Good beginners telescope options for looking up during COVID Lockdown

A look of folks are using the COVID Lockdown period to discover space and astronomy.

The team at BINTEL have put together some of our  favourite beginners  telescopes for viewing from your backyard or balcony.  These won’t break the bank yet give you years of trusty service for you and all the family members.  And yes – you can see the rings of Saturn in all of these. 🙂 

$250 to spend:

Saxon 707 70mm Refractor – $229 with free shipping

More 70mm refractors are probably sold around the world than any other type of telescope and with good reason.  They’re affordable, easy to carry around and will give some great views of popular night sky objects. Here’s just some of the things you can see with the Saxon 707 – 

  • Saturn and its rings
  • Cloud bands on Jupiter and the four largest of its moons
  • Views of the Moon showing hundreds of craters, mountains and more   
  • Open star clusters such as the Jewel Box 
  • Globular clusters – tight balls of thousands of stars
  • Nebulae. Objects like The Orion Nebula will appear like wispy clouds of gas
  • Brighter Galaxies such as as Centaurus A, near the Southern Cross 

The Saxon 707 telescope bundle comes with everything you need to start observing right away. In the box are:

  • Telescope and Mount
  • Tripod
  • 2 x eyepieces 
  • A diagonal (This makes the viewing angle more comfortable)
  • A finderscope

BINTEL has a range of other eyepieces, filters and accessories to add to the telescope down the track. We also have telescope bags for storage and to protect the telescope when travelling. 

$400 to spend:

Saxon 909 90mm Refractor – including free shipping

This is a 90mm Refractor telescope. The 90mm refers to the diameter of the telescope’s main front lens. It’s larger which means that you will see more than the 70mm 707. So why go bigger?

A telescope uses its main mirror or lens to collect light. The larger it is, the more light it collects. This means you will be able to see fainter objects than you could with a smaller telescope and those that can be seen with the smaller telescope will be brighter and more detailed. 

It won’t just let you see further away – a bigger telescope will show fainter objects and more detailed views. It’s the same reason astronomers are always trying to built bigger and bigger telescopes both on top of mountains and in space. You get to see more.  In addition to being a larger telescope, the Saxon 909 also comes with a sturdier stand and slow motion controls. 

Both the Saxon 707 and 909 are fairly lightweight and can be easily carried out into the backyard or on the balcony without the need for disassembly. They also pack down to a compact size.  

$550 to spend:

Stepping up a size – two Dobsonian telescopes

BINTEL BT152 $549

The BINTEL BT152 is a 6” Dobsonian telescope. 

Let’s break that down a bit. The 6” or 152mm refers to the size of the main mirror. As you can see, this is significantly larger than the 707 (70mm) or 909 (90mm) mentioned above. This will give you even brighter and more detailed views. Unlike the a Refactor telescope, the BT150 is a Reflector. It uses a mirror to collect light from the planets and stars. You look into the side of the telescope tube instead of the end of it. 

The Dobosnian or “Dob” as they affectionately called, refers to the telescope mount. It’s a simply mount that easily lets you moves the telescope and keeps it rock steady while you observe. A Dob mount sits directly on the ground. They do not have tripods. As the mount is simpler and a  Reflector is less expensive to make compared to refractors, you end up getting a lot of telescope for your money. 

The downside is that as telescopes get larger and heavier they become more difficult to move around.  You’re likely to need to move the BT152 around in two pieces – the telescope tube and the base. We’ve found it will fit into even the smallest of cars. 

It’s a good choice if you’re serious about observing the night sky. 

$700 to spend:

Saxon 8″ Dobsonian $699 – includes free phone adaptor

Is the “Goldilocks” telescope? Not too big or not too small? It’s a 203mm or 8” Dobsonian telescope. It uses the same style of Dob mount base as the BINTEL BT152 plus it’s larger again so you will see even more. But it’s not so large that it’s tricky to move around or store.  We feel that it’s probably “just right” for a single person to easily handle, even in the dark.  And yes – you can get a telescope that’s too big! If it’s so large it’s hard to move or set up, you won’t see as much simply because you won’t be using it as much. The 8” size is our best selling Dob telescope. PLUS we’ll even include for free a Saxon smartphone adaptor. 

Can I take photos with these telescopes?

This is a tricky question that is asked all the time. Many of the wonderful deep-sky photos you see on the BINTEL social media accounts and elsewhere were taken over many minutes or even hours.  To capture these details, your telescope needs to move to follow them in the night sky. The beginners telescopes mentioned above don’t have the costly drives to to this. 

However you can still grab some amazing images with your Apple iPhone or Android phone camera using a special adaptor. For example the Moon and planets can be captured. Here’s a phone adaptor you can use. 


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