The 10 Best telescopes

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Reach for the stars, the moon and the planets with this selection that offers something for all abilities and ages

1. Skywatcher Skyliner-250PX FlexTube 10'' Dobsonian

£539.99, harpersphoto.co.uk

Super expensive, but when it comes to precision it's top of the tree in its price bracket. It has a wide aperture that allows you to see much further and it comes with 120x magnification lens.

2. Olympus EXP SI Binoculars

£153.01, play.com

Why are these on the list? Well, the 10x magnification and high-contrast, UV-coated prism lenses are good for short-range stargazing. It comes with a 25-year guarantee and is totally portable.

3. National Geographic Land & Sky

£18.00, littlewoods.com

Dual use, so you can spy wildlife on the ground or tilt it upwards to the heavens and take a closer look at the stars. The 30x scope can be used by the hand or on an aluminium table-top tripod.

4. Bunkerbound

£29.49, amazon.co.uk

A slightly more grown-up telescope for slightly older children. The Bunkerbound comes with interchangeable lenses – which you can upgrade as your interest waxes – and has a 40mm-wide field and 50x magnifications.

5. EVOSTAR-102 (EQ3-2) Refractor

£339, telescopesandbinoculars.co.uk

This uses a multi-element, air-spaced, achromatic refractor – which roughly translates to crisp, high-contrast images in the viewfinder. Surprisingly strong.

6. Vario-Finder 10x60 with Astro Lens

£240, astronomycentre.co.uk

The maker of fine camera lenses and high-end microscope optics Carl Zeiss has made the lenses on this 120x mid-market instrument, so you can expect to see Mars with unrivalled clarity.

7. Celestron Astromaster

£150, astronomia.co.uk

This is mid range, so you won't have a great deal of luck looking at the nebulae of deep space but with 100x magnification, Jupiter, the moon and Saturn are a cinch. Comes with handy planetarium software, as well.

8. Explorer-130p Supatraktm Auto

£259, f1telescopes.co.uk

This 130x magnification scope has a very clever automatic tracking system that homes in on celestial objects you've set it to follow. It is, pleasingly, easy to set up and use.

9. The Celestron Travel Scope

£53.99, johnlewis.com

It may not offer the clearest view, or have a magnification beyond 40x, but where this really excels in the portability stakes. It comes with its own bag, so if you're an occasional stargazer and are off on a trip, it's ideal.

10. Infinity 76P 3" Reflector

£46.99, cameracentre.co.uk

This children's telescope is unusual in that it uses aspherical technology usually only found in pricier models. The upshot is that it allows more than double the light into the barrel than a standard 50mm starter scope.

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