Buying the Best Telescope for Planet Viewing

best telescope for planet viewing

Planet viewing is one of the most exciting aspects of astronomy. It’s easy to do in any location regardless of light pollution, and with the right telescope you can see the dazzling detail that planets, moons, and stars offer.

The best telescopes for planet viewing will have a long focal length and a high focal ratio, meaning you can fit the planet you’re looking at in a smaller field of view and get close-up details.

Large Aperture

Whether you’re looking to see planets, stars, or deep sky nebulae, a telescope with a large aperture is essential for clear and detailed viewing. A large aperture means more light can enter the curved mirror or objective lens of your telescope, which allows it to gather more light and create an image at its image plane.

A large aperture also helps to show planetary features in detail, such as craters and ridges on the Earth’s moon. In addition, a larger telescope will allow you to see more detail in the brighter nebulae in the sky, such as the Great Nebula in Orion.

The best telescope for planet viewing should have a large aperture to allow more light to enter the curved mirror or objective lens, so it can capture more of the reflected and diffuse light. It’s also important to choose a telescope with high magnification so you can view as much detail on the planets and stars as possible.

Another feature that makes the best telescope for observing planets is its focal length, which determines how close or far you can see a particular object with a specific eyepiece. For instance, if you’re trying to view the Moon, a telescope with a 2000mm focal length will be ideal for you.

Focal lengths range from a low of about 1 inch to a very high of about 11 inches (300mm). For the highest magnification, you should look for a scope with a focal ratio of f/10 or greater.

Ideally, you should also choose a telescope with an alt-azimuth mount to reduce vibrations. This is especially important for observing planets and other deep-sky targets, as the vibrations can affect your observation.

The Celestron Omni XLT 102 is an excellent choice for a wide-aperture telescope. This telescope offers an easy-to-use altazimuth mount, as well as a sturdy, lightweight design and a quality 4-inch F/10 achromatic eyepiece.

This telescope is one of the most travel-friendly telescopes on the market, and it’s also easy to set up without tools. It comes with a full instruction manual and an app called Sky X, which helps you locate and calculate the position of far-away stars, planets, and moons. You can also use it to take pictures and videos of far-away stars and planets.

High Magnification

Using a telescope is an amazing way to see the sky in detail. A telescope is made up of an objective lens, which focuses light from the stars and other celestial objects into the tube, and an eyepiece, which magnifies the image that it collects at the front end.

If you want to see the planets, you’ll need a telescope with high magnification. This will allow you to see the details of the planets, as well as their rings and surface features. You’ll also need a good quality tripod to keep your telescope stable so that you can enjoy watching the planets with ease.

The focal length of the telescope is a key factor in determining the scope’s magnification power. A shorter focal length means that the light travels farther within the optical tube and therefore has more magnification power.

You can find out how long the focal length of your scope is by dividing it by its aperture in mm. This is a good starting point for finding out what sort of telescope you need, and you can use this information to work out the best telescope for your observing needs.

A good telescope for planet viewing should be a refracting telescope that uses a series of optics to capture the light and focus it onto an eyepiece. This can be a good option for beginners, as it can be easier to use and doesn’t require a lot of complicated equipment.

Another important thing to consider when looking for a good telescope for planet viewing is the quality of its optics. Top-quality refractors can give you a much better view of the planets at higher magnifications than reflectors, which use a secondary mirror to focus the light into an eyepiece.

It’s a good idea to choose a telescope with a Dobsonian design, which is a pure reflector that doesn’t have any problems with color fringing and allows you to see the planets in great detail. You’ll also want to choose a telescope that can be adapted to an equatorial mount, as these enable you to track planets across the sky with ease.

Reliable Mount

If you’re an amateur astronomer, you want to make sure that the telescope mount you buy is reliable and durable. This is especially important if you’re planning on taking long exposures to photograph planets, as these can take up to several hours to complete.

A telescope mount is the part of a telescope that supports and carries the mirror/lens, eyepiece, and other accessories. It comes in a variety of designs and can be either manual, motorized, or computerized. Some are more expensive than others, so it’s important to consider your budget and observing requirements before buying one.

For starters, you can choose a simple, lightweight Alt/Az or equatorial mount that’s designed for visual observing. These are the most common types of mounts and can come with manual or motorized controls.

These mounts are usually rated according to their ability to support telescopes with a certain weight. You can also choose a mount with a specific type of optic, such as a Dobsonian.

Equatorial mounts are the most popular type of astronomy mount, and they can be used for both visual observing and astrophotography. These types of mounts null the field rotation, allowing you to take long exposures without disrupting the object’s position in the image.

However, polar alignment is important when using an equatorial mount for astrophotography. This can be done with a clock motor that keeps the RA axis in sync with the target’s location, or you can use an automated star alignment routine.

You can also choose an equatorial mount that’s fully compatible with autoguiders and PC control software. These options are usually a bit more expensive than manual mounts, but they’re worth it to get the most out of your astronomy investment.

Another option is to choose a mount that can be controlled via a wireless connection. This allows you to control the pointing accuracy, polar alignment, and tracking of your telescope.

Luckily, there are plenty of reliable astronomy mounts available at all price ranges. These include entry-level models that can be used for basic visual observing, and more advanced mounts that are suitable for astrophotography. Some of these models even allow you to control the telescope with your phone or tablet.


Planets are an amazing part of the solar system, and viewing them is a fun and educational hobby for kids and adults alike. With the right equipment, it’s possible to see many of the planets in our solar system up close and in detail, including details such as the rings of Saturn or the rocky surface of Mars.

Choosing the best telescope for planet viewing is important to get the most out of your experience. This means paying attention to factors such as aperture size, focal length, and mount type.

A large aperture is essential for planetary observation because it allows more light to enter the telescope and allow you to view the planets more clearly. It also makes it easier to track objects as the Earth rotates.

In addition to a large aperture, you should look for a telescope with a high focal ratio (amount of light that passes through the optical tube) and a higher magnification. These are both key features to look for in a good telescope for planet viewing, as they can make the difference between seeing a bright and dim planet.

If you’re a beginner looking to start viewing the planets, you might be surprised to learn that there are telescopes out there for just under $300 that are ideal for getting started. These are called “go-to” telescopes and work by using a Wi-Fi connected smartphone app to first align the device with the sky, and then point it at what you want to view.

These can be a bit tricky to use at first, but they do help you get started and can save you from having to learn how to find objects on the night sky. Ultimately, they can be more expensive than more complex computerized telescopes, but they can be worth the investment for the convenience they offer.

A refractor is the ideal choice for beginners and people with limited budgets who want to enjoy beautiful views of the planets without having to worry about collimation and polar alignment. The Orion StarBlast 6′′ Dobsonian is a great example of this type of telescope, offering excellent image quality and plenty of light gathering capacity.

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