Truth is, the telescope itself only plays one part in your observation of the cosmos. The telescope eyepiece is an integral component in its own right. Not only is it responsible for delivering that collected light into your eye, but it also provides you with magnification power. By swapping out the eyepieces, you’re able to completely transform the viewing experience. You can change the accessory based on your target, opening up a universe of possibilities in what you can observe.
Whether you’re a new amateur stargazer or already have a wide collection of telescopes to help you explore scientific discoveries in the night sky, having some extra eyepieces on hand can make all the difference. In this guide, we’re going to help you find some of the best telescope eyepieces and provide you with information that you can use to separate the good from the bad.
Best Telescope Eyepiece Reviews
Includes five Plössl eyepieces
Focal lengths: 6mm, 8mm, 13mm, 17mm, and 32mm
52-degree field of view
Includes Barlow lens
Comes with seven color filters
This kit from Celestron works with any telescope that accepts 1.25-inch eyepieces. Within each accessory, there are four optical eyeglass components. They all work in tandem to provide clarity and vibrancy. The Plössl eyepieces have focal lengths that range from 32mm up to 6mm, providing you with plenty of magnification powers. As if that weren’t enough, several color filters are included. They help to filter out specific wavelengths, which can bring out more details in the celestial body you’re looking at.
Includes three Plössl eyepieces and Barlow lens
Focal lengths: 6.3mm, 32mm, and 40mm
Rubber eye guards
AFOV: approximately 42 degrees
These Plössl eyepieces offer high magnification and good clarity. They have a four-element design. Furthermore, the edges of each lens are blackened. This helps to reduce light scattering within the eyepiece. As a result, the image will have more contrast and clarity. This kit includes a Barlow lens to give you even more high-power magnification capabilities on your telescope.
Includes five Plössl eyepieces and Barlow lens
Focal lengths: 6.3mm, 7.5mm, 10mm, 17mm, and 40mm
Comes with six color filters
Packaged in a durable case for protection
From Orion is this versatile kit filled with high power eyepieces. The accessories with higher magnifications offer an up-close and personal view of your target. However, the eyepiece with the longer focal length increases the overall field of view. This makes the set great for deep-space observation. Thanks to the color filters, you can easily increase contrast regardless of what you’re looking at. There’s even a moon filter to get rid of glare and reduce overall brightness.
Fits any 1.25-inch eyepiece
Three optical elements
This Celestron Barlow lens pushes your eyepieces even further. While most Barlow lenses can only double the magnification power, this model triples it. It fits onto any standard 1.25-inch eyepiece. The accessory even works with wide-field eyepieces. Inside, it has three achromatic optical elements. They’re fully coated to prevent color issues and produce an image that’s bright and easy to see.
Includes three Plössl eyepieces, a Barlow lens, and T adapter
Comes with lunar filter and three planetary color filters
Focal lengths: 6mm, 12.5mm, and 20mm
Packaged in a hard case
Check out this complete set from Gosky. Within the durable carrying case, you’ll find three basic Plössl eyepieces and a collection of great extras. In addition to a Barlow lens and color filters, this set has a T adapter. It’s designed for astrophotography. With this adapter, you can attach a DSLR camera to your telescope. There’s even a tele vue extender to increase the focal length of your setup for more customization.
Focal lengths: 8mm to 24mm
Rubber eye guard
This versatile eyepiece works with Meade series refractor telescopes, larger Dobsonian telescopes, and anything else that uses a 1.25 eyepiece. Rather than settling with a single focal length, this model zooms in and out with a simple twist. The field of view you can achieve depends on your focal length setting. On the lower end, it provides a 40-degree apparent field of view. But, that can be increased up to 55 degrees when you zoom out.
Focal lengths: 8mm to 24mm
Field of view: 40 degrees to 60 degrees
Works with or without glasses
Like the previous eyepiece on our list, this model offers a flexible viewing experience. The zooming accessory lets you change the focal length based on what you’re viewing. It works well with planetary objects close by and deep-space objects. The large rubber eyepiece adds comfort while you observe. Not only does it help to block light, but the eyecup can accommodate eyeglass wearers without any issues.
Includes Kellner eyepiece and Plössl eyepiece
Comes with lunar filter and 2X Barlow lens
Focal lengths: 15mm and 6mm
Stays protected in foam and hard case
If you’re looking for high-quality eyepieces that are built to last, consider this kit from Celestron. Not only does it have a Plössl eyepiece with high magnification power, but it also has a Kellner eyepiece. Kellner models utilize three optical components and are well-known to reduce chromatic aberration. The lenses are treated to ensure that the final image has high contrast and true color correction.
3.5mm focal length
Works with telescopes that use 1.25-inch eyepieces
Don’t let the simplicity of this product fool you. It packs a lot of magnifying punch! It’s a Plössl eyepiece that fits most telescopes. What sets it apart from others on the market is the impressively short focal length of 3.5mm. The eyepiece can increase the magnification power of your telescope significantly. You’ll be able to view fine details of the moon and take a closer look at distant celestial objects.
Types of Eyepieces Available
During your search, you’ll encounter three different eyepiece designs. While most of these designs are universally compatible, there are some subtle differences when it comes to the viewing experience.
The first type of eyepiece we’ll go over is called a Plössl. Plössl eyepieces are, by far, the most common. In fact, this is typically the kind of eyepiece you’ll see bundled with telescopes. These models are quite flexible and are considered good for beginners.
The field of view is moderate, which is ideal if you plan on looking at a wide variety of objects. Plössl lenses come in a range of focal lengths as well. Because they can accommodate long focal lengths, they tend to have more eye relief as well. As a result, they can be more comfortable to use than some of the alternatives.
Next up, we have orthoscopic lenses. An orthoscopic lens is best suited for observing the moon and planets. That’s because they offer great clarity. Orthoscopic lenses are designed to reduce chromatic aberration and distortion. The field of view is flatter and more true to life. Plus, you don’t have to worry about issues like star trailing or overall muddiness.
The only downside is that orthoscopic lenses have a pretty limited field of view. Generally, you’re only getting around 40 to 45 degrees. As such, most astronomers will use them to study details on the surface of planetary bodies rather than observing larger celestial bodies.
Finally, there are wide-angle lenses. As the name would suggest, this design offers a wide-field view of your target. They’re perfect for viewing deep-sky objects, such as nebulae and distant star clusters. When you’re looking through a wide-angle lens, the image you see will seem more realistic and present. Instead of feeling like you’re looking through a telescope, it feels like you’re simply observing the target while you’re floating through the cosmos.
The exact field of view you can get will vary based on the design of the eyepiece. Typically, wide-angle lenses range from 68 degrees up to 120 degrees.
Barlow lenses are a unique accessory. Technically speaking, a Barlow lens isn’t an eyepiece. Instead, it’s an eye-piece add-on. Basically, attaching a Barlow lens increases the overall focal length of the eyepiece you’re using. This increases the magnification power. Most lenses offer twice the magnification power.
Owning a 2X Barlow lens gives you a bit more flexibility. Instead of having to stick to the magnification offered by an eyepiece, you can combine components to get the power you need.
Important Factors to Consider
Despite their simple appearance, eyepieces are complex accessories. Most contain several optical components just to deliver light from the focal plane to your eye. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when you’re choosing an eyepiece for your new telescope.
Focal Length and Magnification
Focal refers to the length of space it takes the lens to diverge light onto a fixed point. To put it simply, it’s a way to represent the overall optical power that a lens has. The telescope and eyepiece focal length will determine how much magnification power the overall setup has.
Generally, short focal length eyepieces offer more magnifying power. Of course, magnification isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to astronomy and astrophotography. That’s why it’s good to have several eyepieces on hand.
Apparent Field of View
The apparent field of view, also referred to as AFOV, is an important measurement that indicates what your eyepiece will show. When telescopes collect light, they’re doing so from a very wide angle. Think about your very own eyes. Light is being collected from a wide arc, producing a truly wide-angle view of the world.
Telescopes have to bend and manipulate light strategically to provide you with enough power to see distant objects. The field of view refers to the viewing angle that’s visible. Zoom eyepieces and orthoscopic models tend to have a lower apparent field of view. However, wide-angle options produce a more true field of view.
Eye relief can directly affect comfort and how the image looks to you. You see, telescopes and eyepieces contain several optical components to deliver a final image, which is known as the exit pupil. The distance between the last lens of the eyepiece and that image is referred to as the eye relief.
Equipment with a long eye relief is more comfortable to view. Plus, it tends to produce a crisper image that’s vibrant and true to life.
Coatings or Treatments
Last, but not least, let’s talk about the quality of the optical components inside the telescope eyepiece. The glass in the eyepiece can vary quite a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer. On the lower end of the price spectrum, you might find cheaper glass or even plastic being used.
The quality of the glass will affect the light, thus changing the final image. If you want the very best image possible, look for eyepieces that use treated glass. Coatings can reduce reflections and increase contrast. Achromatic eyepieces use a coating to reduce color issues and blurriness.