Best Telescopes for Viewing Planets: 3 Reviews


Looking for the best home telescope to see planets? And, you’re wanting the best telescope for the money. You’ve searched through an assortment of beginner’s telescopes but you’re looking for something else. The following are three that are worth looking at and they include go-to telescopes (i.e. computerized).

#1. Celestron NexStar 127SLT Mak Review

This is a computerized telescope, meaning it will quickly gather the sights for you automatically, so you don’t waste time hunting for them.

A mirror size of 127 mm (5″) means this catadioptric telescope is in the range considered best for viewing planets.  

A Maksutov-Cassegrain of this size is highly recommended for lunar and planetary viewing. This particular scope allows you to see faint stars to a 13 magnitude. 

A focal ratio of 12 indicates it is in the high power range for narrower field viewing, meaning it is best for planets, binary stars, and small features of the moon

Expect to see the rings of Saturn, the bands and the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, and the reddish hue of Mars on a clear night with sharp enough focus.

Cons: The technology can be tricky to get to work correctly. Not for astrophotography.

Specs of this planet telescope:

Type: Catadioptric (Maksutov-Cassegrain)

Aperture size: 127 mm (5″)

Mount: Motorized Altazimuth

FL (Focal length): 1500 mm (59 in)

f (Focal ratio): 12

Eyepiece FL: 25 mm (0.98″)/9 mm (0.35″); Eyepiece magnification: 60×/167×

Highest/lowest useful magnification: 300×/18×; limiting stellar magnitude: 13

Other: Finderscope – StarPointer; Star diagonal 1.25; Includes “The SkyX” Planetarium software

 Recommended addons:

An adapter that will let you power this scope from the cigarette lighter of your vehicle, like the Celestron 18778 AC Adapter.

>> See the latest price on the adapter

An eyepiece + filter kit, like the Celestron 14-pc telescope accessory set for improved views of planets. The kit has 5 Plossl eyepieces (6, 8, 13, 17, & 32 mm), 2× 1¼” Barlow lens, 6 colored planetary eyepiece filters, a 1¼” moon filter, and a case. A huge saving for beginners.

>> See the lastest price on this kit

#2. Celestron NexStar 6 SE Review

This planet viewing telescope is another automated type. It has a GoTo mount and a database of over 40 thousand night sky objects on which to automatically focus.

Simply use the built-in menu on the hand controller to select the celestial object and the telescope will automatically move and point to that object.

The telescope comes with a sturdy steel tripod.

The optics are superb. The aperture of 6″ (150 mm) is larger than the previous NexStar 127SLT Mak and is expected to give impressive views of the planets.

With this particular scope, you should see faint stars to magnitude 13.4.

An f of 10 indicates it is in the high power range for narrower field viewing, meaning it is best for observing planets, binary stars, and small features of the moon.

Expect to see spectacular views of Saturn, as well as Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter. You may even be able to see the outer planets, Uranus and Neptune at a dark site and under optimum viewing conditions.

Cons: Relatively short battery life of the 8 AAs used in the mount. The mount being an alt-Azimuth is not the best for photographing the planets, but you may succeed in capturing Venus, Jupiter, and a few others, with a very high ISO.

Specs of this planet telescope:

Type: Catadioptric (Schmidt-Cassegrain)

Aperture size: 150 mm (6″)

Mount: Alt-Azimuth

FL (Focal length): 1500 mm (59″)

f (Focal ratio): 10

Eyepiece FL: 25 mm (1″); Eyepiece magnification: 60×

Highest/lowest useful magnification: 354×/21×; limiting stellar magnitude: 13.4

Other: Sturdy steel tripod, Finderscope – StarPointer; SkyAlign allows you to align on any three bright celestial objects, making for a fast and easy alignment process; Nearly 40,000 object database with 200 user-definable objects and expanded information on over 200 objects

#3. Sky-Watcher ProED 120mm Doublet APO

This is a refractor telescope with which you can add a computerized mount (bought separately) for automatic focusing.

With this one, Jupiter will really stand out. Under good viewing conditions, you will see planet detail with colors.

Expected to see both moon images and deep space images better.

This particular scope: faint stars to a 12.9 magnitude.

An f of 7.9 indicates it is in the high power range for narrower field viewing, meaning it is best for observing planets, binary stars, and small features of the moon.

Schott Glass, an FPL-53 ED glass element, and apochromatic ED doublet optics mean images are free of the annoying halo of unfocused violet light.

Cons: More expensive than the previous two. The tube is relatively long. You will need to add a mount and tripod.

Specs of this planet telescope:

Type: APO Refractor with ED Schott glass

Aperture size: 120 mm (4.72″)

Mount: Not included

FL (Focal length): 900 mm (35″)

f (Focal ratio): 7.5

Eyepiece FL: 20 mm (0.8″)/5 mm (0.2″); Eyepiece magnification: 45×/180×

Highest/lowest useful magnification: 283×/17×; limiting stellar magnitude: 12.9

Other: Finderscope – 8×50 RA erect-image, Dual-speed 2″ Crayford-type focuser with 1.25″ adaptor; 20 mm and 5 mm 1.25, 2″ dielectric diagonal; Tube-ring attachment hardware; Aluminium carry case.

Recommended addons:

A Celestron CG-4 German Equatorial Mount and adjustable height steel tripod will suit and easily maneuver this telescope to find the planets for viewing.

>> Click here for the latest prices on the Eq Mount and Tripod A computerized mount and tripod will automate finding planets to view, like this Celestron Advanced VX Mount with Celestron Polar Axis Finder.

>> Click here for the latest price on the computerized mount


You may find our information on telescope features will help you further in knowing what telescope to buy.

You’ll want a location that’s dark, dry, and possibly elevated. You may need to travel to avoid light pollution. See my overview on the best places in the world to stargaze.

How to get the best view of Planets

You will get the best views of planets when they are closest to Earth. When a planet rises at sunset, it is in a position for the best views a few hours after sunset.

Getting hold of a good selection of color filters and having an understanding of the landmarks will also help.

How to get better ‘focus’

A laser collimator helps with alignment. Use a 6 mm eyepiece.

Telescopes for viewing planets, stargazing, astronomy, night sky watching