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Telescope buyer's guide: our guide to 82 refractors, reflectors, and catadioptrics lets you make an intelligent, scope-by-scope comparison.

Choosing a telescope is never easy, particularly given the vast array of instruments currently available to observers. We're surrounded by an embarrassment of riches compared to what was sold less than a decade ago.

And it's not just quantity, it's quality too--both optical and mechanical. Manufacturers have listened carefully to customers' demands, and as a result we see finely crafted telescopes on well-engineered mounts and brimming with extra features. For example, many "beginner" scopes now come standard with accurate drive systems permitting time-exposure astrophotography.

The preceding article ("Be Scope Savvy") contains valuable insights into the types of instruments you can buy, defines the principal terms used to distinguish various optical systems and mounts, and explains the data in the tables on the following pages. Armed with this knowledge, you should have a good idea of the criteria to apply when choosing a suitable instrument. Remember, whatever your particular observational interests and budget, there is a scope to meet your needs.

Now that you know what to look for, how do you identify the product that's right for you? That's where our Telescope Buyer's Guide comes in. This compendium of 82 scopes provides a convenient way to explore the marketplace of possibilities and compare instruments feature by feature.

Here's how we decided what to include and what to leave out. For a telescope to make the cut, it had to be available to the readers of this publication--principally in North America and Western Europe. We also stipulated a retail price range from $299 to $999 (all prices are in U.S. dollars, are subject to change, and don't include any applicable shipping fees, taxes, or duties). There are many other fine telescopes available at prices outside this range, but most of them will likely not concern observers contemplating a first purchase.

Once you narrow your choices to a few specific instruments, contact the manufacturers or distributors directly or visit their Web sites; contact information is provided on page 100.

Telescopes are listed in ascending order of price, so you'll see instruments from each of the 15 manufacturers and suppliers distributed throughout the guide. This leads to some interesting juxtapositions. For example, you may find a 10-inch Dobsonian from one manufacturer for the same price as a 4-inch computerized refractor from another. If your interests include the pursuit of faint deep-sky objects, the former scope may be preferred, whereas the latter will appeal more to the observer seeking compactness and Go To pointing.

All seasoned observers know that the right telescope will become a frequently used tool that opens doors of discovery and wonder. We hope this guide will help you select a suitable scope and begin your celestial travels!

Celestron Firstscope 80EQ

Here is a multicoated, 3.1-inch (80-mm) achromatic refractor of 900-mm focal length (f/11) with a German equatorial mount, dual-axis slow-motion controls, and an adjustable aluminum tripod. An intuitive, easy-to-use reddot Star Pointer makes for quick location of objects. Two eyepieces--10 mm (90x) and 20 mm (45x)--are supplied, along with a right-angle star diagonal.

Scientifics AstroScan

This versatile and portable telescope is a 4.25-inch (105-mm) Newtonian reflector with a focal length of 445 mm (f/4.2). It's housed in a high-impact, ball-shaped shell that can move in an altazimuth fashion on the base plate provided. The "ball and socket" can be placed on any flat and level surface or mounted on a rigid tripod. A simple peep-sight bracket constitutes the finder. A 1.25-inch 28- mm (16x) eyepiece is included.

Orion Explorer 90AZ

Sporting a multicoated 3.5-inch (90-mm) achromatic lens with a focal length of 910 mm (f/10), this refractor is shipped with an altazimuth mount (which has dual-axis slow-motion controls) and an adjustable aluminum tripod. Two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (91x) and 25 mm (36x)--come standard. The 45[degrees] erect-image diagonal and erect-image 6 x 26 finder (both included) make this scope instantly usable for terrestrial viewing. A 90[degrees] diagonal is extra.

Orion SpaceProbe 130ST EQ

Observers requiring a reflector of manageable proportions may find this short-tube scope of interest. It's a 5.1-inch (130-mm) parabolic Newtonian with a focal length of 650 mm (f/5) supplied with a German equatorial mount and an adjustable aluminum tripod. The mount features dual-axis setting circles and slow-motion controls. A motor drive is optional. Two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (65x) and 25 mm (26x)--and a 6 x 30 finder are supplied.

North Star Star Tron II 6" f/8

Unlike most small to mid-range Dobsonians on the market, the Star Trons feature truss-tube designs, enhanced coatings for the optics, and come assembled. This 6-inch (152-mm) reflector has a focal length of 1,200 mm (f/8). The mount features high-quality plywood, not particleboard. A 1.25-inch 12.5-mm (96x) multicoated eyepiece is included. No finder is supplied, but an optional red-dot reflex sight is available.

Orion SkyView Deluxe 4.5 EQ

Here is a 4.5-inch (114-mm) Newtonian reflector with a focal length of 910 mm (f/8) that comes with a German equatorial mount and a gold-anodized aluminum tripod. The mount has dual-axis slow-motion controls, setting circles, and an integral polar scope. An optional motor drive is available. Two 1.25-inch eyepieces--9 mm (100x) and 25 mm (36x)--are included, as is a Moon filter and 6 x 30 finder.

Meade Instruments DS-2070AT

The smallest scope in Meade's DS-2000 series is this 2.8-inch (70-mm) achromatic refractor of 700-mm focal length (f/10). It comes with a fully computerized altazimuth mount, dual-axis drives, and an adjustable tripod. The Autostar handset (included) has a database of more than 1,500 objects, and the bundled StarNavigator software enables you to display more than 10,000 objects on your personal computer. Two eyepieces and a 5 x 24 finder are included.

Discovery 6" f/5 DHQ

The shortest scope in Discovery's line of Newtonians, this Dobsonian has a 6-inch (152-mm) mirror with a focal length of 762 mm (f/5). The scope rests on a laminated wood base that, for an additional cost, can be upgraded to cabinet-quality birch with Ebony Star laminate. A notable feature is an adjustable bearing that permits precise balance. Standard equipment includes a 6 x 30 finder and two 1.25-inch eyepieces: 10 mm (76x) and 25 mm (30x).

Discovery 6" f/8 DHQ

With a focal length of 1,219 mm, this 6-inch (152-mm), f/8 Dobsonian reflector will provide fine views of the Moon and planets through its standard 10-mm (122x) and 25-mm (49x) eyepieces. For an extra cost the laminated base can be upgraded to cabinet-quality birch with Ebony Star laminate. An adjustable bearing can be repositioned for precise tube balance. A 6 x 30 finder is provided.

Meade Instruments DS-70EC

This refractor is a 2.8-inch (70-mm), 700-mm-focal-length (f/10) achromat with an altazimuth mount, integral dual-axis drives, and an adjustable aluminum tripod. The hand-held electronic controller (supplied) permits four-speed pushbutton activation of the scope. Two 1.25-inch eyepieces are included--9 mm (78x) and 25 mm (28x)--in addition to a star diagonal and a 5 x 24 finder. The focuser can accept 2-inch eyepieces.

Meade Instruments ETX-70AT

This scope is a highly portable, short-focus achromatic refractor on a fully computerized altazimuth fork mount with dual-axis drives. (A tripod is extra.) The scope's aperture is 2.8 inches (70 mm), and the focal length is 350 mm (f/5). The Autostar hand controller (included) has more than 1,400 objects in its database. No finder is supplied since the scope delivers wide fields with the two included 1.25-inch eyepieces: 9 mm (39x) and 25 mm (14x).

Celestron NexStar 80GT

This refractor is a versatile short-tube 3.1-inch (80-mm) scope of 400-mm focal length (f/5) with a computerized Go To mount (handset included) and an aluminum tripod. Instead of an optical finder, an intuitive, easy-to-use red-dot Star Pointer is provided. The telescope comes with a pair of 1.25-inch eyepieces: 10 mm (40x) and 25 mm (16x). The latter delivers a true field of view in excess of 3[degrees].

Orion SkyQuest XT6

Set on a Dobsonian mount, this 6-inch (152-mm) Newtonian, with a focal length of 1,200 mm (f/8), has the light grasp and resolution to open up fine celestial vistas. This reflector sports a quality optical tube assembly with an easy-to-use altazimuth mount. The scope comes with a collimation cap, 6 x 30 finder, and two 1.25-inch eyepieces: 10 mm (120x) and 25 mm (48x).

Orion AstroView 6 EQ

Sporting a 6-inch (152-mm), 750-mmfocal- length (f/5) parabolic Newtonian tube assembly, this reflector comes with a sturdy EQ-3 German equatorial mount and an adjustable aluminum tripod. Dual-axis slow-motion controls, setting circles, and a built-in polar-alignment scope are all part of the mount. Single- or dual-axis drives are optional. The system includes a 6 x 30 finder and two 1.25-inch eyepieces: 10 mm (75x) and 25 mm (30x).

Meade Instruments DS-114EC

This 4.5-inch (114-mm) Newtonian reflector, with a focal length of 910 mm (f/8), includes an altazimuth mount, integral dual-axis drives, and an adjustable aluminum tripod. The hand-held electronic controller (supplied) permits four-speed pushbutton activation of the scope, while the optional Autostar delivers computerized location and tracking of more than 1,500 objects. Included are a 6 x 30 finder and two 1.25-inch eyepieces: 9 mm (101x) and 25 mm (36x).

Orion StarMax 102mm EQ

This 1,300-mm-focal-length (f/12.7) Maksutov-Cassegrain reflector features a 4-inch (102-mm) optical tube assembly. It's supplied with an aluminum tripod and a sturdy EQ-2 German equatorial mount that has dual-axis manual slow-motion controls and setting circles. A motor drive is extra. Also included are a photo adapter, a 25-mm (52x) eyepiece, 90[degrees] mirror star diagonal, and a 6 x 26 erect-image finder.

North Star Star Tron II 8" f/6

Unlike most small to mid-range Dobsonians on the market, the Star Trons feature truss-tube designs, enhanced coatings for the optics, and come assembled. This 8-inch (203-mm) reflector has a focal length of 1,200 mm (f/6). The mount features high-quality plywood, not particleboard. A 1.25-inch 12.5-mm (96x) multicoated eyepiece is included. No finder is supplied as standard, but an optional red-dot reflex sight is available.

Celestron C102-AZ

This short-focus, multicoated, 4-inch (102-mm) achromatic refractor has a focal length of 500 mm (f/5). The instrument comes with an altazimuth mount, manual dual-axis slow-motion controls, and an adjustable aluminum tripod. A 20-mm (25x) eyepiece and 6 x 30 finder are supplied. Also included is an erect-image 45[degrees] diagonal that lets you use this scope for terrestrial viewing.

Meade Instruments DS-90EC

This 3.5-inch (90-mm), 1,000-mm-focal-length (f/11.1) achromatic refractor comes with an altazimuth mount, integral dual-axis drives, and an adjustable aluminum tripod. The hand-held electronic controller (supplied) permits four-speed pushbutton activation of the scope. Two 1.25-inch eyepieces are included--9 mm (111x) and 25 mm (40x)--in addition to a star diagonal and a 6 x 30 finder. The focuser can accept 2-inch eyepieces.

Hardin Optical DSH-8

This reflector is an easy-to-use 8-inch (203-mm), 1,200-mm-focal-length (f/6) Newtonian with a stable Dobsonian mount, carrying handle, and eyepiece rack. The mount features tension springs to correct any imbalance in the tube when heavy eyepieces or accessories are used. Included are an 8 x 50 finder, Moon filter, and two eyepieces: 9 mm (133x) and 25 mm (48x). The focuser accepts 2-inch eyepieces, while a 1.25-inch adapter accommodates those supplied.

Vixen 80M

This refractor features a premium, multicoated 3.1-inch (80-mm) achromatic objective of 910-mm focal length (f/11.4). The tube assembly sports a 1.25-inch rack-and-pinion focuser and a 6 x 30 finder. Eyepieces, mount, and tripod are not included. You may also see this instrument listed as a GP-80M, but that model (shown here) comes with a Vixen GP German equatorial mount and tripod at a higher cost.

Celestron NexStar 114GT

This telescope combines the benefits of a short-tube Newtonian reflector with a computerized Go To mount and built-in drives. The scope features a 4.5-inch (114-mm) primary mirror with a focal length of 1,000 mm (f/9) and comes with an easy-touse reflex finder and two eyepieces--25 mm (40x) and 10 mm (100x). A computer handset programmed to locate 4,000 objects and an adjustable aluminum tripod are included.

Orion SkyView Deluxe 6 EQ

Larger than its sibling (the SkyView Deluxe 4.5 EQ), this 6-inch (152-mm) Newtonian reflector, with a focal length of 750 mm (f/5), comes with a German equatorial mount and a gold-anodized aluminum tripod. The mount includes an integral polar scope, dual-axis slowmotion controls, and setting circles. An optional motor drive is available. Also included are a 6 x 30 finder and two 1.25-inch eyepieces: 9 mm (83x) and 25 mm (30x).

Meade Instruments DS-2130ATS

The largest instrument in Meade's DS-2000 series is this 5-inch (127-mm) Newtonian reflector of 1,000-mm focal length (f/7.9). The scope comes with a fully computerized altazimuth mount, dual-axis drives, and an adjustable tripod. The Autostar handset (included) has a database of more than 1,500 objects. Two 1.25-inch eyepieces--9 mm (111x) and 25 mm (40x)--and a 6 x 30 finder are supplied. The focuser will accept 2-inch eyepieces.

Celestron C150-HD

An auxiliary lens in front of the Newtonian focus of this 6-inch (150-mm) reflector flattens the field and reduces aberrations in this 1,000-mm-focal-length (f/6.7) telescope. The scope comes with a CG-4 German equatorial mount, slow-motion controls, setting circles on both axes, and an adjustable aluminum tripod. Single- or dual-axis drives are optional. A 20-mm (50x) eyepiece and 6 x 30 finder are standard.

Discovery 8" f/7 DHQ

With a focal length of 1,422 mm (f/7), this 8-inch (203-mm) Dobsonian reflector will provide fine views of many astronomical targets. For an extra cost the laminated base can be upgraded to cabinet-quality birch with Ebony Star laminate. The altitude bearings can be repositioned for precise tube balance. Standard accessories include a 6 x 30 finder and two 1.25-inch eyepieces: 10 mm (142x) and 25 mm (57x).

Discovery 8" f/6 DHQ

This 8-inch (203-mm) Dobsonian reflector, with a 1,219-mm focal length (f/6), provides 77 percent more light grasp than a 6-inch model. For an extra cost, the laminated base can be upgraded to cabinet-quality birch with Ebony Star laminate. The altitude bearings can be repositioned for precise tube balance. This scope comes with a 6 x 30 finder and two 1.25-inch eyepieces: 10 mm (122x) and 25 mm (49x).

TALscopes TAL-1M

One of the most popular of these Russian-made instruments is this 4.3-inch (110-mm) Newtonian reflector of 805-mm focal length (f/7.3). Supplied with a sturdy German equatorial mount and pedestal with setting circles, slow-motion controls, and a motorized worm drive, it's laden with accessories: a Barlow lens, two 1.25-inch eyepieces--15 mm (54x, 162x) and 25 mm (32x, 96x)--a 6 x 30 finder, camera bracket, filters, and a solar-projection screen.

TALscopes TAL-120M

This 4.7-inch (120-mm) Newtonian reflector employs a multicoated negative achromatic lens to provide an effective focal length of 805 mm (f/6.7) in a short tube. It comes with a German equatorial mount that has setting circles, slow-motion controls, and a motorized worm drive on a pedestal stand. Accessories include a Barlow lens, two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (80x, 240x) and 25 mm (32x, 96x)--photo adapter, solar-projection screen, and 6 x 30 finder.

Meade Instruments ETX-90EC

This compact 3.5-inch (90-mm) Maksutov-Cassegrain reflector with a 1,250-mm focal length (f/13.8) comes on an altazimuth fork mount with integral dual-axis drives. (A tripod is extra.) The hand-held electronic controller (supplied) permits four-speed pushbutton activation of the scope. An internal flip mirror provides access to either a right-angle viewing position or a photography port. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (48x) eyepiece is supplied in addition to an 8 c 21 erect-image finder.

Orion SkyQuest XT8

Orion has recently added features and lowered the price on this model. This 8-inch (203-mm) Newtonian reflector, with a focal length of 1,200 mm (f/5.9) comes with an easy-to-use altazimuth Dobsonian mount. Now included are a 2-inch focuser with a 1.25-inch adapter for the supplied 10-mm (120x) and 25-mm (48x) eyepieces, a navigation knob grip, and 6 x 30 finder.

Apogee WIDESTAR 102

This refractor is a coated achromat of 4-inch (102-mm) aperture and 640-mm focal length (f/6.3). It comes with an 8 x 50 finder, a sturdy German equatorial mount, slow-motion controls, tripod, and illuminated polar finder. Single- or dual-axis drives are optional. A 2-inch focuser and star diagonal are included, as is a 1.25-inch eyepiece adapter and a 25-mm (26x) eyepiece.

Celestron C102-HD

This multicoated 4-inch (102-mm) achromatic refractor, with a focal length of 1,000 mm (f/10), is intended for observations of the Moon, planets, and bright deep-sky objects. The telescope comes with a CG-4 German equatorial mount that includes slow-motion controls and setting circles on both axes. Single- or dual-axis drives are optional. A 20-mm (50x) eyepiece, 90[degrees] diagonal, and 6 x 30 finder are included.

Orion AstroView 120mm EQ

Featuring a multicoated 4.7-inch (120-mm) achromatic lens with a focal length of 1,000 mm (f/8.3), this refractor is supplied with an EQ-3 German equatorial mount with dual-axis slow-motion controls, setting circles, a built-in polar scope, and an aluminum tripod. A motor drive is extra. A 90[degrees] mirror star diagonal, 6 x 30 finder, and two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (100x) and 25 mm (40x)--are included, as is a 2-inch focuser.

LOMO Astele 102MN OTA

With its multicoated, low-expansion, 4-inch (102-mm), f/5.5 optics, this 561-mm-focal-length Maksutov-Newtonian reflector gives superb wide-field views and performs well on the Moon and planets. Configurations vary but usually include a photo adapter, tube rings, dovetail mount, lens shade, and two 1.25-inch eyepieces: 10 mm (56x) and 25 mm (22x). This is a tube assembly only; the German equatorial mount, drives, and tripod shown here are available separately.

Orion AstroView 120ST EQ

This short-tube achromatic refractor has a multicoated, 4.7-inch (120-mm) lens with a focal length of 600 mm (f/5). It comes with an EQ-3 German equatorial mount with dual-axis slow motion controls, setting circles, a built-in polar scope, and an aluminum tripod. A motor drive is extra. A 90[degrees] mirror star diagonal, 6 x 30 finder, two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (60x) and 25 mm (24x)--and a 2-inch focuser are included.

Orion SkyView Deluxe 8 EQ

This is the largest reflector in Orion's SkyView Deluxe series--an 8-inch (203-mm), 800-mm-focal-length (f/4) Newtonian tube assembly. It's supplied with a German equatorial mount that has dual-axis slow-motion controls and setting circles, an integral polar scope, and a gold-anodized aluminum tripod. An optional motor drive is available. A Moon filter, 6 x 30 finder, and two 1.25-inch eyepieces--9 mm (89x) and 25 mm (32x)--are included.

Orion StarMax 127mm EQ

Currently the largest-aperture scope in Orion's StarMax range of compact Maksutov-Cassegrains, this reflector features a multicoated 5-inch (127-mm), 1,540-mm-focal-length (f/12.1) catadioptric tube assembly and includes a 1.25-inch 25-mm (62x) eyepiece, 90[degrees] mirror star diagonal, and 6 x 26 erect-image finder. It comes with an aluminum tripod and a sturdy EQ-3 German equatorial with dual-axis slow-motion controls and setting circles. Single- or dual-axis motor drives are extra.

LOMO Astele 95 G

The Astele reflector is a 3.7-inch (95-mm) Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system of 1,200-mm focal length (f/12.6). The telescope includes an adjustable tripod and a German equatorial mount with manual slow-motion controls and setting circles. A single-axis motor drive is optional. A 5 x 25 right-angle finder and two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (120x) and 25 mm (48x)--are included.

TALscopes TAL-150P

This is a premium 5.9-inch (150-mm) parabolic Newtonian reflector with a focal length of 750 mm (f/5). It's supplied with a German equatorial mount that has dual-axis setting circles and slow-motion controls on a pedestal stand. It's identical to the TAL-150PM but lacks a motor drive. A Barlow lens, two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (75x, 150x) and 25 mm (30x, 60x)--filters, photo adapter, solar-projection screen, and an 8 x 50 finder come standard.

Meade Instruments 102ACHR/300

This telescope is a 4-inch (102-mm) achromatic refractor with a 900-mm focal length (f/9). Included is an adjustable tripod and an LXD300 German equatorial mount with dual-axis slow-motion controls and setting circles. A single-axis drive is optional. The objective features enhanced multicoatings for increased light transmission. A 1.25-inch 25-mm (36x) eyepiece, star diagonal, and 6 x 30 finder come standard.

Apogee WIDESTAR 127

Delivering 56 percent more light-gathering power than its smaller sibling (the WIDESTAR 102), this refractor consists of a 5-inch (127-mm) coated achromat of 820-mm focal length (f/6.5). An 8 x 50 finder, 2-inch focuser, 2-inch star diagonal, and 1.25-inch adapter ensures the widest choice of eyepieces; a 25-mm (33x) is supplied. The German equatorial mount with tripod has slow-motion controls; single- or dual-axis drives are optional.

Celestron NexStar 4

The only Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope in Celestron's line, this 4-inch (102-mm) reflector squeezes a focal length of 1,325 mm (f/13) into a compact package with a single-fork altazimuth mount and computerized Go To system with built-in drives. An internal flip mirror provides access to either a right-angle viewing position or a photography port. A 25-mm (53x) eyepiece and a Star Pointer reflex finder are included. The wedge and tripod shown here are available separately.

Meade Instruments SN-6 LXD55

This 6-inch (152-mm), 762-mm-focallength (f/5) Schmidt-Newtonian reflector includes an LXD55 German equatorial mount with built-in dual-axis worm-drive systems, an illuminated pole finder, and an adjustable tripod. The Autostar computerized handset (included) has in excess of 30,000 objects in its database. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (29x) eyepiece and 6 x 30 finder are included. The focuser will also accept 2-inch eyepieces.

Discovery 8" f/5 EQ

Observers seeking a compact, medium-aperture scope on an equatorial mount will appreciate Discovery's 8-inch (203-mm) Newtonian reflector with a focal length of 1,016 mm (f/5). Included are a German equatorial mount (with polar-alignment scope), an adjustable tripod, and a single-axis drive. Two 1.25-inch eyepieces are supplied: 10 mm (102x) and 25 mm (41x). A 2-inch adapter is available and a 6 x 30 finder completes the set.

Discovery 10" f/5.6 DHQ

With a focal length of 1,422 mm (f/5.6), this 10-inch (254-mm) Dobsonian reflector will provide fine views of astronomical targets. For an extra cost the laminated base can be upgraded to cabinet-quality birch with EbonyStar Formica. The altitude bearings can be repositioned for precise tube balance. Standard accessories include a 6 x 30 finder and two 1.25-inch eyepieces: 10 mm (142x) and 25 mm (57x).

Hardin Optical DSH-10

Here's an easy-to-use telescope with 56 percent more light grasp than an 8-inch model. It's a 10-inch (254-mm), 1,250-mm-focal-length (f/5) Newtonian reflector with a Dobsonian mount, carrying handle, and eyepiece rack. The scope comes with an 8 x 50 finder, Moon filter, and two eyepieces: 9 mm (139x) and 25 mm (50x). The focuser accepts 2-inch eyepieces, while a 1.25-inch adapter accommodates those supplied.

Vixen R130S

This is one of the smallest reflecting telescopes in the Vixen line and features a 5.1-inch (130-mm) multicoated parabolic Newtonian optics set with a focal length of 720 mm (f/5.5). A 6 x 30 finder is included, but eyepieces, mount, and tripod are extra. You may also see this instrument listed as a GP-R130S, but that model (shown here) comes with a Vixen GP German equatorial mount and tripod at a higher cost.

Tele Vue Ranger

Sometimes referred to as a budget Tele Vue Pronto, this little refractor makes an ideal, highly portable instrument. It features a multicoated 2.8-inch (70-mm), 480-mm-focal-length (f/6.8) ED achromatic objective with a helical 1.25-inch focuser and a 20-mm (24x) Plossl eyepiece. You have the choice of a 90[degrees] mirror diagonal or a 45[degrees] erect-image diagonal. Included is an integral mounting bracket, but neither a mount nor a tripod is supplied.

Meade Instruments 102ACHR/500

Here's a 4-inch (102-mm) achromatic refractor with a 900-mm focal length (f/9). Included is an adjustable tripod with an LXD500 German equatorial mount, dual-axis slow-motion controls and setting circles. A single-axis drive is optional. The objective features enhanced multicoatings for increased light transmission. A 1.25-inch 25-mm (36x) eyepiece, star diagonal, and 6 x 30 finder come standard.

TALscopes TAL-100RSM

This premium refractor for lunar and planetary observing sports a 4-inch (100-mm) achromat with a focal length of 1,000 mm (f/10). The mount is a German equatorial with setting circles, slow-motion controls, and a motorized R.A. worm drive on a pedestal stand. Its 2-inch focuser can also handle 1.25-inch eyepieces, two of which are included: 10 mm (100x) and 25 mm (40x). A 6 x 30 finder is standard.

Meade Instruments ETX-105EC

This 4.1-inch (105-mm) Maksutov-Cassegrain reflector has a focal length of 1,470-mm (f/14) and comes on an altazimuth fork mount with integral dual-axis drives. (A tripod is extra.) The hand-held electronic controller (supplied) permits four-speed pushbutton activation of the scope. An internal flip mirror provides access to either a right-angle viewing position or a photography port. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (57x) eyepiece is supplied, as is an 8 x 25 right-angle finder.

Meade Instruments AR-5 LXD55

Designed to deliver fine lunar, planetary, and deep-sky views, this 5-inch (127-mm), 1,140-mm-focallength (f/9) achromatic refractor is supplied with an LXD55 German equatorial mount, built-in dual-axis worm-drive systems, an illuminated pole finder, and an adjustable tripod. The Autostar computerized handset (included) has in excess of 30,000 objects in its database. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (44x) eyepiece and an 8 x 50 finder are supplied.

Stellarvue 80/9DM

This is a multicoated 3.1-inch (78-mm), 750-mm-focallength (f/9.6) achromatic refractor. It comes with an adjustable aluminum tripod and a German equatorial mount that has a polar sighting tube, setting circles, and manual slow-motion controls on both axes. The focuser accepts 2-inch eyepieces directly, while a 1.25-inch star diagonal takes the supplied 9-mm (83x) and 25-mm (30x) eyepieces. The 2-inch star diagonal (shown here) is extra. A reddot reflex finder is included.

TALscopes TAL-150PM

Anyone considering a short-focus reflector should check out this premium 5.9-inch (150-mm) parabolic Newtonian with a focal length of 750 mm (f/5). It comes with a solid German equatorial mount that has setting circles, slow-motion controls, and a motorized worm drive on a pedestal stand. A Barlow lens, two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (75x, 150x) and 25 mm (30x, 60x)--filters, photo adapter, solar-projection screen, and 8 x 50 finder come standard.

Parks Optical PRT-813 EQ

If you're looking for a traditional refractor, this instrument may interest you. Here is a 3.1-inch (80-mm) air-spaced achromatic refractor of 900-mm focal length (f/11.2). It's supplied with an adjustable wooden tripod and a German equatorial mount that has dual-axis slow-motion controls and setting circles. A single-axis drive is optional. Also included are a 1.25-inch 25-mm (36x) eyepiece, star diagonal, and 6 x 30 finder.

Stellarvue AT1010M4

This refractor sports a multicoated 3.1-inch (78-mm) achromatic lens, with a focal length of 480 mm (f/6), in a tube optimized for contrast. It comes with an adjustable aluminum tripod and a German equatorial mount that has a polar sighting tube, setting circles, and manual slow-motion controls on both axes. The focuser accepts 2-inch eyepieces, while a 1.25-inch star diagonal takes the supplied 9-mm (53x) and 25-mm (19x) eyepieces. The 2-inch star diagonal (shown here) is extra.

Meade Instruments SN-8 LXD55

This compact 8-inch (203-mm), 810-mm-focal-length (f/4) Schmidt-Newtonian reflector includes an LXD55 German equatorial mount with built-in dual-axis worm-drive systems, an illuminated pole finder, and an adjustable tripod. The Autostar computerized handset (included) has in excess of 30,000 objects in its database. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (31x) eyepiece is supplied, in addition to a 6 x 30 finder. The focuser will also accept 2-inch eyepieces.

Celestron G8-N

Like the C150-HD (its smaller sibling), the G8-N has an aberration-reducing lens close to its Newtonian focus. As a result this fast (f/5) 8-inch (203-mm) parabolic reflecting telescope with a focal length of 1,000 mm has a very compact tube. The sturdy CG-5 German equatorial mount and tripod can take optional single- or dual-axis drives. A 20-mm (50x) 1.25-inch eyepiece and 9 x 50 finder are included.

TALscopes TAL-2

This is a 5.9-inch (150-mm) Newtonian reflector with a focal length of 1,200 mm (f/8). It comes with a heavy-duty German equatorial mount that has setting circles, slow-motion controls, and a motorized worm drive on a pedestal stand. A Barlow lens, two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (120x, 240x) and 25 mm (48x, 96x)--filters, photo adapter, solar-projection screen, and an 8 x 50 finder are standard.

Vixen 102M

This multicoated 4-inch (102-mm) achromatic refractor has a focal length of 1,000 mm (f/9.8). The tube assembly sports a 1.25-inch rack-and-pinion focuser and a 6 x 30 finder, but eyepieces, mount, and tripod are not included. You may also see this instrument listed as a GP-102M, but that model (shown here) comes with a Vixen GP German equatorial mount and tripod at a higher cost.

Meade Instruments 203SC/300

Observers seeking a medium- to large-aperture catadioptric may find this instrument appealing. It features an 8-inch (203-mm), 2,000-mmfocal- length (f/10) Schmidt- Cassegrain optical system that comes with an LXD300 German equatorial mount and an adjustable tripod. This mount features dual-axis slow-motion controls and setting circles. A single-axis drive is optional. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (77x) eyepiece and 6 x 30 finder come standard.

Tele Vue Pronto

This small-aperture refractor sports a multicoated 2.8-inch (70-mm) ED achromatic objective with a 480-mm focal length (f/6.8). Extremely well engineered and rugged, this scope comes with a 20-mm (24x) Plossl eyepiece and a 2-inch focuser. There is a choice of diagonals when ordering: a 2-inch or a standard 1.25-inch. Included on the scope is a mounting collar, but neither a mount nor a tripod is supplied.

Parks Optical Companion 4.5"

This compact (22-inchlong) reflecting telescope from Parks is suitable for the novice observer. It's a 4.5-inch (114-mm) Newtonian with a focal length of 570 mm (f/5) and has USA-made optics. The package includes a 1.25-inch 25-mm (23x) eyepiece, 6 x 30 finderscope, a tripod adapter plate, and a heavy-duty tripod.

LOMO Astele 133.5 OTA

The Astele 133.5 OTA is a catadioptric tube assembly with a 5.25-inch (133.5-mm), Maksutov-Cassegrain reflector of 1,335-mm focal length (f/10). The primary mirror is made of very low expansion glass for optical stability. Configurations vary but usually include a photo adapter, lens shade, 8 x 40 right-angle finder, 1.25-inch star diagonal, and 25-mm (53x) eyepiece. The equatorial mount, drive, and tripod shown here are available separately.

Hutech Borg 76SWII

For observers seeking a compact achromat, the Borg 76SWII could be a fine choice. This 3-inch (76-mm), f/6.6 refractor has a focal length of 500 mm. Included in the price are a single-arm fork mount and SWII tripod, helical focuser with turret eyepiece selection, 2-inch eyepiece holder, adapters, extenders, and three eyepieces: 13.5 mm (37x), 22 mm (23x), and 50 mm (10x).

Celestron CR-150-HD

This 6-inch (150-mm) achromatic refractor is a good all-purpose scope. With a focal length of 1,200 mm, this f/8 telescope comes with a CG-5 German equatorial mount and an adjustable aluminum tripod. There are setting circles and slow-motion controls on each axis. Single- or dual-axis drives are optional. A 2-inch focuser, 1.25-inch adapter, 2x Barlow, 20-mm (60 x, 120x) eyepiece, and 9 x 50 finder are included.

TALscopes TAL-150P8

This Newtonian reflector has a 5.9-inch (150-mm) parabolic mirror with a focal length of 1,200 mm (f/8). It comes with a heavy-duty German equatorial mount that has setting circles, slow-motion controls, and a motorized worm drive on a pedestal stand. A 2x Barlow lens, two 1.25-inch eyepieces--10 mm (120x, 240x) and 25 mm (48x, 96x)--filters, photo adapter, solar-projection screen, and an 8 x 50 finder are standard.

Meade Instruments SN-10 LXD55

This compact 10-inch (254-mm), 1,016-mm-focallength (f/4) Schmidt-Newtonian optical system comes with an LXD55 German equatorial mount that has built-in dual-axis worm-drive systems, an illuminated polar-alignment viewfinder, and an adjustable tripod. The Autostar computerized handset (included) has more than 30,000 objects in its database. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (39x) eyepiece is supplied in addition to a 6 x 30 finder. The focuser will also accept 2-inch eyepieces.

Meade Instruments AR-6 LXD55

Gathering 44 percent more light than its sibling (the Meade AR-5), this refractor is a 6-inch (152-mm), 1,220-mm-focallength (f/8) achromat with an LXD55 German equatorial mount, built-in dual-axis worm-drive systems, an illuminated polar-alignment viewfinder, and an adjustable tripod. The Autostar computerized handset (included) has in excess of 30,000 objects in its database. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (47x) eyepiece and an 8 x 50 finder are supplied.

Meade Instruments ETX-125EC

This 4.9-inch (127-mm) Maksutov-Cassegrain reflector has a focal length of 1,900 mm (f/15) and comes on an altazimuth fork mount with integral dual-axis drives. (A tripod is extra.) The handheld electronic controller (supplied) permits four-speed pushbutton activation of the scope. An internal flip mirror provides access to either a right-angle viewing position or an astrophotography port. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (73x) eyepiece and an 8 x 25 right-angle finder are supplied.

Meade Instruments 203SC/500

This is the identical 8-inch (203-mm), 2,000-mm-focal-length (f/10) Schmidt-Cassegrain optical tube assembly as the Meade 203SC/300 unit but supplied with an LXD500 German equatorial mount and an adjustable tripod. The mount features dual-axis slow-motion controls and setting circles. A four-speed dual-axis drive is optional. A 1.25-inch 26-mm (77x) eyepiece and 6 x 30 finder come standard.

Vixen ED80S

This little refractor features an ED achromatic objective lens of 3.1-inch (80-mm) aperture and 720-mm focal length (f/9). The unit comes with a 1.25-inch focuser and 6 x 30 finder, but eyepieces, mount, and tripod are extra. You may also see this instrument listed as a GP-ED80S, but that model (shown here) comes with a Vixen GP German equatorial mount and tripod at a higher cost.

Parks Optical Precision 6" f/8

This classic reflector features 6-inch (152-mm), 1,220-mm-focal-length (f/8) Newtonian optics set in a gloss-white fiberglass tube. Included is a German equatorial mount with a pedestal stand. Three threaded leveling feet ensure stability and assist alignment. A 1.25-inch 25-mm (49x) eyepiece, 6 x 30 finder, collimation tool, and optical certificate are supplied. A polar-axis drive, declination slow-motion control, and setting circles are optional extras.

Parks Optical Precision 6" f/6

This equatorially mounted reflector features 6-inch (152-mm) Newtonian optics with a focal length of 910 mm (f/6) set in a gloss-white fiberglass tube. Included is a German equatorial mount with a pedestal stand. Three threaded leveling feet ensure stability and assist alignment. A 1.25-inch, 25-mm (36x) eyepiece and 6 x 30 finder are included. A polar-axis drive, declination slow-motion control, and setting circles are optional extras.

Stellarvue SV78L-M4

This refractor has a multicoated 3.1-inch (78-mm), 752-mm-focallength (f/9.6) achromatic objective lens in a tube fitted with a rotating, dual-speed focuser. It comes with an adjustable aluminum tripod and a German equatorial mount that has a polar sighting tube, setting circles, and manual slow-motion controls. The focuser accepts 2-inch eyepieces, while a 1.25-inch star diagonal takes the supplied 9-mm (83x) and 25-mm (30x) eyepieces. The 2-inch star diagonal (shown here) is optional. A red-dot reflex finder is included.

Stellarvue SV78S-M4

This short-tube refractor has a 3.1-inch (78-mm) achromatic objective lens with a focal length of 480 mm (f/6.2). It comes with an adjustable aluminum tripod and a German equatorial mount that has a polar sighting tube, setting circles, and manual slow-motion controls on both axes. The focuser accepts 2-inch eyepieces, while a 1.25-inch star diagonal takes the supplied 9-mm (53x) and 25-mm (19x) eyepieces. The 2-inch star diagonal (shown here) is extra. A red-dot reflex finder is included.

LOMO Astele 150 OTA

Planetary observers will appreciate this reflector, which consists of a 5.9-inch (150-mm) Maksutov-Cassegrain optical system of 2,134-mm focal length (f/14.2). The primary mirror is made of very low expansion glass for optical stability. Configurations vary but usually include a photo adapter, lens shade, 8 x 40 right-angle finder, 1.25-inch star diagonal, and 25-mm (85x) eyepiece. This is a tube assembly only; the equatorial mount, drive, and tripod shown here are available separately.

Meade Instruments LX10

Aimed at the budget-conscious serious amateur, this 8-inch (203-mm) Schmidt- Cassegrain reflector has a focal length of 2,000 mm (f/10) and comes on an altazimuth fork mount (with equatorial wedge) that includes a single-axis worm-gear drive system (manual slow-motion drive in declination). The field tripod is generally extra, but check with the dealer. The instrument is supplied with a 1.25-inch 26-mm (77x) eyepiece, star diagonal, and 6 x 30 finder.

Parks Optical Astrolight 6" f/6

This 6-inch (152-mm) Newtonian reflector comes in a gloss-white fiberglass tube with a focal length of 910 mm (f/6). Included are a German equatorial mount and an adjustable aluminum tripod. The mount comes with dualaxis slow-motion controls, setting circles, and a polar-alignment scope. Electric drives are extra. The telescope ships with a 1.25-inch 25-mm (36x) eyepiece, 6 x30 finder, collimation tool, and optical certificate.

Parks Optical Astrolight 6" f/8

This reflector features a 6-inch (152-mm), 1,220-mm-focal-length (f/8) Newtonian optical system in a gloss-white fiberglass tube. Included are a German equatorial mount and an adjustable aluminum tripod. The mount comes with dual-axis slow-motion controls, setting circles, and a polar-alignment scope. Electric drives are extra. The telescope ships with a 1.25-inch 25-mm (49x) eyepiece and a 6 x 30 finder.

Celestron G-8

It's the "classic" C8 catadioptric (2,032-mm focal length) with a Starbright coating on an 8-inch (203-mm), f/10 mirror, repackaged and included with a sturdy CG-5 German equatorial mount and an adjustable tripod. Dual-axis manual slow-motion controls and setting circles come standard, while single- or dual-axis motor drives are optional. A 25-mm (81x) eyepiece, star diagonal, visual back, and 6 x 30 finderscope are included.
Telescope Manufacturers Included in This Guide

Apogee Inc.
P.O.Box 136                                     Phone: 815-568-2880
Union, IL 60180, USA                            Fax: 815-568-1988
http://www.apogeeinc.com/

Celestron
2835 Columbia St.                               Phone: 310-328-9560
Torrance, CA 90503, USA                         Fax: 310-212-5835
http://www.celestron.com/

Discovery Telescopes
615 South Tremont St.                           Phone: 760-967-6598
Oceanside, CA 92054, USA                        Fax: 760-967-6798
http://www.discovery-telescopes.com/

Hardin Optical
1450 Oregon Ave.                                Phone: 877-447-4847
Bandon, OR 97411, USA                           Fax: 541-347-8176
http://www.hardin-optical.com/

Hutech Corporation
23505 Crenshaw Blvd., #225                      Phone: 310-325-5511
Torrance, CA 90505, USA                         Fax: 310-325-8974
http://www.sciencecenter.net/hutech/

LOMO America Inc.
15 East Palatine Rd., Unit 104                  Phone: 847-215-8800
Prospect Heights, IL 60070, USA                 Fax: 847-215-9073
http://www.lomoamerica.com/

Meade Instruments Corporation
6001 Oak Canyon                                 Phone: 949-451-1450
Irvine, CA 92618, USA                           Fax: 949-451-1460
http://www.meade.com/

North Star Systems
P.O. Box 99                                     Phone: 518-594-7250
Ellenburg Depot, NY 12935, USA                  Fax: 518-298-3520
http://blastoff8.tripod.com/northstarsystems/

Orion Telescopes & Binoculars
P.O. Box 1815                                   Phone: 800-676-1343
Santa Cruz, CA 95061, USA                       Fax: 831-763-7024
http://www.telescope.com/

Parks Optical
P.O. Box 716                                    Phone: 805-522-6722
Simi Valley, CA 93062, USA                      Fax: 805-522-0033
http://www.parksoptical.com/

Scientifics
60 Pearce Ave.                                  Phone: 800-728-6999
Tonawanda, NY 14150, USA                        Fax: 800-828-3299
http://www.scientificsonline.com/

Stellarvue
11808 Kemper Rd.                                Phone: 530-823-7796
Auburn, CA 95603, USA                           Fax: 530-823-8121
http://www.stellarvue.com/

TALscopes
599 Norris Ct.                                  Phone: 866-384-4144
Kingston, ON, Canada, K7P 2R9                   Fax: 800-866-7690
http://www.talscopes.com/

Tele Vue Optics, Inc.
32 Elkay Drive                                  Phone: 845-469-4551
Chester, NY 10918, USA
http://www.televue.com/

Vixen North America (a division of Tele Vue Optics, Inc.)
32 Elkay Drive                                  Phone: 845-469-8660
Chester, NY 10918, USA
http://www.vixenamerica.com/

All images courtesy the manufacturers.

price range $299 to $399

Manufacturer           Celestron           Orion Telescopes

Model                  Firstscope 80EQ     Explorer 90AZ
Price (US$)            $299                $299
Optics type            refractor           refractor
Optics subtype         achromat            achromat
Aperture               80 mm               90 mm
Focal length           900 mm              910 mm
Focal ratio            f/11                f/10
Finder                 reflex              6 x 26 erect
Focuser size           1.25"               1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   altazimuth
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 24 lb               15.8 lb
Motor drive            no                  no
Computerized "Go To"   no                  no
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (90x)         10 mm (91x)
                       20 mm (45x)         25 mm (36x)

Manufacturer           Scientifics       Orion Telescopes

Model                  AstroScan         SpaceProbe 130ST EQ
Price (US$)            $299              $299
Optics type            reflector         reflector
Optics subtype         Newtonian         Newtonian
Aperture               105 mm            130 mm
Focal length           445 mm            650 mm
Focal ratio            f/4.2             f/5
Finder                 peep sight        6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"             1.25"
Mount type             ball and socket   German equatorial
Tripod                 no                yes
Weight                 12.8 lb           27 lb
Motor drive            not applicable    optional
Computerized "Go To"   not applicable    no
Supplied eyepieces     28 mm (16x)       10 mm (65x)
                                         25 mm (26x)

price range $299 to $399

Manufacturer           North Star Systems    Meade Instruments

Model                  Star Tron II 6" f/8   DS-2070AT
Price (US$)            $299                  $319
Optics type            reflector             refractor
Optics subtype         Newtonian             achromat
Aperture               152 mm                70 mm
Focal length           1,200 mm              700 mm
Focal ratio            f/8                   f/10
Finder                 optional              5 x 24
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25" / 2"
Mount type             Dobsonian             altazimuth
Tripod                 not applicable        yes
Weight                 20 lb                 12 lb
Motor drive            not applicable        dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   not applicable        yes
Supplied eyepieces     12.5 mm (96x)         9 mm (78x)
                                             25 mm (28x)

Manufacturer           Orion Telescopes        Discovery Telescopes

Model                  SkyView Deluxe 4.5 EQ   6" f/5DHQ
Price (US$)            $339                    $339
Optics type            reflector               reflector
Optics subtype         Newtonian               Newtonian
Aperture               114 mm                  152 mm
Focal length           910 mm                  762 mm
Focal ratio            f/8                     f/5
Finder                 6 x 30                  6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"                   1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial       Dobsonian
Tripod                 yes                     not applicable
Weight                 32 lb                   32 lb
Motor drive            optional                not applicable
Computerized "Go To"   no                      not applicable
Supplied eyepieces     9 mm (100x)             10 mm (76x)
                       25 mm (36x)             25 mm (30x)

price range $299 to $399

Manufacturer           Discovery Telescopes   Meade Instruments

Model                  6" f/8DHQ              ETX-70AT
Price (US$)            $339                   $349
Optics type            reflector              refractor
Optics subtype         Newtonian              achromat
Aperture               152 mm                 70 mm
Focal length           1,219 mm               350 mm
Focal ratio            f/8                    f/5
Finder                 6 x 30                 none
Focuser size           1.25"                  1.25"
Mount type             Dobsonian              altazimuth
Tripod                 not applicable         optional
Weight                 34 lb                  6.8 lb
Motor drive            not applicable         dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   not applicable         optional
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (122x)           9 mm (39x)
                       25 mm (49x)            25 mm (14x)

Manufacturer           Meade Instruments   Celestron

Model                  DS-70EC             NexStar 80GT
Price (US$)            $349                $349
Optics type            refractor           refractor
Optics subtype         achromat            achromat
Aperture               70 mm               80 mm
Focal length           700 mm              400 mm
Focal ratio            f/10                f/5
Finder                 5 x 24              reflex
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"          1.25"
Mount type             altazimuth          altazimuth
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 11 lb               11 lb
Motor drive            dual axis           dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   optional            yes
Supplied eyepieces     9 mm (78x)          10 mm (40x)
                       25 mm (28x)         25 mm (16x)

price range $299 to $399

Manufacturer           Orion Telescopes   Meade Instruments

Model                  SkyQuest XT6       DS-114EC
Price (US$)            $349               $369
Optics type            reflector          reflector
Optics subtype         Newtonian          Newtonian
Aperture               152 mm             114 mm
Focal length           1,200 mm           910 mm
Focal ratio            f/8                f/8
Finder                 6 x 30             6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"              1.25" / 2"
Mount type             Dobsonian          altazimuth
Tripod                 not applicable     yes
Weight                 37 lb              18 lb
Motor drive            not applicable     dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   not applicable     optional
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (120x)       9 mm (101x)
                       25 mm (48x)        25 mm (36x)

Manufacturer           Orion Telescopes    Orion Telescopes

Model                  AstroView 6 EQ      StarMax 102mm EQ
Price (US$)            $369                $389
Optics type            reflector           catadioptric
Optics subtype         Newtonian           Maksutov-Cassegrain
Aperture               152 mm              102 mm
Focal length           750 mm              1,300 mm
Focal ratio            f/5                 f/12.7
Finder                 6 x 30              6 x 26 erect
Focuser size           1.25"               1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 39 lb               21.9 lb
Motor drive            optional            optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                  no
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (75x)         25 mm (52x)
                       25 mm (30x)

price range $299 to $399

Manufacturer           North Star Systems    Meade Instruments

Model                  Star Tron II 8" f/6   DS-90EC
Price (US$)            $389                  $399
Optics type            reflector             refractor
Optics subtype         Newtonian             achromat
Aperture               203 mm                90 mm
Focal length           1,200 mm              1,000 mm
Focal ratio            f/6                   f/11.1
Finder                 optional              6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25" / 2"
Mount type             Dobsonian             altazimuth
Tripod                 not applicable        yes
Weight                 25 lb                 15 lb
Motor drive            not applicable        dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   not applicable        optional
Supplied eyepieces     12.5 mm (96x)         9 mm (111x)
                                             25 mm (40x)

Manufacturer           Celestron     Hardin Optical

Model                  C102-AZ       DSH-8
Price (US$)            $399          $399
Optics type            refractor     reflector
Optics subtype         achromat      Newtonian
Aperture               102 mm        203 mm
Focal length           500 mm        1,200 mm
Focal ratio            f/5           f/6
Finder                 6 x 30        8 x 50
Focuser size           1.25"         1.25" / 2"
Mount type             altazimuth    Dobsonian
Tripod                 yes           not applicable
Weight                 28 lb         43 lb
Motor drive            no            not applicable
Computerized "Go To"   no            no
Supplied eyepieces     20 mm (25x)   9 mm (133x)
                                     25 mm (48x)

price range $400 to $499

Manufacturer           Vixen North America   Orion Telescopes

Model                  80M                   SkyView Deluxe 6 EQ
Price (US$)            $400                  $429
Optics type            refractor             reflector
Optics subtype         achromat              Newtonian
Aperture               80 mm                 152 mm
Focal length           910 mm                750 mm
Focal ratio            f/11.4                f/5
Finder                 6 x 30                6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25"
Mount type             none                  German equatorial
Tripod                 no                    yes
Weight                 5.5 lb                38.5 lb
Motor drive            no                    optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                    no
Supplied eyepieces     none                  9 mm (83x)
                                             25 mm (30x)

Manufacturer           Celestron       Meade Instruments

Model                  NexStar 114GT   DS-2130ATS
Price (US$)            $439            $449
Optics type            reflector       reflector
Optics subtype         Newtonian       Newtonian
Aperture               114 mm          127 mm
Focal length           1,000 mm        1,000 mm
Focal ratio            f/9             f/7.9
Finder                 reflex          6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"           1.25" / 2"
Mount type             altazimuth      altazimuth
Tripod                 yes             yes
Weight                 15.5 lb         18 lb
Motor drive            dual axis       dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   yes             yes
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (100x)    9 mm (111x)
                       25 mm (40x)     25 mm (40x)

price range $400 to $499

Manufacturer           Celestron           Discovery Telescopes

Model                  C150-HD             8" f/6DHQ
Price (US$)            $449                $449
Optics type            catadioptric        reflector
Optics subtype         Schmidt-Newtonian   Newtonian
Aperture               150 mm              203 mm
Focal length           1,000 mm            1,219 mm
Focal ratio            f/6.7               f/6
Finder                 6x 30               6x 30
Focuser size           1.25"               1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   Dobsonian
Tripod                 yes                 not applicable
Weight                 28 lb               38 lb
Motor drive            optional            not applicable
Computerized "Go To"   no                  not applicable
Supplied eyepieces     20 mm (50x)         10 mm (122x)
                                           25 mm (49x)

Manufacturer           Discovery Telescopes   TALscopes

Model                  8" f/7DHQ              TAL-1M
Price (US$)            $449                   $465
Optics type            reflector              reflector
Optics subtype         Newtonian              Newtonian
Aperture               203 mm                 110 mm
Focal length           1,422 mm               805 mm
Focal ratio            f/7                    f/7.3
Finder                 6x 30                  6x 30
Focuser size           1.25"                  1.25"
Mount type             Dobsonian              German equatorial
Tripod                 not applicable         yes
Weight                 39 lb                  44 lb
Motor drive            not applicable         single axis
Computerized "Go To"   not applicable         no
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (142x)           15 mm (54x, 162x)
                       25 mm (57x)            25 mm (32x, 96x)

price range $400 to $499

Manufacturer           TALscopes           Orion Telescopes

Model                  TAL-120M            SkyQuest XT8
Price (US$)            $475                $479
Optics type            reflector           reflector
Optics subtype         Newtonian           Newtonian
Aperture               120 mm              203 mm
Focal length           805 mm              1,200 mm
Focal ratio            f/6.7               f/5.9
Finder                 6 x 30              6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"               1.25" / 2"
Mount type             German equatorial   Dobsonian
Tripod                 yes                 not applicable
Weight                 44 lb               42 lb
Motor drive            single axis         not applicable
Computerized "Go To"   no                  not applicable
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (80x, 240x)   10 mm (120x)
                       25 mm (32x, 96x)    25 mm (48x)

Manufacturer           Meade Instruments     Apogee Inc.

Model                  ETX-90EC              WIDESTAR 102
Price (US$)            $495                  $499
Optics type            catadioptric          refractor
Optics subtype         Maksutov-Cassegrain   achromat
Aperture               90 mm                 102 mm
Focal length           1,250 mm              640 mm
Focal ratio            f/13.8                f/6.3
Finder                 8 x 21 erect          8 x 50
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25" / 2"
Mount type             altazimuth            German equatorial
Tripod                 optional              yes
Weight                 7.8 lb                45 lb
Motor drive            dual axis             optional
Computerized "Go To"   optional              no
Supplied eyepieces     26 mm (48x)           25 mm (26x)

price range $400 to $499

Manufacturer           Celestron           LOMO America Inc.

Model                  C102-HD             Astele 102MN OTA
Price (US$)            $499                $499
Optics type            refractor           catadioptric
Optics subtype         achromat            Maksutov-Newtonian
Aperture               102 mm              102 mm
Focal length           1,000 mm            561 mm
Focal ratio            f/10                f/5.5
Finder                 6 x 30              internal
Focuser size           1.25"               1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   none
Tripod                 yes                 no
Weight                 36 lb               11 lb
Motor drive            optional            no
Computerized "Go To"   no                  no
Supplied eyepieces     20 mm (50x)         10 mm (56x)
                                           25 mm (22x)

Manufacturer           Orion Telescopes     Orion Telescopes

Model                  AstroView 120mm EQ   AstroView 120ST EQ
Price (US$)            $499                 $499
Optics type            refractor            refractor
Optics subtype         achromat             achromat
Aperture               120 mm               120 mm
Focal length           1,000 mm             600 mm
Focal ratio            f/8.3                f/5
Finder                 6x 30                6x 30
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"           1.25" / 2"
Mount type             German equatorial    German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                  yes
Weight                 39 lb                36.5 lb
Motor drive            optional             optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                   no
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (100x)         10 mm (60x)
                       25 mm (40x)          25 mm (24x)

price range $500 to $749

Manufacturer           Orion Telescopes      LOMO America Inc.

Model                  SkyView Deluxe 8 EQ   Astele 95 G
Price (US$)            $529                  $559
Optics type            reflector             catadioptric
Optics subtype         Newtonian             Maksutov-Cassegrain
Aperture               203 mm                95 mm
Focal length           800 mm                1,200 mm
Focal ratio            f/4                   f/12.6
Finder                 6 x 30                5 x 25 right angle
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial     German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                   yes
Weight                 45 lb                 19.2 lb
Motor drive            optional              optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                    no
Supplied eyepieces     9 mm (89x)            10 mm (120x)
                       25 mm (32x)           25 mm (48x)

Manufacturer           Orion Telescopes      TALscopes

Model                  StarMax 127mm EQ      TAL-150P
Price (US$)            $569                  $585
Optics type            catadioptric          reflector
Optics subtype         Maksutov-Cassegrain   Newtonian
Aperture               127 mm                150 mm
Focal length           1,540 mm              750 mm
Focal ratio            f/12.1                f/5
Finder                 6 x 26 erect          8 x 50
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial     German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                   yes
Weight                 37 lb                 55 lb
Motor drive            optional              no
Computerized "Go To"   no                    no
Supplied eyepieces     25 mm (62x)           10 mm (75x, 150x)
                                             25 mm (30x, 60x)

price range $500 to $749

Manufacturer           Meade Instruments   Celestron

Model                  102ACHR/300         NexStar 4
Price (US$)            $595                $599
Optics type            refractor           catadioptric
Optics subtype         achromat            Maksutov-Cassegrain
Aperture               102 mm              102 mm
Focal length           900 mm              1,325 mm
Focal ratio            f/9                 f/13
Finder                 6 x 30              reflex
Focuser size           1.25x               1.25x
Mount type             German equatorial   altazimuth
Tripod                 yes                 optional
Weight                 43 lb               11 lb
Motor drive            optional            dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   no                  yes
Supplied eyepieces     25 mm (36x)         25 mm (53x)

Manufacturer           Apogee Inc.         Meade Instruments

Model                  WIDESTAR 127        SN-6 LXD55
Price (US$)            $599                $599
Optics type            refractor           catadioptric
Optics subtype         achromat            Schmidt-Newtonian
Aperture               127 mm              152 mm
Focal length           820 mm              762 mm
Focal ratio            f/6.5               f/5
Finder                 8 x 50              6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25x / 2x          1.25x / 2x
Mount type             German equatorial   German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 49 lb               48 lb
Motor drive            optional            dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   no                  yes
Supplied eyepieces     25 mm (33x)         26 mm (29x)

price range $500 to $749

Manufacturer           Discovery Telescopes   Hardin Optical

Model                  8" f/5EQ               DSH-10
Price (US$)            $599                   $599
Optics type            reflector              reflector
Optics subtype         Newtonian              Newtonian
Aperture               203 mm                 254 mm
Focal length           1,016 mm               1,250 mm
Focal ratio            f/5                    f/5
Finder                 6 x 30                 8 x 50
Focuser size           1.25"                  1.25" / 2"
Mount type             German equatorial      Dobsonian
Tripod                 yes                    not applicable
Weight                 53 lb                  59 lb
Motor drive            single axis            not applicable
Computerized "Go To"   no                     not applicable
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (102x)           9 mm (139x)
                       25 mm (41x)            25 mm (50x)

Manufacturer           Discovery Telescopes   Vixen North America

Model                  10" f/5.6DHQ           R130S
Price (US$)            $649                   $665
Optics type            reflector              reflector
Optics subtype         Newtonian              Newtonian
Aperture               254 mm                 130 mm
Focal length           1,422 mm               720 mm
Focal ratio            f/5.6                  f/5.5
Finder                 6 x 30                 6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"                  1.25"
Mount type             Dobsonian              none
Tripod                 not applicable         no
Weight                 51 lb                  8.2 lb
Motor drive            not applicable         no
Computerized "Go To"   not applicable         no
Supplied eyepieces     10 mm (142x)           none
                       25 mm (57x)

price range $500 to $749

Manufacturer           Tele Vue Optics   TALscopes

Model                  Ranger            TAL-100RSM
Price (US$)            $695              $695
Optics type            refractor         refractor
Optics subtype         ED achromat       achromat
Aperture               70 mm             100 mm
Focal length           480 mm            1,000 mm
Focal ratio            f/6.8             f/10
Finder                 none              6x 30
Focuser size           1.25"             1.25" / 2"
Mount type             none              German equatorial
Tripod                 no                yes
Weight                 3.5 lb            28 lb
Motor drive            no                single axis
Computerized "Go To"   no                no
Supplied eyepieces     20 mm (24x)       10 mm (100x)
                                         25 mm (40x)

Manufacturer           Meade Instruments   Meade Instruments

Model                  102ACHR/500         ETX-105EC
Price (US$)            $695                $695
Optics type            refractor           catadioptric
Optics subtype         achromat            Maksutov-Cassegrain
Aperture               102 mm              105 mm
Focal length           900 mm              1,470 mm
Focal ratio            f/9                 f/14
Finder                 6x 30               8x 25 right angle
Focuser size           1.25"               1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   altazimuth
Tripod                 yes                 optional
Weight                 47 lb               13.5 lb
Motor drive            optional            dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   no                  optional
Supplied eyepieces     25 mm (36x)         26 mm (57x)

price range $500 to $749

Manufacturer           Meade Instruments   TALscopes

Model                  AR-5 LXD55          TAL-150PM
Price (US$)            $695                $695
Optics type            refractor           reflector
Optics subtype         achromat            Newtonian
Aperture               127 mm              150 mm
Focal length           1,140 mm            750 mm
Focal ratio            f/9                 f/5
Finder                 8 x 50              8 x 50
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"          1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 49 lb               64 lb
Motor drive            dual axis           single axis
Computerized "Go To"   yes                 no
Supplied eyepieces     26 mm (44x)         10 mm (75x, 150x)
                                           25 mm (30x, 60x)

Manufacturer           Stellarvue          Parks Optical

Model                  80/9DM              PRT-813 EQ
Price (US$)            $699                $699
Optics type            refractor           refractor
Optics subtype         achromat            achromat
Aperture               78 mm               80 mm
Focal length           750 mm              900 mm
Focal ratio            f/9.6               f/11.2
Finder                 reflex              6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"          1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 35 lb               29 lb
Motor drive            optional            optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                  no
Supplied eyepieces     9 mm (83x)          25 mm (36x)
                       25 mm (30x)

price range $500 to $749

Manufacturer           Stellarvue          Celestron

Model                  AT1010M4            G8-N
Price (US$)            $699                $699
Optics type            refractor           reflector
Optics subtype         achromat            Schmidt-Newtonian
Aperture               78 mm               203 mm
Focal length           480 mm              1,000 mm
Focal ratio            f/6                 f/5
Finder                 reflex              9 x 50
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"          1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 34 lb               43 lb
Motor drive            optional            optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                  no
Supplied eyepieces     9 mm (53x)          20 mm (50x)
                       25 mm (19x)

Manufacturer           Meade Instruments   TALscopes

Model                  SN-8 LXD55          TAL-2
Price (US$)            $729                $749
Optics type            catadioptric        reflector
Optics subtype         Schmidt-Newtonian   Newtonian
Aperture               203 mm              150 mm
Focal length           810 mm              1,200 mm
Focal ratio            f/4                 f/8
Finder                 6 x 30              8 x 50
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"          1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 69 lb               88 lb
Motor drive            dual axis           single axis
Computerized "Go To"   yes                 no
Supplied eyepieces     26 mm (31x)         10 mm (120x, 240x)
                                           25 mm (48x, 96x)

price range $750 to $999

Manufacturer           Vixen North America   Tele Vue Optics

Model                  102M                  Pronto
Price (US$)            $765                  $775
Optics type            refractor             refractor
Optics subtype         achromat              ED achromat
Aperture               102 mm                70 mm
Focal length           1,000 mm              480 mm
Focal ratio            f/9.8                 f/6.8
Finder                 6 x 30                none
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25" / 2"
Mount type             none                  none
Tripod                 no                    no
Weight                 8.4 lb                6 lb
Motor drive            no                    no
Computerized "Go To"   no                    no
Supplied eyepieces     none                  20 mm (24x)

Manufacturer           Meade Instruments    Parks Optical

Model                  203SC/300            Companion 4.5"
Price (US$)            $795                 $799
Optics type            catadioptric         reflector
Optics subtype         Schmidt-Cassegrain   Newtonian
Aperture               203 mm               114 mm
Focal length           2,000 mm             570 mm
Focal ratio            f/10                 f/5
Finder                 6 x 30               6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"                1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial    none
Tripod                 yes                  yes
Weight                 45 lb                30 lb
Motor drive            optional             no
Computerized "Go To"   no                   no
Supplied eyepieces     26 mm (77x)          25 mm (23x)

price range $750 to $999

Manufacturer           LOMO America Inc.     Celestron

Model                  Astele 133.5 OTA      CR-150-HD
Price (US$)            $799                  $799
Optics type            catadioptric          refractor
Optics subtype         Maksutov-Cassegrain   achromat
Aperture               133.5 mm              150 mm
Focal length           1,335 mm              1,200 mm
Focal ratio            f/10                  f/8
Finder                 8 x 40 right angle    9 x 50
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25" / 2"
Mount type             none                  German equatorial
Tripod                 no                    yes
Weight                 12 lb                 30 lb
Motor drive            no                    optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                    no
Supplied eyepieces     25 mm (53)            20 mm (60x, 120x)

Manufacturer           Hutech Corporation     TALscopes

Model                  Borg 76SWII            TAL-150P8
Price (US$)            $810                   $849
Optics type            refractor              reflector
Optics subtype         achromat               Newtonian
Aperture               76 mm                  150 mm
Focal length           500 mm                 1,200 mm
Focal ratio            f/6.6                  f/8
Finder                 none                   8 x 50
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"             1.25"
Mount type             equatorial (fork)      German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                    yes
Weight                 9.7 lb                 88 lb
Motor drive            no                     single axis
Computerized "Go To"   no                     no
Supplied eyepieces     13.5 mm (37x), 22 mm   10 mm (120x, 240x)
                       (23x), 50 mm (10x)     25 mm (48x, 96x)

price range $750 to $999

Manufacturer           Meade Instruments   Meade Instruments

Model                  SN-10 LXD55         ETX-125EC
Price (US$)            $879                $895
Optics type            reflector           catadioptric
Optics subtype         Schmidt-Newtonian   Maksutov-Cassegrain
Aperture               254 mm              127 mm
Focal length           1,016 mm            1,900 mm
Focal ratio            f/4                 f/15
Finder                 6 x 30              8 x 25 right angle
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"          1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   altazimuth
Tripod                 yes                 optional
Weight                 85 lb               15 lb
Motor drive            dual axis           dual axis
Computerized "Go To"   yes                 optional
Supplied eyepieces     26 mm (39x)         26 mm (73x)

Manufacturer           Meade Instruments   Meade Instruments

Model                  AR-6 LXD55          203SC/500
Price (US$)            $895                $895
Optics type            refractor           catadioptric
Optics subtype         achromat            Schmidt-Cassegrain
Aperture               152 mm              203 mm
Focal length           1,220 mm            2,000 mm
Focal ratio            f/8                 f/10
Finder                 8 x 50              6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"          1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 72 lb               48 lb
Motor drive            dual axis           optional
Computerized "Go To"   yes                 no
Supplied eyepieces     26 mm (47x)         26 mm (77x)

price range $750 to $999

Manufacturer           Vixen North America   Parks Optical

Model                  ED80S                 Precision 6" f/6
Price (US$)            $900                  $949
Optics type            refractor             reflector
Optics subtype         ED achromat           Newtonian
Aperture               80 mm                 152 mm
Focal length           720 mm                910 mm
Focal ratio            f/9                   f/6
Finder                 6x 30                 6x 30
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25"
Mount type             none                  German equatorial
Tripod                 no                    yes
Weight                 5 lb                  65 lb
Motor drive            no                    optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                    no
Supplied eyepieces     none                  25 mm (36x)

Manufacturer           Parks Optical       Stellarvue

Model                  Precision 6" f/8    SV78L-M4
Price (US$)            $949                $995
Optics type            reflector           refractor
Optics subtype         Newtonian           achromat
Aperture               152 mm              78 mm
Focal length           1,220 mm            752 mm
Focal ratio            f/8                 f/9.6
Finder                 6x 30               reflex
Focuser size           1.25"               1.25" / 2"
Mount type             German equatorial   German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 67 lb               35 lb
Motor drive            optional            optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                  no
Supplied eyepieces     25 mm (49x)         9 mm (83x)
                                           25 mm (30x)

price range $750 to $999

Manufacturer           Stellarvue          Meade Instruments

Model                  SV78S-M4            LX10
Price (US$)            $995                $995
Optics type            refractor           catadioptric
Optics subtype         achromat            Schmidt-Cassegrain
Aperture               78 mm               203 mm
Focal length           480 mm              2,000 mm
Focal ratio            f/6.2               f/10
Finder                 reflex              6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25" / 2"          1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   equatorial (fork)
Tripod                 yes                 optional
Weight                 35 lb               35 lb
Motor drive            optional            single axis
Computerized "Go To"   no                  no
Supplied eyepieces     9 mm (53x)          26 mm (77x)
                       25 mm (19x)

Manufacturer           LOMO America Inc.     Parks Optical

Model                  Astele 150 OTA        Astrolight 6" f/6
Price (US$)            $999                  $999
Optics type            catadioptric          reflector
Optics subtype         Maksutov-Cassegrain   Newtonian
Aperture               150 mm                152 mm
Focal length           2,134 mm              910 mm
Focal ratio            f/14.2                f/6
Finder                 8 x 40 right angle    6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"                 1.25"
Mount type             none                  German equatorial
Tripod                 no                    yes
Weight                 13 lb                 42 lb
Motor drive            no                    optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                    no
Supplied eyepieces     25 mm (85x)           25 mm (36x)

price range $750 to $999

Manufacturer           Parks Optical       Celestron

Model                  Astrolight 6"f/8    G-8
Price (US$)            $999                $999
Optics type            reflector           catadioptric
Optics subtype         Newtonian           Schmidt-Cassegrain
Aperture               152 mm              203 mm
Focal length           1,220 mm            2,032 mm
Focal ratio            f/8                 f/10
Finder                 6 x 30              6 x 30
Focuser size           1.25"               1.25"
Mount type             German equatorial   German equatorial
Tripod                 yes                 yes
Weight                 42 lb               43 lb
Motor drive            optional            optional
Computerized "Go To"   no                  no
Supplied eyepieces     25 mm (49x)         25 mm (81x)
COPYRIGHT 2003 All rights reserved. This copyrighted material is duplicated by arrangement with Gale and may not be redistributed in any form without written permission from Sky & Telescope Media, LLC.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:telescopes
Publication:SkyWatch
Article Type:Buyers Guide
Date:Jan 1, 2003
Words:10491
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