Best Telescope Eyepieces for Viewing Planets [2021]

There are a wide array of different telescope eyepieces to choose from. And although many of them will be more suited to specific telescopes or brands, you can use them on pretty much any model, whether that’s a super expensive one or a telescope less than $1000. An eyepiece will give you the ability to alter the magnification of your telescope in seconds.

Getting a good array of telescope eyepieces is what many astronomers aspire to have. So whether you’re just getting started or you’re looking for another telescope eyepiece to add to your collection, I’m going to run through some of the best telescope eyepieces that are currently available.

Best Telescope Eyepieces for Viewing Planets

In the long term, most astronomers really want to have a wide variety of different telescope eyepieces so they can get the maximum different variations of magnification possible. Of course, this can take a long time to complete this collection, and for most amateurs, this is a long way off in the distance.

The first thing you should think about when you’re buying a telescope eyepiece is whether you want to stick with one brand. Many astronomers like to ‘marry’ themselves to a brand, as this can help you get used to a certain style of equipment. However, other astronomers aren’t really fussed about brands, and just opt for whatever the best eyepiece available is.

And if you really want to see deep sky objects clearly, then getting a medium power eyepiece or even a high magnification eyepiece can make this possible. Either way, I’ll run through some of the best telescope eyepieces to look for.

Celestron 8-24mm Zoom Eyepiece

Celestron Zoom Eyepiece for Telescope
$99.95
Pros:
  • Versatility
  • Long eye relief
Cons:
  • Zoom eyepieces aren't as clear
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09/30/2021 11:22 am GMT

For beginners, it would probably be a good idea to get an adjustable eyepiece. A good example of a high quality eyepiece for your telescope is this Celestron Zoom eyepiece. You can use this at any different level between 8mm and 24mm, which make it the perfect thing to take with you outdoors. In terms of versatility, this is an awesome option, as it’ll allow you to switch between lower and higher magnifications.

Like all of the eyepieces I’ve listed here, this is 1.25 inches, which means it will fit the vast majority of telescopes. It;s a good option for beginners because you can easily use the eyepiece at 24mm to get a rough idea of where you’re looking. Then, you can zoom in down to an 8mm view to focus on whatever object you want to. You can even fold down the eyecup on the eyepiece too, so if you wear glasses and need longer eye relief, then this eyepiece offers that.

If you really want to take advantage of this eyepiece, then you could even pair it up with a 2 or 3x Barlow lens. This would give you a wide range of different zoom length that you can use, which is perfect for looking at things with a high magnification. Getting the optimum magnification is important if you want to look at celestial objects in detail.

The only negative thing about this eyepiece is that typically, zoom eyepieces don’t give you the same amount of clarity as a single lens eyepiece. However, if you don’t want to go out and invest in 8 or 10 different eyepieces for every different size, then a zoom eyepiece is an essential part of anyones astronomy setup.

Explore Scientific 82 Degree Series

Explore Scientific 82° 4.7mm Eyepiece 1.25-inch Barrel
$269.99
Pros:
  • Quality optics
  • Waterproof
Cons:
  • Expensive
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09/30/2021 11:22 am GMT

If you’re looking for something of a little better quality, then you might want to check out the Explore Scientific series. They’re a step up in quality in comparison to Celestron eyepieces, and you’ll be able to see the difference in clarity when you use them.

In fact for the price, this eyepiece is more likened to Tele Vue eyepieces, which are some of the most expensive around. They’re nowhere near as expensive as Televue’s, but they’re probably almost as good (not quite as good as Tele Vue in my opinion, but who wants to pay $700 for an eyepiece!).

The series is available in measurements between 4.7mm and 30mm, and it would make an awesome collection if you’re ready to purchase a range of eyepieces. They’re fully waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about taking them out of cold nights with you. This is vital if you travel outside of the city for viewing deep sky objects, as you can be outside for a while on cold and damp nights.

If you’re looking for a detailed view of planets like Jupiter, then consider getting a mid-range option from this series (14-18mm). For the average amateur astronomer though, this could be a perfect addition to your collection of the best eyepieces.

Explore Scientific 68 Degree Series

Explore Scientific 68 Degree Series 16mm
$219.99
Pros:
  • Well made
  • Tightly sealed
Cons:
  • Not good for astrophotography
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09/30/2021 11:22 am GMT

Another series of eyepieces worth checking out made by Explore Scientific is the 68 Degree series. These are more designed for getting wide angle shots, although you can still get some short mm variations too.

These eyepieces are awesome for people that need long eye relief, and they’ll give you a high resolution view of what you’re looking at. They’re really comfortable to use, so you don’t need to worry about using them for a long period of time. You don’t necessarily need to use these eyepiece alone, and they would probably be best paired with a Barlow lens.

They can definitely provide an immersive experience, as they have a high optical quality and when used at the appropriate magnification, you’ll be able to see whatever you want to in the night sky clearly, whether that’s the Orion Nebula, planetary objects or something else.

This Explore Scientific eyepiece collection are available between 16-40mm sizes, and like the other Explore Scientific eyepieces, they’re all completely waterproof too. So if you’re looking for more high quality eyepieces, then this series is worth checking out too.

Celestron Eyepiece Accessory Kit

Celestron Eyepiece and Filter Accessory Kit
$144.99
Pros:
  • Lots included
  • Colored filters
Cons:
  • More than most need
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09/30/2021 11:22 am GMT

If you’re looking for a good assortment of eyepieces but you’re not sure where to start, then it might be worth looking at this Celestron accessory kit. It includes five different eyepieces; 6mm, 8mm, 13mm, 17mm and 32mm. This will give you a good variety of different magnifications to choose from. When you combine this with the 2x Barlow lens that’s included in the kit, then you will get a good variety of different magnifications to choose from.

As well as this, you’ll also get some color filters which can help to highlight certain features on planets that you’re looking at. Though color filters are definitely not a necessity, they can make it easier to pick out individual characteristics of planets. Obviously, the image quality is heavily dictated by your telescope, but an eyepiece can also help.

If you want a full accessory kit for a good price, then it is probably a good idea to pick up something like this. It’s very cheap and provides comfortable eye relief, which is all most amateur astronomers are looking for. Whilst you’re not going to get a high end eyepiece, you’ll definitely get various different magnification options and the ability to add a high contrast too.

How do I work out the magnification of my eyepiece?

For those new to astronomy in general, eyepieces and magnification can be one of the most confusing things to get to grips with. Don’t worry if this is you – it’s the same for all of us when we first start!

When you’re trying to work out the magnification that an eyepiece will give you, just stick to the same simple formula.

Divide the telescope’s focal length by the focal length of your eyepiece.

Focal Length / Eyepiece focal length = magnification!

So if you have a telescope with a focal length of 1400mm, and you use a 10mm eyepiece on your telescope, this will give you a magnification of 140x.

If you’re trying to work out what the maximum magnification you should be using for your telescope is, then a general rule of thumb is to use no more than double the aperture of your telescope.

For example, if you have a telescope with an aperture of 140mm, then you should not go over 280x magnification with your telescope. This means that if your telescope has a focal length of 1400mm, then the minimum size eyepiece you want to use is 5mm, as 1400/5 is equal to 280x. Simple!

Telescope Eyepieces – Most commonly asked questions

How can I make my telescope more powerful?

An eyepiece is known to be one of the easiest ways to make your telescope more powerful. Combining this with a Barlow lens is the best way to make your telescope more powerful without having to invest in a new one!

What magnification do I need to see planets?

Generally, you want to use your telescope at it’s highest magnification in order to see planets clearly. We generally use the rule that your magnification should not be more than double your aperture if you want the ability to see the planets clearly. So if your telescope has an aperture of 100mm, you won’t go over a magnification of 200x. It will obviously differ for each planet, but for example a 200x magnification would be enough to see the planet Venus, but not in great detail.

What eyepiece is best for see galaxies?

Again, this will entirely depend on the aperture and power of your telescope. But generally, eyepieces with low focal lengths are good for seeing the moon in great detail. High focal length eyepieces are good for seeing things with a wide view, like star fields. And somewhere in between (8-20mm) are best for seeing mid range things, like galaxies.

What does eye relief mean in reference to eyepieces?

The eye relief refers to the distance between the eyepiece and your eye. If you have a short eye relief eyepiece, this usually means that the eyepiece is more power, and longer eye relief eyepieces tend to be weaker – however this isn’t always the case. It’s important to consider this if you wear glasses, as it can make it impossible for you to use an eyepiece with short eye relief.

What’s better, an eyepiece and a Barlow lens?

An eyepiece and a Barlow lens are two essential pieces of kit in any astronomers arsenal. There are a few differences between them – firstly, Barlow lenses are generally made to be used with any telescope, whereas eyepieces are more catered to each brand. Generally, astronomers prefer to have a different range of eyepieces to use with their telescope, with a Barlow lens as a backup.

Conclusion

Overall, getting a good assortment of eyepieces in your collection is just part of being an astronomer. There are many different brands out there to choose from, and various different qualities depending on your budget. I’ve tried to mention some budget options here for beginners who don’t want to spend a lot on telescope accessories. Plus, there’s a few options in here for those more advanced astronomers who are looking for something specific.

Combining the right eyepiece with the right telescope is the way to success when looking at the stars and planets. Hopefully, I’ve helped you a little bit on your journey here!