Best astronomy accessories 2020

Looking for a gift for a practical astronomer, or fancy treating yourself? This is our guide to the best astronomy accessories that caught our eye in 2020.

  All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.
Explore Scientific professional weather centre

Once you have your telescope, mount and – if you’re an astrophotographer – camera, what’s usually next on a practical astronomer’s shopping list is accessories: those nifty devices that can make all the difference to your observing or imaging sessions.

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Astronomy accessories can turn your telescope setup from a good, solid observing station to the next level in practical astronomy.

Perhaps you’re searching for filters to assist in your observations of the planets, the Sun or the Moon; it could be you want to keep dew off your telescope; maybe you need something to keep your ever-growing cornucopia of eyepieces from getting muddled up in the dark.

Astrozap flexible dew shield
The Astrozap flexible dew shield is one of many dew shields available that will keep your telescope from fogging up. It’s just one accessory in our ever-expanding guide below.

Or perhaps you’re in need of a good gift for that hardcore astronomer in your life, or your regular observing partner who could really do with a new gadget to sort out that problem with their setup they’ve been complaining about all year.

Each month in BBC Sky at Night Magazine we review the latest and best pieces of equipment and astronomy accessories that have caught our eye that month, and below we’ve selected some of our favourites, including links showing you where to buy them.

An astronomy accessory might make all the difference to your observing. Credit: m-gucci / Getty images
An astronomy accessory might make all the difference to your observing. Credit: m-gucci / Getty images

From telescope accessories to astrophotography gadgets, specialised filters and devices that will keep you warm, dry and organised during your observing sessions, hopefully something on our list will be just what you were looking for.

All prices are a guide only: it pays to shop around online and check different suppliers to see what you can find.

If you’re in need of more inspiration, read our astronomy reviews, or you might what to hone in on our telescope reviews, binocular reviews and astronomy accessory reviews.

If you’re after something more on the gift and gadget end of the astronomy spectrum, check out our lists of the best space toys for kids and best space and astronomy gifts.

Best telescope accessories

1

Teleskop Service Bahtinov focusing masks

Teleskop Service Bahtinov focusing masks

Price £18

Reach the best focus possible with the help of these Bahtinov masks. The slits create exaggerated star spikes, the positions of which will show if your optics are even slightly out of focus. Available in a range of sizes.

Where to buy

 

2

William Optics dual-sided mounting plates

William Optics dual-sided mounting plates

Price £35

These dual-sided mounting plates fit all Vixen-style fixtures on one side, then can be flipped over to hold Arca Swiss types on the other side. The bright coatings help to protect the metal while giving your setup a colourful flourish.

Where to buy

 

3

Meade wide-angle eyepiece set

Meade wide-angle eyepiece set

Price £39

These affordable eyepieces are a great buy for any beginner. Their generous 62° field of view allows you to take a better look at large night-sky objects. The set comes with a padded storage box to protect them when not in use.

Where to buy

 

4

Farpoint handle for 3-inch rails

Farpoint handle for 3 inch rails

Price £55

Carry your telescope and mount with ease,  using this simple-to-attach handle that clamps onto a 3-inch dovetail rail. Available with both L- and D-shaped hand holds, the high-quality black anodised clamp will make it easier to transport your kit. On the hunt for a portable scope? Read our guide to the best travel telescopes.

Where to buy

 

5

Baader Ultrashort 2-inch eyepiece clamp

Baader Ultrashort 2-inch eyepiece clamp

Price €67.26

This eyepiece clamp has a back focus of just 12mm and is threaded on both sides, making it easy to integrate into your observing setup or extension rings. Its sturdy build means it can hold heavy  equipment such as Ha (Hydrogen-alpha) filters and CCD cameras.

Where to buy

 

6

Omegon angled finder scope eyepiece

Angled Polarscope eyepiece

Price £85

You’ll no longer need to crouch to look through your polar finder scope. The angled eyepiece puts your viewing position at 90˚ to the drawtube without disturbing the image orientation, allowing for a more comfortable observing experience.

Where to buy

 

7

Push-to passive tracking

Push to passive tracking

Price £201.55

This device attaches to your Dobsonian telescope, allowing you to keep track of its position with a planetarium app, helping you find your way around the night sky. Currently only compatible with SkySafari.

Where to buy

 

8

Altair Tri-Pier

Altair TriPier

Price £325

Compact and portable, this pier provides a stable base for astronomy on the go. The swivel feet of the tripod ensure even surface contact, while the Tri-Pier weighs 8.9kg and comes with a padded carry bag.

Where to buy

 

9

Baader MaxBright II binoviewer 1.25-inch

Baader MaxBright II binoviewer

Price £390

Make the switch to stereo vision with this binoviewer, which splits the light to let you look through your scope with both eyes. The non-slip finish and ergonomically designed knobs are specifically designed for easy use after dark. Eyepieces not included.

Where to buy

Best binocular accessories

If you’re on the hunt for a new pair, read our guide to the best binoculars for astronomy.

10

Bino bandit

Bino Bandit

Price £18

When it’s fitted around the eyepieces of your binoculars, this guard will help to block out ambient light and wind, ensuring your eyes can make the most of every photon coming through the optics from deep space.

Where to buy

 

11

Orion 2×54 ultra wide-angle binoculars

Orion 2x54 ultra wide-angle binoculars

Price £144.99

By brightening fainter stars while still giving a wide-field view of the sky, these lightweight binoculars help to bridge the gap between naked-eye astronomy and more advanced binocular observing.

Where to buy

Best astronomy filters

12

Celestron 1.25” Moon filter set

Celestron Moon filter set

Price £42

These lunar filters help you prevent straining your eyes by eliminating the glare from our celestial neighbour. This set has three neutral density filters to reduce brightness and an additional filter to emphasise the contrast of lunar features.

Where to buy

 

13

Kendrick solar filters

Kendrick Solar Filters

Price from £62

When you’re solar observing, it’s sometimes difficult to centre the Sun in your eyepiece, but this filter’s built-in finder makes it a doddle. The filter is made from Baader AstroSolar film to ensure safe solar viewing and is available in a range of sizes.

Where to buy

 

14

Optolong SII narrowband filter

Optolong SII narrowband filter

Price £119.90

Bring out the red of nebulae with this narrowband filter, which only allows through the light from the SII (Sulphur II)emission line. Use alongside other filters to create a full colour image of the nebulae.

Where to buy

 

15

Antlia U-Venus Imaging Filter

Antlia U-Venus Imaging Filter

Price £206

The clouds of Venus and Jupiter are beautiful, and this filter reveals those subtle features, with a special coating to bring out UV bandwidths where these features are clearest.

Where to buy

 

16

IDAS RGB type 4 filters

IDAS RGB type 4 filters

Price £299

Get a more realistic colour balance during astrophotography with these RGB (Red, Green and Blue) filters. Their bandwidths gently overlap, giving more ‘in-between colours’. The high quality coatings are designed for increased durability and robustness.

Where to buy

Astrophotography accessories

17

Explore Scientific M48 Extension Tube Set

Explore Scientific M48 Extension Tube Set

Price from £44

Get the perfect distance between your camera and your telescope’s optics with these extenders, including 30mm, 20mm, 15mm, 10mm and 5mm length tubes. Their inner diameter is 45mm-wide to stop vignetting.

Where to buy

 

18

William Optics slide-base UniGuide 32mm guidescope

William Optics slide-base UniGuide 32mm guidescope

Price £99

Keep your imaging setup bang on target with the help of this guidescope. It can attach to many different CCD guide cameras and is adjustable by 25mm to give the crispest focus while tracking your guide stars.

Where to buy

 

19

Baader flip mirror II

Baader flip mirror II

Price £175

The constant switching between an eyepiece and camera can use up valuable imaging time, but this flip mirror reduces that delay to the turn of a knob. It has a third port to attach an autoguider and make your setup more versatile.

Where to buy

 

20

Geoptik flat field panel

Geoptik flat field panel

Price £196

Calibrating using a flat field panel helps to solve the problem of unevenly illuminated deep-sky images. It fits onto scopes with an external diameter of 250mm to 308mm, with plastic screws to hold it in place.

Where to buy

 

21

Explore Scientific camera dovetail

Explore Scientific camera dovetail

Price £52.99

Convert your equatorial mount to hold a camera using this special dovetail rail. The 45mm-wide plate comes with 2mm graduations on the side to help you find the perfect point of balance for the camera.

Where to buy

 

22

SkyTech TriBand Canon EOS clip-fit filter

SkyTech TriBand Canon EOS clip fit filter

Price £199

This clip filter fits directly into your DSLR camera, allowing you to focus in on the three main nebulae emission bands: Hydrogen-alpha, Hydrogen-beta and Oxygen III. This allows you to pull out the detail without the time-consuming task of taking multiple images.

Where to buy

 

23

Orion filter wheel package

Orion filter wheel package

Price £631.99

This motorised filter wheel lets you flip between colours with ease. The USB connection allows you to automate changes, speeding up your astrophotography. Threaded for 2-inch optics, it comes with a set of luminance, red, green and blue filters.

Where to buy

Accessories for keeping your kit warm, dry and organised

 

24

RS Pro silia gel dessicator, 50g

 

RS Pro silia gel dessicator

Price £14.42

Damp can ruin a telescope, so use this silica gel desiccator to keep your storage space free of moisture. When the blue indicator turns pink, reactivate the gel by cooking it in the oven.

Where to buy

 

25

Telescope covers

Sky's The Limit telescope cover

Price from £35.99

While most telescope covers protect your outdoor equipment from the rain, these silver-coated shrouds from Sky’s The Limit prevent the Sun’s heat from building up within the optics. Available in a range of sizes to fit most setups.

Where to buy

 

26

Astrozap flexible dew shield

Astrozap flexible dew shield

Price £41.90

Stop dew forming on your telescope with the help of this dew shield. The main body acts as a barrier to dew, while the heating elements within keep your optics warm, preventing condensation from building up. The shield is supplied with a hook and loop fastener.

Where to buy

 

27

Dust cap with desiccant for 2-inch openings

Dust cap with desiccant 2 inch

Price £62

Putting your scope away for a while? Help protect your telescope from dust and damp while in storage with this cap. A dessicant (drying agent) pack fits in the cap to soak up any moisture that might harm your optics.

Where to buy

 

28

Explore Scientific professional weather centre

Explore Scientific professional weather centre

Price £328

Predicting the weather for astronomy can be tricky. Check whether a clear night might be on the way with the help of this digital weather station. The 7-in-1 sensor is capable of detecting temperature, wind speed, air pressure and sunlight and then clearly displays its findings on a colour LED screen.

Where to buy

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What are your favourite astronomy accessories? Let us know by getting in touch via email at contactus@skyatnightmagazine.com.