Can You See Saturn's Rings (& Other Planets? With Binoculars?

Written by 

Steven 

Updated on: 

October 12, 2021

Our Guide To Viewing Saturn & Other Planets With Your Binoculars

There's nothing more satisfying than observing the night sky, seeing different planets, their rings and stars up close, but the question is, can you see this all with just a binocular?

Well, yes, you can indeed see the planets as well as Saturn's rings with a binocular, but this has to be an astronomic binocular which works well in low-light observation and has a strong enough magnification over 20x to see the ring definition.

To help you out we have discussed which type of binocular you need to see the planets below, which planets you will be able to see and how binoculars match up to telescopes for planet viewing to give you the best chance of seeing Saturn's rings.

What Type Of Binocular Do I Need For Viewing Planets?

If you want to be able to view Saturn's rings and other planets in the night sky, you have to make sure you are using suitable binoculars and accessories for the job. 

The best astronomical binoculars would need to have a strong magnification level of over 20x if you want to be able to differentiate the rings from Saturn. For the clearest images, you have to make sure that your binoculars have a generous objective lens size to allow light in when viewing deep-sky objects too.

Preferably, the objective lens size of your binocular should be anywhere between 50mm and 70mm to see star patterns and planets. 

You should make sure your binoculars have a decent field of view too for observing a wider portion of the night sky.

Which Planets Can You See With Binoculars?

Now we know the type of binoculars you need for viewing planets and Saturn's rings, you might be wondering what planets you will be able to view when observing. 

We have listed the most likely ones below. 

Mercury & Venus 

These two planets are astronomical essentials for observation as they are the closest planets to us and are easy to spot in the starfield, especially when they are passing between the earth and the sun. Venus can produce stunning images at twilight thanks to it being so bright.

Mars 

Mars is typically in front of other star parties and is easy to spot thanks to its red bright planet colours amongst the largest moon. Even beginner telescopes and binoculars should be able to see mars without any issues as long as you know where to look.

Jupiter 

When looking for Jupiter you will likely notice the four major moons close by which are the Galilean Satellites, Jupiter itself, however, can be hard for amateur astronomers and even professionals to see as it stays hidden often. A tripod will help in this scenario to keep you steady when observing.

Saturn 

Saturn itself can be seen in a night sky image with a golden colour, and if you have a high-quality pair of binos like Celestron binoculars for astronomy, you will probably be able to see Saturn moon, Titan, too in the telescopic image. 

Many people assume you need larger telescopes to see the rings of Saturn, but you might be able to see them with powerful binoculars too, this is not a guarantee, however.

Uranus & Neptune 

These planets might be the farthest away but are not impossible to see if your binoculars have a decent level of magnification. Uranus typically looks green while Neptune is more like a star, they are both very similar and you can always use a finder chart to locate them if you get stuck.

Others 

As well as these main planets, you can additionally view bright objects such as a star cluster, comets, asteroids and galaxies. Prominent belt stars can be easily seen with a decent pair of binos. 

Binoculars Vs Telescopes - Which Should I Choose For Planet Spotting?

Many people prefer to use a monocular telescope for viewing star parties and planets because of their greater magnification and tripods, but a good pair of binoculars can be equally as good for this purpose with the right specs and have many advantages too. 

We have compared both a telescope and binoculars below for this purpose to help you decide on which optical zoom is right for you. 

Binoculars For Astronomy 

Binoculars have the upper hand over reflector telescopes when it comes to affordability and portability, you can get compact binoculars with excellent magnification nowadays which fit easily into your pocket when on the move.

These devices are also better when it comes to viewing astronomy essentials such as a star cluster too and the night sky thanks to their wider field of view, not to mention you get a three-dimensional view of a bright star because of the two eyepieces!

Binoculars fall short when it comes to observing planets in isolation such as Saturn's rings due to their more limited magnification. They also tend to come without a tripod and let less light in that telescopes due to their smaller lens.

Pros 

  • Affordable. 
  • Portable. 
  • Great for viewing stars with a wider field of view. 
  • 3D view.

Cons 

  • Not as magnified for detail. 
  • Less light. 
  • Little stability.

Telescope For Astronomy 

Telescopes are much more favoured when it comes to astronomical viewing due to their higher magnification power and stability, most often come with a tripod or stand for a better viewing experience, they are more suitable for looking at planets or the moon in detail rather than a wide field of view. 

Downfalls of telescope targets have to be their high price and little field of view which is not as good for viewing a star cluster due to its narrower image, they are also less portable to carry around as you often need a stand.

Pros 

  • Higher magnification. 
  • Better stability. 
  • Best for isolated planet and moon viewing in detail.

Cons

  • Less field of view for star cluster viewing. 
  • Not very portable. 
  • More expensive.

Which One Should I Choose For Seeing Saturn's Rings?

For viewing Saturn's rings in particular we would always suggest going with a large telescope. This will give you the best chance of looking at the planet in more detail, you can use binoculars for this but you would need a very high-quality pair with a good aperture for the best detail. 

If you are wanting a more affordable device to view the night sky with and view energetic stars and patterns, then a binocular could be the better choice. 

Last Words 

To conclude, you can see Saturn's rings with binoculars if you get a very powerful pair with a high magnification of at least 20x and a larger objective lens between 50mm and 80mm for the best light.

We would always suggest using a telescope for a better chance of seeing Saturn's rings but binoculars can be great for looking at the whole night sky in detail too. Never look directly at the sun with your binos or telescopes for your safety.

Born and raised in the south coast of UK, a small town close to Cornwall, I have adventure in my blood. Ever since a young age, I have always been into the great outdoors and particularly love watching the natural wildlife. Birdwatching is what I enjoy the most, and thus my natural interest in binoculars began. I founded and run Best-Binoculars.UK a site where I talk about various aspects of and review binoculars. Hope you enjoy my ramblings :)

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Steven
Born and raised in the south coast of UK, a small town close to Cornwall, I have adventure in my blood. Ever since a young age, I have always been into the great outdoors and particularly love watching the natural wildlife. Birdwatching is what I enjoy the most, and thus my natural interest in binoculars began. I founded and run Best-Binoculars.UK a site where I talk about various aspects of and review binoculars. Hope you enjoy my ramblings :)

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