Best Telescope Eyepiece for Viewing Planets [Buyers Guide]

If you are looking to view the planets, then your Telescope Eyepiece will be essential. It will be the predominant factor in what you can observe, how you observe it and in how much detail.

The difficulty is, that knowing what eyepiece is best for you can be quite a challenge. There are a lot of different brands and terminology to understand. There are also other things to consider like what you want to observe, your telescope and your budget.

This buying guide will help you identify the Best Telescope Eyepiece for Viewing Planets, for you.

At the end, you will know exactly what to look for and what eyepiece is going to be best.

If you wanted to get a quick overview of the eyepieces covered in this guide:

 

If you are looking for eyepieces, these are some of the questions that you probably have:

  • What size eyepiece do I need?
  • What Magnification do I require?
  • What is a good price for an eyepiece?
  • What are the trusted brands?
  • Is there any type I should look for?

These are just some of the questions that will be covered in this post, but before we begin it is best to outline what an eyepiece actually is and how they work

What Are Telescope Eyepieces

Eyepieces are an essential component to all telescopes. No telescope will work without one.

Eyepieces are a type of lens, and are the closest lens of the telescope that your eye comes into contact with when observing. Its principal aim is to collect light and bring it to focus so that you can see an image (an object within the sky).

Eyepieces come in a range of sizes, magnification factors, styles, types and are produced by a number of different manufacturers. 

To understand the quality and the power of an eyepiece, it is driven by two main areas: Focal Length and Magnification 

Focal Length

Focal length is predominantly measured in mm; it is one of the most obvious and referenced factors that dictates how powerful a telescope ultimately is.

The length is the distance between the lens or primary mirror, in contrast to the point where the telescope is in focus. This exact point is known as the Focal Point.

As the Focal Length goes up on a telescope, so does its power and magnification.  Images will appear larger, and field of view (how much of the sky you can see at one time) smaller.

For example, a telescope with a focal length of 1000mm has double the power, but half the field of view as a 500mm telescope.

Magnification

Once the Focal Length is determined, it is now possible to calculate the Magnification (Power).

This is relatively easy, and can be done with a simple division.

To determine the magnification of your eyepiece, you just need to divide the focal length of your telescope with the focal length of your eyepiece.

Magnification/Power = Telescope Focal Length / Eyepiece Focal Length

So here is the key takeaway:

You can experience and observe with different magnifications if you use eyepieces with different focal lengths!

Lets use an example: a 25mm eyepiece that is used on a telescope with a 1000mm focal length would provide you with a power of 40x Magnification (1000 / 25 = 40). If you used a 10mm eyepiece used on the same telescope, you could expect a power of 100x Magnification (1000 / 10 = 100).

Please note: the longer the focal length of your eyepiece, the lower the power and magnification. This will also mean that you experience a wider field of view.

What Does This All Mean?

By using different eyepieces on your telescope, you can “zoom in” on finer details of the Planets.

With a low focal-length high-magnification eyepiece you will be able to see enhanced detail like surface craters on the Moon.

Alternatively, if you use a moderate to long focal length eyepiece you will be gifted with a slightly wider field of view (see more of the sky at any one time). This means you will be able to see the complete disk of the Moon

What Eyepiece mm Is Required To See Planets?

Typically, you are going to want an eyepiece in the range of 2mm-14mm, for the best views of planets and their detail. The lower the mm, the higher the magnification:

2mm-4.9mm Eyepieces: Provide the highest magnifications. They are best applied to a Refractor Telescope with a Long Focal Length, or a general Schmidt-Cassegrain Scope. 

5mm – 6.9mm Eyepieces: Will give you the ability to observe with great planetary detail on Long Focal Length Telescopes. They also work well on Shorter Length Telescopes as long as the Seeing conditions are steady.

7mm – 9.9mm Eyepieces: These eyepieces are best for Telescopes with a Shorter Focal Length, they will help you observe good detail on planets and stars.

10mm – 13.9mm Eyepieces: Great for use on Telescopes of all Focal Lengths. They also work well for providing a darkening effect that will help you view planetary details, nebula and galaxies.

Best Telescope Eyepiece for Viewing Planets

Now that you know what eyepieces are and how they work; it should be easier to identify the one you need.

But as you may have already noticed, there are a lot different types, models and brands of eyepiece available to buy. Each comes with its own features and specs.

So below, we list the best eyepieces available in 2019 with a high-level overview of each one. We break each one done to help you make a decision.

I will start with the Best Eyepiece Sets, and then move onto the best individual eyepieces currently available.

When you have identified an eyepiece, it is advised to determine and calculate the magnifications that it will provide on your scope. Use the calculation: (Magnification/Power = Telescope Focal Length / Eyepiece Focal Length) to do this. It is also important to be wary of the maximum magnification advised for a scope; which is 60x per inch of aperture

Best Eyepiece Sets For Viewing Planets

There are many comprehensive sets that provide a range of eyepieces, and additional extras (like Barlow lenses and Filters). These are a cost-effective way to purchase all of your eyepieces at the same time and to also improve your observations. 

It also ensures that you have a range of magnifications and field of views to suit you at particular times or for particular preferences. It gives you flexibility which is why a kit is always advised.

The following are the best kits, but if you are just looking for one singular eyepiece, those will be reviewed in the following section.

 

Celestron Eyepiece and Filter Kit – 14 Piece Telescope Accessory Set

Celestron Eyepiece and Filter Kit – 14 Piece Telescope Accessory Set

Specifications

Eyepieces Included: 5

Eyepiece Sizes: 32mm, 17mm, 13mm, 8mm, and 6mm

Field of View: 52º 

Multi-Coated: Yes

Telescope Required: Any with a 1.25″ Focuser

Barlow Lenses Included? Yes -2

Summary:

The Celestron 14 Piece Telescope Eyepiece and Filter Kit is a complete set from one of the best and reputable manufacturers for Astronomy Equipment.

This is one of the most practicable and economical ways of purchasing eyepieces; buying them all together and being able to store them all in one place. Its great for taking with you and storing away.

Within the Durable Hard-Sided Carrying Case, you will find 5 Plossl eyepieces that range in mm. Starting with 6mm and ranging all the way through to a 32mm eyepiece. These are all fully multicoated for maximum contrast and resolution.

Plossl glass lenses are considered the gold standard for planetary viewing because they use less glass and thus provide a greater field of view.

This comprehensive set includes all the eyepieces you will need to observe all of the planets, and in varying degrees of detail. At the upper end of the eyepieces, the 32mm offers a low power, wide field view, whilst at the other end the 8 mm & 6 mm eyepieces will give high magnifications which is ideal for observing the Moon and planets.

Beyond just the 5 eyepieces, you are getting 2x Barlow Lenses, 6 colored filters and a Moon filter. These filters will help to bring out certain details on each planet’s surface or its cloud structure. 

This is a complete set, and one whereby you can purchase all the eyepieces you need for your telescope in one go.

Pros

Pros
  • Five superior grade Plossl eyepieces, all fully multi-coated providing you with maximum contrast and resolution
  • 2x Barlow Lenses Included to Double your Magnification
  • Kit saves you over $700.00 then purchasing items on their own
  • The colored filters are perfect for bringing out various details on a planet’s surface or in its cloud structure. A Moon filter blocks some of the Moon’s bright glare, allowing you to see more detail.
  • Sturdy Metal Case; Extra room to include more of your own accessories.

Cons

Cons
  • Eyepieces and Filters only work on a 1.25″ Telescope

 

Orion 08890 1.25-Inch Premium Telescope Accessory Kit 

Orion 08890 1.25-Inch Premium Telescope Accessory Kit

Specifications

Eyepieces Included: 5

Eyepiece Sizes: 40mm, 17mm, 10mm, 7.5mm, and 6.3mm

Field of View: 52º 

Multi-Coated: Yes

Telescope Required: Any with a 1.25″ Focuser

Barlow Lenses Included? Yes -2

Summary:

The Orion Telescope Accessory Kit is another compelling and comprehensive set by another notable manufacturer. 

In the Foam-Lined Durable Hard-Sided Carrying Case, you will find 5 Sirius Plossl multi-coated eyepieces that begin with 6.3mm and scale all the way up to 40mm. This gives a great range of magnifications to observe the planets and the Moon.

Similarly to the Celestron Kit above, you also benefit from 2x Barlow lenses and 6 eyepiece filters – 5 of them are color planetary filters and the other is a 13% transmission neutral-density Moon filter. This is an excellent way to enhance the clarity of your views and reveal surface detail that would not be possible otherwise.

This is an equally as impressive kit, but comes in at a slightly higher price point than the Celestron Kit. This is partly due to the extra quality of the Barlow lens in the Orion Kit so if this is a piece that you are serious about using, you should opt for this kit.

Pros

Pros
  • Five superior grade Plossl eyepieces, all fully multi-coated providing you with maximum contrast and resolution
  • Highest Quality 2x Barlow Lenses Included to Double your Magnification
  • Kit saves you over $700.00 then purchasing items on their own
  • The colored filters are perfect for bringing out various details on a planet’s surface or in its cloud structure. A Moon filter blocks some of the Moon’s bright glare, allowing you to see more detail.
  • Sturdy Metal Case; Extra room to include more of your own accessories.

Cons

Cons
  • No guide or instructions for how to use included in the Case.

 

Gosky Astronomical Telescope Accessory Kit 

Gosky Astronomical Telescope Accessory Kit

 

Specifications

Eyepieces Included: 3

Eyepiece Sizes: 20mm, 12.5mm, 6mm

Field of View: 52º 

Multi-Coated: Yes

Telescope Required: Any with a 1.25″ Focuser

Barlow Lenses Included? Yes -2

The Gosky Astronomical Telescope Accessory Kit is an entry level set, and is far more limited in terms of the number of items you get included. This is not to say that the quality is inferior; but it is more limited in terms of application.

You get three multi-coated Plossl eyepieces starting at 6mm, increasing to 12.5mm and finishing up at 20mm. Whilst this provides the sufficient magnification you need to observe the planets, you will not be able to get the level of detail that the Celestron or Orion kits can provide (their maximum eyepieces are 32mm and 40mm respectively).

Nonetheless, the accessories included in this kit are of great quality and you will be able to observe planetary and lunar details as well as being able to observe the more distant star clusters and deep-sky objects.

You also get 2x Barlow lesnes for additional magnification, a Moon Filter to reduce the glare and glow of the Moon for easier observation and 3 color filters to highlight the features of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. 

This is an ideal starting kit for those on a limited budget, or who do not believe they need extra eyepieces (particularly above 20mm)

Pros

Pros
  • Budget Friendly & Affordable whilst retaining Quality
  • All filters, eyepieces and barlow comes with dust caps, dust plugs and cases.
  • Barlow Lens comes with a prime focus T-adapter for attaching a DSLR camera.

Cons

Cons
  • Barlow Lenses not compatible with all telescopes (e.g. Celestron Nexstar 130SLT)

 

Best Individual Eyepieces For Viewing Planets

If you do not want to necessarily purchase a kit, and are looking for an individual eyepiece, then there are some great options.

The following are some of the best available on the market today:

Meade Instruments (8 to 24-Millimeter) Zoom Eyepiece

 

Meade Instruments 07199-2 Series 4000 8 to 24-Millimeter 1.25-Inch Zoom Eyepiece
Specifications

Eyepieces Included: 1

Eyepiece Sizes:  This One Single Eyepiece Can Provide 8-24mm

Field of View: 40-55º 

Multi-Coated: Yes

Telescope Required: Any with a 1.25″ Focuser

Barlow Lenses Included? No

Summary:

If you are not looking for a complete set, and are only in the market for one eyepiece, then the Meade Instruments eyepiece is one of the best out there. It can be applied to any 1.25″ Telescope.

This multi-coated eyepiece is designed with a 7-element zoom setting system; meaning that you can choose the mm that suits you. Starting at 8mm it scales all the way up to 24mm. The Zoom is smooth transitions easily with minor focal adjustments needed.

This is a practical and powerful single piece. In many ways its several eyepieces in one. 

You can set it with a 40-degree apparent field of view (on the 24-millimeter setting) and a 55-degree field of view (at the 8mm setting)- manipulating the magnification along the way. 

Its designed with utmost quality, and comes with a soft rubber eye guard and a custom fitted bayonet mount. Plus, this folds down so if you wear glasses or you want to protect the glass, its possible.

It works very well accross a variety of branded telescopes, so in summary this is an eyepiece very worthy of your consideration.

Pros

Pros
  • 8-24mm Eyepiece; easy manipulated with Zooming technology
  • Long eye relief, rubber coating folds down making this suitable for glass wearing astronomers
  • 1 Year Warranty

Cons

Cons
  • No Carry Case Included

 

Celestron Omni Series Eyepiece

Celestron Omni Series Eyepiece

Specifications

Eyepieces Included: 1

Eyepiece Sizes:  4-12mm (Individual Eyepieces and Separate Cost)

Field of View: 50º 

Multi-Coated: Yes

Telescope Required: Any with a 1.25″ Focuser

Barlow Lenses Included? No

Summary:

The Celestron Omni Series is a collection of versatile and powerful eyepieces. Whilst each eyepiece provides you with a set amount of mm (unlike Meade Instruments above), they are of quality design and versatility. They have several layers of high-transmission coating which means you will obtain crisp, sharp images. 

An eyepiece from the Omni Series consists of a 4-element Plossl optical design and rubber eyecups to give you extra comfort.  Plus you have the ability to leave them up or fold them down when wearing eyeglasses.

The barrels are made of strong aluminum matte (and can accept filters), and the lens edges are blackened to prevent internal reflections. This prevents any glare from ruining your observations.

For observing Planets it is recommended to get an eyepiece that is either 4mm, 9mm or 12mm

Pros

Pros
  • 50º apparent field of view, perfect for the Moon, planets, and a plethora of deep-sky objects
  • Superior design and quality; finished with multiple layers of high-transmission coatings for clear, sharp images.
  • Long eye relief, rubber coating folds down making this suitable for glass wearing astronomers

Cons

Cons
  • Purchasing several eyepieces individually can become costly.

 

Explore Scientific 82° Eyepiece

Explore Scientific 82° 4.7mm Eyepiece

Specifications

Eyepieces Included: 1

Eyepiece Sizes:  4.7-8.8mm (Individual Eyepieces and Separate Cost)

Field of View: 82º 

Multi-Coated: Yes

Telescope Required: Any with a 1.25″ Focuser

Barlow Lenses Included? No

Summary:

The Explore Scientific 82° Eyepiece is a high-end and premium eyepiece for the serious astronomer. Waterproof and Argon Purged, a 4.7mm, 6.7mm or 8.7mm will provide you with high-powered viewing of planets, such as Jupiter and Saturn.  

It a well constructed, solid eyepiece with a textured grip on the barrel to prevent you from dropping it. The optics are at another level, and you will see extra detail if you opt to invest in this quality piece. The quality runs right to the edges, as you will see crisp and clear images throughout the piece. For example, users report seeing shadows on Jupiter from one of its moons!

This provides a slightly higher field of view (82º) which ensures that you have more time to view an object and can enjoy the image for longer.

This is a high end and premium eyepiece, that quite simply delivers. So if you have the extra budget, invest in this one!

Pros

Pros
  • 82º apparent field of view, gives you more time to observe objects.
  • Waterproof and Argon Purged; Durable and Well-Constructed
  • Fits nearly every telescope

Cons

Cons
  • Costs as much as some of the Telescope Kits cited above.

 

Baader Planetarium 8-24mm Hyperion Clickstop Zoom Mark IV Eyepiece

Baader Planetarium 8-24mm Hyperion Clickstop Zoom Mark IV Eyepiece

Specifications

Eyepieces Included: 1

Eyepiece Sizes:  This One Single Eyepiece Can Provide 8-24mm

Field of View: 68º 

Multi-Coated: Yes

Telescope Required: 1.25-2″

Barlow Lenses Included? No

Summary:

One of the most sought after eyepieces, at the higher end of the market is the Mark IV from Baader Planetarium. This is typically used by long time astronomers and those looking to upgrade to the next level.

Where this is extra useful is that it includes both 1.25″ and 2″ barrels . This makes it more versatile for use on several telescopes that you may own.

Using similar zooming technology to Meade, this multi-coated eyepiece comes with five different magnifications, which you can set to 8mm, 12mm, 16mm, 20mm and 24mm. Plus using Clickstop, its very smooth and easy to align. It has been designed to stay parfocal across all parts of this range. 

This is a practical and powerful single piece. In many ways its several eyepieces in one. 

The field of view comes out at 68 degrees when set up with the 8mm setting, and 50 degrees when used at the 24mm setting.

The flatfield design aswell as the three different eyecups; a large adjustable, smaller straight and winged, foldable makes this incredibly comfortable to use and work with.

It works very well accross a variety of branded telescopes, so in summary this is an eyepiece very worthy of your consideration.

Pros

Pros
  • Zooming Functionality means changing the magnification is effortless and simple.
  • Fantastic Quality; High Contrast and Clear Views
  • 8-24mm Eyepiece; Clickstop makes it easy to select a mm and manipulate
  • Fits easily into nearly every Telescoipe
  • Great Eye Relief; Three different eyecups to utilize
  • Travel Pouch Included

Cons

Cons
  • May require refocusing after making larger zoom changes in focal length.

 

Tele Vue 13mm Ethos Eyepiece 

Tele Vue 13mm Ethos Eyepiece 

Specifications

Eyepieces Included: 1

Eyepiece Sizes:  13mm

Field of View: 100º 

Multi-Coated: Yes

Telescope Required: 1.25-2″

Barlow Lenses Included? No

Summary:

Without a doubt the best eyepiece you can possibly get for viewing the planets. This is a state of the art eyepiece that warrants a huge 100 degrees field of view (the only eyepiece to deliver this). You can get 50% more coverage of the sky at any one time than what a 82 degree field of view eyepiece can.

Tele Vue are considered one of the most premium brands, and there signature eyepiece delivers this quality. You will get high contrast and sharp images of the planets; able to see detail simply not possible with other pieces.

The 13mm Ethos provides controlled astigmatism, corrects angular magnification distortion, and optimizes the light if you have low pupil sensitivity. This makes it excellent for day-time as well as night time use.

The only downside is the price; this will require some investment. Despite its cost, many reviews on Amazon state it is well worth the price and a significant upgrade on a standard eyepiece.

Pros

Pros
  • 100 Degrees Field of View
  • No ghosting or Internal Reflections experienced
  • Increased detail of Planets and Spacial Objects

Cons

Cons
  • Significantly more expensive than other pieces

 

Final Words

Each and every eyepiece included in this list will provide you with fantastic views of the Planets.

The more expensive eyepieces in the list, particularly the Tele Vue Ethos, will enable you to see that extra level of detail and seem to add additional inches of aperture.

If by now you are yet to make a decision, here are the last couple of the things that will help you make your choice.

With eyepieces, typically the more expensive the better. It is always important to consider the Field of View and the Magnification that each one will provide.

Eyepiece Kits are an excellent and affordable way to get a wider range of magnification, so if you are a beginner, these are a great way to start. They are also great for carrying with you on the go as they normally come with a strong case. You also get filters which can aid and improve what you see.

If you are looking at getting as kit, I would advise the Celestron one.

Alternatively, an Individual Eyepiece may be more appropriate for you and they are typically better quality and will provide better views of the planets. Some have zooming functionality and technology that enables you to change the magnification when you like. 

The Explore Scientific is the editors choice for a multi-use eyepiece.

Then there are the top-tier and high end eyepieces; these should be considered if you have had standard eyepieces in the past and are looking to upgrade.

The outright winner in the category is the Tele Vue Ethos

In conclusion, we have provided you with an overview, summary and review of the best eyepieces currently available in 2019. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments below!

FAQs

What Do Colored Filters Do?

Colored eyepiece filters provide the ability to see additional and advanced planetary features. Each color provides a different view as seen below:
Yellow
* Improves the contrast of lunar features and the crescent of Venus
* Enables you to see dark features of the Martian landscape and improves views of cloud detail around Mars and its atmosphere
* Ensures you can see the cloud belts and polar regions of Jupiter
Orange
* Provides contrast to lunar features
* Improves visibility of edge surface detail on Mars
* Enhances the contrast of the cloud belts, festoons, and the red spot on Jupiter
* Enables you to see the belts and poles of Saturn
Red
* Improves Martian surface details
* Helps you identify the cloud regions on Jupiter and Saturn
* Contrasts Mercury against the sky so you can interpret it better,
* Enahnces cloud definition on Venus
Green
* Enhances the contrast of blue and red structures on Jupiter
* Enables you to see the ‘melt line detail’ around Martian polar caps
* Improves views of cloud belts on Saturn
Blue
* Improves your ability to observe details of cloud belts and the Red Spot on Jupiter
* Shows lunar surface details
* Provides contrast to cloud features on Venus

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