Best Telescope for City Dwellers: See More Than the Stars

Best Telescope for City Dwellers

A telescope can show you the stars. Of course, some of us have more earthly interests and goals. Spotting the rings of Saturn is an incredible sight. Then again, spotting your cheating soon-to-be ex-spouse in their love nest is even better if you want to win a nasty divorce case. It may hurt to see it, but it will hurt more if you lose the house to a cheater. Don’t risk it, be sure you know what you’re getting when you pick your scope.

Before you run right out and grab a telescope, there’s something you should know. Not all scopes are created equal, so what works to see the heavenly bodies won’t necessarily give you a great view of human bodies. Unfortunately, some scopes don’t have a close-up viewing adjustment. A blurry image won’t do you much good, so you need a special kind of telescope to view nearer objects.

You need a spotting scope to get a clear view of the action.

Spotting Scopes Vs. Star Watching Telescopes

Sadly, not all spotting scopes are sold under that name. However, the distinction is easy enough to make. A telescope will show you the moon, and let you map the progress of your favorite constellation, but a spotting scope has closer viewing options. Whether that means changeable lenses or more high tech solutions, the description will give it away.

A ‘telescope,’ marketed for birdwatching is a spotting scope. Likewise, a ‘hunting,’ telescope will also have the functions you’re looking for. Additionally, any telescope that offers to transmit daytime images, or has a description that involves landscape viewing will function as a spotting scope.

Spotting scopes often come in more compact sizes. The portability is a nice bonus depending on how you intend to view your target. Always keep in mind the space you’ll need for a scope. While a smaller handheld spotting scope is superb for following your cheating spouse across town without letting them see you, a telescope with a tripod is better if you plan to sit in the apartment across the way from their lover’s house for hours. You can’t set up a tripod in your car either. Fortunately, there’s a scope for every situation.

Types of Telescopes

There are three primary varieties of the telescope, reflecting, refracting and a hybrid option known as the Schmidt-Cassegrain. Each option has it’s own benefits and uses. They were created to fulfill different purposes, thus understanding a little about how each one works will help you get the correct telescope for your needs.


  • Reflecting: A reflective lens uses a concave mirror to collect and redirect light. The light travels to a secondary mirror which reflects it upward into the eyepiece, hence the name. These are better for near-viewing and lack the flaws of the refracting lens.
  • Refracting: Exactly opposite of reflection, refraction is a way to bend light with a convex lens. The outward curve of the glass helps to concentrate light collected from the flat side. Overall this type of viewing allows for a better long distance view of celestial objects. Unfortunately, all refracting lenses have a flaw known as a chromatic aberration which changes the way visible light is colored. You probably won’t notice this unless your lens is 4″ or more, plus there are achromatic and apochromatic (modified) lenses to resolve the issue.
  • Schmidt-Cassegrain: This combines both the reflecting and refracting telescope properties. Using a folded light system, these lenses can create powerful and adaptable scopes that are also smaller.

Choosing Your Ideal Telescope

If you plan to spend your time staring into an eyepiece, then you’ll want to have a good quality scope. Knowing what questions to ask before you buy will help you to make an informed decision. Before we get to that, however, it helps to know that you’re probably looking for a refractor type telescope. When set up correctly, these are the best for people watching because they give you the most precise view of the sordid action.

What To Look For

Deciding what you need is up to you, but being an educated consumer will save you a lot of frustration and money in the long run. Consider the basic aspects of any city viewing telescope.

  • Close Focus Capability

    Will your telescope do the job you need it to do? You’d be surprised by how often people skip right past the most basic requirements in their excitement or frustration. You need a scope that is capable of terrestrial viewing to get a clear image.

  • Price Range

    Be suspicious of scopes that are too cheap. While you don’t always want to spend a lot of money on something, especially when it’s for something that will make you unhappy, you’ll have to pay what it’s worth. A super cheap telescope won’t get you images you can use. Obviously, you should watch your budget too, but don’t skimp where the rest of your life is concerned.

  • Legislation

    Are there any laws that prohibit you from doing what you want with your scope? It does change from place to place, but some things are universal. For example, you can’t sneak into someone else’s property and watch them through a crack in a bedroom curtain they reasonably believe is closed.

  • Size

    We already touched on this, but size matters. If you intend to carry your scope in your hand, or a bag on your shoulder for more than a few minutes, you’ll also want to know the weight. When and if you plan to hold a scope in your hands, make certain it will fit there comfortably. Likewise, if necessary, measure the space you have for a tripod if you’re going to use one.

  • Tripod

    Does it have a stand to steady the lenses? Do you need one? Some people have excellent hand and arm strength and surgeons steady hands. Others might find they need the help of a stand to see anything clearly at all. When looking at tripods, consider the amount of space you’ll have to place the telescope. Also, consider whether the tripod is removable.

  • Durability 

    Are you a soft touch, or do you tend to scrape your knees and tumble around? Not every scope can take a beating, but plenty of them can at least manage a few knocks without a lens coming loose. Figure out how much action the telescope is likely to see and make sure it can to survive the experience.

  • Cleanup

    Where are you going to put your telescope? Do you have a safe place to stow the new spotter, or are you at risk for your spouse finding out about your new hobby? Features like cases and bags are always handy. However, you also need to figure out where to store your scope regardless of what you put it inside when it’s not in use. When in doubt, try a locker in a public place like a gym. We have several useful articles on securing your lockers.

Comfort is Key

One of the most often overlooked aspects of any new tool is your comfort level. There are two way this effects you. Physical comfort is first. If a telescope is big and bulky, it can make you feel conspicuous. Alternately, for some people, a too-small scope might feel ineffective regardless of technical specs. Something too delicate can break in a heartbeat if you’re clumsy.


Any awkward interaction with your tools can make you hesitate to use them. An unused tool is just a dust collector, so pick something you enjoy handling. Your reason for getting the telescope may be sad, but you’ll find they are quite addictive and can be a lot of fun to use long after your current cheating spouse is in the rearview.


Knowing you can continue to use your telescope for other, more enjoyable activities can help you get used to it. If you feel awkward ‘spying,’ think of it as information gathering, like getting all your paperwork together before a presentation.

Learning is Also Key

Your skill and understanding affect your comfort with the tool. Though it is often said incorrectly that ten thousand repetitions will let you master anything, the idea is valid. The more complicated something is to learn, the longer it takes. Consider the user manual, or lack thereof, when you look at telescopes.


Find out what you need to know before you commit to a tool you may not yet understand. For example, changing lenses gives you versatility, but requires more know-how than a fixed lens. A fantastic way to discover an unknown when you’re genuinely clueless is to google “things I wish I’d known before I bought a ____.” That should get you advice from active, knowledgeable users and sometimes even experts.


If you are a beginner or have very little time to read up, then pick something simple. Avoid bells and whistles you can’t use. Alternatively, you may want more features, in which case you should make the time to at least watch some how-to videos on YouTube. Always do a trial run before you need the scope, so you know how it works and how it feels.


Top Five Best Spotting Telescopes for City Dwellers

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of telescopes for you to choose from. How do you narrow it down? We’ve curated a quick list of the top five telescope choices for getting an eyeful of that cheating spouse while remaining at a safe distance.

1. Celestron Portable 70mm Travel Scope

When you need everything in one tidy package so you can spot your sneaky spouse on the fly, the Celestron Portable is a perfect choice. This scope comes with a carry case, plus you get a tripod and the Starry Night Astronomy Software Package included. It’s hard to beat this package for easy use and setup, so it snags the number one spot on our list.

Nice Lens

The big 70mm aperture refractor lens is created for outstanding light collection. Realistically, what that means for you is a better view of the heavens, or the depths you soon-to-be-ex has sunk to depending on where you aim it. Additionally, it comes equipped with two eyepieces, a 20mm, and 10mm option, so you always get the best perspective.

Fantastic Warranty

Celestron has been around for a while, since 1960 in fact. They know what customers want and need, so they back up their products with fantastic customer service and technical support. Moreover, the call center is in the US; thus, they’re creating jobs. If that wasn’t enough, they’re throwing in a two-year warranty. Your relationship may not work, but at least your telescope will.


  • Designed For Close-up Viewing- Since you probably aren’t buying your scope to look at Mars, the 70mm Celestron is made for closer viewing.
  • Backpack- Portability is one of the biggest problems with a decent telescope. A bag is great, but a backpack is better. The shape is more subtle and less likely to draw unwanted attention.
  • User-Friendly- A telescope does you no good if it’s so complicated that you can’t make it function. Unless you know a good deal about telescopes, then you’re going to want something simple and convenient.


  • Be Gentile- Because this scope has a plastic tripod, you do need to exercise caution around the legs, so they don’t break. Tripod legs are inherently slender which means this isn’t a great scope to set up around small children and rambunctious pets.
  • Stripping Screws- The plastic that makes this model, so lightweight and easy to carry is softer than metal. This means you need to be careful inserting screws, so you don’t strip the holes.
  • Beginners- This is the low end of Celestron’s telescopes, so while it’s outstanding for city viewing, you can’t expect the same quality you get from their top tier offerings.

See the details here.

2. AIRSOFTPEAK Monocular Telescope

Just like the Celestron, this brilliant scope comes with the whole package. You’ll get all the accessories you need, such as the cell phone holder included. With the tripod, bag, cleaning cloth and dual-ended lens caps, so you won’t need to buy any extra parts.

Super Portable

At just 5.6 inches long and 2.9 inches at the highest, you can carry this mini-telescope with you easily. It will fit in your pocket or pack without much difficulty plus it weighs less than thirteen ozs. The compact convenience will let you spy from anywhere. You can even hold it in your hand without the tripod for additional easy viewing.


  • Smartphone Compatible- Viewing and recording on your phone means you’ll have the evidence you need to prove your ex is up to some dirty tricks.
  • BAK-4 Prism & FMC Coating- The FMC (fully multi-coated) green film optical coating helps capture the best images without vignetting issues to color your view.
  • Wide View- You don’t want to miss out on any crucial details. With this monocular, you won’t need to with a lens that captures 211ft 1000yds.


  • Awkward- Some people may find the tripod and phone holer a bit cumbersome to set up.
  • No Serious Complaints- Beyond the usual warning to take care of your equipment and not toss it around, there’s nothing else to put down as a negative. This is a fantastic terrestrial viewing telescope.

Check out this powerful portable telescope here.

3. Gosky HD Spotting Scope 

Are you seeking a more durable option? Gosky makes a sturdy scope just for you. Whatever you need to accomplish, this spotting scope can go where you need it. The rubber armor keeps this telescope from cracking under pressure. Additionally, it helps keep the scope and tripod from slipping out of your hand right before you get the perfect shot.

Video Plus

So you’ve tracked the cheater to their secret love nest. Then you miraculously manage to find a legal perch to see the show on some lovely public property. You set up to film and discover a problem. Your phone battery is almost dead. Do you risk taking a video when you know that your phone could die from the effort and waste everything you’ve put into getting here? No, of course not. You can snap a couple of pictures with this well-designed telescope, save them for later and go charge your phone.


  • High Definition- HD means you never have to worry about getting an image that looks like a video of Sasquatch. It may be hard to keep a clear head when your spouse is cheating, but you can get a clear picture.
  • Zoom- The 20-60x zoom allows you to aim and then narrow in to get the images you need.
  • Waterproof- Spying is hard enough in the rain. The frustration of a leaky scope doesn’t have to add to your troubles.


  • Tripod Mounting Ring- As is often the case with delicate equipment, even the durable Gosky has parts you can break more easily. Don’t over tighten screws and treat it gently to get years of service out of this telescope.
  • Max Zoom- At maximum zoom, there’s a chance of some minor distortion around the edges of the image.
  • Phone Mount Issues- Using the phone mount can be a little tricky. Make sure you follow the directions.

Get your Gosky here.

4. ESSLNB Night Vision Monocular 

For those who are seeking a serious upgrade to get their viewing done right, the ESSNLB Night Vision Monocular will give you what you need. A secure USB port for plug and play recharging means you can recharge from a powerpack if you need more time to see what’s happening.

You’ll be pleased with the value offered in this little but sophisticated telescope. From the hand dial focus to the infrared lights for night vision, everything about this excellent scope is made for watching objects or people right here on earth.


  • Infra-Red- Seeing things that are far away is amazing, but seeing them in the dark is even better.
  • With Glasses- The adjustable cup and diopter can fold down for more comfortable use if you wear glasses.
  • Internal Memory- With an 8 GB memory card included, you can store your images without the muss and fuss of a smartphone or other external memory unit.


  • Tiny Timestamp- The date and time display is very small, and since it’s red, it can be a little hard to see.
  • So Many Features- You need to read the whole manual on this model, so you don’t miss out on anything important.
  • Backup Plans- Make sure to buy an extra battery in case you need more than 2-6 hours. Recharging takes time.

See all the features here.

5. Aliynet Infrared Night Vision Monocular with WiFi

It’s hard to know where to start with this impressive telescope. Firstly, it converts easily from handheld to tripod. Second, you can connect this telescope directly to your phone or use Wifi for image recording. More importantly, you also get the wrist strap, carrying pouch, lens caps, and phone stand included with the scope.

You can network more than one phone to this astounding recording telescope and get day or night still shots and videos in the palm of your hand. Swap quickly between monocular viewing and cell phone or night vision. Aliynet thought out all the details and functions carefully, so you only need to worry about getting this telescope to where you need it for viewing.


  • Wifi Phone Connection- Why mess with phone holders when you can stream to your phone over Wifi? You don’t have to worry about any extra setup time, causing you to miss an important image. Of course, if you have the time, you can always use the included holder for hands-free recording experience.
  • Free App- Some smartphone compatible devices require you to buy or subscribe to the Apps that connect your phone, but it comes free with this scope.
  • Auto Switch- Use the intelligent photosensitive day and night switching without having to mess around with dials and buttons. If the light gets too low, the Aliynet Night Vision scope will change over to night viewing for you.


  • It Takes Some Getting Used to- This is not a toy you can plug and play. With so many advanced features, you’ll need to take the time to learn how this scope works to get your money’s worth.
  • You Need the Phone- If you want to save any video, you will need to connect this device to your smartphone.
  • Limited Range- You need to stay within 30 meters of the telescope for pictures to display.

Discover this great convertible telescope here.

Honorable Mention: CCX Monocular Telescope for Smartphone

cta here.

Final Thoughts

It’s incredibly awful to be cheated on by someone you love. The pain can be so intense that it feels like a physical blow. You can die from taktsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as ‘broken heart syndrome.’ No advice can make the hurt heal any faster, but you can have your (legal) revenge.

Always check your local laws so that any evidence you might obtain can be used against the cheater. Breaking the laws and getting arrested or charged won’t help your situation. Moreover, as you move past the feelings of pain and betrayal, you can learn to live and love again. Take good care of yourself. Always remember, the best revenge you can have is to forget about the crummy ex and live well. Happiness will renew your heart, plus your ex will hate seeing it.

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