1. Celestron Cometron 7x50 ($35)

You don't need a telescope to open up the skies. "The ultimate beginner binoculars for any budding astronomer," Celestron's 7x50 set enables you to see more than you'd expect — including Jupiter, Saturn, and even distant nebulae. Buy it at Amazon.

2. Astronomers Without Borders OneSky ($200)

This 130-mm Newtonian reflector is easily "the best bang-for-the-buck beginner's scope." It has good optics, it's easy to aim, and because it's highly portable, it makes a great grab-and-go scope, even for experienced observers. Buy it at Astronomers Without Borders.

3. Celestron NexStar 5SE ($685)

The overall best amateur telescope comes preprogrammed with a database of 40,000 celestial objects, and its 5-inch primary mirror provides crisp images of deep-sky objects. Once it's calibrated, "you'll never be left wondering what to look at next." Buy it at Amazon.

4. SkyWatcher Traditional Dobsonian 8-inch ($379)

Dobsonian reflectors, sometimes called "light buckets," excel at picking out faint deep-sky objects, and this one can capture "awe-inspiring" images. Unfortunately, you'll have to align the mirrors, and, at stool size, this telescope is "a bit unwieldy." Buy it at Amazon.

5. Meade StarNavigator NG 102 ($499)

Meade rightfully prides itself on the laboratory-grade quality of its optical components. Like other refractor telescopes, this one is great for observing the moon and our neighboring planets. The onboard computer eliminates the need for star charts and manuals. Buy it at Amazon.

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