Best Telescope For Viewing Planets

My biggest love is still planets and stars. If I hadn’t become an artist, I’d be an astronomer because I still love it so much - Peter Max

Every time we stare up at the night sky and gaze at an endless sea of stars, we’re reminded that our world and everything on it, is just a grain of sand on the cosmic shore.

We are part of the infinite majesty of the Universe and have found ourselves, through some wonderful quirk of evolutionary fate, able to understand and appreciate the, admittedly minuscule, role that we continue to play in creation.

But we are a curious species at heart, and the more we discover, the more we need to know and we have spent centuries struggling to find out more about the furthest reaches of space and our nearest solar neighbors.

Astronomy, the discipline of stargazing and planet watching has become a favored hobby and much-cherished pastime of a growing percentage of keen observers and future scientists.

Best Telescope For Viewing Planets

It’s a particular obsession of ours, and we have dedicated a large chunk of our lives to investigating the planets of our solar system, whose beauty and magnificence are an eternal curiosity that we never tire of admiring.

And, we spend every moment that we can inviting anyone and everyone to share in the awe and sublime spectacle that has become a part of our daily lives.

That's why we compiled a list of best telescopes for viewing the planets so that you can join us, and the ever-increasing number of amateur astronomers and let the vast glory of the solar system fuel and fire your imagination in ways you never thought possible.

It’s time to start looking to the heavens…

OUR TOP PICK

Celestron - PowerSeeker 114EQ Telescope - Manual German Equatorial Telescope for Beginners - Compact and Portable - BONUS Astronomy Software Package - 114mm Aperture

A leader in the field of advanced optics for decades, Celestron has never been content to rest on its laurels and has constantly sought to push the boundaries of optical technology with new and exciting inventions and products.

And that’s why they’re so beloved by the global astrological community. 

The PowerSeeker is an easy to use and powerful telescope that has been designed to give first-time users the perfect combination of power and quality and all of the features that they’ll need to begin their journey to the planets.

A Newtonian Reflector telescope that sits astride a German Equatorial Mount and uses a manual slow-motion altitude rod that can be locked in place, the PowerSeeker is an ideal vessel to begin navigating the solar system with.

With two separate eyepieces (a four millimeter and a twenty millimeter), a finderscope and a Barlow lens that can triple the power of all three, Celestron’s introductory telescope is a flawless way to begin your astrological feet. 

Aware that it takes more than a keen eye and a sharply tuned mind to find your way around the night sky, Celestron includes a free download of one of the worlds top rated astrology software programs with the PowerSeeker so that you’ll be able to launch your imagination into the heavens with confidence as soon as your telescope is set up. 

Pros

  • Celestron is regarded as being the world’s premier manufacturer of telescopes and any optical equipment that bears their name is engineered with precision and exquisite attention to detail. 
  • An affordable way to join the planet watching community, the PowerSeeker is a complete package telescope that will enable you to traverse the wonders of the solar system with ease. 
  • Easy to set up and use, the PowerSeeker will draw you into a world of wonders that you’ll never want to leave. 
  • The software that comes with the telescope will help you to view the planets in an entirely new light and in doing so, will ignite your scientific curiosity. 
  • And if all that wasn’t enough to make you reach for your pocketbook, the PowerSeeker also comes with a two-year warranty and a lifetime of technical assistance from Celestron’s dedicated team of experts.

Cons

  • If you do choose to use the PowerSeeker to gaze at the planets, you’ll almost certainly need to swap the eyepieces that it comes with, as they’re not quite as powerful as the rest of the telescope is. But once you’ve swapped them, the galaxy will be waiting for you.

EDITORS CHOICE

Orion 09007 SpaceProbe 130ST Equatorial Reflector Telescope (Black)

Orion has been designing and selling high quality, outdoor optical products since nineteen seventy-five, and as they’re an employee-owned firm they don’t have to answer to a board of directors, which means that everything they do is geared toward making everything they fashion better without passing the development costs on to the consumer. 

They’re a firm of optical fanatics who make telescopes for fellow optical fanatics and don’t cut any corners or make any shortcuts.  They just make great telescopes. 

This five-point one-inch aperture telescope has been engineered to gather the maximum amount of light it possibly can in order to generate incredible views of the moon and the other planets in the solar system, and if the mood takes you, it’ll also allow you to see further into space and marvel at brightest nebulae, galaxies, and clusters.

It’s sturdy equatorial mount and tripod control will help you to slowly track and focus on any, and all, moving celestial objects that catch your eye, and as the whole scope weighs just twenty-seven pounds, you’ll be able to easily move your field of view anywhere you want, whenever you want to. 

Supplied with a staggering range of accessories including two Sirius Plossl eyepieces (one twenty-five millimeter and one ten millimeters), Starry Night software, and a whole host of other astronomical goodies, the SpaceProbe is the introductory telescope that veteran astronomers adore.

Orion will open the door to a whole universe of possibility for you, the only thing that you have to do is walk through it.

Pros

  • Designed to give you great views of the heavens, you’ll be able to lose yourself in a feast of the visual pleasures the SpaceProbe will offer you.  Once Orion opens the telescopic door for you, you’ll never want to leave the room that Astronomy builds to accommodate your curiosity. 
  • Made by amateur astronomers for amateur astronomers, the SpaceProbe is easy to set and up and control and has been engineered to give you total control over your celestial field of vision. 
  • At just twenty-seven pounds when fully assembled, you’ll be able to go anywhere you want with the SpaceProbe and chart and observe the planets in ways that you never dared to dream where possible.  
  • And with a little help from the included Starry Night software, you’ll learn all about the planets that you’re staring at in real-time, as they move around the sun and follow their own perpetual orbits.

Cons

  • No telescope is perfect, and when it’s been manufactured by a small, dedicated team of optical engineers, mistakes do happen. That’s why every now and then, things don’t go quite the way that Orion would like them to with the SpaceProbe and there have been some build quality issues. That said, as they are such a small team, they’re also happy to help you to resolve any issues that you might have with the SpaceProbe, so it’s always worth giving them a call before you part with your hard-earned dollars.

BEST VALUE

Celestron - NexStar 8SE Telescope - Computerized Telescope for Beginners and Advanced Users - Fully-Automated GoTo Mount - SkyAlign Technology - 40,000+ Celestial Objects - 8-Inch Primary Mirror

It’s time to up the planet gazing ante with sixty-year telescopic veterans Celestron, who have entered the digital age with a vengeance and kick-started the computerized astronomical revolution.

No longer the sole purview of universities and observatories computer-controlled telescopes, thanks to companies like Celestron are now within the reach, and means, of home-based astronomers.

The eight-inch aperture that this Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope is armed with gathers more than enough light to allow you to observe all of the hidden wonders of the solar system. 

With a fully automated mount and a database of forty thousand celestial objects, the NexStar will automatically track and position itself so that you can view any of the aforementioned objects whose position it can easily access.

And, it’s also WiFi-enabled and compatible with StarSense which allows you to plunge even deeper into the welcoming embrace of astronomy. 

Easy to assemble and even easier to break down, the NexStar is fully portable and can be taken anywhere where the sky is clear enough for you to use it to escape to the heavens.

And when you’ve set up in your desired location, SkyAlign technology will make sure that the NexStar will align itself and set-up and ready to go in minutes.

Pros

  • Technology doesn’t have to be frightening and Celestron has designed the NexStar to be user-friendly and easy to set up and use for the amateur astronomer.
  • Made to be portable, the NexStar weighs just thirty-three pounds when fully assembled and can be taken anywhere and everywhere with you, and will give you an unparalleled view of the solar system and its planets.
  • With a database of forty thousand celestial objects and SkyAlign technology, the NexStar will be your guide to the night sky and can, and will, show you the whole Solar System. You won’t need to do anything, you can just strap in and enjoy the ride and let the NexStar show you everything. 
  • The NexStar is accompanied by Celestron’s iron-clad two-year warranty and an on-call lifetime of technical advice from their dedicated team of experts.

Cons

  • All of the technological punching power that the NexStar has at its disposal isn’t cheap, and while it is an astonishing telescopic miracle, it’s also an incredibly expensive one. If your heart is set on being taken on a guided tour of the solar system, you’ll have to prepare your pocketbook to take an incredible financial hit. Whether it’s a price worth paying is entirely up to you.

RUNNER UP

Meade Instruments – Infinity 70mm Aperture, Portable Refracting Astronomy Telescope for Kids & Beginners – Multiple Eyepieces & Accessories Included - Adjustable Alt-azimuth (AZ) Manual Mount

Since nineteen seventy-two Meade Instruments has been changing the face of amateur astronomy for the better.

Widely acknowledged as being one of the world's leading manufacturers of purpose-made telescopes they have pioneered and introduced countless innovations that have improved the lives of amateur astronomers everywhere. 

Its seventy-millimeter aperture is adept at maximizing the available light and presenting an incredible view of the solar system and the constantly moving objects in it.  

Resting on a precision alt-Azimuth mount that’s controlled by a slow-motion rod, the Infinity will help you to track, and focus on the planets and explore our planetary system in detail.

Made to appeal to, and make astronomy easy for the amateur, the Infinity adheres to John Diebel’s, the founder of Meade Instruments, belief that astronomy war for everyone and it’s a telescope that cracks the discipline wide open for anyone who uses it. 

In order to make the life of the amateur even easier, the Infinity also comes with an instructional DVD that will seamlessly guide you through its operation and help you to make the absolute most of your new hobby.

And, it’ll also arm you with everything that you’ll need to know about the planets as it comes with a fully downloadable and easy to use and follow software pack. 

Pros

  • It's an easy to use telescope that’ll make it even easier for you to fall in love with astronomy. It’s the scientific equivalent of pizza, one taste and you’re hooked for life. 
  • The Infinity uses a red dot alignment system that makes it simple for you to target what you want to see and then take your time to soak up, and drown in, all of its wonders. 
  • Insanely affordable, the Infinity is an open invitation for everyone to follow in John Diebel’s footsteps and enjoy his lifelong passion with the same fervent devotion that he did.

Cons

  • It’s an entry-level telescope that’s been engineered to help you embrace and enjoy astronomy and find your footing within the discipline. And once you do, you’ll probably find that you’ll soon outgrow the Infinity and before you know it, you’ll be ready to take the next step on your astronomical adventure and leave the Infinity behind as you move on to new and exciting telescopic pastures. 

RUNNER UP

Telescope for Kids Beginners Adults, 70mm Astronomy Refractor Telescope with Adjustable Tripod - Perfect Telescope Gift for Kids

The brand responsible for this telescope, Ecoopro isn’t noted for its scientific prowess or its devotion to astronomy.

They haven’t contributed any world-beating innovations to the field of telescopic design and don’t have a single astronomical patent to their name.

But what they have done is manufacture an incredibly affordable telescope that’ll capture the imagination of the young and old alike. 

Ready to go straight out of the box, the huge seventy-millimeter aperture that this telescope uses captures enough light to bring even the furthest celestial objects into sharp focus.

With two eyepieces (twenty-five and ten millimeters), it’s FinderScope makes it easier to locate and track anything that flashes across your field of astronomical vision, and it's fully adjustable tripod and easy to use control arm ensure that you’ll always be able to focus on what you want to when you want to. 

This telescope was never going to reinvent the wheel and won’t win any hearts and minds with its decidedly average and nondescript looks.

But what it will do is submerge keen, interested minds in a maelstrom of cosmic glory and encourage a potential life-long love affair with astronomy. 

Pros

  • An incredibly affordable key to the majesty of the heavens, this telescope will provide all of the fuel that you, and the young minds you’re responsible for raising, will need to forge a growing interest in the solar system and science.
  • And, it’s surprisingly efficient and good at what it does. It’s also easy to set-up, simple to use, and light enough to be taken wherever the mood suits you.

Cons

  • It’s an incredibly basic, entry-level telescope. Designed to provide the initial fuel that young minds will use to move on to bigger and better telescopes, it’s a stepping stone in the right astronomical direction and nothing more.

Best Telescope For Viewing Planets Buying Guide

Which Telescope For Viewing Planets Is The Best One For Me? 

That’s a question that depends entirely on how seriously you want to pursue astronomy as a hobby.

While most of the telescopes on our list fall within a similar budgetary range,  the most outstanding telescope that’ll help you to gaze at the uninterrupted majesty of the solar system and fall in love with all of its incredible secrets and wonders is the one that we’ve using to look to the heavens for the last three years, and that’s the Celestron PowerSeeker.

It isn’t the most advanced scope on our list, but it is the most user friendly and will help you to embrace, and lose yourself in, all of the beauty of the corner of the Milky Way in which we all live. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Telescope? 

A telescope is an optical instrument that has been designed to observe distant objects in greater detail by using a combination of curved mirrors and lenses to absorb as much light as possible and magnify it for the person using the telescope.

The first acknowledged modern telescopes were invented in the Netherlands during the latter half of the seventeenth century and were used for strategic, navigational, and astronomical purposes. 

While they’ve been a staple part of society for almost half a millennia, telescopes are, in the twenty-first century, mainly directed toward the heavens and are the commonly used tool of astronomers everywhere.

From the record-breaking Arecibo dish in Puerto Rico to the humble home-based telescope used by legions of amateur astronomers everywhere, the telescope has played and continues to play, a fundamental role in helping us to understand our solar system and the planets in it. 

What Is The Solar System? 

The Solar System is a collection of celestial bodies that are gravitationally bound to the sun that is comprised of eight planets, a series of dwarf planets (of which Pluto is the most famous having been downgraded from planetary status in two thousand and six), asteroids, and other cosmic debris. 

Six of the eight planets in the solar system, and the major dwarf planet Pluto, have at least one moon, all of which are observable from Earth with a powerful enough telescope. The smallest of the eight planets Mercury, has no moons, while the largest Jupiter has sixty-seven. 

While Jupiter is technically big enough to one day become a star and is also the fastest spinning planet in the solar system, as it is classed as a gas giant, it doesn’t possess the mass needed to trigger the reaction that would see it transform from a planet into a star.  

Gordon Watts
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