When you’re looking for a new accessory for your telescope, then one of the main things that people look for is a good telescope filter. This can can make all of the difference when you’re trying to see a planet or the Moon clearly, as they help to increase contrast, or block out some of the light emitted by
But there are different types of telescope filter, and it can be difficult to know which one of them would be right for you. This is especially true if you’re not experienced with astronomy, as it can all be quite confusing. So, I’m going to run through which filter you might want to opt for, then talk about some good options out there for people looking to purchase one.
Moon Filter vs Light Pollution Filter vs Color Filters
Although these filters are all different, they’re all used in the same way with your telescope. You attach them to the bottom of your eyepiece, and it will affect what you see through your telescope. But, a moon filter won’t necessarily be the same as a light pollution filter.
Moon filters are used to try and block out some of the Moon’s glare, which can give us a better view of it’s surface. they’re best used when there’s a full moon and the light is difficult to cope with, and many people interested in astrophotography opt to use a moon filter as it can make images a lot clearer.
Color filters are more of a novelty in my opinion, and they aren’t as necessary as a light pollution filter. However, there are those that swear by color filters and love them, so I don’t want to be too negative about them. Certain colors can give you the ability to see planets clearer – these color filters work in the same way a moon filter does, by reducing contrast and glare.
If you want to know which colors would be best planet, look at this table for more information.
|Color||Most Useful for|
|Light Yellow||The Moon, Mars|
|Blue||Jupiter, Saturn, Mars (Red Planets)|
|Light Blue||Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, also the Moon|
|Red||Mars, Jupiter, Saturn|
Overall, if you’re looking for your first telescope filter then I’d advise that you opt for a light pollution filter, especially if you live in a place with a lot of light pollution. If you’re not sure if where you are has a lot of light pollution, have a look at this map.
Best Telescope Filters for the Moon, Planets & Light Pollution
Celestron – Best Moon Filter
- Reduce glare and increase contrast of the Moon with the Celestron 1.25” Moon Filter
- Also useful for extra bright planets as well as terrestrial viewing over sand or snow
- Threads onto most 1.25” eyepieces in seconds
If you’re looking for a cheap moon filter, then this Celestrojn filter would likely be a good choice. It’s not the highest quality, but at this price you can’t really argue with it!
This will allow you to see the moon, but it’s also quite good for looking at some of the brighter planets too. It works best with more powerful telescopes that actually have the power to see planets in closer detail, otherwise you’re not really going to be able to take full advantage of it.
Attaching this filter onto your telescope should give you the contrast you need to dee the moon in greater detail. So if you’re looking for a good moon filter, then this would be a perfect choice.
Astromania 1.25″ UHC – Best Light Pollution Filter
- Nebula filter for increasing contrast, also suitable for use with smaller telescopes.
- Many objects only first become visible at all when using an UHC filter. But also, highlights such as the Orion, Lagoon or Swan nebulae, show a whole new side to them.
- Can be used at both light-polluted and dark sky sites. Blocks the light from mercury and sodium-vapour lamps.
- 1.25" filter thread, each Astromania Ultra High Contrast Filter is individually inspected and proudly inscribed with the percentage of light transmittance of the O-III and H-beta emission lines.
- As many celestial objects, such as nebulae, radiate at other wavelengths, a considerable increase in contrast can be achieved by this. The background sky appears darker and all at once, faint details become visible.
If you’re looking for a nice filter to block out light pollution, then this Astromania filter is a good choice. It will block out light pollution, but it will also be good for using to create a contrast on celestial objects too.
If you’re interested in seeing interstellar clouds like the Lagoon Nebula, then this will give you the contrast you need to see it clearly. it also works well for seeing other objects in the Sagittarius constellation, like the Swan Nebula,
So if you’re interested in getting a better view of these constellations, then this light pollution filter would be perfect. Whilst giving you the contrast you need to see certain objects, it will also block out a lot of light.
Neewer Filters – Best Colored Filters for Seeing Planets
- PLEASE NOTE: The telescope is not included. Kit includes: (1)Moon and Skyglow Filter; (1)CPL Filter; (5)Color Filters: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue; Designed to reduce glare and light scattering, increase contrast through selective filtration, increase definition and resolution, reduce irradiation and lessen eye fatigue
- MOON AND SKYGLOW FILTER: Cuts down glare and brings out much more surface detail and gives you better contrast; It is a multi-band pass filter transmitting a high percentage of light in the visual spectrum; Effectively filters out selective wavelengths of low-pressure sodium and other man-made sources typically used in street lighting
- CPL FILTER: By utilizing a CPL filter, which filters out scattered light, you are able to cut through those reflections and see the detail behind it; Enhances the contrast of the moon and planets in photographic images
- STANDARD 1,25-inch THREAD SIZE: 1.25 inches/ 3.17 centimeters thread size, fits for most of telescopes; Color filters have the grooves needed to be softly screwed into the eyepieces lens easily
- 5 COLOR FILTERS: Includes Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue; Red: Helps make Mercury and Venus stand out from the blue sky when viewed during the day; Orange: Helps increase contrast between light and dark areas, penetrates clouds; Yellow: Helps greatly in viewing Mars by bringing out the polar ice caps; Green: Enhances frost patches, surface fogs, and polar projections on Mars; Blue: Helps split the binary star Antares when at maximum separation
For those looking for some colored filters which help your ability to make out details on planets, then this set of Neewer filters should do the job. Bear in mind that this set does include a moon filter in it, so you don’t need to purchase another one!
There isn’t a great deal to colored filters, but there is a good variation here that should cover you for all the main planets you can see; Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Which one will work best for you is a little bit of trial and error, as some people prefer different colors for each planet. But for those who want a nice set of telescope filters, this would do the job quite comfortably.
Celestron Filter Accessory Kit
If you’re just getting started with your astronomy journey, then you will probably want to look at an accessory kit like this from Celestron. It has a variety of different accessories included which can help you learn about what individual piece does. It comes with several different color filters that you can use when you’re looking at the moon; each of them might be able to highlight an element you didn’t previously notice without it.
As well as the color filters, it also includes a wide variety of different telescope eyepieces and even a Barlow lens to use with them. This kit would be a good choice for any new astronomer.
Telescope Filter Buying Guide
What does a Moon Filter do?
A moon filter is quite simply a filter that you attach to the end of your eyepiece. They’re designed specifically to make it easier for you to see the details on the Moon, as you’ll be able to see the surface of the moon a lot easier when using a certain moon filter.
Which color filters are best for each planet?
Different planets will have different colors that tend to make them easier to see detail when you’re looking at them. It is circumstantial, but I tend to find that a yellow filter is the best color for seeing the planets Jupiter and Saturn – however some people prefer to use a green filter for Jupiter, so it really is different in each scenario. A red filter is definitely the best color for seeing Mars in better detail.
How does a light pollution filter work?
Light pollution is the most frustrating thing for any astronomer, and if you live in a city, then unfortunately you’re just going to have to deal with it. Light pollution is just any source of artificial light. These light pollution filters are specially designed to block the light emitted by things like street lamps, as they’re made to stop specific wavelengths, which can make night sky objects easier to see.
Are these filters suitable as a solar filter?
A solar filter is different to any of the filters that I’ve mentioned (moon, light pollution, color). If you want to look block out the sun, you’ll need a special solar filter to do so.
Are telescope filters worth your investment?
If you’re thinking about taking your astronomy more seriously, you should consider investing in some good filters. Typically, I’d advise you to start with a light pollution filter, then look at getting a moon filter. When you’re confident with viewing deep sky objects, then you can buy some colored filters and start having some fun!
Colored filters are a great way to see more in the night sky without actually adding any magnification to your telescope. The right filter will give you a better view of the surface of the moon and planets by giving you better contrast.
Whilst a moon filter isn’t a necessity for most people, they should be one of the accessories in your astronomy toolbox when looking at the night sky. This is just a few of the best options to pick from, and hopefully you’ve learned something too!