Best Computerised or GoTo Telescopes on the UK Market

Computerised or GoTo telescopes are changing stargazing as we know it. Also known as wifi telescopes, these new gadgets are dividing opinion all through the astronomy world; some people love them and some hate them. Which type will you be?

Have a look at our buying guide below for the best computerised GoTo telescope, and make up your own mind.

Outlined are the Orion 27191 Starblast IntelliScope reflector, which is a great Dobsonian computerised telescope with added Intelliscope hardware/software; the Orion SkyQuest XS12g Truss Tube Dobsonian, which is ideal for those who already love a GoTo telescope and want to upgrade; and the Celestron 22201 AstroFi 90 wifi refractor, great for those who want to get into the niche but have budget requirements.

What is a GoTo telescope?

For those who aren’t too sure what a GoTo telescope actually is, here is a little bit of information. The name actually refers to a type of mount and a method of viewing; it is a computerised mount that allows you to track and view an object in outer space, totally hands free.

You can do this with or without being connected to the internet, but generally users are connected to wifi as they use the scope, which also allows them to view information on the smartphone screen about objects they are viewing, as they appear in the viewfinder.

GoTo telescopes differ from the more traditional models in an obvious fashion – namely by not having to use your hands to track objects in the sky yourself.

The advent of all the hands-free technology, some might argue, takes away some of the magic and the expertise needed to get some really good shots of the night sky, while others state that this improves the overall user experience.

You can use a GoTo telescope to automatically find an object that you select by inputting co-ordinates into the computer programme, which some might say takes the fun out of it!

How does it work?

GoTo mounts are pre-aligned before use, and when you first use it you will be asked to input your latitude, longitude, plus time and date, so the system can work out where you are.

You must be pretty accurate when inputting this information, as a one degree mistake can resut in the telescope not being able to find what you ask it to!

Some mounts ask you to select an “alignment star” so that it can select objects in the sky with the utmost accuracy, while others will ask you to align the mount by hand with the either the North or South celestial pole.

Once aligned, the scope will know where it is looking in the sky, and will be able to show you what you are looking for the utmost accuracy.

When you have selected what it is you want to look at, the mount looks up the objects’ right ascension and moves to these co-ordinates. To allow for the Earth’s movement, only the right ascension axis is moved. Clever, isn’t it?

Best Computerised GoTo Telescopes Reviews

Let’s have a closer look at some of the best computerised or GoTo telescopes out there:

1. BEST COMPUTERISED: Orion 27191 Starblast IntelliScope Reflector

This is a very slick piece of kit!

Pros

  • Very light and transportable
  • One year warranty
  • Suitable for beginners as well as experienced stargazers

Cons

  • This is a computerised but not GoTo telescope. The tracking is purely manual; no hands free spotting of objects is available

Overview

This is a great scope, light and compact and therefore good to take out and about with you on camping trips or specific stargazing outings. It is even suitable for beginners, as it is so easy to set up and use. It’s a great point and shoot, high tech model with a low tech feel.

It is good for poor light conditions, making the most of all the light available and therefore great for capturing some beautiful details of our celestial neighbours.

With solely manual control this model may be less exciting for the more technological geek astronomers out there, but as a really good telescope with a decent price tag you would be hard pressed to find an equal.

What It Does Best

Perfect for capturing some truly stunning imagery, you can take this scope with you anywhere – it is very easy to set up on any flat surface, so even the bonnet of your car while you’re out and about will still afford you some great shots.

It’s a good sturdy telescope, meaning that you won’t have to worry too much about what surface you are setting it up on. Great for camping in the wilderness where you want to get some gorgegous views of stars, planets, nebulae and other night wonders.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

The Dobsonian mount does not enable the telescope to track an object as opposite to an EQ/tracking mount. So the fact that this model is not completely hands free could be a downside for some people.

But for those who just want a computerised, well-rounded telescope that is capable of spotting some beautiful stars and planets, for a decent price, this model is ideal. The focuser is reportedly fairly basic, but can be improved with a little greasing.

What Other Customers Think

Other users have reported that the Orion 27191 is fantastic for poor light conditions, and despite the fact that it does not come with a carry bag it is very easy to take around with you.

Should You Buy It?

If you are looking for a good all round telescope in the computerised telescope range, then definitely. This model has the potential to become your new best friend in terms of helping you see glorious celestial bodies, for a reasonable price.

If you are one of the more traditional night viewers, who doesn’t want an all singing, all dancing technological GoTo model but just a good all round telescope with some hardware/software additions, then this is the one for you.

A good computerised telescope without the capability for hands free GoTo technology is just the thing that a lot of astonomers are looking for, so if you want to see detailed stars and planets without getting your phone involved, this is the perfect scope.


2. BEST COMPUTERISED GOTO: Orion SkyQuest XS12g Truss Tube Dobsonian

Orion SkyQuest XX12g GoTo

Pros

  • Large aperture gathers all the light from the surroundings to give a good view
  • Easily broken down for easy transportation
  • Forgiving of accidental bumps or even hand manipulation

Cons

  • You should always use a shroud and a solar mirror, to ensure no damage to the eye
  • It’s an expensive telescope

Overview

Combining everything you would want in the best computerised GoTo telescope, the SkyQuest is a dream of modern technology. With a powerful optical performance, easy transportability and GoTo tracking technology, this model really brings out the big guns.

The large aperture (12″, if you’re interested) gathers all available light from the surroundings to show you some truly stunning imagery of nebulae, galaxies, the Moon – anything you want to see, really! It can work totally hands free, making it perfect for those who want to combine stargazing and modern technology.

What It Does Best

This scope is designed for a really deep, clear, extensive look at the night sky. Perfect in its ability to find exactly what you are looking for, it is very simple to input the co-ordinates of whatever you ask for and have the telescope find it all by itself.

As a hands free, high quality scope, this is truly a giant among the best computerised GoTo telescopes.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

This is a fairly hefty piece of kit, and it can take some time to take down and set up the base for optimum viewing. It is also pretty heavy, so bear this in mind if you are thinking of taking it up and putting it down on your own.

That being said, once it is set up you will get some really stunning shots, so a bit of time and effort spent is totally worth it.

What Other Customers Think

People have said that they got far more than they expected when they bought this scope. The light gathering ability, especially when one has been used to cheaper, less exciting telescopes, has really got people sitting up and taking notice.

Even with the eyepieces included, without buying extra more high spec ones, the images are reported to be spectacular.

Should You Buy It?

If you are serious about stargazing, and you want a jazzy piece of equipment with which to do it, then definitely go for this one. It is certainly one for the serious astronomer, rather than someone who might use it just a couple of times a year and then stash it in the loft to gather dust – but if you look at the price tag you are likely to be put off if you are not a serious stargazer!

For the serious amateur, this is truly a must when looking for the best computerised GoTo telescopes.


3. BEST BUDGET: Celestron 22201 AstroFi 90 Wifi Refractor

Pros

  • Reliable brand
  • Its own wifi signal and accessory tray
  • Included eyepieces

Cons

  • You would need an extra gadget to be able to see what the telescope sees on your smartphone

Overview

As a good all rounder wifi telescope for those on a budget, this is a great one to go for. A device that needs no hand control whatsoever, the Celestron 22201 is a wonder of modern technology.

All you need to do is point your phone or tablet at what you wish to see in closer detail, and the telescope will find its way to this exact spot.

Added to this, you will get information on your screen about which planet, system or nebula you are looking at, which makes this a great fun and informative way of viewing the night sky.

It’s also a great way to learn more about the solar system, as you can just point the telescope at a random spot in the sky and you will be able to read all the information available about that particular spot on your smartphone.

What It Does Best

This beast can find its own wifi signal, so there’s no need to spend time trying to connect it. It is a totally hands free experience – just select what you want to look at on your phone or tablet, and the telescope will automatically find it for you.

All you need do is focus the viewfinder on three bright objects in the sky and the telescope will discover where you are – no need for an awful lot of complicated calibration.

Flaws But Not Deal Breakers

Apparently it’s a bit tricky to initially calibrate. Once you have got to grips with it however, you will find that it works really well.

Sadly you cannot display the image through the viewfinder onto the screen of your phone without an additional piece of kit – but this is surely live with-able, bearing in mind that all you have to do is look through the viewfinder to see some truly beautiful imagery.

And anyway, isn’t it better to see stars and planets through an eyepiece than just on the flat surface of a phone screen?

What Other Customers Think

It has been reported that the wifi signal can drop in and out, making it tricky to use the scope in places where it does not already have a signal. This can be fixable with a bit of ingenuity, but it may be worth bearing in mind that you will probably be better off using this model in areas that have a consistent signal.

Apparently it does reconnect again fairly quickly, but if you have just been focusing on some fine detail of Saturn’s rings, only to have the signal drop out and the image disappear this could be irritating!

Should You Buy It?

If you are looking for a good wifi telescope on a budget, then yes. If you want to break into the niche and you would like a good, steadfast model for this purpose then this is one of the best options for you. As with all of the best computerised GoTo telescopes, you will need to have a keen interest in stargazing before you start, otherwise you may be wasting money.

This being said, the Celestron 22201 is a great introduction into some sophisticated stargazing, so if you have a keen interest but not a massive bank balance, then this is the model for you.

Leave a Reply