10 Most Expensive & Powerful Telescopes For Big Budgets

Meade LX600-ACF 16 inches
Meade 16" LX600 ACF Telescope with StarLock

There’s nothing quite like your first glimpse of another celestial body through a telescope. For many, this will set them off on a lifetime devoted to stargazing. Fortunately, there are a wide selection of quality telescopes on the market that cater to all tastes and budgets. For the purpose of this article, however, we’ll take a closer look at only the most expensive and powerful telescopes currently available for backyard stargazers.

Powerful Telescopes, Big Rewards

A 4-inch (100mm) reflector is a good entry level for amateur astronomers seeking to observe large, bright objects in the night sky, such as the Moon  and planets. Likewise, a 3.1-inch (80 mm) refractor would be ideal for amateur astronomers on a budget looking to view such deep-sky objects as nebulae, star clusters and galaxies. Furthermore, both can be purchased at very reasonable prices, although you might want to first check out this handy telescope buying guide.

Seasoned astronomers, on the other hand, looking to take their hobby to a whole new level will likely desire the most sophisticated, cutting-edge telescopes available on the market. The consumer telescopes listed in this article subsequently range in size from a 12 inches to a whopping 20 inches, and will allow the user to view stunning images of the Moon’s surface and planets in all their finery, including Mars. They will also present crisp images of deep-sky objects outside of our own solar system. So without further ado, let’s get straight to the most expensive and powerful telescopes you can currently buy off the shelf.


Meade LX600-ACF 16″ f/8 with StarLock

Meade LX600-ACF 16 inches

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $30,000
  • Manufacturer: Meade
  • Optical Design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
  • Aperture: 16″ (406mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/8
  • Focal Length: 3251mm
  • Weight: 57kg (125lbs)

DETAILS

The Meade LX 600 telescope 16″ (406mm) is a scope for professional astronomical observation that provides unprecedented sharp detailed images of planets and deep sky objects. These powerful telescopes feature a Starlock auto-guiding system allowing automatic full-time guiding with one arc-second precision, and a zero image-shifter focuser, as well as an AutoStar II GOTO system with more than 145,000 night sky objects.

Also included in the package is a Meade 1.25″ diagonal prism,26mm Super Plossl eyepiece and 8×50 viewfinder. Ultra-High Transmission Coatings (UHTC) provide maximum image brightness and contrast.


Takahashi TOA-150B F/7.3 Triplet Ortho Apochromat Refractor OTA Package

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $13,000
  • Manufacturer: Takahashi
  • Optical Design: RefractorTakahashi TOA-150BTriplet Ortho Apochromat Refractor
  • Aperture: 6″ (150mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/7.3
  • Focal Length: 1100mm
  • Weight: 14.6 kg (32lbs)

DETAILS

The Takahashi TOA-150B Refractor is an excellent optical instrument that can be used to make outstanding color corrected images with a CCD, digital SLR or film camera. Your images will therefore be free from those violet glows which are often seen when observing bright stars or planets. A camera angle adjuster enables an astrophotographer to turn the camera 360 degrees to better frame an object before being photographed.

Other features include a state of the art 4″ focuser, fully multi-coated optical surfaces with extra layers of anti-reflection coating inside the optical tube, and knife-edge baffle for enhanced anti-reflective performance.


Meade 14″ LX850-ACF (f/8)

Meade 14 inch LX850-ACFSPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $10,000
  • Manufacturer: Meade
  • Optical Design: ACF Cassegrain
  • Aperture: 14″ (356 mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/8
  • Focal Length: 2840 mm
  • Weight: 29kg (63 lbs)

DETAILS

The Meade 14″ LX850-ACF (f/8) telescope employs a fast f/8 Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optical system that sets a new standard in amateur astrophotograhy. It produces sharp star images to the highest professional level, which are completely free of coma, or the optical aberration in which starlight is distorted into comet-like shapes outside the central part of the image.

The telescope can be set up and aligned for imaging in less than half and hour. Its features include Ultra High Transmission Coatings (UHTC), and high-contrast baffling to prevent light being reflected off the inside of the telescope. The overall result are detailed crisp images to the edge of the viewing field.

This high-end scope has an AutoStar II GOTO system with more than 144,000 objects that makes target acquisition simple. It also has Starlock fulltime automatic guiding and high-precision pointing, which guide the mount in real time and allow accurate guiding during photographic exposures.


Explore Scientific Ultra Light 20 Inch Dobsonian Telescope

Explore Scientific Ultra Light 20 Inch Dobsonian

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $8,600
  • Manufacturer: Explore Scientific
  • Optical Design: Truss-Dobsonian
  • Aperture: 20″ (500mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/3.6
  • Focal Length: 1800mm
  • Weight: 53 kg (116lbs)

DETAILS

The Explore Scientific Ultra Light 20 inch Dobsonian offers enormous light gathering power in a relatively portable package, without the need for permanent observatory mounting. This scope will reveal stunning views of planetary surfaces and the Moon, deliver incredible views of deep sky objects with traces of color, and resolve bright globular clusters down to the core.

This Dobsonian telescope’s fast 20″ f3.6 main mirror and large 120mm secondary mirror are composed of high quality quartz material, allowing for reduced cooling time. Other features include an 8×50 finder with red illuminated reticle, and a DeLuxe 2,5″ HEXAFOC focuser with 1:10 gear-reduction.


Lunt Solar Systems 152mm H-Alpha Pressure Tuned Telescope with 18mm Blocking Filter

Lunt Solar Systems 152mm H-Alpha Pressure Tuned Telescope

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $8,500
  • Manufacturer: Lunt
  • Optical Design: Single Interference HD
  • Etalon
  • Aperture: 6″ (152mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/6
  • Focal Length: 900mm
  • Weight: 14 kg

DETAILS

The Lunt Solar Systems 152mm H-Alpha is a large solar telescope used to observe the Sun by detecting light with wavelengths in the visible spectrum. The system performs to the highest level no matter the magnifications, and utilizes high-contrast coatings and the new Doppler True Pressure Tuning system to produce sharp, high magnification visual images.

The Lunt LS152THa comes with internal and external matched Etalons, providing views which bring the Sun’s surface to life. This solar telescope can also be converted for nighttime viewing using a special backing plate & focuser kit. The solar telescope’s base model comes with a 12mm Blocking Filter (B1200). Upgrades are available to B1800 or B3400 Blocking Filter for even wider field of view, with the scope’s price package adjusting depending on the blocking filter chosen.


Meade 14-Inch LX200-ACF (f/10) Advanced Coma-Free Telescope

Meade 14 iInch LX200-ACF

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $8,500
  • Manufacturer: Meade
  • Optical Design: Ritchey-Chrétien
  • Aperture: 10″
  • Focal Ratio: f/10
  • Focal Length: 2,500mm
  • Weight: 38 kg

DETAILS

The Meade 14-Inch LX200-ACF (f/10) is a really big computerized research quality telescope that delivers star coma free star images right to the edge of the field. These powerful telescopes come with a range of high-end features, including Advanced Coma-Free (ACF) optics, GPS, Primary Mirror Lock, Oversized Primary Mirror, SmartDrive, and Smart Mount. The telescope’s design also eradicates diffraction spikes and vastly improves astigmatism, both aberrations of which are inherent in the traditional Ritchey-Chrétien design.

Other excellent features include UHTC coatings, Giant Field Tripod, 1.25-Inch Diagonal Prism, and 26mm Series 4000 Super Plössl eyepiece. Meanwhile, its AutoStar II system offers an extensive library of 145,000 space objects.


Vixen Optics 25092DS SXP Mount with Star Book Ten and Ed115S Dual Speed Telescope

Vixen Optics 25092DS SXP Mount

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $6,700
  • Manufacturer: Vixen
  • Optical Design: ED Apochromatic Refractor
  • Aperture: 4.5″ (115mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/7.7
  • Focal Length: 890mm
  • Weight: 86 pounds

DETAILS

When it comes to astrophotography and powerful telescopes, the Vixen Optics 25092DS SXP Mount is up there with the best. This refractor delivers crisp, pinpoint images free of false color, even with the widest field eyepiece. Its features include a cutting edge hand held controller and high definition full-color High Definition LCD screen that acts as a navigational and GOTO guide. Furthermore, the scope’s high definition SD lens provides quality optical performance with its Super Extra Low Dispersion (SD) glass, resulting in the virtual elimination of Chromatic aberration.

The Sphinx SXP Mount features high precision pulse motors designed for the most accurate and smoothest tracking possible. Other features offered in the package include 125mm tube rings, Vixen’s New Dual Speed Focuser, Dovetail plate, and Half Pillar.


Celestron EdgeHD 14 Inch Optical Tube Assembly

Celestron EdgeHD 14 Inch Optical Tube Assembly

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $6,000
  • Manufacturer: Celestron
  • Optical Design: Schmidt-Cassegrain
  • Aperture: 14″ (355mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/11
  • Focal Length: 3910mm
  • Weight: 33kg (72.8lbs)

DETAILS

The Celestron EdgeHD 14 Inch Optical Tube Assembly is a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope which produce aberration-free wide field, astrograph quality images across CCD or DSLR cameras. These powerful telescopes produce a focal plane 3 times flatter than other competing designs. They therefore allow stars to be seen in tight focus, and guarantee visibly sharp images of NGC, IC and Caldwell objects found in the Messier Catalog.

The Celestron EdgeHD OTA features a StarBright XLT optical coating system, which maximizes light transmission and reflectivity across the visual spectrum. The scope also has a tube weight of just 30 kg which is well supported by a Celestron CGE-Pro mount, making it comparatively compact and portable.


APM LZOS Super ED 130mm F/9.2 APO Telescope with 3.7″ Focuser

APM LZOS Telescope Apo Refractor 130mm

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $5,800
  • Manufacturer: APM
  • Optical Design: Triplet Super ED Apochromatic Refractor
  • Aperture: 5.1″ (130mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/9.2
  • Focal Length: 1200mm
  • Weight: 16kg

DETAILS

The APM LZOS Telescope Apo Refractor 130mm is a high end 5″ telescope that is excellent for planetary and double stars observing. The 3.5″ focuser comes with large anodized focuser knobs, and rotates smoothly with zero image shift. The scope’s tube rings are flat on both sides, and have three tapped 1/4-20 inch holes perpendicular to the tube line, with the center tapped hole allowing different mounting plates with only a single center hole.

This superb imaging machine is low weight, very portable and easy to use with lighter mounts. It also comes with Finder Retractable Dew-Shield, Shoe Bracket and Mount, 2″ and 1 ¼” Eyepiece Adapters, and LZOS Optical Test Report.


Orion 12″ Truss Tube Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph

Orion 12 inch Truss Tube Ritchey-Chretien Astrograph

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Up to $4,300
  • Manufacturer: Orion
  • Optical Design: Ritchey-Chretien Reflector
  • Aperture: 12″ (304mm)
  • Focal Ratio: f/8
  • Focal Length: 2432mm
  • Weight: 23.5kg (52lbs)

DETAILS

The Orion 12″ f/8 Truss Tube Ritchey-Chrétien Astrograph is an exquisitely engineered telescope for taking bright, sharp images of deep-space objects. Being a Ritchey-Chrétien reflector, the instrument’s hyperbolic primary and secondary mirrors produce flat images that do not suffer from image shift. Also, no lenses mean real color images that are virtually coma-free.

This scope’s optics are housed within a thermally stable carbon fiber truss tube support structure. Meanwhile, it features a 3.3″ dual-speed (10:1) linear bearing Crayford focuser that can be rotated 360º for image framing. In addition, 2″ and 1.25″ non-marring compression ring accessory collars are available as part of the package.

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