At night when you take a look at the sky, you can’t help but marvel at the different celestial bodies which are up there. Humanity has always been fascinated by the stars, planets, and some other spatial bodies.
They’re amazing, aren’t they?
Sometimes, you’re just captivated by hearing and see different pictures of the planets. After some time, you’ve probably had enough, and you want to see it yourself. Surely, you can’t book a flight to space, but what can you do?
Well, telescopes can give you the view of what you’re missing. Surely, you’ll only see miniaturized versions of these planets, but it’s still a great experience.
A decent telescope is required if you are to view planets and stars clearly as cheap, budget telescopes just don’t cut it. The logic behind this is quite simply the better the telescope, the better the view. So, the real question is, what are the best telescopes to see planets?
It’s really a tough question to answer considering the number of options available in the market. However, I’ve done my research and tested multiple products. Now, I’ve come up with a list of 10 of the best telescopes for viewing planets, stars, and even entire galaxies.
Don’t be deceived as there’s no perfect telescope anywhere in the world. But several telescopes come close to exactly what you need. I’ll help you make the choice that will help you get the appropriate product.
In this guide, you’ll be able to learn about what constitutes a great telescope and how to identify one in the market. There is also a list of some of the best telescopes for celestial viewing, along with their features, pros, and cons.
I’m sure that you’ll be able to pick a great choice. Let’s go!
Best Telescopes To See Planets – Comparison Chart
|Orion SkyQuest XT10g||10"||1200mm||Check On Amazon|
|Sky-Watcher 10″ Collapsible||10"||1200mm||Check On Amazon|
|Zhumell Z12 Deluxe||12"||1500mm||Check On Amazon|
|Celestron NexStar 130SLT||5.1"||650mm||Check On Amazon|
|Gskyer Telescope, 130EQ||5.1"||650mm||Check On Amazon|
|Orion SpaceProbe 130ST||5.1"||650mm||Check On Amazon|
|Gskyer Telescope, 600x90mm AZ||3.5"||600mm||Check On Amazon|
|Celestron 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ||5.1"||650mm||Check On Amazon|
|Emarth Travel 70mm||70mm||360mm||Check On Amazon|
|Gskyer Telescope, 80mm AZ||3.15"||400mm||Check On Amazon|
Best Telescopes To See Planets Reviews
By now, you know quite some things about the best telescopes for space viewing (for sky watching, stargazing, or whatever else you would like to call it). But that’s not enough. Let’s look at their features, including the pros and cons.
#1 Orion SkyQuest XT10g
This is one of the most powerful and largest tube Dobosnians telescopes that you can find on the market. The Dobsonians are telescopes invented by John Dobson.
I like the hollow tube design of this telescope. Its all-black finish also helps to add another dimension to it. If you are buying this product, you have to be ready to sacrifice some money in place of value.
This particular Dobsonian telescope, the Orion SkyQuest telescope, is known to have an aperture of 10″. This eyepiece’s focal length and focal ratio are 1200mm and f4/7, respectively, which makes it very easy to look into space and spot some of these impressive planets.
Just like its name suggests, it is a “Go-to” telescope, which means that it has the ability to allows you to keep track of the planets and other stars. Its database contains about 42,000 stars, and it immediately notifies you when pointing at one. The telescope can be easily moved around with the use of handles, which can also be detached from the OTA.
The benefit of the “go-to” system is because it doesn’t allow you to look manually for every celestial body. It’s a feature which I really like and find helpful. Think of the sky like a maze, and the “go-to” system is its compass.
Also, the telescope makes it possible to take pictures of this extraterrestrial body because of its clear optics. The Orion SkyQuest comes pre-designed with additional features such as optical encoders, drive motors, and pre-installed gears. Its camera is lightweight and easy to use to take pictures of space.
The Orion SkyQuest XT10g Computerized GoTo Dobsonian Telescope can function as both a professional and beginner telescope. Surely, you can make further investments to make the telescope better, but it’s already great.
- Has an inbuilt “go-to” system for easy planet tracking.
- Has an advanced optics system.
- Easy to use and move around.
- Expensive to buy.
- Doesn’t come with a 12V power supply.
#2 Sky-Watcher 10 Inches Collapsible
Another Dobsonian on the list? The SW 10″ Dob is a beautiful piece of equipment to own and flaunt around. What’re your criteria for a really good telescope? It surely fits the bill and ticks all the boxes you can think of. Despite its affordable price, it’s packed with features, and you’ll enjoy each of them. The SW 10″ is made with innovative and latest technology.
Due to this, it’s an equipment of choice for beginners and professionals. Everyone loves this telescope and can’t get enough of it.
The OTA is designed to be easy to use and disassemble. It’s optics and mechanical component evidence of the amount of work that has been put into the production of this telescope.
All the parts of the telescope are properly finished to have a smooth and shiny texture. All of its components are designed to create steady equipment which can endure wear and tear. The parts are made with durable and quality materials that keep the device in shape.
Its collapsible tube design makes it very easy to move around or transport. The eyepiece of the Sky-Watcher 10 Inches Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope is versatile. It can be used to view majestic planets or nearby objects in a lake.
The motorized mount found on the telescope makes it easier to use for planetary viewing. It has been made to the best industry standards, and you can easily trust it. This product comes with a 1-year warranty.
- Versatile eyepiece.
- An excellent choice for beginners and professionals.
- Durable and quality materials.
- Made to the best industry standards.
- May be fragile.
#3 Zhumell Z12 Deluxe
The Zhumell 12 Dobsonian telescope comes with two fully multi-coated eyepieces; 2″ 30mm eyepiece and a 1.25″ 9mm eyepiece. In the package, you’ll also find a 12″ parabolic primary mirror.
This mirror is specially designed to capture clear and bright images. The design of Zhumell Z12 is simple and portable, which makes it easy to handle and move around.
All of its components are built with extra care to ensure the durability of the equipment. Zhumell Z12 is the telescope that stays working for years. You get to use it for city viewing, such as for camping trips, public star parties, and everywhere else. It stays in shape; it’s that strong!
It is fitted with an in-built cooling fan that keeps the temperature of the equipment cool during use. This is a feature that you don’t usually find on regular telescopes, and it makes it unique.
However, its material is quick to absorb heat. The Z12 is a cost-effective and powerful telescope which you should, at the very least, consider. It will keep your stargazing for years.
- Dual multi-coated eyepiece for better vision.
- It’s quite affordable.
- A versatile piece of equipment.
- Feels sturdy and has a rigid construction.
- May easily get too hot.
#4 Celestron NexStar 130SLT
The Celestron NexStar 130SLT is a reflector telescope that makes use of different mirrors to get a good quality of reflected light. This telescope boasts of a large aperture of 130nm, which excellently controls the amount of light entering it from the space. This feature makes stargazing and viewing planets feel like a cool breeze.
The telescope can easily be used to get distant view objects. It has a single-fork arm and a pre-assembled tripod. The Celestron Nexstar is a computerized telescope as it as a computerized Altazimuth mount and a Star Pointer.
It’s able to feature on as many as three different objects simultaneously automatically. My best kinds of devices are the easiest to use and the most versatile.
With a database of 4000 objects, you’re sure to enjoy bliss in every view of the planetary bodies you take.
The 130SLT cannot store any information on it; you would always have to manually input the date and time each time you use the device.
Asides the little downside, which many don’t even consider a problem, this telescope is overall a good choice. Its manufacturer promises a 2-year warranty which covers the repair of any spoilt parts of the equipment.
I’ve gone through endless lists of reviews about this product, and no one seems to be able to say a bad thing about it. In fact, they all agree that it provides commensurate value for the money paid for it.
- Easy to set up and use.
- It has an aperture of 130mm.
- Computerized Altazimuth mount and Star Pointer.
- Makes use of reflective technology in its optical tube.
- Cannot save information on it.
#5 Gskyer Telescope 130EQ
First of all, I love the German equatorial mount on this telescope. When this mount is used along with the stainless-steel tube tripod, you’ll be able to track fast-moving objects with the telescope.
The telescope has a multilayer green glass optics which is designed to allow for more magnification. The Gskyer Telescope can draw in enough light to allow for a clear vision of planets and other celestial bodies.
The systems of this telescope are easy to prepare, and even if you mess things up, the instructional manual is there to help you. It can be installed simply in a manner of minutes. It’s a great piece of equipment for entry-level astronomers.
Gskyer 130EQ would offer anyone good value for money. The telescope may come with a few complicated features such as the pinion system, but there’s no cause to worry. All you need is a tutorial video or a careful look at the instructional manual for tips.
As expected of German tech companies, Gskyer is strong and durable. Its features make it a great choice for celestial viewing. It is perfect for terrestrial viewing as it is one of those few powerful planet viewing telescopes that can see the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, craters, and even fast-moving comets.
- Easy to assemble.
- Easy to use.
- Rigid and durable construction.
- Can be used to observe terrestrial and celestial features.
- May contain some complex systems such as the pinion system.
- Too heavy to move around freely.
#6 Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST
This is another telescope that is made for beginners. This amateur telescope is compact and has a good amount of viewing power without compromising on the specs.
It has a standard 24″ optical tube, and its small size makes it quite easy to be moved around. Also, the SpaceProbe telescope offers a wider range of views than a lot of other consumer telescopes.
This allows it to locate a number of these celestial bodies and features easily. The aperture of the scope is only 5.1″ and a parabolic mirror. The instructions to set up this equipment are quite unclear, and this may be a challenge for you.
The manufacturer states that it would take about 30 minutes to assemble, but it could also take more than that.
A significant drawback is the stand of the scope; it is lightweight and can be unreliable. Getting yourself a new mount at an extra cost will surely do you a lot of good during your observations. It’s a respected telescope and is perfect for beginners.
A good number of reviews on the telescope has positive feedbacks. It comes highly recommended if you want a telescope that will allow you to see space and planets clearly while also being affordable due to not being a high-powered telescope.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Wide field of view.
- A great choice for beginners.
- It could prove difficult to assemble.
- Has an unreliable mount.
#7 Gskyer Telescope, 600x90mm AZ
For many years and counting, Gskyer remains one of the producers of the best planetary telescopes in the market. Having excelled so far, it has also produced the 600x900mm AZ telescope. It’s known to be quite expensive, but with impressive features to match the price.
The scope comes with a stainless-steel tripod, which helps to offer more balance/stability. It features a wide aperture and long focal length for extra clear images. The OTA of the microscope is made from aluminum alloy, and it has a rigid construction.
The telescope is easy to use and doesn’t require any advanced technical knowledge. It comes with a prebuilt for more convenience. When I took a look at some of its accessories, such as the eyepiece, the quality of the construction is obvious.
Despite all of its impressive features, the Gskyer 600x900mm AZ Refractor Telescope doesn’t have any software for photography or for image enhancement. The manufacturer of the scope offers a 1-year warranty for any damages.
- Rigid construction.
- Easy to use.
- It has a wide aperture and long focal length.
- Accessories are made to the highest quality.
- No software for image enhancement or photography.
#8 Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ
In this product, you get another reflector scope with excellent optics. It is originally designed to suit beginners but can also be used by professionals.
The optical parts of the scope are powerful enough for you to see Jupiter clearly, as well as to view Saturn’s rings. The notable optical parts include two eyepieces and a fully-coated objective lens.
The tools and parts used in the construction of this telescope are well-designed and have a rigid construction. A lightweight frame houses all of its components, and it can be trusted to be able to withstand a good level of wear and tear.
Having to adjust the scope when stargazing can always be tiring; this equipment takes care of that completely. The Celestron offers an option that is powerful and user-friendly.
All of its parts are easy to use and can be adjusted to suit different applications/scenarios. The telescope can easily be set up without any additional tools; you can do it all by yourself.
Its database is friendly and consists of about 36,000 objects.
- Has very good optical parts and systems.
- Available at an affordable price.
- Versatile tool.
- Provides clear images.
- The mount of the telescope is shaky, and overall the whole body may be fragile.
- The user interface may be difficult to use.
#9 Emarth Travel 70mm Astronomical Refracter Telescope
The Emarth Travel Telescope is an excellent choice for stargazing made with its users in mind. It’s a perfect gift for beginners as it is designed with kids and beginners in mind. Its features provide a good way for astronomy lessons for those kids who are interested.
The manufacturers combined high technological advancement with quality in making the optical components to ensure that users enjoy a smooth view of the night sky. This is a telescope that is entirely fitted with multi-coated optical parts, which will make images as bright and sharp as possible.
The scope also promises 99% light transmission for clear viewing. This means you’ll be able to see the elements of the night sky quite clearly.
With K10MM & K25 MM Eyepiece features, you can enjoy much more than observing the night sky. It takes you deeper into stargazing and terrestrial viewing. There’s also a cross star finder scope, which makes it easy to locate stars or flying birds.
For increased convenience, the telescope is usually mounted on an Altazimuth mount, which can be moved vertically in both ways to suit your taste.
- Comes with an Altazimuth mount.
- Specially features a cross star finderscope.
- It can be used with a variety of applications.
- Easy to set up.
- It is intended for amateur astronomy and is not suitable for professionals.
#10 Gskyer Telescope, 80mm AZ
This telescope is great beginner-level equipment that can be used to see nearby space objects and terrestrial features at night and during the day. It is not a deep space/sky telescope.
There’s a lot of versatility to enjoy from the equipment. It comes with virtually everything you could need to simplify stargazing. It’s a top-choice refractor telescope and comes with high-quality parts.
This telescope model is lightweight and has high-quality optical parts for bright and clear images. It features high power eyepieces, coated components, tripod, and a number of other features that make it easy to use.
The equipment is free from any chromatic aberration, and you’ll enjoy a clear field of view. The tripod stand offers it a steady balance, and all you have to focus on are your images.
The Gskyer Telescope can be set up in a few easy steps. It can be used to encourage kids to learn about astronomy and celestial bodies. It is a great equipment to look at stars and to see galaxies for stargazing enthusiasts.
- Different eyepieces for a different level of magnification.
- Versatile application.
- Lightweight and portable model.
- Capable of producing clear images.
- Short Tripod is uncomfortable.
- Poor at astrophotography and deep-space observations.
- It can’t be stored in extreme temperatures.
Notable mentions of telescopes that are not on this list but are what checking out include Astroventure telescopes and Maksutov-Cassegrain telescopes.
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets Buying Guide
What you need to know before buying the best telescopes for viewing planets
Now, you know there are so many options in the market when looking for the ideal telescope. Another thing you should know is, you can’t purchase just any type of telescope.
Finding the best telescope for you is much more important than knowing all the specs of the available telescopes. If you mean business, keep reading as I take you through several factors you need to consider before investing. I’ve listed and explained the factors below:
What are the Physical Features of the telescope?
Telescopes have factors that include OTA, aperture, focal length, and so on. These terms may sound complicated, but you must know them so as not to make a wrong choice or an expensive mistake. Learn about these terms now, and you’ll be able to make an informed decision. I’ve tried to make things as simple as possible. Take a look!
I’m sure you’ve probably seen these being mentioned about products with optics. Well, the aperture is the diameter of the light-gathering lens (or mirror). The aperture is the entry point of light into the telescope. The opening is like the pupils of the human eye as both functions similarly.
When in a dark room, your pupils expand to allow in more light for better vision. But, if you are in a lit room, you’ll squint and contract your pupils to regulate the entry of light. A large aperture allows a lot of light into the lens, while a small aperture will produce a brighter and clearer image.
Telescopes are usually known to have an aperture of 2.8 inches or more. The size of the aperture is usually dependent on where you’ll be making use of the telescope. Telescopes with large apertures are great for urban areas, which may have polluted air, making the sky harder to scan.
But if you reside far from the city, a small aperture will give you the best image. Also, for moon viewing and for looking at planets that are the brightest elements of the night sky, you don’t need the widest aperture available.
You should note that the widest the aperture, the farther you can see with your telescope. As such, consider what you are interested in seeing. The type of telescope you will buy to see Andromeda clearly will be more powerful than one to see the moon’s surface clearly (or to see Mar’s surface for that matter).
I need your undivided attention here. There’s a magnification trap for which customers usually fall. Most companies usually look to fight off other companies by promising a better magnification. Well, it’s usually a lie. Magnification alone doesn’t automatically make a good telescope. It must be compared with many other specifications.
So, what does the magnification of a telescope entail? When you see a telescope that has a magnification of 32x, it means that the telescope is going to be able to make the image 32 times bigger than viewing it with the naked eye. But you should also know that a larger magnification also increases the chances of blurred images.
OTA stands for Optical Tube Assembly. It’s a term that is used for a tube that contains the optical parts of the telescope. This part of the equipment must be designed to the highest quality. The quality of the OTA determines the quality of the telescope.
The mount is the base of the telescope. It may only be the base of the telescope, but it’s also an important part of the equipment. Now, think about this: what would you do with a telescope with state-of-the-art art optical parts but which couldn’t just stand straight or still? You’ll be unable to view anything properly.
A good mount will keep your telescope steady and reduce the need for any manual intervention. Don’t compromise on the quality of the mount. There are three types of amounts that you can find on any telescope, namely, Alt-Azimuth, Motorized, and German Equatorial. Motorized mounts are better than their manual alternatives. But there are still some good manual mounts in the markets.
The go-to of a telescope is a very vital aspect of your telescope. You’ll find a lot of manufacturers using these words, and if you’re not sure what it is, you have to learn what it is quickly. This refers to the ability of a telescope to automatically shift to a specific location instead of doing it manually.
A cutting edge go-to system on a telescope will ensure that you can easily find planets and other celestial bodies. I’ve come to understand that the telescopes with the best go-to features are the easiest to use. And the better this feature, the more celestial bodies which it will be able to discover automatically.
Telescopes can be designed to be durable, but they still remain quite fragile equipment. Before you head out to purchase your telescope, keep in mind that you’ll need a storage box or bag which would house it when not in use. Failure to store it properly could damage some vital parts of the telescope.
If you’re someone who lives in a small apartment and limited space, you may consider getting a smaller telescope. However, if you have a lot of living space to yourself, then a telescope with larger dimensions may be the best choice for you. It all depends on where you’ll be able to keep the telescope. Sometimes, the larger telescopes are usually packed with some extra features that make them a better choice. But they are usually expensive.
Ask yourself, where would I be using the telescope? Where would you dare to dream and look at the planets in the sky? Well, you should know that there are different types of telescopes; those for home use, and the quite professional ones.
It is simple. If you are using the gadget just outside your home, it may be better for you to get a more compact backyard telescope. In such a situation, you may have to move your equipment from one part of the house to another. A Grab and Go telescope will allow you to move around easily. However, you can set a room aside to store the telescope permanently.
Buying a large telescope isn’t then a bad idea. There will be almost no need to move it around. Remember, I said the bigger telescopes usually come with better specs.
Overall, the combination of physical features must be able to strike a balance that produces a clear and detailed image.
What Tyson telescope is it?
Talking about types of telescopes, there are several. The telescope type you get is dependent on the result you seek, its size, or even your budget. Major designs of telescopes in astronomy include;
These types are usually designed to be rugged and able to survive harsh conditions. They may consist of three to four lenses, which would be housed in the tube. They are great for viewing planets, lunar, solar, comets, and other entities in the sky. They usually produce clear images with no central obstruction. However, they cost quite a lot.
Just like the name of this telescope, it uses two mirrors to reflect the dimension of incoming light into the telescope. They are usually cost-effective and cheaper when compared to other telescopes. These telescopes are also known to be free of any chromatic aberration. Reflectors are great for taking images of planets, deep-sky, lunar, and so on. But the lens can easily be affected by dust and air.
Also known as the compound telescope. Well, they’re compound and have closed tubes. This keeps all of the optical parts of the telescope free from dust and dirt. The design of this type of telescopes is portable. It’s referred to as a compound telescope because it has a combination of mirrors and a lens system in the compact tube.
These types of telescopes are usually useful for all types of celestial viewing. When used, it is free from any chromatic aberration, and the image is clear. Part of its drawbacks includes central obstruction and long cool downtime.
Is it a slow telescope?
All the light being reflected from a planet is only represented as a tiny dot on the sky. You should know that a full moon is also half a degree wide. So, if you want to see your images clearly, you would need a small field of view. To get a small field of view, you would need an eyepiece with a longer focal length.
The focal length of the telescope is the distance which light travels from the lens to the eyepiece. Telescopes that have a long focal length are known to have a high focal ratio. When you’re doing your shopping, look for a higher focal ratio. This type of telescope is usually referred to as a slow telescope.
Generally, telescopes that have a focal length of 8 and above are referred to as “slow.” This type of telescope is usually more suited to planetary observation than one with a wide field of view.
How much is the telescope?
The truth is that investing in a telescope will cost you quite some money. Making a wrong choice could prove very costly, and you may be unable to recoup your money. You can’t ignore the fact that it’s an investment, but you have to remember that you can only buy what you can afford. Incurring debts will do you no good. Generally, telescopes range from $99 to over $20,000, depending on what you want.
How to scan for planets with a telescope?
The night sky can be a playground, but without the right knowledge, it could easily be a maze. Much more than getting the right piece of equipment to help you, you must learn how it can be done.
Most people view popular planets over and over again because they’re easy targets. They can easily be spotted by the naked eye and through the scope. How you’ll view the planets are dependent on a number of factors; there’s no single solution for it.
All you have to do is learn to set up your telescope with little or no difficulty. You can read the instructional manual to learn how to set it up or consult with professionals. Learn everything about operating the whole, and you’re good to go.
Now, let’s take a look at how to spot popular planetary bodies.
This is basically the easiest object to view through a telescope. The moon is usually the largest object in the sky at night. It’s also visible during the day on certain days. The moon is amazing to catch a glimpse of, and a lot of people would agree.
A variety of telescopes ranging from beginner-level gadgets to professional telescopes can have a good view of the moon’s surface. There’s a lot of adventure to notice on the moon’s surface.
Venus is covered in a cloud, and it can make it hard to view. However, it usually comes up in many phases, just like the moon. These phases can be observed through a powerful telescope. To the naked eye, it appears as a white object, usually referred to as the morning/evening star. Most observers usually look for Venus after sunset or before sunrise.
This planet is quite fascinating and interesting to view through a telescope. The great thing about Mars is that it can be very easy to find. With a small telescope, you can notice it as a red object with polar caps and dark regions on its surface. A more powerful telescope will reveal more details about the planet, such as clouds and so on.
Jupiter is the biggest planet in the Solar system, and it is easy to observe. A good telescope will allow you to observe its four largest moons, cloud features, and zones. The Great Spot is a red dot on the planet, and you can have a good view of it with the larger telescopes. You can always magnify to see more details.
It is one of the most observed planets. No one can have enough of the beautiful rings which surround the planet. Even with a small telescope, it is possible to see the rings and a cloud belt. A powered telescope will reveal the beautiful set of rings, cloud belts and zones when you zoom in.
#6 Uranus and Neptune
These are the two farthest gas planets. They can be spotted through small or powerful telescopes. Uranus can be spotted as a blue-green disk-shaped object. Neptune is also a bluish-green object, but there’s a fair distance between them. They can be quite a challenge to spot, so get ready to search well.
Some other bodies, such as large asteroids and the planet Pluto, may be hard to spot. For these, you may need powerful telescopes and loads of effort. Planet Mercury is the hardest to view because of its closeness to the sun. Look in the wrong direction, and you could damage your vision.
However, it’s possible to catch Mercury far enough from the Sun at certain times during its orbit movement. These times are referred to as the “greatest western elongation” and “greatest eastern elongation.” Even when observing Mercury at these times, you should take care to protect your eyes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I see with my telescope?
Will the objects appear as in photographs?
What is the use of a large aperture?
Which mount should I get for my telescope?
Should I get a motor drive with my equatorial mount?
Will I need color filters?
Why am I observing Jupiter as a shimmering disk?
Will the telescope work without the eyepiece?
In Conclusion To
From the comparison chart to the detailed reviews and tips that can guide you through buying the best telescopes for viewing planets, it’s indeed been a long ride. Reading and digesting this text make you a veteran telescope shopper, from knowing the type of telescope to purchase to view nearby planets such as to see Saturn’s rings, or for deep space astrophotography.
The list contains several affordable telescopes that can see galaxies, all of which are very good home telescopes. You now know that telescopes that only boast of large apertures aren’t always the best. You also know that a high focal ratio is one feature you should yearn for in a telescope. Always remember that getting the right gadget for you is vital.
I hope you enjoyed the information shared in this article. Hopefully, it can prove useful in helping you choose the best telescope to see planets. You should go forth and take the best views of your life!
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