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Best Telescope for Viewing Planets and Galaxies

Best Telescope for Viewing Planets and Galaxies

Sky has been captivating human interest for millennia with its variety of sprinkled stars, planets, and galaxies. We still have no idea about many mysteries that are out of our reach, but thanks to specific telescopes, we can peek through the lens and discover a whole new world.

If you’re interested in beginning your celestial journey, a wide range of astronomical equipment can be confusing and overwhelming at first. However, choosing a quality telescope is an important step that is between you and the incredible celestial viewing experience.

Down below, we’ll show you what makes the best telescope for viewing planets and galaxies, but also show you some of the best ones we’ve come across, so let’s break it down!

What Makes the Best Telescope for Viewing Planets and Galaxies?

 Finding a quality telescope is crucial for a stunning experience, but knowing what to look out for is the first step to getting closer to the best viewing experience you ever had. We’ve noticed that the hardest thing to understand is the technical terms surrounding the telescopes. However, this shouldn’t be something that will push you away. It’s a step to overcome, but once you do, there’s a whole new experience awaiting you.

Luckily, now that you’re here, here’s what you should pay attention to when looking for a new telescope:

  • Aperture size
  • Telescope type
  • Mount type
  • Additional features

Aperture size is one of the most important, if not the most important aspects of a telescope. The aperture size might sound overwhelming, but it’s actually the diameter of the telescope’s lens or mirror. The size is important because it can have a huge impact on the viewing experience, such as the amount of light the telescope can get and how many celestial bodies you can reveal.

Naturally, the larger the aperture size is, the more light a telescope can capture, resulting in finer details, and the ability to unveil much further celestial bodies and objects. We highly recommend you go with a larger aperture size for viewing planets and galaxies.

There are 3 main telescope types, including refractors, reflectors, and catadioptrics. Refractors are well known for sharp and high-contrast images with the ability to focus light. Reflectors utilize mirrors to focus light, making it ideal for deep-sky viewing. Catadioptrics combine both lens and mirror to provide excellent views and colors, making them a versatile and affordable choice for enthusiasts.

Our advice is to consider reflector telescopes since they’re a lot more affordable so you won’t break the bank on getting a larger aperture size. This will help you have a much better galaxy viewing experience as a result of the larger aperture size.

When it comes down to mount types, it’s crucial to get a quality one that will support your telescope and won’t ever make you lose a celestial body out of sight. Two picks you can choose from include equatorial and computerized mounts. Equatorial mounts help provide a smooth tracking ability across the sky while computerized mounts do the same with automation that can help you discover more celestial bodies without spending time looking up for them manually.

From additional equipment, accessories, and features, we highly recommend looking into eyepieces, finderscopes, and filters. Higher quality eyepieces can improve your viewing experience while finderscopes can give you a huge advantage of locating objects in the night. Lastly, filters are ideal for enhancing visibility, which we highly recommend for planetary atmospheres or even dust lanes of galaxies. Filters can block wavelengths of light to additionally improve visibility and viewing experience.

Best Telescopes for Viewing Planets and Galaxies

Telescopes can be pricey, but they make an excellent investment. Therefore, here’s a list of our top 5 picks we highly recommend for viewing planets and galaxies from our personal experience.

Vixen VC200L Reflector Telescope

Vixen VC200L Cassegrain Reflector Telescope slightly facing left.

Vixen VC200L is a reflector telescope that’s well-known for its high-quality optics combined with specialized design.

Even though galaxies and planets are often a challenge for certain telescopes, this wasn’t the case with Vixen VC200L. Being almost ready straight out of the box, this reflector telescope provides crystal crystal-clear viewing experience even when observing the surface of Jupiter. The moons are also very remarkable, and we even enjoyed checking out Saturn’s rings, making it feel like a vivid dream while being observed through VC200L’s mirror.

What we really like is the noticeable difference between contrast and sharpness, which is a big step up from cheaper telescopes. Needless to say, planetary observations are mesmerizing and satisfying with this telescope.

With the incredible build quality, sleek design, and versatility, you won’t even find it hard to transport this telescope to enjoy viewing planets and galaxies from any place of your choice. Even though the Vixen VC200L is a slightly pricey telescope, it’s very well worth the investment.

Due to its ability to provide exceptional optical performance that helped us capture even the glowing core of the Andromeda Galaxy, in a hard way to replicate with a few other telescopes within the same price range. One thing is for sure. This telescope will help you see and understand the vastness of the universe. That’s a very humbling, but also thrilling experience.

A combination of Vixen’s optical performance, ease of use, and user-friendly yet durable design, this might be “the” telescope for everyone who wants to “unlock” the wonders of the cosmos.

Explore FirstLight 152mm Telescope

Explore Scientific FirstLight 152mm Mak-Cassegrain Telescope OTA only slightly facing right FL-MC1521900

With a 152mm aperture, this refractor telescope type combines everything you could wish for to enhance your viewing experience of planets and galaxies. Based on a robust Mak-Cassegrain design, we also loved that this telescope includes a Twilight I mount.

This specific amount is very user-friendly, making this telescope ideal for anyone from beginners to seasoned or even experienced astronomers. However, it’s not until you take a look through the telescope and notice details such as optical clarity and incredible magnification that will most likely take your experience to a new level you haven’t experienced before.

You can expect incredible clarity even when observing Jupiter’s swirling among other planets. Even the Saturn’s rings didn’t disappoint.

Rendering we’ve noticed with the Explore FirstLIght 152mm telescope was stunning, even when we decided to check out the Orion Nebula. Impressive detail, intricate structures, and stunning colors are only a few ways we can describe the planet and galaxy viewing experience using this telescope.

However, if you’re new to astronomy or need a little bit of help, the Twilight I mount is all the help you would ever need. This mount is really a gateway to discoveries you might not be able to find yourself or find in a reasonable time. There’s no doubt that this telescope features high-end optics, and we really like how Explore managed to combine ease of use with such advanced technology. This is something even beginners or inexperienced astronomers will love about this telescope as it really enhances the viewing experience in many different ways.

Vixen SD103S FPL-53 Refractor Telescope

Vixen SD103S FPL-53 ED Refractor Telescope slightly facing left.

If you’d rather get a refractor telescope type, one of the best ones for viewing planets and galaxies we can recommend is the Vixen SD103S FPL-53.

This telescope has an incredible reputation for being a high-quality refractor telescope and for a reason. Even by checking out the telescope from the outside, its sleek design combined with solid construction leaves great first impressions.

Needless to say, observing planets with this refractor telescope is a revelation. Some of the first things you’d notice during the first use include crisp images, vibrant colors, and breathtaking details. Even Mars, ice caps, and desert landscapes will leave you in wow.

The main reason for this lies in this telescope’s glass. Vixen SD103S FPS-53 telescope utilizes ED glass with minimized chromatic aberration. As a result, you’ll benefit from sharp, high-contrast, and vivid images. We can’t express how noticeable some details are, especially when you’re looking at the planetary surfaces.

This telescope makes the moon feel as if it’s within reach and the details of Jupiter’s bands stand out in an exceptional and memorable way. If you’re into checking out some of the most distant galaxies, this telescope won’t disappoint.

What you will also notice is this telescope’s light-gathering capability with absolute optical precision. Needless to say, with such high-end quality, observing colors and structures with astonishing detail levels is very possible.

Even though the Vixen SD103S FPL-53 telescope is not the most affordable telescope out there, it’s got everything you would need to experience the most brilliant views of even the most distant planets and galaxies.

Meade 8” ACT Telescope

When you want a quality catadioptrics type telescope that comes with everything you would need such as a mount and a tripod, Meade is a good brand to consider.

This is a Meade 8” ACT telescope that combines an advanced catadioptric system, known as ACT, which stands for Advanced Coma-Free optics. This is the technology that promises to elevate the viewing experience to new levels, and we can say for sure that it’s worth every penny.

In our opinion, the ACT technology is the main thing that sets this telescope apart from its competitors. With a great field of view that’s clear and sharp, you can check out celestial bodies in detail with absolutely no coma. With the Meade ACF telescope, you will have a feeling you can scratch the surface because that’s how close you can get to experiencing incredible details. Whether you’re into planets or galaxies, you’ll get to experience and enjoy stunning detail that won’t leave you disappointed or wondering if you should’ve gone with another telescope.

Viewing some of the planets such as Saturn’s rings felt like we’re having a first discovery all over again, due to the quality of the ACT technology.

With an 8” aperture, this telescope has the ability to collect ample light to bring distant galaxies into a view that’ll feel super close. A swirl of color and activity is just one of the good ways to describe the viewing experiences through the Meade telescope.

On top of that, you’ll also get a very sturdy tripod and a mount that is very straightforward to use. Setting it up and having it track planets, galaxies, and celestial bodies for you with precision is done in a timely manner.
Whether you’re looking to refine your astronomical observations or you want to upgrade and benefit from exceptional optical performance, this is a telescope that provides a lot of value for the price it costs.

Explore FirstLight 127mm Mak-Cassegrain Telescope

This is another Explore FirstLight telescope, but it’s a Mak-Cassegrain type. Regardless of the smaller aperture, it has a lot of performance to provide. But what this telescope excels at is the versatility and portability, which is something other telescopes on this list lack.

The viewing images are remarkably sharp and clear, and you’ll also love vivid details, with impressive clarity. Depending on the planets you decide to track, some might feel as if they’re super close to Earth due to the higher optical quality.

Deep sky viewing leaves great first impressions, as well as the overall build quality and durability of this compact telescope. Taking it with you and setting it up anywhere underneath the sky is a possibility. A Twilight I Mount makes things a lot easier as it saves you time by automatically tracking celestial bodies for you. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced astronomer, you won’t ever get enough views from this telescope.


Telescope is the most important thing between you and the planets and galaxies, but with the technology we have available, a quality telescope is also the most trusted guide you can have.

Whether you’d like to enjoy the swirling storms of Jupiter or the grand spirals of distant galaxies, choosing the right telescope will provide an exceptional and spectacular viewing experience with breathtaking views and intimate experience.

Some of these telescopes made some of the planets feel as if they were within reach, and that speaks volumes for the optical quality of these telescopes. From precision to versatility, none of these telescopes will disappoint, and in fact, any of these makes the best telescope for viewing planets and galaxies. Now, it’s up to you to decide which one you find to be the best fit for your needs.

Which one of these telescopes for viewing planets and galaxies do you like the most and why?

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