BEST PROFESSIONAL TELESCOPEsULTIMATE BUYING GUIDE FOR HIGH POWERED TELESCOPES IN 2020

Introduction

If you are a seasoned Astronomer looking for a professional tool this buying guide will cover everything you need. These powerful telescopes were designed for the most demanding customers and targeting a professional level.

Which of these suits your needs the most?

Once you gain a certain amount of experience, the lower-end telescopes will simply not do the trick anymore. Over the past couple of months, we have reviewed a lot of amateur telescopes, from entry-level to telescopes targeted at experienced hobbyists. 

Quick Rundown

THESE ARE OUR TOP PICKS SUMMARISED FOR:

9th February 2023

Table of Content

Now it is finally time to cover the big boys and review the best professional telescopes that the market has to offer.

After a summary of what to look out for when investing in a high-end model, we will present our top 5 picks – the best among the best. 

The curation process was not easy. In this level of products, the difference is often minuscule, but these small variations help us decide our final competitors.

Of course, there is no such thing as a single best telescope in the world. So we’ll focus on different aspects and applications, like deep space exploration and astrophotography to understand how they perform. 

 

Top 5: Best Professional Telescopes

telescope aperture

APERTURE

356mm

telescope focal length

FOCAL LENGTH

3910mm

Motorized telescope

MOTORIZED

Yes

Mount Type

Mount type

Alt-Azimuth

Our thoughts:

Among the biggest and best telescopes, the Celestron EdgeHD series rules supreme, and the leader of the bunch is the 1400 XLT – a massive, modified SCT with corrective optics that provide a flawless image circle for astrophotography.

The optics of the 1400 XLT offer a flatter field and are coma corrected.

If you do not have an upper limit on your budget, then consider this model.

The only downside is that it ships without a mount, which is a shame considering the price tag. We recommend only using a Celestron mount.

Conclusion

The Celestron EdgeHD 1400 XLT is a telescope of the highest grade which provides sharp focus to the edge of the field. Premium features like the cooling tube vents and mirror locks that reduce image shift make this a real professional tool for all astronomy needs.

Specifications:

 

  • Aperture 356mm (14″)

  • Focal Length 3910mm (154″)

  • Focal Ratio f/10

  • Focal Length of Eyepiece 1 23mm (0.91″)

  • Magnification of Eyepiece 1 170x

  • Finderscope 9×50

  • Star Diagonal 2″ with 1.25″ adapter

  • Optical Tube Aluminum

  • Highest Useful Magnification 840x

OPTICS
99%
MOUNT
94%
QUALITY
100%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Fantastic specs
  • High-quality optics on a modern design
  • Fairly portable despite its size
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Comes without a mount
telescope aperture

APERTURE

203mm

telescope focal length

FOCAL LENGTH

2500mm

Motorized telescope

MOTORIZED

Yes

Mount Type

Mount type

Alt-Azimuth

Our thoughts:

If you have a budget restriction, you can save up a few additional dollars by getting a telescope that comes with a mount.

The Maede Instruments 1010-60-03 LX200-ACF comes with a mount, the Autostar II Hand Controller and technological features that offer coma-free images.

For those with a huge budget, the 14-inch model is a great choice, as well! But our favourite was the 10-inch model as it offers a great viewing experience at a fair price without much hassle. Because it is simple to assemble, you will be able to use the telescope on the same day that you get it.

The resolution of the images is fantastic and one of our favourite features was the Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) that enhance the optics.

The Standard Field Tripod is very stable and easy to use, which is a very convenient addition to an already amazing telescope.

Conclusion

This is the ultimate high-end bang for the buck, as you get a ton of features and a mount included in a single package.

If you’d like to own a professional-grade computerized scope that will not leave you penniless, the Maede Instruments LX200-ACF is a great investment.

 

Specifications:

 

  • 10” Advanced Coma-Free (ACF™)

  • 2500mm (f/10) Focal Length

  • Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC™)

  • Features AutoStar® II: 145,000 Object-Database

  • Built-In GPS
    Standard Field Tripod with Dual-Fork Mount

  • Series 4000 26mm Super Plössl Eyepiece INCLUDED

  • 8X50 Optical Viewfinder with Crosshair INCLUDED

OPTICS
95%
MOUNT
94%
QUALITY
95%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • A portable telescope with stable stand
  • Quality optics with a great coating
  • Fantastic AutoStar computer system
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • The bigger models are far more expensive
telescope aperture

APERTURE

150mm

telescope focal length

FOCAL LENGTH

1500mm

Motorized telescope

MOTORIZED

Yes

Mount Type

Mount type

Computerized Equatorial

Our thoughts:

For the pro on the go, Celestron offers a great portable SC Telescope that will leave you breathless!

The Advanced VX 6 offers a lot of aperture on a stable computerized mount. The German Equatorial offers great performance and is suited very well for astrophotography.

The Integer gear ratios and permanently programmable Periodic Error Correction work together to eliminate recurring track errors from the worm gear, allowing for fantastic long exposure images.

The telescope works best with the Moon and wide shots of distant galaxies, and the images of the rest of the solar system are as good as they get.

Conclusion

If you enjoy taking your scope to the mountains to appreciate clear skies, the VX6 is a great choice.

Some of the premium features include the CG-5 Dovetail bar, different tracking rates (Sidereal, Solar and Lunar) and the StarBright XLT coating.

Professional-grade astrophotography at three different focal rations has never been more accessible.

 

 Specifications:

 

  • Optical Design Schmidt-Cassegrain

  • Aperture 150mm (6″)

  • Focal Length 1500mm 

  • Focal Ratio f/10

  • Focal Length of Eyepiece 25mm (1.25″)

  • Magnification of Eyepiece 60x

  • Finderscope 6×30

  • Star Diagonal 1.25″ Star Diagonal

  • Optical Tube Aluminum

  • Highest Useful Magnification 354x

OPTICS
94%
MOUNT
92%
QUALITY
97%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Great telescope for astrophotography
  • 9 slew speeds – max speed 4°/second
  • The NexStar+ Database with 40,000+ objects
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Some parts come lose after some time, so the telescope requires extra-care
telescope aperture

APERTURE

305mm

telescope focal length

FOCAL LENGTH

1500mm

Motorized telescope

MOTORIZED

Yes

Mount Type

Mount type

Dobsonian

Our thoughts:

Dobsonian’s may look cumbersome, but they are more portable than you might think. That is especially true for the Orion SkyQuest XX12i IntelliScope. This Dobsonian is among the coolest looking telescopes, and also takes a well-deserved place on our top 5 list.

The IntelliScope offers a fantastic 12-inch aperture with a computer that can access over 14000 objects.

The parabolic optics offer a great and sharp viewing experience and the unique truss tube design makes the telescope very portable.

The scope is not very suited for astrophotography, but for anything else, it is a great choice.

Conclusion

This telescope is a great instrument for those who value ease-of-use and simplicity, but still offers a lot of possibilities for additional attachments and peripherals.

The well-rounded nature of this scope makes it useful for different kinds of observations but does not stick out anywhere.

Still, the unique design and portability make it very appealing, especially if you prefer sticking to one reliable tool.

 

 Specifications:

 

  • Optical design: Reflector

  • Optical diameter: 305mm

  • Focal length: 1500mm

  • Focal ratio: f/4.9

  • Optics type: Parabolic

  • Glass material: Low thermal expansion borosilicate glass

  • Eyepieces DeepView 35.0mm (2″),10.0mm (1.25″)

  • Magnification with included eyepieces 42x, 150x

  • Resolving power: 0.38arc*sec

  • Highest useful magnification: 300x

OPTICS
92%
MOUNT
95%
QUALITY
98%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • Unique Dobsonian design
  • Best reflector telescope with a lot of aperture
  • A solid combination of ease-of-use, power and price
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Not suited for astrophotography without additional investment
telescope aperture

APERTURE

120mm

telescope focal length

FOCAL LENGTH

900mm

Motorized telescope

MOTORIZED

No

Mount Type

Mount type

Vixen Style

Our thoughts:

We wanted to include a reliable and affordable option for a professional telescope, and the Sky-Watcher ProED ticks off all the boxes. 

While the 4.7 inches of aperture are somewhat smaller compared to the rest of our list, the APO Refractor with ED Schott glass offers a great image during a clear sky and the f/7.5 ratio makes it possible to use the telescope for different types of exploration. 

With this scope, raw power is secondary, while high-quality is the primary feature. Our only complaint – it comes without a mount.

Conclusion

If you have a mount that can support this scope, you can get a very useful tool for a low price.

For advanced users, you can also buy some additional items for your telescope.

Including some well-known addons like the Tele Vue – Ethos-SX 4.7mm Eyepiece, Tele Vue – Ethos SX 3.7mm Ultra-Wide Angle Eyepiece, or a Celestron 2-inch Accessory Kit.

 

 Specifications:

 

  • Focal Length: 900mm;

  • Mount type: Vixen-style dovetail;

  • Focal Length of First Eyepiece: 5mm;

  • Focal Length of Second Eyepiece: 20mm;

  • Magnification Factor of Eyepiece One: 180x;

  • Magnification Factor of Eyepiece Two: 45x;

  • Includes a 1.25-inch camera adapter;
    Weight (fully assembled, without a tripod): 5.1 kilograms;

  • Light-gathering factor: 294x;

  • Highest Useful Magnification Factor: 283x;

OPTICS
95%
MOUNT
86%
QUALITY
92%
THINGS WE LIKED
  • High-quality materials
  • Great price
  • Can be used for both terrestrial and celestial observations
THINGS WE DIDN'T LIKE
  • Does not ship with a mount

What to expect from a professional telescope:

High Powered telescopes come at a steep price because of some advanced features that they offer. They are usually apochromatic and offer the best viewing experience. While some aberration might be tolerable for beginners, most professionals only want the ultimate experience. Expensive tools such as these are usually used by teachers, professional astronomers, astrophotography artists, and aficionados.

They are not for everyone and that is understandable. If you have a limited budget, you might want to take a look at our mid-range list.

While pro-grade scopes offer the best possible experience, you should make sure to know how to use them properly. They are not recommended for beginners.

Because they are an expensive investment make sure to keep them in perfect shape, or else you risk ruining a very delicate tool.

Make sure to inform yourself about the different aspects of keeping different parts of the telescope clean, lubed up, safe from wind, water, and dust, and secure on the mount.

Some of our model’s ship without a mount. Make sure to double-check what mount you need for it and whether you already have one.

Buying Guide

WHAT IS A PROFESSIONAL TELESCOPE?

Not counting observatory telescopes that take up a whole room or even a whole building. A professional telescope is a tool that provides the very best optics on quality and strength. That will let us perform more complex tasks with fewer limitations.

Clarity, focus and raw power are essential for deep space exploration.

While it is not bad to have a well-rounded telescope that can be used for different types of cosmology and astronomy, it might not be a bad idea to consider a very focused telescope designed for a certain application.

For example, you might prefer getting a telescope with a very high focal length for better magnifying power. If you are ready to sacrifice the quality of the final image. It all depends on the intended use.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PROFESSIONAL SCOPE?

Overall, there are a few key features that you want to look out for:

APERTURE:

The “strength” of any telescope comes from its size, so having a big aperture will be a defining factor when choosing a professional scope.
Gear with low aperture will not be able to show you deep-sky objects, no matter how good the optics are.

FOCAL LENGTH:

Do you want a well-rounded telescope that has a wide field of view useful for deep sky exploration? Or one with a narrow view that is great for planetary viewing?
This decision is up to you, but be sure to double-check which objects you’re planning to track before choosing your next tube.

best professional telescopes

MOUNT TYPE:

The type of mount that your telescope uses can often make a difference. Will your telescope be stationary or do you plan to take it in on an Astronomy trip?
Do you prefer setting up everything manually, or would you prefer the tracking capabilities of a computer and motor?

Do you prefer an Alt-az, a Dobsonian, or an equatorial mount?

Whichever you prefer, make sure to check whether your telescope comes with a mount.

OPTICS QUALITY:

While the size of optics is very important, their quality needs to be on-point. The telescope needs to provide clarity without any unwanted bends or dents. 

Offering protection against dust and other elements, environment resistance and a great picture.
We recommend apochromatic lenses that often contain liquid between the lenses for added dispersion.

Conclusion

We are at the end of this buying guide. We hope that our comprehensive review of the 5 best professional telescopes gave you an overview of what to look for in a high powered telescope.

Remember, before you decide to buy one, try to think about your requirements and standards. You should think very good about whether you want a scope for deep-sky monitoring, astrophotography, near-Earth objects tracking, terrestrial observations, or a jack-of-all-trades.

Hopefully, we’ve provided you with the guidance you need to do a well-rounded decision before purchasing an expensive telescope.

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