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Best eyepieces for telescopes: maximize your telescope’s viewing potential

Composite of various eyepieces mentioned in this buying guide

(Image credit: Space)

While investing in a telescope is without a doubt the most important purchase any amateur astronomer could make, various accessories can be found. Perhaps probably the most important of the is eyepieces. As the aperture of the telescope itself largely determines what you can see with it, eyepieces certainly are a crucial section of that equation.

For all those perhaps not acquainted with them, eyepieces will be the small hand-held lens that people place at the telescope’s focus to create the image into sharp focus for the eyes to see. They are obtainable in a number of different kinds and designs. In addition they can be found in various focal lengths, determining the effective magnification. Focal lengths of ranging from 3 to 50mm are accessible. Various lens designs are trusted Plossl, Kellner, Orthoscopic and Radian will be the hottest. Today, many companies also produce custom multi-element designs.

Eyepieces are also available in different sizes within their barrel diameter. Three popular sizes exist, 0.96-inch, 1.25-inch and 2-inch barrel diameters. Nearly every telescope imaginable encourage eyepieces of 1 of the sizes, with the 1.25-inch size being the most trusted among manufacturers. In summary a few of the tips to consider when choosing an eyepiece:

Focal length The eyepiece’s focal length (usually in mm.) The bigger the number, the low the magnification it’ll provide.

Barrel diameter Eyepieces can be found in 0.96-inch, 1.25-inch or 2-inch barrel sizes.

Magnification The energy the eyepiece provides together with your telescope (this can vary dependant on the telescope.)

Apparent FOV The apparent field of view in degrees. Generally, eyepieces with a big apparent field will definitely cost a lot more but offer an almost ‘3D-like’ viewing experience, specifically for deep sky observing of extended objects.

Eye Relief Usually described in mm, this lets you know what lengths your pupil should be from the trunk component of the eyepiece to start to see the entire field of view. An extended eye relief provides more fun viewing experience, particularly if you wear glasses.

Exit Pupil The figure (also usually in mm) describes how big is the light cone at the attention relief position. Our dark-adapted pupil is never bigger than 7mm, so any exit pupil size above this level is wasted light.


Best budget eyepieces

25mm, 10mm, 3.6mm eyepiece product photos

The Skywatcher Super MA eyepieces come as 25mm, 10mm and 3.6mm focal lengths (Image credit: Skywatcher)

Skywatcher Super Modified Achromatic Eyepieces

For all those on an extremely tight budget or simply getting started in astronomy

Specifications

Optical Design: Modified Achromatic

Available Focal Lengths: 25mm, 10mm, 3.6mm

Apparent FOV: 40-52 degrees

Barrel size: 1.25-inches

Eye relief: 12mm (for 25mm, others vary)

Reasons to get

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Amazingly good deal for a 1.25-inch eyepiece

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Delivers surprisingly good images

Reasons in order to avoid

Optical design is really a budget compromise

Not suitable to wide-field observing

The Skywatcher Super Modified Achromatic eyepieces provide a small collection of 1.25-inch eyepieces at an extraordinary budget price. While definitely not on a single level as more costly designs, they offer surprisingly good views. The eyepieces likewise have nice rubber eye cups for comfortable viewing. They’re perfect for the beginner or even a budding young astronomer just getting started.

Best for selection of choice

Product photos of the Celestron Omni Plossl Eyepieces

(Image credit: Celestron)

Celestron Omni Plossl Eyepieces

Pick from an array of focal lengths out of this basic level range

Specifications

Optical Design: Plossl

Available Focal Lengths: 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 32, 40, 56mm

Apparent FOV: 50 degrees (for 32mm, others vary)

Barrel size: 1.25 – 2 inches

Eye relief: 13mm (for 32mm, others vary)

Reasons to get

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Good deal for a 4 element 1.25″ eyepiece

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Delivers top quality images

Reasons in order to avoid

Fairly narrow apparent FOV

Not perfect for deep sky observing

The Celestron Omni Plossl eyepiece range supplies a nice entry-level range into thehigher quality 4-element Plossl design. An array of focal lengths can be found, all in 1.25-inch size apart from the 56mm eyepiece, which will come in a 2-inch size. These eyepieces produce sharp images, especially on axis and so are suitable to planetary observations. Their narrow apparent field makes them usable for deep sky observation however, not ideal.

Best wide-angle eyepieces

Product photos of the Antares W70 Widefield Eyepieces

(Image credit: Antares)

Antares W70 Widefield Eyepieces

Get yourself a wider view of the night time sky without sacrificing image quality

Specifications

Optical Design: Custom 5 to 9 8 element

Available Focal Lengths: 4.3, 7, 10, 14, 15, 19, 24.6, 31mm

Apparent FOV: 66 – 72 degrees

Barrel size: 1.25 – 2 inches

Eye relief: 12-16mm

Reasons to get

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Great price for quality wide-angle eyepieces

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Excellent quality images over the field of view

Reasons in order to avoid

Limited places to get

Field lens is near barrel end

The Antares W70 Widefield selection of eyepieces are perhaps the best offered by this price. Large clusters and nebulosities will easily match your field of view with high magnification. They provide excellent quality with comfortable eye relief and wide apparent field making them suitable to deep sky observing. Really the only negative I possibly could find here’s they don’t seem to be as accessible as various other brands. Having said that, if you are searching for a few good eyepieces on a budget they are well worth considering.

Best for high power observing

Product photos of the Celestron X-Cel LX eyepieces

(Image credit: Celestron)

Celestron X-Cel LX Eyepieces

Never to be confused with the X-Cel range, the X-Cel LX are top quality eyepieces that wont break your budget

Specifications

Optical Design: Custom 6 element

Available Focal Lengths: 2.3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 18, 25mm

Apparent FOV: 60 degrees

Barrel size: 1.25 inches

Eye relief: 16mm

Reasons to get

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Ideal selection of eyepieces for planetary observing

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Excellent sharpness

Reasons in order to avoid

Suitable to high-power planetary observations

The Celestron X-Cel LX eyepieces certainly are a great, high-quality selection of eyepieces for all those thinking about observing the planets. The focal lengths available are suitable to high-power observing, and the apparent FOV of 60 degrees is ideal for finding the right path round the sky quickly. The image quality is sharp and well-corrected. The generous 16mm eye relief makes them perfect for spectacle wearers.

The bodies are made from stylish black-anodized aluminum with orange detailing, and the rubber tread round the middle improves grip.

Best for spectacle wearers

Product photos of the Celestron Luminos Eyepieces

(Image credit: Celestron)

Celestron Luminos Eyepieces

Top quality ultra-wide eyepieces with reduced finish

Specifications

Optical Design: Custom 7 element

Available Focal Lengths: 7, 10, 15, 19, 23, 31mm

Apparent FOV: 82 degrees

Barrel size: 1.25 to 2 inches

Eye relief: 12-27mm

Reasons to get

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Top quality

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Excellent design

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Great eye relied and apparent FOV

Reasons in order to avoid

Expensive, especially in 2-inch sizes

Reports of the edge of the field being brighter compared to the center

The Celestron Luminos eyepiece range represents the alternative to their popular Axiom (opens in new tab) eyepieces. These, however, are a better high-end design but nonetheless lighter compared to the range they replace. They will have twist-up eyecups and a parfocal eyepiece. This implies little to no focusing is necessary when changing from low to high power.

The comfortable eye relief and ultra-wide apparent FOV of 82 degrees get this to a fantastic choice for every sort of observing from the moon and planets to galaxies and nebulae. Some sizes are just obtainable in 2-inch size making them very costly.

Best for planetary observations

Takahashi Abbe Orthoscopic Eyepieces product photos

(Image credit: Takahashi)

Takahashi Abbe Orthoscopic Eyepieces

Fully multi-coated optics for maximum light transmission

Specifications

Optical Design: Orthoscopic

Available Focal Lengths: 4, 6, 9, 12.5, 18, 25, 32mm

Apparent FOV: 44 degrees

Barrel size: 1.25-inches

Eye relief: 12- 16mm

Reasons to get

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Excellent optics

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Possibly the ultimate eyepiece for planetary observing

Reasons in order to avoid

Not suitable for deep sky observing

Narrow apparent field of view

Takahashi is really a well-known brand for producing optics of the extremely finest quality. Their Abbe Orthoscopic eyepiece range is becoming almost legendary among planetary observers, and these eyepieces are widely considered on the list of very best designed for that purpose. An array of focal lengths can be found to suit nearly every telescope. Their narrow apparent field of view makes them unsuitable for deep sky observing.

Best for optical quality

Product photos of the TeleVue Plossl Eyepieces

(Image credit: TeleVue)

Tele Vue Plossl Eyepieces

The benchmark of performance for eyepieces with a 50 degree apparent field of view

Specifications

Optical Design: Plossl

Available Focal Lengths: 8, 11, 15, 20, 25, 32, 40, 55mm

Apparent FOV: 50 degrees

Barrel size: 1.25 to 2-inches

Eye relief: 6-38mm

Reasons to get

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Top optics brand for over 40 years

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Very good quality in all respects

Reasons in order to avoid

Very costly in a few focal lengths

Not perfect for deep sky observing

Tele Vue is really a brand that has been synonymous with top-quality optics because it was founded back 1977. Their Plossl selection of eyepieces is one of the best available of its type offering excellent performance over the board. The Plossl range could very well be suitable to high-power planetary observing because of their rather narrow apparent field of view. The contrast is sharp and clear completely to the edge. An array of focal lengths can be found to suit nearly every telescope you’d desire to utilize them on.

Best for several round quality

Product photos of the TeleVue Nagler Eyepieces

(Image credit: TeleVue)

Tele Vue Nagler Eyepieces

A pricey option, but possibly a cost worth paying

Specifications

Optical Design: Custom 6 element

Available Focal Lengths: 3.5, 5, 7, 9, 13, 16. 17, 22, 31mm

Apparent FOV: 82 degrees

Barrel size: 1.25 to 2 inches

Eye relief: 12-19 mm

Reasons to get

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The most effective in optical and mechanical quality

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Obtainable in multiple focal lengths

Reasons in order to avoid

Very costly

Nothing negative to include

While their Plossl eyepieces are undoubtedly superb, Tele Vue’s Nagler series represent on the list of finest eyepieces available anywhere. They can be found in a variety of focal lengths and so are suitable for any type of observing. The large 82 degree apparent field draws you into the view, be it a rich star cluster or roaming over the rugged lunar landscape. Both 1.25-inch and 2-inch sizes can be found. The cost of these eyepieces means they’re really directed at more capable observers.

Best bundle

Product photos of the Baader Hyperion Eyepiece set

(Image credit: Baader)

Baader Hyperion Eyepiece set with hard case

Why accept one eyepiece when you’re able to get seven?

Specifications

Optical Design: Custom 6-8 element

Available Focal Lengths: 5, 8, 10, 13, 17, 21, 24mm

Apparent FOV: 68 degrees

Barrel size: 1.25 to 2 inches

Eye relief: 20mm

Reasons to get

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Dual 1.25-inch / 2-inch fit.

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Excellent eyepiece set

Reasons in order to avoid

No focal lengths beyond 24mm.

Baader is really a company popular for producing high-quality products. Their Hyperion eyepieces are respectable among amateur astronomers, which full eyepiece set represents great affordability. Seven eyepieces are included which range from 5mm to 24mm. These eyepieces also fit both 1.25-inch and 2-inch focusers because of their barrel design. These eyepieces likewise have very generous eye relief and large apparent FOV, making them suitable to almost any observing.

Best overall

Product photo of the Tele Vue Ethos eyepiece set

(Image credit: Baader)

The best in eyepieces, and price

Specifications

Optical Design: Custom 6 element

Available Focal Lengths: 3.7, 4.7, 6, 8, 10, 13, 17, 21mm

Apparent FOV: 100-110 degrees

Barrel size: 1.25 to 2 inches

Eye relief: 15mm

Reasons to get

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Most likely the best eyepieces available

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Excellent construction

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Vast apparent FOV

Reasons in order to avoid

Very costly

The Tele Vue Ethos selection of eyepieces undoubtedly represents on the list of finest eyepieces available. Superb quality optics, generous 15mm eye relief and a massive 100-degree apparent FOV lead to a captivating viewing experience. Using these eyepieces to see objects such as for example star clusters or bright nebulae is nearly like floating in space. The view can be pin sharp and well corrected over the entire field. Alas, such quality does come at a cost, but if you are searching for the most effective available the Ethos range is really worth looking into.

How exactly we test the very best eyepieces

To assure youre getting honest, up-to-date tips about the very best eyepieces to get at Space.com we be sure to put every eyepiece by way of a rigorous review to totally test each instrument. Each eyepiece is reviewed predicated on a variety of aspects, from its construction and design, to how well it functions being an optical instrument and its own performance in the field.

Each eyepiece is carefully tested by either our expert staff or knowledgeable freelance contributors who know their subject matter comprehensive. This ensures fair reviewing is backed by personal, hands-on experience with each eyepiece and is judged predicated on its price, class and destined use.

With complete editorial independence, Space.com are here to make sure you get the very best buying suggestions about telescopes, whether you need to purchase a musical instrument or not, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.

Join our Space Forums to help keep talking space on the most recent missions, night sky and much more! And if you’ve got a news tip, correction or comment, tell us at: community@space.com.

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