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. Even if you’ve got the best telescope under $500, you need the right filter and accessories to go with it.
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.
Best Telescope Filters for the Moon, Planets & Light Pollution
Celestron 1.25″ 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 Celestron filter would likely be a good choice. It’s not the highest quality, but at this price you can’t really argue with it at its low price. Typically filters cost more than this, and it’s perfect for increasing contrast and getting more detail in your image.
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.
It’s mainly useful for the moon, and it’s not as good as other filters when it comes viewing the planets, as a color filter is typically better for this. However, if you’re looking for a good moon filter, then this would be a perfect choice for boosting contrast at a very low cost.
Celestron 94119-A 1.25 Inch Moon 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.
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 (not completely, but it significantly reduces light pollution being distruptive), 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 – it is not necessarily a Nebula filter, as it’s more designed for blocking out urban harmful light.
So if you’re interested in getting a better view of these constellations, then this filter would be perfect. Whilst giving you the contrast you need to see certain objects, it will also block out a lot of light. That makes it the best light pollution filter if you’re trying to block out any incoming light, and it’ll work well in heavily light polluted areas.
Astromania 1.25″ Filter
- PLEASE NOTE: The telescope is not included. Kit includes: (1)Lunar & Starglow 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
- LUNAR & STARGLOW 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
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. It’s a set of the best colored filters for seeing planets around, and it’ll allow you to bring out the surface features of the planets without completing distorting your view. Plus, they’ll also significantly reduce light pollution.
Celestron 1.25” Eyepiece and Filter Accessory Kit
- 5 superior-grade Plossl eyepieces: 1.25-in, 4-element design with a 52° AFOV (32mm has 44°)4mm, 6mm, 9mm, 15mm, and 32mm
- Barlow Lens: 2 x 1.25 in
- 6 Colored Eyepiece (Planetary) Filters: 1.25-in, included are Kodak Wratten numbers 12, 21, 25, 56, 58A, and 80A
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. The set has both red and orange filters, as well as light green, green, yellow and blue too.
This set 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. Though they don’t provide an ultra high contrast, they should be more than enough to get started with.
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. Though you will obviously have to pay a higher price for this, it’s worth it if you’re just getting started. This kit would be a good choice for any new astronomer, and if you’re looking for planetary filters, then this might be the right set for you.
Moon Filter vs Light Pollution Filter vs Color Filters – Which color should you go for?
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 reduction 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 filter that reduces the amount of light pollution you can see. 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. This can help you decide whether a blue filter may be best, or opting for a yellow light solar telescope filter would prove to be more suitable for your needs.
|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 where there’s a lot of it. If you’re not sure if where you are has a lot of light pollution, have a look at this map. They’re typically pretty cheap, and they should work well in both light and dark areas too.
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!