Are you searching the Internet for the best kids telescope for viewing planets? If so, look no further! This article is a comprehensive guide that’ll inform you about the nitty-gritty details of buying your son or daughters their first telescope for viewing planets. The guide will also provide insight into the features of a good telescope, and review the 5 top rated telescopes available on Amazon that won’t break the bank.
What Makes a Good Telescope for Viewing Planets?
When it comes to buying the best kids telescope for viewing planets, there are several factors that you need to consider, the least of which are cost, portability and durability. In this section, we will discuss what these key factors are in detail.
The key to a good telescope is its ability to capture light under dark skies. Since more aperture results in more light gathering capability, it results in brighter images. The aperture also impacts the other major specifications of the telescope like its cost and size. A good telescope would have an aperture size ranging from 70mm to 300mm, where the higher number will denote better clarity.
The light coming from the planet is ideally reach you from a short patch of sky. So the goal is to fill the eyepiece with the planet you’re planning to view, this in turn will require a small field of view. If you’re not sure what I mean by this, check out this article that does a good job explaining small field of view.
Interestingly, not all telescopes offer a small field of view. In order to get this you’ll need a long focal length, which is best defined as the distance traveled by the light from the lens to your eyepiece. Telescopes that are powered by long focal lengths are automatically backed by a higher focal ratio.
This is the ‘speed’ of a telescope’s optics, found by dividing the focal length by the aperture. The smaller the f/number, the lower the magnification, the wider the field, and the brighter the image with any given eyepiece or camera.
While fast f/4 to f/5 focal ratios are best for lower power, wide field observing and deep space photography. Slow f/11 to f/15 focal ratios are better suited to higher power planetary observing.
So when choosing a telescope for planetary viewing, go for a variant with a higher focal ratio.
A telescope mount can be defined as the mechanism that stabilizes your telescope and assists you in viewing the objects. When it comes to viewing planets, you can choose from either the equatorial mount or the altazimuth mount.
Equatorial mounts are ideal for grazing stars because they are said to match the motion of the moving stars. The idea behind this mount is simple. It is just aligned along an axis that is observed to run parallel to the spin of the earth. You will usually find this feature on higher-end telescopes.
Altazimuth mounts are found on almost every common variant of telescope. They assist in easy aiming, consistent viewing, and steady tracking of the stars, moon, and planets.
Telescopes are broadly classified into two types, namely, the refractor and reflector telescopes. Refractor telescopes use convex lenses for collecting and magnifying light. They are ideal for viewing the stars and planets. Reflector telescopes, on the other hand, use concave lenses and are perfect for viewing deep-sky objects like galaxies.
From these two broad classes of telescope types, variants have been designed and widely adapted. For more information on the different variants and classes of telescope types, be sure to check out my article Astronomy Telescope Types after you’re finished here.
Once you consider these features, you end up with a good telescope that is ideal for viewing planets.
What is the Ideal Magnification for Viewing Planets?
While this question is difficult to answer, you should ideally follow ‘the sixty power per inch’ format. According to this rule, you shouldn’t use a telescope that magnifies more than 60 times for every inch of your aperture size. So, if you have a 4-inch telescope, 240x should be the highest magnification level for viewing planets. Alternatively, if your telescope if 8 inches, 480x should be the highest magnification level.
The YouTube video below, published by Astronomy and Nature TV, offers some great tips for planetary viewing…check it out!
What are the Best Months for Viewing each Planet?
Again, depending where you are this can be difficult to answer. That said, if you reside in the northern hemisphere the following months are the best time of year to view each planet.
Mercury: Late November and Early December
Venus: Late September to December
Mars: Early June to Mid July
Jupiter: Early June to Early July
Saturn: Late June to Mid July
Uranus: Late October to Mid November
Neptune: Late September to Mid October
Review of the Best Kids Telescope for Viewing Planets
As you can now see, choosing the right telescope isn’t exactly easy. Hopefully, this article has now equipped you with the knowledge and information you need to make an educated choice. Here are my recommendations for the best kids telescope for viewing planets available on Amazon today. Factors considered, are quality, cost, portability and durability. All the telescopes listed here are a great starter scope for your young, aspiring amateur astronomer.
1. Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ
Aperture: 127 mm or 5 inches
Focal Length: 1000 mm or 39 inches
Type: Newtonian Reflector
Mount: German Equatorial Mount
Getting the #1 spot in my best kids telescope for viewing planets review is the Celestron Powerseeker 127EQ. If you’re looking for a solid reflector telescope for viewing planets, the scope is you best bet. A perfect choice for beginners and children, this device with its 127mm aperture gives you a picture-perfect view of the stars, planets and everything that comes between.
The telescope includes two eyepieces of 20mm and 4mm. Additionally, you also get a 3x Barlow lens for tripling the power of the lenses. So, right after you wear the telescope, it’ll almost seem like you are wearing four eyepieces. This in turn, gives you the chance to view a wide range of celestial objects. Unlike most other telescopes, the eyepieces and the Barlow lens of this device magnifies your object by 150x to 450x.
Another defining aspect of this telescope is its sturdy mount. Owing to this feature, you can install the telescope in just a couple of seconds. What’s more, the mount is also backed by slow-motion control knobs that allow you to track objects seamlessly as they drift along the beautiful nighttime sky.
Since the Powerseeker is both compact and portable, carrying it to places won’t be a big hassle either. This means, you can easily tuck this device in your backpack for your impending camping tours. The overall features are pretty decent, and going by every other functionality, the powerseeker is surely worth your money.
- Easy to mount.
- Powered by 3x Barlow lenses.
- Compact and portable.
- Allows you to view complex celestial objects seamlessly. Backed by an aluminum tripod and accessory tray.
- Optical components are fully glass coated, thereby paving way for higher transmission.
- High image clarity and brightness.
- Backed by 2 years’ manufacturer’s warranty.
- Collimation can be difficult.
- Doesn’t come with a proper instruction manual.
2. Celestron Astromaster 70 Az Telescope
Aperture: 70 mm or 2.76 inches
Focal Length: 900 mm or 35 inches
For the #2 spot, yet another product from Celestron, the Astromaster 70Az telescope is a perfect device for beginners. This refractor telescope offers spectacular, and perfectly detailed views of the celestial bodies. So, whether you’re looking to view the rings of Saturn, the moons of Jupiter or anything else- this is one device that will perfectly live up to your expectations.
As per many users, this device offers crystal clear clarity in the most polluted cities. This means, you can absolutely count on it regardless of the weather or environment.
While this telescope is backed by some of the best and most powerful features, one of its defining aspects is the intuitive alt-azimuth mount. Owing this mount and pan handle; installing this device will be faster than ever. This telescope also comes with a sturdy and fully adjustable steel tripod that can be tweaked according to your preference.
Like all other telescopes from Celestron, the Astromaster 70Az is powered by ‘Grab and Go’ functionality. Since it is so compact and lightweight, you can practically carry it anywhere. So, whether it’s a star party, a camping trip, or a random backyard observing session- this is one of those devices that seamlessly dons multiple hats.
In addition to Jupiter and Saturn, you can also use this device to get an up and close view of the Moon, orion nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and more. During the daytime, it’ll offer spectacular views of the landscape.
- Offers spectacular views of complex celestial objects.
- Powered by alt altazimuth mount.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Easy to set up.
- Works exceptionally during both day and nighttime.
- Powered by quick release dovetail arrangement.
- Doesn’t require any tool to set up.
- Spotting scope is limited.
- Mount isn’t as good as advertised.
3. Gskyer AZ Mount Refractor Telescope
Aperture: 70 mm or 2.76 inches
Focal Length: 400 mm or 15.7 inches
Getting the #3 spot for my best kids telescope for viewing planets is the AZ Mount Refractor Telescope. If your child is planning to take part in stargazing for the first time this scope is your best bet! Perfect for first-timers, this telescope is backed by simple, easy to use features. There aren’t any complex accessory or hidden feature to confuse you during your stargazing session.
A perfect balance between price and high performance, this telescope with its 70mm aperture offers clear, picture perfect views of the night sky. So, whether you’re looking to graze stars or planets- this is one product, that’ll help you with both.
Like we already mentioned, this device will offer exceptional grade optical transmission with its high-quality optics. What’s more, there’s a protective glass coating to keep your eyes completely safe from any impending damage.
This Gskyer Telescope comes with two replaceable eyepieces and a single 3X powered barlow lens. Both of them collectively ensure that you get to view precise, yet completely high-resolution images. Since this telescope also comes with an additional Bluetooth, you can take shots of the celestial bodies as and when you want to.
Setting up this device is also quite simple. Since the manufacturers provide you a complete installation manual, it’ll barely take you a couple of minutes to get the job done. With its excellent features and compact structure, this device is definitely worth your money.
- Top-tier visual resolution at an affordable price.
- Assembly is simple and hassle-free.
- Offers precise and high-resolution images.
- Powered by Bluetooth functionalities.
- Compact and easily portable – perfect for traveling.
- Layered glass coating protects your eyes.
- Powered by a rack-and-pinion system.
- Allows you to easily swap the lenses.
- Can be conveniently fine-tuned for your desired clarity.
- Backed by a 1-year satisfaction warranty.
- Knobs tend to loosen up with regular and consistent use.
4. Meade Instruments 209001 Infinity
Aperture: 50 mm or 2 inches
Focal Length: 600 mm or 23.6 inches
In the #4 spot, telescopes from Meade Instruments have never disappointed The Meade 209001 Infinity is backed by every feature you’d need for viewing the spectacular wonders of the nighttime sky.
While the telescope is indeed backed by multiple high-end features, I was especially impressed with red dot view finder. This functionality allowed me to quickly an easily find both land and celestial bodies.
Since it is powered by an altazimuth mount, operating and mounting it won’t be that big of a hassle. In fact, if you have the instruction manual, it’ll hardly take you a few minutes to get the device installed. This mount also goes a long way in helping you with quick and glitch-free viewing.
The telescope currently comes with three eyepieces that offered different degrees of magnification. Right now, you can opt from low, medium, or high-powered magnification which in turn will help you view diverse range of objects. So, whether you’re looking to view land, planets, galaxies or the moon, this is one device that’ll definitely come handy.
The telescope also comes with a bonus DVD of Autostar Suite planetarium. Featuring 10,000 celestial objects, this is an excellent add-on to your regular telescope package.
- Top-tier visual resolution at an affordable price.
- Easy to mount and install.
- Height can be adjusted according to your preference.
- 600 mm focal length lets you view distant celestial objects flawlessly.
- Comes with a bonus DVD of Autostar Suite planetarium.
- Powered by three types of eyepieces that offer three different levels of magnification.
- Compact and incredibly lightweight.
- The instruction manual isn’t comprehensive.
5. Emarth 70mm Refractor Telescope
Aperture: 70 mm or 2.4 inches
Focal Length: 360 mm or 14.2 inches
Rounding out the #5 spot on my list of best kids telescope for viewing planets is the Emarth 70mm refractor telescope. A perfect tool for viewing the moon and other celestial objects, the Emarth 70mm refractor telescope is a complete value-for-money product. Ideal for kids or beginners, this telescope comes with glass coated optical components that make way for seamless, glitch-free viewing.
I was especially impressed by the travel scope that renders clean and absolutely crisp views. Crafted for the avid traveler, this telescope is also easy to carry around, thanks to its compact and lightweight design.
Yet another impressive aspect of this telescope is the BAK-4 prism which pulls out the brighter edges of the sky in your sight. Owing to its high refractive index rate and circular exit pupil, more light is transmitted to the field of view. This in turn makes way for a completely crystal-clear viewing experience.
Like most of the other telescopes featured on our list, this device features exceptionally high magnification with its 360mm focal length and 70mm aperture. Both these features collectively make way for stunning shots with the perfect degree or clarity and brightness.
Setting up and installing this telescope is equally simple. Since it is designed for beginners, the telescope has a no-tool set-up. This means, it will hardly take you a couple of minutes to set the entire thing up, if you follow the instruction manuals properly.
The tripod coming with the device can be adjusted according to your preference, and it also has a carrying bag for added convenience. Currently, Emarth 70 mm refractor telescope has a 24 month warranty.
- Exceptionally high magnification.
- Doesn’t require any tool for setting up.
- Offers high-end optics.
- Comes with an adjustable tripod.
- Includes a carrying case.
- Ideal for beginners and kids and is the most affordable on the list.
- Offers a 24-month warranty.
- Not as sturdy or durable as I expected.
I hope this article been of value to you and has answered what the best kids telescope for viewing planets is.
Please check out some of my other equally interesting articles:
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- Does Saturn Have Clouds?
- How Far is Mars from Earth? Facts About Mars
- What Is The Dark Side Of The Moon?
- Top 10 Small Telescope and Binocular Objects
- Best Kids Telescope for Viewing Planets
- What Causes the Northern Lights?
- How to Find the North Star (Polaris)?
- How To Clean Telescope Lenses – 5 Simple Steps
- 10 Tips For Buying Your First Telescope
- Best Binoculars For Astronomy Beginners
- Best Binoculars For Astronomy Under $500