Every year in late November, high street and online shops reduce prices across a range of products in time for Black Friday, hoping to entice early Christmas shoppers or those looking to pick up a bargain for themselves.
Given just how many of the UK shops that embrace Black Friday are electronic and camera retailers, there are usually good discounts and deals on telescopes, binoculars and other astronomy equipment to be found, provided you know where to look.
Many of us may cower from the concept of Black Friday itself, but each year we see more and more telescopes, binoculars and other pieces of astro kit included in the price reductions, meaning it can make for a good opportunity to bag your first telescope or perhaps get a telescope upgrade.
Or if you’re a naked eye observer, you might want to make that first leap into observing with magnification via a good pair of binoculars before you commit to a full-blown telescope and mount system.
Black Friday can also be a great chance to get a good first telescope for a child or young astronomer just in time for Christmas.
If you’re buying a telescope for the first time, however, it pays to know what you’re looking for. There are numerous products available online during Black Friday that we wouldn’t recommend, no matter how low the price dropped!
Most telescopes come with mounts these days, too. Get all the info you need with our guide to telescope mounts.
And for advice on binoculars, read our guide to stargazing with binoculars and our pick of the best binoculars for astronomy. There’s plenty more binocular advice in our guide to budget binoculars, too.
When is Black Friday 2021?
Black Friday normally falls on the last Friday of November, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US.
Black Friday 2021 is on 26 November, but sales will most likely begin a week or more before.
If you’re on the lookout for a Black Friday deal, there are usually a good number of bargains to be found at the start of the week.
Black Friday telescope deals
While the main Black Friday deals haven’t been announced just yet, a few are starting to filter through. Here’s what we’ve found so far. Stay tuned for more as Black Friday approaches.
Sky-Watcher is a trusted and reliable telescope maker, and the Explorer-130M reflector has been reduced in price by Wex Photo Video. It’s a great choice for observing the Moon, the planets and deep-sky objects and comes with 10 and 25mm eyepieces, x2 Barlow Lens and a red dot finder. Plus, the telescope package includes a tripod and a motorised equatorial mount that can locate and track objects as they move across the sky.
This would make for a good first telescope for beginners – Newtonians often offer the best observing power for your money – as well as amateurs who feel they’ve got all they can out of their small refractor and are ready for an upgrade.
Celestron AstroMaster 76 EQ Reflector
Celestron is perhaps the most famous brand name in amateur astronomy, and with good reason. The company was set up by US astronomer Tom Johnson in the 1960s, and since then has been producing simple telescopes for beginners and more high-end instruments for experienced astronomers and astrophotographers.
The AstroMaster 76 EQ would make a great first telescope for beginners and young astronomers, and is currently available as part of Amazon’s Black Friday offerings. The telescope comes with an equatorial mount and tripod, an accessory tray, 10mm and 20mm eyepieces and a finderscope.
No tools are required for setup, which makes it a good grab-and-go telescope, as well as one that can be packed away for transport and easily assembled at a dark-sky site (and one that won’t take you too long to set up ready for Christmas morning!)
The AstroMaster also comes with downloadable software featuring a database of 36,000 astronomical objects, printable sky maps and images.
Sky-Watcher Star Discovery P150i Wi-Fi Parabolic Newtonian Reflector Telescope
The Sky-Watcher Star Discovery P150i is an accomplished all-rounder. The Moon, planets, nebulae, galaxies and star clusters are all visible through this powerful telescope. The device is controlled wirelessly with a smartphone or tablet using the SynScan app. The telescope comes with a SynScan WiFi module that creates its own network, so you can use the telescope without relying on other networks.
Using the app’s intuitive menu, the telescope can target objects by entering their coordinates. The P150i has a 750mm focal length, and it comes with 10mm and 25mm eyepieces. With a highest practical power of 300x and a 150mm primary mirror – this optic can collect the light of objects far out into space.
Sky-Watcher Heritage-130P FlexTube Parabolic Dobsonian
A tabletop Dobsonian makes for a great first telescope or even a first telescope for a child or young astronomer. You simply set it on a tabletop or other sturdy flat surface and it’s ready to go.
The Heritage-130P FlexTube is an example of a good tabletop Dobsonian, and is currently reduced in price by Wex PhotoVideo.
It weighs just over 6kg and comes with a carrying handle, making it suitable for transporting. It comes with a 10mm and a 25mm eyepiece and a red-dot finder.
This is another great beginners’ telescope from Sky-Watcher, and is suitable for close-up views of the Moon, for observing the planets and also deep-sky objects.
Zhumell Z100 Portable Altazimuth Reflector
This tabletop Dobsonian from Zhumell comes with a 1.25” focuser, 17mm and 10mm eyepieces, a red dot finder and – as you would expect – a sturdy Dobsonian base. It’s currently reduced on Amazon as part of their Black Friday offerings, and is also available via Walmart for US observers.
- Buy now from Walmart
Celestron AstroMaster LT 76AZ Telescope
For a bright, portable telescope to see the Moon and the planets – the Celestron AstroMaster LT 76AZ is a strong choice. The device is easy to assemble with no tools required and comes with a solid, pre-assembled tripod.
The built-in StarPointer red dot finderscope allows for easier object targeting. Its highest magnification is around 180x and the telescope’s light gathering capability is 118x that of the human eye. It also includes 20mm and 10mm eyepieces, along with the tripod and mount. A great full set for an amateur astronomer.
Celestron Travel Scope 70 refractor kit
Travel telescopes make a great option for many amateur astronomers, and not just those who like to journey to far-flung dark-sky sites. A travel telescope should by definition be lightweight, easy to carry and easy to set-up, which is probably what most people are looking for in a telescope anyway.
The Celestron Travel Scope 70 is really a ‘telescope kit’ as it comes with travel backpack, light aluminium tripod, 4mm, 10mm and 20mm eyepieces, and a Barlow lens. The telescope is suitable for observing the Moon, planets, star clusters and brighter galaxies and nebulae. It also comes with a CD-ROM that contains a database of 10,000 astronomical targets.
- Buy now from Argos
Celestron 21048 PowerSeeker 80EQ Telescope
A compact, lightweight and easy-to-use telescope is a fitting choice for beginner astronomers. The Celestron PowerSeeker 80EQ was designed with beginners in mind, thanks to the quick, toolless setup and slow motion controls for easier tracking.
The telescope includes an accessory tray and two eyepieces, 20mm and 4mm, and a 3x Barlow lens that can triple the magnification of each. The lens and eyepieces can magnify your object between 135x and 450x to collect detailed images of the stars. It also comes with the Celestron astronomy software featuring a 10,000 object database, printable sky maps and 75 enhanced images.
Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ Reflector Telescope
The Celestron AstroMaster 114EQ Reflector is capable of both land and celestial viewing. A great dual-purpose telescope, the Astromaster produces bright, clear images of planets, the Moon and the stars. The Newtonian reflective design makes this telescope able to see deep-sky objects, as well as phenomena in our own Solar System like Saturn’s rings
The pre-assembled tripod and equatorial mount with setting circles allows you to accurately locate and track objects. A maximum useful magnification of 269x makes this an excellent choice for observing both land and the stars.
Celestron Zhumell ZHUS002-1 Z114 Portable Altazimuth Reflector Telescope
The Celestron Zhumell series is fitting for both beginner astronomers and those looking for a telescope to carry on-the-go. The compact Z114 is a portable, tabletop telescope with a 114mm parabolic primary mirror – a rare feature for a scope of this size.
Even dimmer nebulae can be picked up thanks to the over-90% light transmission. The telescope can be set up in seconds, and as it’s compact and lightweight, it can easily be transported.
Black Friday binocular deals
Here are the best binocular deals available so far for Black Friday 2021.
Celestron Outland X
These binoculars weigh just under 800g and boast good colour correction, which during testing allowed us to take some beautiful glimpses of stars like Herschel’s Garnet Star (Mu (μ) Cephei), the brilliant white of Alderamin (Alpha (α) Cephei) and the yellow of Zeta (ζ) Cephei.
The Celestron Outland X is sold as ‘multi-coated’ and we found the anti-reflective coatings on the lenses were effective. Plus, as is the case with most 50mm roof prism binoculars, the minimum interpupillary distance is limited by design. Here it’s relatively large at 61mm.
The Celestron Outland X is currently on offer across a range of online retailers.
Nikon Prostaff 3S 10×42
The Nikon Prostaff 3S binoculars are lightweight, waterproof and designed to resist fogging up. They feature coated prisms and multilayer coated lenses, rubber eyecups and rubber padding for shock absorbance. 10x magnification will give you good views of the Moon and will really open up the beauty of targets like the Pleiades and the Orion Nebula (the latter target, provided your skies are dark enough). As far as beginner and low-budget binoculars go, this is a good option and is currently reduced in price across a few retailers.
Celestron SkyMaster 20×80
The Celestron SkyMaster 20×80 offers 20x magnification, multi-coated optics and a central focus knob. Interpupillary distance is 56-72mm and the 80mm and 100mm versions of this model com with a photo tripod adapter.
- Buy now from UK Camera Store
Pentax UP 8 16×21
The Pentax UP 8 16×21 come with rubber coating to protect against bumps and bashes, fully multicoated aspherical lens and porro prism. It is currently reduced quite dramatically on Amazon as part of their Black Friday 2021 campaign and would make for a good first set of binoculars.
Where to look for Black Friday telescope and binocular deals
Keep an eye on the following retailers for potential bargains on telescopes as Black Friday approaches.