Best telescopes for deep space in 2023

Woman with one of the best telescopes for deep space looking at the night sky
(Image credit: Getty)

If you're searching for the best telescopes for deep space viewing, then you're in the right place. With the telescopes in the guide below, you'll be able to explore the night sky in a whole new way. 

By owning one of the best telescopes for deep space viewing, you'll be able to search the giant clusters of millions of stars and even other galaxies from the comfort of your own home. The best telescopes for deep space exploration offer far greater light gathering ability than the naked eye and, more flexibility and generally more power than a pair of binoculars or even beginner telescopes.

While you may want to explore the far-out reaches and the caverns of the cosmos, if you have kids or know of any that may want to do some stargazing with you, then it may be worth checking out best telescopes for kids, the best binoculars for kids, or even the best beginner telescopes, as previously mentioned. 

We've included sections for how we test and what we look for, so you know you're getting sound advice you can rely on. For more general stargazing, our guides for the best telescopes, telescope deals and the best telescopes for under $500. We've also summerized the best telescopes for seeing planets too, but for the best telescopes for deep space on the market today, all you have to do is read on below. 

Best telescopes for deep space deal June 2023

Celestron Advanced VX 8 Edge HD

Celestron Advanced VX 8" Newtonian Telescope: Was $1629, now $1399.00 at Adorama

Save $230 on this excellent all-round telescope that aligns automatically with Celestron's Starsense app. It's excellent for astrophotography and has several upgrade paths when you're ready to expand your horizons.

Best telescopes for deep space 2023

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Best telescopes for deep space 2023 ranked

Celestron NexStar 8SE review photo against a white background

The sleek design of the Celestron NexStar 8SE makes it highly portable. (Image credit: Jason Parnell-Brookes)
A best seller from Celestron, and a delight for astrophotographers


Optical design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
Mount type: Computerized Altitude-Azimuth Single Fork Arm
Aperture: 8-inches (203.2 mm)
Focal length: 80-inches (2032mm)
Focal ratio: f/10
Eyepieces included: 25mm
Highest practical magnification: 180x
Weight: 32 lbs (14.48 kg)

Reasons to buy

Sharpness across the entire field of view
Good value for money
Highly portable

Reasons to avoid

Expensive outlay
A little lag when slewing
Power hungry, mains power recommended

There's a reason the Celestron NexStar 8SE sits at the top of this guide. One of the most striking things about it is its compact and practical size, despite offering a long focal length. The body is free of clutter, so it is easily transportable. You can easily pick it up and transport it without worrying about breaking components or accidentally snapping things off. It's pretty heavy, but that gives it a robust and sturdy feel, which we want when we invest this sort of money.

The telescope is controlled using an in-built hand controller. As we mentioned in our Celestron NexStar 8SE review, we liked the feeling of using the hands-on controller with tactile, easy-to-use buttons rather than having to rely on a smartphone app.

Astrophotographers taking long exposures will love the smooth and accurate tracking, made possible thanks to the high-quality motorized functionality.

Although it is quite a sizeable financial investment, the Celestron NexStar 8SE is built to last. It will easily see you through decades of star and space gazing enjoyment, thus being excellent value for money.

Sky-Watcher Heritage 114p Virtuoso Telescope Product Image

Thanks to its portability and tabletop design, the Heritage 114p Virtuoso is a solid option for those who need a go-to telescope at a decent price. (Image credit: Sky-Watcher)

Sky-Watcher Heritage-114P Virtuoso

This is a portable auto-tracking table top favourite with bright views


Optical design: Newtonian reflector
Mount type: Dobsonian (table top tracking version)
Aperture: 4.5-inch (114mm)
Focal length: 19.7-inch (500mm)
Focal ratio: f/4.38
Eyepieces included: 10mm (50x) and 25mm (20x)
Highest practical magnification: 228x
Weight: 5.3 kg (11.7 lb)

Reasons to buy

Ultra compact design
Built in tracking
Good battery life

Reasons to avoid

Small aperture primary mirror
No optical finder

At less than $300, this telescope is a firm favorite among beginners looking for a highly portable start in deep-sky observation. Despite its diminutive size and lightweight, the Heritage-114P Virtuoso isn't lacking in features. It offers the whole Newtonian reflector experience with the added benefit of being able to automatically counteract the rotation of the Earth and track the sky. With the mount's AA battery or DC-powered motors switched on, you can smoothly slew across the sky using the built-in controls and then steadily keep your object of interest within the field of view.

The Virtuoso tabletop Dobsonian mount can be upgraded at any time with the addition of Sky-Watcher's Synscan GoTo handset. This can find more than 40,000 objects in the sky for you — particularly useful for tracking down those very faint sights that don't readily jump out in the field of view. With a 4.5-inch primary mirror, the Heritage-114P is on the smaller side for a Newtonian reflector. Still, it is great value within this affordable price range and provides surprisingly bright views of diffuse targets like nebulae and galaxies. Unfortunately, the included red-dot finder isn't optimal for hunting down deep-sky objects, but the telescope's smooth slewing controls will ensure you can hop to them using nearby field stars.

We've noticed stock seems to be low in the US, you might want to consider the Sky-Watcher Classic 200P (further down this guide) which is more readily available.

Product photo of the Sky-Watcher Skymax 150

A quality equatorial mount and Maksutov-Cassegrain catadioptric design makes the Skymax 150 a good choice for those wanting quality optics. (Image credit: Amazom)

Sky-Watcher Skymax 150

Best for versatility — this is a great all-round package for a reasonable price


Optical design: Maksutov-Cassegrain
Mount type: Not included
Aperture: 150mm
Focal length: 180mm
Focal ratio: f/12
Eyepieces included: 2-inch 28mm eyepiece
Highest practical magnification: 295x
Weight: 5.7kg

Reasons to buy

Excellent optics
Quality equatorial mount
Suitable for long exposure imaging

Reasons to avoid

Narrow field of view
Not always supplied with a tripod

While probably best for planetary and lunar observations, this scope acts as a great all-rounder, including deep sky observing. Costing less than $1000, it's a reasonable price for a top-quality instrument.

The Skymax 150's optics are outstanding. There is no chromatic aberration or color fringing and the views are sharp across the whole field of view and you will be able to produce high-contrast images.

The narrow field of view is smaller than other scopes on this list, which is a little limiting. Though nebula and clusters will look impressive, you'll struggle to fit them in the field of view. You'll be able to resolve galaxies and some planetary nebulae.

Because of the lack of comprehensive instructions,  we wouldn't necessarily recommend this for beginners. Also, depending on where you shop, a tripod may not be included with the purchase.

A product photo of the Sky Watcher Classic 200P

The Sky-Watcher Classic 200P is entirely manual but has a huge aperture for deep space observation. (Image credit: Amazon)

Sky-Watcher Skyliner-200P Classic

The most affordable and no frills way to explore Deep Space — a large aperture Dobsonian with quality optics


Optical design: Newtonian reflector
Mount type: Dobsonian
Aperture: 8-inch (203mm)
Focal length: 47.2-inch (1200mm)
Focal ratio: f/5.9
Eyepieces included: 10mm (120x) and 25mm (48x)
Highest practical magnification: 406x
Weight: 23.6 kg (52 lb)

Reasons to buy

Unmatched aperture to price ratio
Dual 1.25-inch and 2-inch focuser
Sturdy mount 
50mm optical finder

Reasons to avoid

No electronic push-to or go-to function
It can be uncomfortable at some angles

It's often surprising to calculate the increase in light grasp between two telescope apertures. An 8-inch mirror is only 33% wider than a 6-inch, but it collects a whopping 77% more light, resulting in much brighter images. Sky-Watcher's Skyliner-200P is hands down the most affordable way to enjoy deep sky astronomy at this standard, with a system that's light on flashy features. Its basic Dobsonian mount can't find or track objects in the sky for you, but with smooth mechanics, you'll have no trouble doing this the old-fashioned way. The 50mm finder — a small telescope in its own right — is ideally suited to finding and centering objects of interest before investigating them with the sizable main mirror.

The telescope also features a dual-size focuser, which can accept 2-inch eyepieces — a must for anyone seeking the most immersive deep-sky views. 2-inch eyepieces can achieve wider fields of view at lower magnifications for some truly spectacular vistas. While heavy at nearly 24 kg, the Skyliner-200P has a fairly small footprint of about 54cm, fitting neatly into small storage spaces when stored vertically. It can be set up and packed away quickly and conveniently compared to other models in its size bracket. It's a superb value proposition for those on a budget looking to do serious deep-sky work. If you can double your budget, it might be worth considering the Flextube Synscan Go-To version of the same telescope — both have excellent optics.

Celestron Advanced VX8 edge HD telescope against a brick wall

Thanks to the rechargeable battery, you don't need cables or an external power source which keeps the device sleek and easily maneuverable. (Image credit: Michael A. Covington)
A powerful home observatory that even sets itself up electronically


Optical design: Schmidt Cassegrain compound reflector
Mount type: Single Fork Arm Altazimuth GoTo
Aperture: 8-inch (203.2mm)
Focal length: 80-inch (2032mm)
Focal ratio: f/10
Eyepieces included: 12mm (150x) and 40mm (38x)
Highest practical magnification: 480x
Weight: 18.4 kg (40.6 lb)

Reasons to buy

Super all-round compact telescope
Completely automatic alignment with StarSense
Futureproof for astrophotography
Built in rechargeable battery

Reasons to avoid

It needs a more robust mount for serious long-exposure photography
Expensive for its aperture

Today's amateur telescopes are more intelligent and performant than anything on the market just a decade ago. The Evolution 8-inch EdgeHD from Celestron employs a widely acclaimed optical tube assembly as the basis for an impressive overall system. The StarSense camera not only aligns the telescope for you but also connects to Celestron's SkyPortal App on your phone or tablet via the telescope's inbuilt WiFi. From here, you can locate and lock on to over 120,000 targets with just a few taps. This is all powered by a substantial rechargeable battery built into the mount — no cables or external power supply are required. Of course, all this technology comes at quite a high price, but if you want a home observatory that is smart enough to set itself up and navigate the sky for you, it's good value for money.

Compared with the Newtonian design, the Schmidt Cassegrain is expensive for its aperture, but it is extremely compact, employing two mirrors and a corrector plate to fold its long focal length into a shorter tube. The EdgeHD optics are among the best-in-class at this price point, and this tube assembly is well suited to astrophotography with the right accessories. Using a focal reducer, it can operate at f/7 and is also compatible with Hyperstar, which brings its operational focal ratio down to f/2! Celestron also sells a wedge, which converts the Altazimuth mount into an Equatorial mount, making long exposures possible. As we discovered in our Celestron Advanced VX 8 Edge HD review, it is relatively light on accessories out of the box, but there are several upgrade paths to suit your ambitions when you're ready.

Review photo of the Unistellar eVscope 2 set against a blue night sky with stars

The Unistellar eVscope 2 is made from high quality materials and it's incredibly elegant. (Image credit: Jason Parnell Brookes)
A powerful all-in-one system for tech fans, if you have the budget


Optical design: Reflector
Mount type: Alt-azimuth
Aperture: 4.5-inches (114mm)
Focal length: 17.7-inches (450mm)
Focal ratio: f/3.9
Effective magnification: 50x optical, 150x digital
Weight: 9 kg (19.8 lb)

Reasons to buy

Effortlessly simple setup
Sleek design is stunning
App is well designed and intuitive 

Reasons to avoid

Extremely pricey, especially for new astronomers
May not appeal to purist telescope users

Here we have something quite different from the other scopes on this list. The eVscope 2 (the newer version of the Unistellar eQuinox) offers a different way to 'see' the night sky. As a beginner, you can navigate the night skies in no time.

The original eQuinox didn't feature an eyepiece. Instead, it used a camera built into its optical assembly to gather and integrate light from faint objects, producing long-exposure images sent to your phone via the Unistellar app. The eVscope 2 also has the camera-to-smartphone capability, but it also has a digital Nikon eyepiece which will appeal to purist astronomers and clubs who don't want to be limited to only 'seeing' the sky through a smartphone.

During our Unistellar eVscope 2 telescope review, we established that navigating the night sky at the touch of a button is straightforward, even with no prior astronomy knowledge, and there's no need for polar star alignment. In Explore mode, the app will recommend celestial objects based on your location and time zone. Having your phone or smart device to operate the scope is imperative, so ensure you've plenty of battery or at least one of the best power banks with you.

We'd recommend considering a traditional telescope if you're looking for highly detailed images for large prints. The 7.7MP resolution is somewhat lacking compared to the resolution you can achieve with a scope and DSLR or mirrorless camera combo, but the snap and share function is first class.

Vaonis Vespera smart telescope front view of telescope when attached to the supplied tripod

The Vaonis Vespera resembles a games console perched on an 8-inch tripod. (Image credit: Jamie Carter)
The best for social deep space viewing — both beginners and non purist veterans will love it


Optical design: Apochromatic (APO) quadruplet refractor
Mount type: Motorized GoTo alt-azimuth
Aperture: 2-inch/50 mm
Focal length: 8-inch/200 mm
Focal ratio: F/4
Effective magnification: 33x equiv
Weight: 11 lbs. / 5 kg

Reasons to buy

Fully automatic operation from app
Social deep space viewing
Cuts through light pollution

Reasons to avoid

Images lack sharpness and resolution
Very expensive (as are the accessories)
Not a scope for traditionalists

The futuristic-looking Vaonis Vespera does not have an eyepiece like traditional telescopes but instead captures and shares images of the night sky with up to five connected smartphones or tablets through a sophisticated mobile app called Singularity. It's not a scope for traditionalist astronomers (or for people with a tight budget), but it is an extremely capable tool designed to capture breathtaking images of deep sky objects, even in light-polluted cities. While it is not suitable for viewing the moon and planets, it can be used to take stunning photos of deep space star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.

This device is much easier to use than most beginner scopes, and no prior night sky knowledge is required. This is not a telescope to peer through or one to use alongside one of the best cameras for astrophotography, as there's not actually an eyepiece.

Instead, the Vaonis Vespera is an impressive device that incorporates three technologies: star pattern recognition software, image live stacking, and the Singularity app. When activated, its Sony IMX462 image sensor can detect a target within five minutes and capture a photo every ten seconds (this may vary depending on the target). The rechargeable battery will last up to four hours from a full charge.

The noise-reduction process can be viewed in real-time on the Singularity app, yielding a sharper, more vivid, and vibrant image. In our Vaonis Vespera review, we found the images to be a bit soft, yet they can be improved in post-processing, and will surely impress your friends.

A product photo of the Orion 6-inch f/4 Newtonian Astrograph

A budget-friendly astrograph this 6-inch Newtonian from Orion packs a punch for its price. (Image credit: Amazon)

Orion 6-inch f/4 Newtonian Astrograph

Best for astrophotography, this Newtonian has precision optics for affordable deep sky imaging


Optical design: Fast Newtonian reflector
Mount type: Not included
Aperture: 6-inch (150mm)
Focal length: 24- inch (610mm)
Focal ratio: f/4.1
Weight: 5.8 kg (12.8 lb)

Reasons to buy

Outstanding budget astrograph
Precision mechanics

Reasons to avoid

No mount bundle option
No eyepieces included

If you want to jump into deep sky photography, capturing star clusters, nebulae and galaxies and you're shopping on a budget, this telescope is seriously worth considering. Pairing excellent mechanics with fast, bright optics, it's a no-nonsense astrograph — a telescope engineered with astrophotography in mind. 

Of course, you can use it visually with an included extension tube, but you'll need to supply your own eyepieces. You'll also need to supply your own mount, as Orion doesn't sell this telescope as a bundle, but there are plenty of excellent computerized equatorial mounts to choose from. The Orion 6-inch F/4 Newtonian Astrograph also features a straight-through optical finder with a standard mounting bracket. You can use this to attach a guide scope in the future for more accurate tracking enabling longer exposures.

Orion has thoughtfully reinforced the focuser to support the weight of a camera and filter assembly on the side of the tube, so this is suitable for any camera including a DSLR or Mirrorless body. It's compact and light, and doesn't require an enormous mount to carry it, making it a perfect option for entering the world of serious deep-sky photography.

A product photo of the Sky-Watcher Stargate-500P Synscan

This telescope is enormous and increasingly difficult to find, but if you manage to get your hands on one, you won't be disappointed with the views. (Image credit: Sky-Watcher)

Sky-Watcher Stargate-500P Synscan

Best for serious observers this huge Dobsonian gives astonishing deep sky views from a giant home telescope


Optical design: Truss tube Newtonian reflector
Mount type: Go-to Dobsonian
Aperture: 20" (508mm)
Focal length: 78.7" (2000mm)
Focal ratio: f/3.9
Eyepieces included: 10mm (200x) and 28mm (71x)
Highest practical magnification: 1016x
Weight: 90 kg (198.4 lb)

Reasons to buy

Massive light grasp 
Unbeatable deep sky views
Built in go-to and tracking

Reasons to avoid

Very large when fully assembled
Somewhat imprecise go-to and tracking performance

When it comes to seeing the incomparable beauty of the deep sky, nothing compares with the experience of looking through a giant Dobsonian telescope — even if you need a step ladder to get up to the eyepiece! Sky-Watcher's Stargate-500P is a 20-inch aperture colossus that offers serious deep-sky observers a top-tier viewing experience. With a truss tube design, the telescope is relatively lightweight and can be set up or taken down piece by piece by a single person in as little as 20 minutes. A fabric shroud can be stretched over the truss assembly to block stray light and protect the mirrors. With a DC plug or external power tank, the telescope can find and track objects in the sky with reasonable accuracy via the Sky-Watchers Synscan computer handset. 

Dual-encoder technology allows you to slew the telescope by hand manually without having to realign it. As both axes continue to record their position, you can quickly jump from object to object with tracking enabled. It's a monster telescope that offers the ultimate deep sky viewing experience — there's nothing like the sight of a galaxy or nebula with such a large mirror under dark skies. It's probably best to start with something less complex and work up to this one if you catch the deep sky bug.

Update March 2023: We've found the Sky-Watcher Stargate-500P Synscan increasingly difficult to find. You could instead consider the Sky-Watcher FlexTube 400P SynScan which has a smaller 16-inch aperture and a 1800mm focal length, but it is much more widely available. There is also the Sky-Watcher FlexTube 400Pi which includes a dongle for wireless control. Despite the smaller aperture, it can still resolve dim deep-space objects, like wispy nebulae and galaxies.

How we test the best telescopes for deep space

To guarantee you're getting honest, up-to-date recommendations on the best telescopes to buy here at, we make sure to thoroughly test every telescope through a rigorous review to test each instrument. Each telescope is reviewed based on many aspects, from its construction and design, to how well it functions as an optical instrument and its performance in the field.

Each telescope is carefully tested by our expert staff or knowledgeable freelance contributors who know their subject areas in depth. This ensures fair reviewing is backed by personal, hands-on experience with each telescope and is judged based on its price point, class and destined use. For example, comparing a 10-inch Dobsonian to a 2.76-inch refractor wouldn't be appropriate though each telescope might be the best pick in their own class.

We look at how easy it is to set up, whether computerized or motorized mounts are reliable and quiet, and if a telescope comes with appropriate eyepieces and tripods. We also suggest if a particular telescope would benefit from any additional kit to give you the best experience possible.

With complete editorial independence, are here to ensure you get the best buying advice on telescopes, whether you should purchase an instrument or not, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.

What to look for

Telescopes come in various designs and sizes, so what should you consider for the best deep-sky views?

The number one factor in determining the relative deep-sky performance of any two telescopes is the aperture of the objective. Larger apertures collect more light, allowing fainter objects to become visible in the field. In general, mirrors are less expensive than lenses, so reflecting-type telescopes offer more bang for your buck when it comes to deep-space views.

For astrophotography, highly corrected fast optics are more important, as well as sturdy and accurate mounts that can track the sky. Computerized mounts are a must for imagers, and they also have advantages for visual observers. If you're new to the deep sky, consider a telescope that helps you find these faint objects that don't pop out as readily as the planets or bright stars. It could be a push-to system, which tells you how hot or cold you are, or a fully-fledged go-to system that steers itself to your preferred target. Here are some of the best telescopes for deep space exploration and photography.

You can experience deep space on a budget, or invest in a no-compromise giant home observatory. Be sure to consider models which prioritize aperture and light grasp, as this will be essential for picking out the faintest targets, and if you intend to enter the world of astrophotography, choose something that's going to be suitable from the beginning, even if you don't have the equipment you need yet.

A sturdy equatorial mount with built-in go-to and tracking will unlock the longest exposures, allowing you to maximize the potential of your optical tube assembly. These larger, mirror-type telescopes usually require more maintenance than their smaller, more robust lens-type counterparts, but there's nothing you can't do yourself without some practice and understanding. At times it can seem unforgiving compared to the simplicity of looking at the moon, but the deep sky is worth the investment. Have fun exploring the wonders of the Universe!

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Tom Kerss
Contributing Writer

Tom Kerss F.R.A.S. is a London-based astronomer, astrophotographer, author and consultant. Having previously worked at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, he is the founder of Stargazing✦London, which delivers world-class online astronomy and space courses with subject experts. Tom is also the host of the Star Signs podcast, providing updates from the world of space news, as well as what to look out for in the night sky. With a background in astrophysics and science communication, he is an avid stargazer and aurora-chaser who is always looking for his next astronomy adventure. Tom has authored numerous best-selling astronomy books for both adults and children, including 2021’s Northern Lights: The Definitive Guide to Auroras, which offers a complete introduction to nature's most magical skybound phenomenon. Find out more about Tom's projects and other books at 

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