Looking for the best telescope for viewing planets? Since the beginning, humans have always been curious about the stars, planets, and the larger universe. A few centuries later when man was able to comprehend more profound thoughts, he invented the first telescope. Although it has changed a lot and become more advanced with time, the underlying configuration has remained the same.
Telescopes are widely used to observe the limitless sky and occasionally the nearby boat. The applications are many.
There is nothing perfect in the world. In the same way, the best telescope simply does not exist. However, there are a few models that may come close to the ideal design. We are here to help you make the right choice and educate your reasons for doing so.
This guide should help you learn about the best telescopes for viewing planets available in the market, enabling you to make a well-informed decision. Any telescope that falls under our list of some of the best telescopes for viewing planets and galaxies so read on if you know someone who would love to get it as their surprise!
Factors To Look For In Best Telescope For Viewing Planets
Buying the Best Telescope for Viewing the Planets is no easy feat. There are so many things that you need to consider before making an investment. For your convenience, we have explained all these factors below.
Terminologies like aperture, focal length, OTA, and more might seem a little overwhelming to learn, but a foundational grasp on these concepts will make your job of finding an ideal telescope so much easier. It is better to educate yourself first than be sorry later. We have tried to break it down as simple as we can:
The aperture refers to the diameter of the light-gathering lens or mirror. It is where light enters the telescope.
Aperture may be compared to our pupils, as both function identically. When we enter a dark room, our eyes open up and the pupils expand, which means they attempt to gather as much light to help us see more clearly.
On the other hand, when we stand in a brighter environment, our eyes squint and the pupils contract to limit the amount of light allowed to pass through. The larger the aperture, the higher the amount of light that’s getting in, but having a small aperture means that the image will be more intricate and brighter.
Telescopes usually come with an aperture of 2.8 inches or more.
The size must be considered keeping in mind the location and the things you would like to target.
A telescope with a larger aperture is ideal if you prefer fainter, finer detail. It would also be a suitable pick if you live in an urban setting where light pollution has already made the sky tougher to scan. However, if you reside far from the city and the artificial lights ruin the sky, going for a telescope with a small aperture would be a smarter move.
Caution: DO NOT fall for ‘more power’.
Customers are often fooled by the magnification trap, which is something we wouldn’t want you to go through. Most companies claim that their product is better than the others as it enables a greater magnification. Nothing could be more untrue than such a lie. Magnification is not the most important thing alone and must be compared to various other specifications.
So what is magnification? When a company states that their camera has the ability to magnify the object 32x, it means that with their telescope you will be able to see the object 32 times bigger than its original size viewed through the naked eye. However, it is useful to know that as magnification increases, the number of unforeseen issues (like blurriness) also goes up.
OTA is an acronym for Optical Tube Assembly. This term is used to refer to the tube containing all the optical components of the telescope, which should be of good quality.
The mount is the base of the telescope. It helps in keeping it steady and firm and reduces the manual intervention required to do so. It is therefore important that you choose a telescope with a good-quality mount. There are 3 types of mounts available in the market – Alt-Azimuth (Alt-Az), German Equatorial (EQ), and motorized. Motorized mounts are better than manual mounts, but you could also opt for the latter.
Go-To is an important function in the working of a telescope. It is used quite often and if you’re an amateur in the astronomy bandwagon, it is probably best to get used to this word as quickly as you can. It refers to the ability to automatically shift to a specific orientation as opposed to the user moving to the telescope manually.
Another thing that you should consider before making a purchase is where you plan to keep the telescope when not in use. If you live in a small apartment with not a lot of storage space, it makes more sense to buy a smaller telescope. If you stay in a place with a decent amount of room for storage, then you might as well buy a telescope with larger dimensions.
Where do you intend to plant your telescope and capture the vastness of the night sky?. If you wish to use it on a shared terrace and plan to take it up and down on your own, you are better off with a compact telescope. However, if circumstances permit a larger telescope which you don’t have to move around ever so often, then bigger is definitely better.
Top 10 Best Telescopes For Viewing Planets 2022
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #1. Orion SkyQuest XT10g Computerized GoTo Dobsonian
Orion SkyQuest XT10g Computerized GoTo Dobsonian TelescopeThis is the most powerful and largest of the tube Dobsonians. The Dobsonians are a kind of telescope invented by the famous John Dobson. This particular model lies on the more expensive side but is nevertheless worth your investment.
If you’re already serious about buying this product, you can make the payment either in installments of $500 or enter into any of their numerous payment plans. The telescope is truly one of the Best Telescopes for Viewing Planets and Galaxies and we totally recommend it.
What makes it so great?
The telescope flaunts a large aperture of 10” combined with a focal length of 1200mm and focal ratio of f4/7, allowing you to stare deep into the gigantic universe. The telescope has an inbuilt Go-to motorized system that allows you to automatically track the planets and stars. It also contains an extensive database of 42,000 stars and alarms you when pointed towards one.
Pros & Cons
- The pros of having a go-to feature include a reduction in the need to manually look for a potential celestial body. It makes the entire process faster and easier.
- Another wonderful aspect of this technological marvel is that it allows for some impressive astrophotography thanks to its advanced optics.
- It comes with add-ons such as optical encoders, drive motors, and pre-installed gears.
- The camera is very compact, lightweight, and can be easily moved across different spots.
- Handles fixed on the OTA help in carrying the telescope around, which can also be disassembled and taken separately.
- It is an ideal pick for beginners and professionals alike. You could also make a further investment of $1200-1300 on additional lenses and equipment to enhance existing features.
- The downside of this telescope is that it doesn’t come with the 12V power supply (which needs to be bought separately).
- The company offers a 1-year window to get any part exchanged if it has worn down. There’s also a website to make things convenient.
- Lastly, this item is certainly the Best Telescope for Viewing Saturn
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #2. Sky-Watcher 10″ Collapsible Dobsonian Telescope
Sky-Watcher 10 Collapsible Dobsonian TelescopeThe SW 10″ Dob is a satisfying telescope to own and flaunt. It ticks all the right boxes and is action-packed at an affordable price. It is well built and employs the latest technology that surprises both newbies and professionals alike. The OTA is designed to be mechanically simple and hassle-free.
The Sky-Watcher 10″ Dob is a quality product with robust fiber optics and mechanical components that reflect its workmanship. All parts of the telescope are polished to provide a smooth and shiny texture. Maneuvering the tube as per your wish is also quite easy. The OTA is steady and boasts a rigid construction.
The type of materials used in this design will surely enhance your experience! The telescope comes with an eyepiece which makes it easy to view both the heavenly planets all the way down to a duck splashing in a remote lake. A motorized mount also counts as a great add-on. The company responsible for building this telescope is known for the very best and offers a 1-year guarantee where it promises to change a few parts (if required) in a year’s time.
Pros & Cons
- OTA length retracted: 31.5″ OTA length extended: 44″ OTA width: 11.375″ OTA weight (with accessories): 33 lbs
- Base weight: 26.5 lbs & Base dimensions: 29.5 x 20″
- Zenith eyepiece height: 48″
- Great sturdy material; flexible usage, durable, lasts for a lifetime.
- 1 year warranty and replacing parts if needed.
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #3. Zhumell Z12 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector Telescope
Zhumell Z12 Deluxe Dobsonian Reflector TelescopeThe Z12 Dobsonian telescope is uniquely made to feature exactly what consumers desire
It comes with two fully multi-coated eyepieces of 2” 30mm eyepiece which provides wide-field views and a 1.25” 9mm eyepiece. A 12” parabolic primary mirror captures enough light to produce crisp, bright images free of visual defects like spherical aberrations. The Z12’s design is simple and streamlined. It is well built to feel sturdy.
The telescope would grant you a lot of years for use at public star parties, camping trips, and more. An in-built primary mirror cooling fan cools down the device when put to work for long periods. This is a rare addition that you won’t find in most telescopes.
Verdict: The Z Series is affordable and effective. This telescope is everything you need to enjoy stargazing for years together.
Pros & Cons
- 2” 30mm fully multi-coated eyepiece 25” 9mm fully multi-coated eyepiece 8×50 right angle finder scope
- 25” Moon filter
- A laser collimator to keep your optics in perfect alignment
- Super long lasting, durable material
- Easy and flexible to use
- Clear images, never blurry or out of focus for a long time.
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #4. Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized Telescope
Celestron NexStar 130SLT Computerized TelescopeThe NexStar 130SLT is a reflector telescope from Celestron which uses mirrors to gather enough light to produce quality shots of remarkable clarity. The telescope boasts a large aperture and its easy set-up makes your stargazing experience worthwhile.
The telescope can obtain spectacular views of distant objects while being cost-effective. In addition, an aperture of 130 mm allows 30 percent more light inside than the previous SLT version with a 114mm aperture. In addition, the 130SLT is quick to set up with its single-fork arm and pre-assembled tripod. Its computerized Altazimuth mount and Star Pointer technology make it easy to locate nighttime objects.
It can automatically focus on three objects simultaneously. The user will have to manually add in the date and time every time the telescope is used since it does not save this information.
In addition to its appealing features and convenience, the 130SLT comes with Celestron’s two-year warranty on parts and excellent after-sales service. Customers who already own this product don’t have any complaints about its functioning.
Pros & Cons
- Weight: 30.5 pounds
- Dimensions: 28 in. x 12 in. x 8 in.
- Aperture: 130 mm (5.12 in.)
- Eyepiece magnification: 26x
- Mount: Fork arm
- Warranty: 2-year warranty on the telescope for damage and defects
- Focal length: 650mm Eyepiece size: 25mm Focal ratio: 5
- Objects in database: More than 4,000 Fully computerized Altazimuth mount
- StarPointer finderscope to help accurately locating objects
- Sturdy and stainless steel tripod and added accessory tray
- Astronomy Software download with a 10,000 object database, printable sky maps and 75 enhanced images.
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #5. Gskyer 130EQ Professional Astronomical Reflector with Smartphone Adapter & Bluetooth Camera Remote
Gskyer Telescope, 130EQ Professional Astronomical Reflector Telescope with Smartphone Adapter & Bluetooth Camera RemoteThe telescope is mounted on a stainless-steel tube tripod with an advanced German equatorial mount equipped to track fast-moving objects with precision. The telescope also comes with multilayer green glass optics, specifically made to increase magnification.
The telescope has an enhanced ability to gather enough light in order to clearly see planets or even other celestial bodies. The device is simple to set up and deployment takes just around a few minutes. It has a precise red finder and a high magnification factor. With its sturdy OTA, robust tripod, and amazing tracking, the Gskyer Astromaster 130eq telescope is an ideal choice for entry-level astronomers.
What makes it so great?
The telescope is easy to prepare, and even on the rare occasion that you do mess it up, and information manual and countless videos on Youtube help you out. This particular model is quite affordable for the technology it provides.
All necessary parts can be set up almost immediately. It comes with a few features that might be difficult to grasp instantly, such as a complex pinion system. We recommend you watch the videos or read the manual thoroughly to gain an in-depth understanding.
The Gskyer Astromaster 130eq has a two-year warranty and lifetime maintenance. However, the telescope can be quite cumbersome and too heavy to move around freely. An abundance of features makes for memorable celestial as well as terrestrial observations, be it the Moon’s craters, the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, and even fast-moving comets
Pros & Cons
- The Gskyer Astromaster 130EQ telescope comes with: Gskyer AstroMaster 130EQ Reflector Telescope;
- One 20 mm eyepiece; One 10 mm eyepiece; One 5 mm eyepiece;
- Three Barlow Lenses; Advanced EQ mount;
- Steel tripod; Permanently mounted finder scope; Planetarium software;
- Gskyer Astromaster 130eq Manual; Gskyer Astromaster 130 how to use (short description leaflet);
- 2-year warranty certificate.
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #6. Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector
Orion SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector TelescopeThe Orion SpaceProbe is a reliable, affordable, and action-packed telescope made for entry-level users. A signature 24-inch optical tube and smaller size make it easier to carry and store. Apart from this, SpaceProbe stands out by offering a wider field of view that locates objects more easily.
Firstly, the telescope is compact and has improved viewing capabilities without any compromise on the optical aspects. Secondly, it is made for beginners and may not capture every deep-sky object in the universe. It has a commendable aperture of 5.1 inches and features a parabolic mirror. The instructions printed on the manual are not as clear as they should be, so setting up the telescope could prove a bit challenging.
The company states that it will take about half an hour to assemble the telescope. But don’t be surprised if it takes more than that. Another drawback is that the lightweight mount is unreliable at times. You can buy a separate mount for the telescope on Amazon. Although it is an extra payment, you would soon realize that it comes in handy.
The telescope price is at a reasonable rate. Great for beginners. Most reviews have turned out positive.
Pros & Cons
- Aperture: 5.1 in Focal length: 650mm
- Dimensions: 24in. x 24in. x 51in. Assembled weight: 27 lb.
- Focal ratio: f/5.0
- Highest useful magnification: 260x Lowest useful magnification: 19x
- Optics: Parabolic with the Length of optical tube: 24in.
- Long lasting, durable material.
- Easy to use and keep.
- Great for beginners might not be the top choice for the advanced and professionals.
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #7. Gskyer 600x90mm AZ Astronomical Refractor
Gskyer Telescope, 600x90mm AZ Astronomical Refractor Telescope, German Technology ScopeGskyer is a high-quality telescope. The manufacturer has been in the industry for the past 20 years, having done a great job so far. The Gskyer 600x90mm AZ Telescope is their latest model. The price is on the higher side but the product offers great quality and optical capabilities.
The telescope comes with an extendable stainless steel tripod which is quite adaptable and long-lasting. An information manual and map help you get going. It has a wide aperture and long focal length allowing you to take clear, crisp photographs. The OTA is of aluminum alloy and is quite sturdy.
What makes it so great?
The telescope is easy to use and does not require much technological understanding. The altazimuth mount it employs makes its usage even simpler. A major drawback of this telescope, however, is that it comes with no software for image enhancement and photography.
Accessories like the eyepiece are quality-made. The grease within the mount that permits minimal resistance during movement feels like sticky glue. You could however clean it up and apply a better-quality grease.
The company offers a one-year warranty on purchase. You can even return the product if you aren’t satisfied or have noticed any defect.
Pros & Cons
- A set contains 1.27-inch Tripod & Alt-azimuth mount
- Three eyepieces
- 6×30 Finderscope 3x Barlow lens 48-degree erecting prism
- Focal ratio of f/6.7
- Resolution of ≤2.8
- Angular field of view of 1 degree and 36 minutes
- Hook dovetail plate connection
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #8. Celestron 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ Reflector Telescope
Celestron 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ Reflector TelescopeThe Celestron 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ Reflector Telescope is an amazing reflector scope with remarkable optics. Perfect for a beginner but enjoyed by professionals too. The tools are shaky and cheap, but some feel heavy duty.
Celestron telescopes don’t come with any extra accessories. A set contains the bare minimum such as the mount, finderscope, tripod, software, and two eyepieces.
The company offers a 2-year limited warranty for the Celestron 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ Reflector Telescope in case you face problems due to normal wear and tear or any manufacturing defect.
Pros & Cons
- It is great for planetary viewing, with the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn being star attractions. Being a reflector telescope with a wide aperture, it could easily be one of the cheapest telescopes on offer.
- Because you can find this product discounted most of the time, it is quite a bargain. The Celestron 31045 AstroMaster 130 EQ is also a great looking telescope.
- The mount in the Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ is a bit shaky. The tripod seems fragile too, but may still be acceptable for a beginner.
- You can definitely replace it with a better product if you’d like to transition to a more advanced telescope setting in the future.
- The user interface can be difficult to focus on. Once you do master the Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ and get it focused, the images become crystal clear.
- They seem to be very fragile and need to be handled with care. A few users also suggest you wear gloves while tightening or loosening the crews as it can be quite uncomfortable for your hands.
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #9. AstroVenture 6″ Newtonian Reflector With Universal Smartphone Camera Adapter
AstroVenture 6 Newtonian Reflector Telescope With Universal Smartphone Camera Adapter (Black)This telescope is rather long and flaunts a more standard optical design with a focal length of 750mm. This suggests that the telescope is longer but also way faster. The focal ratio of this telescope is f/5.0 which offers superior light gathering.
It is a great pick for a wide range of astronomical observations. You’re more likely to get sharper views of deep space objects like nebulae, galaxies, and star clusters. You can easily notice the multi-layered rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter, and significant details on the surface of Mars.
The Universal Smartphone Camera adapter works with nearly every smartphone worldwide and is a great low-cost entry point into astrophotography. You can easily share photos taken from this telescope with family and friends almost instantly! This adapter fits most phones including the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel, and much, much more.
Pros & Cons
- A set contains two 1.25 inch-diameter Plossl eyepieces with storage containers and a 2x simple Barlow lens.
- It boasts magnifications of 30x and 75x with these two eyepieces. You can increase the magnification by adding extra standard-sized optical elements.
- A remarkable add-on feature is the moon filter which reduces moon glare and makes surface details more clear.
- In order to clean the telescope, it is advisable to use a dust-free cleaning cloth.
- This telescope comes with an “equatorial” mount.
- It is easily usable by a novice. A “polar align” feature corrects latitude and allows you to track stars better. This feature is only suitable for the more experienced lot.
- In addition, an optional motorized drive automatically tracks any object that you find.
- It is very precise and moves with the slightest finger touch.
- The telescope is lightweight but sturdy and features an aluminum tripod which is adjustable making it easier for taller people to observe the stars.
Best Telescope For Viewing Planets #10. Gskyer 80mm AZ Space Astronomical Refractor
The last on out list of the best telescope for viewing planets is a Gskyer Telescope, 80mm AZ Space Astronomical Refractor Telescope. German Technology ScopeThe Gskyer Telescope 80mm AZ is an excellent beginner’s choice designed for viewing near-space objects at night as well as wildlife and landscapes during the day.
It comes with all the basic equipment you need to get started. A set contains a stainless steel tripod and a range of eyepieces for different levels of magnification.
The advantage of buying this particular model is that it is extremely lightweight and portable. It features a range of high-quality accessories such as lenses coated with multilayer film. The telescope also shoots clear, crisp images. You will experience no chromatic aberration during its use.
However, this product does have drawbacks.
The tripod on which it stands is somewhat short and can be quite uncomfortable, especially if you’re on the taller side. Although it supports astrophotography, it is not the best at it. It is also not suited for deep observations. Most people also tend to get frustrated with the viewfinder.
Like all telescopes, this one requires a bit of special care to keep it at its best. Do not use it outdoors during the wet season; this can give way to moisture inside the housing and cause clouding on your lenses. If condensation develops, never try to disassemble or clean the telescope. Leave it out of its casing in a dry place indoors to allow the moisture to evaporate.
Another thing to avoid is storing your telescope in temperature extremes, like the heat of a closed car trunk. This can cause misalignments and affect performance. Another common cause of damage is dust or debris buildup.
Pros & Cons
- The telescope comes with a Stainless Steel Tripod
- Accessory Tray
- 3x Barlow Lens 25mm eyepiece 10mm eyepiece 5mm eyepiece
- Inverted image finder scope
- The company offers a 1-year warranty on parts and labor for new telescopes.
- This telescope is great for beginners.
- It is lightweight, easy to use, and portable.
- Apart from these, it is very affordable.
- It does have its fair share of drawbacks, but they are few and far in between.
- While this model may not be the best for viewing deep-space objects, it is certainly packed with all the basic features.
Witness Space With the Best Telescopes for Viewing Planets
A few telescopes mentioned above are great picks, while others not so much. You must decide on what you’d like to observe (terrestrial or celestial objects) and calculate a reasonable budget. It is essential that you go through each specification and note down all pros and cons thoroughly. Telescopes are a huge investment and you will be using them for at least a few years if not many. Therefore, it is mandatory to make an informed choice rather than jumping to conclusions.