The Ten Best: Telescopes

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The Independent Online

1. EvoStar 102, £269

Highly regarded, reliable 102mm refracting telescope giving bright, contrasty images; can suffer from false colour, however.; 020-7935 2580

2. Meade LX90 GPS, £1,729

This Go To telescope with a 200mm aperture knows the date, time and location, so just switch it on and wait for it to find its reference stars.; 01892 550 100

3. Sky-Watcher Infinity 76P, £39.99

Fun for a child, but a 76mm reflector still gives bright images and a useful magnification of 30. Better than most toy-shop efforts.; 01954 211 288

4. Skyhawk 1145PM, £139

A short-tube reflecting telescope, this has a motor drive that tracks objects as the sky turns. Excellent images even at 100 magnification.; 01353 699 448

5. Coronado PST, £439

Observes only the one object - the Sun - but gives breathtaking and safe views of its detail and fiery prominences; no eclipse needed.; 01892 550 100

6. Celestron Firstscope 114EQ, £119

A basic astronomical telescope on equatorial mount, it offers good views and will show some planetary detail. Easy to set up. Long, portable models.; 01442 827 768

7. Meade ETX 105, £619

A classic portable Go To telescope, capable of giving top-quality views of planets. Photographic and computer accessories available.; 01954 211 288

8. Celestron 102 SLT on Go To mount, £299

Go To mounts take the work - some say the fun - out of discovery. Line it up on any three stars and it will find any object in its huge database.; 01373 474 763

9. Sky-Watcher 130PM, £199

An all-rounder very popular with amateurs. This is large enough that you can really start to see detail on a range of objects.; 020-7935 2580

10. Celestron CGE 925 with Go To, £4,259

Top of the line: exquisite planetary detail under good conditions, this is for the enthusiast. But you'll need an observatory: it is not exactly portable.; 01442 827 768