Note: Astronomy Scope is reader supported. If you make a purchase through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission - at no extra cost to you. This includes links to Amazon.

Can You See Planets With Binoculars? [If So, What Exactly?]

When I first began astronomy I got wondering whether I could use binoculars rather than a telescope to observe the planets. I decided to do a bit of research to see whether or not that this is at all possible.

So, can you see Planets with Binoculars? It is definitely possible to see planets with binoculars. However, for the best results, detail and clarity it is best to invest in a good pair of astronomical binoculars because these are better suited to low light conditions, enable better focusing and provide you with maximum image brightness.

You’ll also be able to see more objects in space like four of Jupiter’s Moons due to their increased magnification.

I personally use the Celestron SkyMaster 20×80 Binoculars which are incredibly powerful, sharp and I would thoroughly recommend.

While binoculars are a great way to see the planets, there are other factors involved which mean that it may not always be possible.

It is important that you are cognizant of the weather conditions, light and pollution levels of your local area.

If you live in the city for example, you may find it particularly difficult at times.

It is always best to observe the night sky at time of complete, or near complete darkness, and with minimal interference to give you the best views.

Using Binoculars To Observe The Planets

So, using binoculars to view the planets is possible. But what can you see? Are there any additional things that you should be aware of?

Believe it or not, if you are just starting to get into Astronomy, Binoculars may be an better way to start than a telescope.

This is because telescopes are actually quite complicated to set up and use. Its one thing learning the scope and another thing learning the sky.

With a telescope you need to do both at the same time!

This can be quite overwhelming and actually put a lot of astronomers off from observing the sky.

Astronomical binoculars are therefore an ideal way to start because they can enhance your views from your naked eye – and give you some incredible views that you may not have realized were possible with this piece of equipment.

In astronomy, the two factors that are most important for observation are magnification and light-gathering power.

These are the two very things that enable you to observe the many objects in the sky. And astronomical binoculars provide these very things.

Even the lower powered, 15×70 astronomical binoculars, can reveal around 10x more than what your unaided eye will be able to see.

Beyond just the equipment alone, you will also need to know when and where to gaze.

A great way to start or improve your knowledge of the night sky is with a Planisphere (you can get these on Amazon)

What Can You See With Binoculars?

Its always a good idea to look at the Moon first through your binoculars.

Although not technically a planet, its a great object to focus on to begin with because it is such an easy target to identify.

You want to focus on the Moon around twilight. This is because the Moon’s glare is not as prominent at this time and you can observe greater detail; like the various craters.

Next, once you have started to get to grips with your astronomical binoculars, you can move on to start looking at the planets.

Consider that as planets orbiting the sun, they move unlike stars which are fixed. You may often see planets referred to as Wanderers, for this very reason.

In total, you will be able to see seven planets with Binoculars. These are: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

Uranus will require a darker sky, but the rest are easily visible even in a city with modest light pollution.

With my Celestron SkyMaster 20×80 BinocularsI have been able to identify the four Galilean moons and they are great for looking at the more distant Uranus and Neptune (the outermost planet).

Observing The Planets With Binoculars

Below, you’ll find some easy tips that will help you to identify and observe the planets with your binoculars:

Mercury and Venus

These are the two closest planets to us on Earth. Believe it or not, they actually orbit around the sun closer than we do here on Earth.

This is great for us astronomers because Athis means that we can get a glimpse at their various phases at specific times during their orbit.

Specifically, this is typically when either Mercury or Venus passes in between the Earth and the Sun.

This is an ideal time to use your binoculars to view Mercury and/or Venus.

This is where using binoculars with good specification really helps, so that you can see them fully in their crescent phase.

With Venus, as it is very bright in nature, it is best and advised to view at twilight.


Is great to observe, particularly due to its unique red glow. Looking at Mars through binoculars will dramatically emphasize the rouge color of this planet.

Another thing to look out for is when Mars moves very quickly in-front of other stars.

This is a good time to look at it as the glare from Mars can provide a view on these other stars.


This is another planet you should definitely check out with your binoculars.

If you are using a good quality pair of binoculars and you can hold a steady hand, you will be able to identify four very bright areas of light close by.

These areas are in fact the Galilean Satellites (four moons). The best thing about observing Jupiter and these moons is that depending on when you look depends on what you see.

Each moon changes position every day as they are in their own individual orbit around the planet.


Now, it must be first stated that if you want to see the rings, you are going to need a telescope.

But, this doesn’t mean it is not a planet that you can observe with binoculars.

If you look at Saturn through binoculars you can witness its impressive golden color.

If you catch it at the right time, or know where to look, then you may be able to observe Saturn’s largest moon Titan through your binoculars.

Another reason to use high-sec astronomical binoculars, like those from Celestron, is that they have the power to show you that Saturn is not round.

It is actually the rings that give this illusion.

Uranus and Neptune

The further the planet from Earth, the more you are going to need a good pair of binoculars to see them clearly.

You will most likely need a finder chart, but isolating Uranus and Neptune, are relatively easy to find with binoculars.

Uranus typically looks green due to the gases in its atmosphere. Uranus doesn’t emit much light and as such binoculars enable us as astronomers to view it.

Despite being nearly identical to Uranus, Neptune will always look like a star due to the distance.

What Else Can You See?

Binoculars open up the ability to look at a lot more than just planets!

You can see Comets, Asteroids, Star Clusters (inside the Milky Way), Nebula’s and Galaxies!

This is one of the primary benefits of going beyond the naked eye for stargazing. It opens up a considerable amount more to observe!

Final Words

So there you have it. You can definitely observe seven planets with a pair of astronomical binoculars. The better the spec, the sharper they will be.

Remember, if you are new to astronomy using binoculars is an excellent place to start. In fact, I still use mine all the time despite having a couple of telescopes.

They do not require any set up and there is not learning curve like when opting for a telescope. You can begin using them straight away, and you’ll be blown away by what you can end up seeing!