of the telescopes recommended to a higher place can be used with a DSLR camera (or mirrorless photographic camera).
You lot just need the correct adapters to attach it (see below) and a mountain that can take the weight of the telescope and camera together.
How to connect a camera to a telescope?
The best way to employ a DSLR to have photos through a telescope is to attach the photographic camera direct to the eyepiece of your telescope.
This tin exist done with the improver of two small pieces of extra equipment:
- A T-Ring – this fits into your camera where the lens would ordinarily go
- A T-Adapter – this connects to your telescope eyepiece
Unfortunately, these items are not universal and you need to make sure you get the right T-Band for the camera you lot have, and the right T-Adapter for the telescope you accept.
To attach your camera to a Celestron telescope you will need the Celestron T-Adapter, and a T-Ring for Canon cameras or for Nikon cameras.
How to connect a smartphone to a telescope?
Adapters are available to connect smartphones to telescopes to enable you to have photographs with your phone. See the:
- Celestron NexYZ iii-Axis Universal Smartphone Adapter
- Celestron Basic Smartphone Adapter
- Gosky universal smartphone telescope adapter
If you lot are interested in this then you might like to read our guide to smartphone astrophotography.
What’s the all-time telescope for photographing the planets?
Celestron Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes are best for photographing the planets. Like the top ii recommendations in this article.
The planets of our solar organisation are much farther away than our moon, only much closer than far-off galaxies.
For photographing the planets, you want a long focal length. This is important for planetary photography because you lot desire to get as close as possible to the object you are shooting (a planet) and it is (relatively) pocket-size and close.
We have a split article defended to the All-time Telescopes For Planetary Imaging if yous would like more on this.
What’s the all-time telescope for deep sky astrophotography?
For deep heaven imaging, yous are shooting something much fainter farther away. The best telescope is therefore one with a large aperture and fast focal ratio.
This is because yous are taking images for longer periods and need to get together as much light as possible. The larger the aperture, the greater the low-cal gathering.
A curt focal length can likewise be optimal because with longer focal lengths put greater demands on your mount. This means small tracking errors are magnified with long focal lengths.
Therefore apochromatic refractors can exist perfect for deep sky imaging, every bit can be catadioptric telescopes with large apertures.
Read more on the Best Telescopes for Deep Infinite Astrophotography.
What’s the best telescope for photographing the moon?
For photographing the moon, if the conditions are right (i.e. no clouds), you lot don’t need much aperture in your telescope as it is very bright already.
A long focal length will allow yous to go close in and a lower-spec telescope even with just a smartphone can get great results.
Obviously, at that place are levels to this and some astrophotographers use advanced gear to create Hard disk drive lunar images.
What’s the best telescope for photographing the sun?
Photographing the lord’s day is a dissever exercise birthday and requires strong filters.
Information technology goes without saying, never look straight at the lord’s day through your telescope or camera as y’all can do serious damage to your eyes.
Some telescope manufacturers offer specialist solar photography telescopes with the filters in congenital.
What is the best telescope with a camera?
Hybrid telescopes with born cameras are relatively new developments only brand vivid options for beginners looking to get into astrophotography in as simple a way as possible.
Check out our article on telescopes that tin can have pictures (Stellina vs eVscope).
What is the best GOTO telescope for astrophotography?
We would recommend 1 of the Celestron packages that combine a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope with a GOTO mountain similar the top two recommendations in this article.
What is the all-time astrograph telescope?
is a category of telescope that works just for imaging and not observing.
The Planewave and Takahashi models recommended in this article are astrographs.
Meet our article on What is an Astrograph Telescope? for more than insight on this.
Tin can a dobsonian telescope be used for astrophotography?
Yeah, dobsonians tin be used for astrophotography by attaching DSLR/mirrorless cameras or dedicated CCD/CMOS astronomy cameras with the right adapters, notwithstanding, the dobsonian mount is not ideal for imaging equally it is an alt-az rather than equatorial.
Are Newtonian telescopes good for astrophotography?
Regular newtonian reflectors can be used for astrophotography but tend to be bulky.
Imaging newtonians are a version optimized for astrophotography and the Sky-Watcher 8″ Quattro Imaging Newtonian is one of the nearly successful astrophotography telescopes in our research.
Do you need an equatorial mount for astrophotography?
Equatorial mounts are better for astrophotography equally they tin can smoothly rails the object in the sky in any direction.
The other type of mountain is an alt-azimuth which tracks merely in upwardly-down, left-right directions and is much easier to use for astronomical observing.
See the best telescope mounts for astrophotography for recommendations.
Conclusion: What’s the best telescope for astrophotography?
In summary, nosotros recommend the:
- Celestron Nexstar 8SE as the all-time astrophotography telescope package for beginners
- Celestron CPC Deluxe 1100 HD as the upgrade pick for those with bigger budgets that desire the best habitation package
- Takahashi TSA-120 for deep heaven imaging enthusiasts who are building their advanced imaging setup
- Sky-Watcher 200/800 Quattro as the all-time upkeep telescope for astrophotography
- Planewave CDK20 every bit the ultra-premium professional-level option for those looking to build an observatory-grade imaging capacity
Nosotros hope you found this article and research useful to assistance you find your telescope for astrophotography.
Please allow us know if you take any thoughts on what we’ve covered hither in the comments below.