When you look up at the night sky, what’s immediately visible are some bright stars and the moon.
But if you take a deeper look with a telescope, you’ll be amazed to get to see the planets.
Do you need a specific telescope to view the planets?
The more powerful the telescope you have, the more you’ll be able to see. You might, for example, be able to catch sight of Jupiter’s moons or Saturn’s rings.
Not sure what kind of telescope you need?
Don’t worry – here’s your ultimate guide to the best telescope for viewing planets in 2020.
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets – Reviews & Buying guide for 2020
Best Overall: Orion 9024 AstroView Refractor Telescope
This is a quality telescope that stands almost five feet in height is the best telescope for viewing planets and galaxies. Here’s what to know about it.
- 2 Plossl eyepieces
- Achromatic optics
- 90-degree mirror diagonal
- This telescope is equipped with a 90mm aperture and 910mm focal length. The combination of these features enables sharper, clearer views of sky objects, even deep-sky objects.
- You’ll be able to use this telescope to see the moon and other planets – and you can use it during the day to see terrestrial objects, so it’s pretty versatile.
- It comes with an EQ-2 adjustable tripod as well as an equatorial mount. This means that you can slowly track the movement of the celestial objects across the sky so that you can zone in on them.
- You get two top-quality Sirius Plossl eyepieces with this telescope – one is 25mm and the other is 10mm. Use the 25mm eyepiece to bring the moon to life as it magnifies it by 36x, while the 10mm eyepiece magnifies celestial objects to 91x, so it’s perfect for capturing clear and sharp details.
- This telescope makes use of achromatic optics to reduce chromatic aberration, which is an inability to focus.
- There are other goodies in the pack to enjoy, such as a finderscope to help you find celestial objects and a 90-degree mirror diagonal. This ensures that you can view objects more comfortably because they will be upright and therefore easier to view.
- The mount tends to shake a bit when you try to focus it.
- Some people who have purchased this telescope have reported that it’s quite difficult to assemble and the provided instructions are not clear.
- You’ll love being able to make use of the Starry Night software that’s included in the pack.
This powerful telescope comes with a range of excellent accessories that will appeal to both the beginner and advanced stargazer. It gives you views of many celestial objects, which makes it the best telescope for viewing planets.
Runner Up: Celestron PowerSeeker 127EQ Telescope
This Celestron telescope is a Newtonian reflector telescope, which can be very beneficial when you want to view celestial objects in the deep sky. Here’s why, and what to know about it!
- All-glass optics
- Barlow lens
- German equatorial mount
- Newtonian reflector telescopes usually have shorter focal lengths which increases their field of view.
- They’re also very portable, so you can grab it and go to your favorite stargazing location.
- This telescope comes with a German equatorial mount. This has a slow-motion feature for accurate planet-location.
- You get lots of extra accessories in the pack that you’ll love. These include a 3x Barlow lens, and two eyepieces. The eyepieces are 4mm and 20mm. The use of the Barlow lens and eyepieces will enable you to magnify your views of the sky by between 150x and 450x.
- This telescope is equipped with all-glass optics. These enable you to enjoy sharp views of the moon, Jupiter’s moons, Saturn’s rings, and galaxies that are outside of our Solar System. It’s the best telescope for viewing the moon and planets.
- You might find that you battle a bit with collimating this telescope, even though it’s said to be beginner-friendly.
- In addition to that, it’s been said that this telescope’s slow-motion controls can be hard to operate on the mount. This can result in blurry images of the night sky.
- Should something go wrong with your telescope, you can make use of the company’s two-year unlimited access to technical support from their team of experts.
- You’ll receive a bonus Starry Night software package with your purchase.
- Once you unpack it, this telescope is really easy to set up – no tools required!
If you want to save some money while still getting a telescope from a brand you can trust, this Celestron telescope is the one for you. It’s affordable while offering quality features to help you better see the planets.
Alternative: Meade Instruments Polaris 114mm Aperture
This Meade telescope offers a wider view to enhance what you see when you look up at the night sky.
- 3 eyepieces
- 2x Barlow lens
- Red-dot viewfinder
- One of the best things about this telescope is that it comes with three eyepieces. These offer low magnification (with the 26mm eyepiece), medium magnification (with the use of the 9mm eyepiece), and high magnification (if you choose the 6.3mm eyepiece).
- As if that wasn’t enough, you also get a 2x Barlow lens that will increase the magnification of every eyepiece by double.
- This telescope has a 1,000mm focal length, which means you’ll be able to see planets with greater ease.
- This telescope comes with a red-dot viewfinder. This means that you can simply aim your telescope at a spot in the sky where you want to see what’s there and the viewfinder will help you to locate it.
- It has a stable German equatorial mount. This has slow-motion controls so you can smoothly and easily track celestial objects as they move through the sky.
- Some people who have purchased this telescope have reported that while the mount is quite heavy, it doesn’t offer as much stability as they would have liked. You have to ensure that you’re using it on even ground and be wary of vibrations nearby that can cause it to wobble.
- Others have said that the instruction manual isn’t helpful.
- The telescope comes with an accessory tray to make storing all your accessories much more convenient.
- It’s got a stainless steel tube design that makes it stronger and more durable.
- With your purchase of this telescope you’ll receive an AutoStar Suite Astronomer Edition Software DVD that provides you with more than 10,000 celestial objects! You’ll be inspired to find as many of them as you can.
You’ll probably find that this is the best telescope to see planets and stars because it offers user-friendly and convenient features, such as the viewfinder.
Best Beginner Telescope For Planets: Gskyer Telescope
Whether you want to view the sky at home or visit your favorite stargazing location out of town from where you will have clearer views of the night sky, here’s why this Gskyer telescope should go with you.
- 3x Barlow lens
- 5×25 finderscope
- Smartphone adapter
- This telescope is completely portable, not just because it doesn’t weigh a lot but also because it comes with a convenient carry bag.
- It comes with two eyepieces included: one is 10mm and the other one is 25mm. To make them even more powerful, you also get a Barlow lens in the pack that triples their magnification.
- This telescope has a 5×25 finderscope to help you find the planets you wish to zoom in on and enjoy.
- Another characteristic of this telescope that makes it highly portable is that it comes with a smartphone adapter and wireless camera remote. These are great if you’re a budding astrophotographer.
- The tripod is adjustable.
- This telescope is built with a fully-coated lens that has high-transmission coatings on it to make sure that what you view in the sky is crisp and beautiful.
- One of the problems some people who have bought this telescope have found is that the tripod is not as secure as they would have liked.
- Another problem you might encounter is that the smartphone adapter can be tricky to use.
- Finally, and most importantly, it only has 400mm focal length, which is quite a bit less than what you need in the best telescope to see planets.
- The purchase of this telescope includes an accessory tray for the ultimate convenience.
- It’s really easy to set up this telescope, with some people who have purchased it stating that it took them less than 15 minutes!
If you want a telescope that can easily be taken with you on those fun stargazing road trips, while also packing a punch with its features, this one is perfect. It costs $129.99.
Runner Up: DoubleSun Telescope
This telescope has a 60mm aperture and 700mm focal length, which is good for beginners. Let’s check out what else it has to offer and if it’s worth investing in if you’re just starting out with astronomy.
- Green glass-coated optics
- Altazimuth mount
- Padded backpack
- This telescope has a multilayer of green glass-coated optics. These make your images much brighter, while also protecting your eyes.
- It comes with a nifty smartphone eyepiece adapter that’s 1.25 inches so that you can easily take photos of what you see in the sky.
- You’ll also get an altazimuth mount. This has slow-motion controls so that you can track the objects in the sky.
- It comes with a 3x Barlow lens, as well as two eyepieces: one is 9mm and the other is 20mm.
- This is said to be an excellent telescope for viewing the moon as you’ll be able to see its details very clearly.
- People who have purchased this telescope have reported that the instructions are not very clear.
- Carrying this telescope and all the extra accessories around is a breeze, thanks to the padded backpack that’s included with your purchase.
- Although it seems like you will only be able to view the moon with this telescope, you can also see the planetary details, such as Saturn’s rings.
What makes DoubleSun telescope the best beginner telescope is that it provides you with everything you need right in the box, so it’s easy to get started – and you can try your hand at astrophotography while you’re at it.
Telescopes For Viewing Planets FAQ
What type of telescope is best for viewing planets?
If you usually view the sky with a pair of trusty binoculars, you might want to upgrade to the best telescope for viewing the moon and planets.
However, not just any telescope will do. Let’s look at some of the most important features to look for in a telescope for viewing the planets so that you’re not disappointed.
you want your telescope to be able to magnify the views of the sky. For example, if you want to be able to see details on the moon.
The use of a Barlow lens that increases the magnification of eyepieces by double or triple is extremely useful in this regard.
A shorter one will allow you to view some planets, but you need a longer one to see planets that are further away from earth. A longer focal length will also enable you to work with high magnification.
Ideally, your telescope should have a focal length of around 1,000mm. The Celestron PowerSeeker and Meade Instruments telescopes both have a focal length of 1,000mm.
The aperture is the end of the telescope that is pointed to the sky so it needs to be as wide as possible to be able to collect as much light as it can.
This will result in brighter, clearer images. A good aperture is around 70mm to ensure you’ll get good views.
you need a stable, secure tripod on which your telescope will rest so that it doesn’t cause blurry views.
This is also of the utmost importance when it comes to taking photos of what you see.
The finder is pretty standard in many telescopes and it helps you find celestial objects in the sky.
However, some have a red-dot finder and this makes finding and tracking objects so much easier because, as its name suggests, it uses a red dot to help you follow celestial objects.
What can influence the clarity of the image of planets
There are many factors that can prevent you from seeing planets clearly.
Here’s a rundown of them.
Lack of stability
When viewing the planets through your telescope, you need to ensure that you prevent wobbly, blurry images by using a tripod.
This will stabilize the telescope so that images in the sky can be clear and crisp.
Avoid the temptation to heavily magnify the view you see. This can cause blurriness, especially if you’re using too much magnification on a telescope that’s too small. It’s better to focus on the telescope’s aperture.
A good tip is to start with a low magnification and see what you can see. Then, work your way up to a higher magnification until you can see with the best contrast and clarity.
Sometimes, though, it’s not the telescope but the air around you that’s causing blurry views. “Seeing” is a term for when the air is turbulent and it causes the images you’re looking at through your telescope to move around and wobble.
A good tip (via EarthSky ) is to stand as still as you can and be patient, as the air can change from one moment to the next.
Sudden temperature changes
If you’re in a warm home and then take your telescope outside in the cold to view the planets, the sudden temperature change can cause the images you see to be blurry or suffer from other distortions.
That’s why it’s important to allow the telescope to cool down, and this takes about 15 to 30 minutes so that its lens or mirrors won’t be warped from the temperature that causes moving air inside the tube (via Cosmic Pursuits). Now you know!
How to track planets and their positions in the solar system?
Once you have the best telescope for planets, you need to know when to look up at the sky!
The time of the year will play an important role in what you get to see. For example, Mercury is best visible during late November, while Venus can be seen well from mid-June all the way to the end of the year.
Star Date is a valuable resource that will help you track the stars at the right time of the year. You can also make use of a smartphone app such as Planet Finder, which displays the positions of the planets, moon, and stars.
Once you’re set up with your telescope, it’s worth using your finderscope to help you locate the planets. This device is placed on top of your telescope so that you can better find what you’re looking for.
It helps because it has a lower magnification so it reveals a wider area of sky. Achromatic finderscopes contain cross hairs in the viewing, while Reflex scopes will usually have a red dot that shows up in their center.
How the finderscope actually works is that it offers you a low-magnification view of what you’re looking at in the sky.
You have to line up your telescope on the target in the sky and then look through the finderscope so that you can see it clearly. Then, you have to adjust your telescope mount again before looking through the finderscope.
You need to ensure your mount can track the stars and planets.
An equatorial mount is especially useful when doing this because of how it can move in many different directions, but you will have to polar align it. Read, “How To Align And Scope Your Telescope “ for detailed information on how to do this.
Are planet viewing telescopes good for moon viewing?
Viewing the moon with a telescope is often the first thing beginner astronomers do. It makes sense because the moon is large enough to see, even during the day.
If you have a telescope that can provide you with views of planets, then it will have enough power to also allow you to view the moon. In fact, many telescopes for planet viewing will also state that you’ll be able to see the moon’s details with them.
You just need to ensure that you have a telescope with a magnification of about 50x.
This is sufficient to show you the entire moon. If you want more details, opt for magnification of 150x or more (via Space). To see the planets, the general rule is that you need at least 20x or 30x magnification.
If you love astronomy and you want to view the planets, you need to get your hands on the best telescope. But which one will do the job? In this article, we’ve featured the best telescope for viewing planets, as well as four alternatives to enable you to open up your view of the night sky.