Can A Telescope See Through Clouds? Your Burning Question Answered




Can A Telescope See Through Clouds

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A typical telescope cannot see through clouds because it works through the same mechanism as the human eye. For you to see objects using a telescope the light reflected from the object must reach the telescope. Clouds block the light of any objects beyond them making it impossible for a telescope to see them.

Maybe you are an upcoming or aspiring astronomer and you have heard people mention how important a telescope is in the study of the universe. You could be curious about the telescope, how to use it, what it can and what it can do including seeing through the clouds and beyond.

Well in this article be prepared to learn all you can about telescopes, weather, and astronomy.

Can A Telescope See Through Clouds?

A telescope cannot see through clouds, especially the thick, low-lying clouds. Clouds act like masks that prevent a telescope user from seeing objects beyond them.

The way a telescope works is similar to the human eye.  The human eye cannot see masked objects because any light reflected from such objects does not reach the eye.

Similarly, light bouncing off objects beyond the clouds cannot reach the telescope and, therefore, cannot be seen.

In some instances, when the clouds are thin and high up in the sky, some celestial objects like the moon can be seen. The images and snapshots captured by the telescope through the thin sheets of clouds are, however, blurry.

The moon is an exception in such conditions because it is so close to the Earth that some of the light from it can pass through the clouds and reach the telescope.

In general, however, as an astronomer, do not expect to see much through clouds of any kind using your telescope.

What Can A Telescope Do?

As a stargazer, there are a lot of things you can do with a telescope. The only hack is to know how and when to use it. 

The celestial world has a lot of beautiful things and your telescope will be an effective tool that you can use to capture and see all the beauty. The challenge however is not all the time you will be able to do. 

Since you are looking beyond the earth’s atmosphere, there are a lot of obstacles that can obstruct you from capturing those breathtaking moments. 

What’s The Best Weather For Astronomy? 

The best weather for astronomy is characterized by a clear sky, calm days, and cold temperatures.  It is recommended that you do your stargazing at night because that is when the magic happens in the celestial world. 

The earth’s atmosphere is made up of gasses, minute water droplets, and dust that create some sort of blanket that alters the radiation of light. You should therefore be patient with your stargazing adventures.

Some nights will be better some nights will be worse. It’s what makes astronomy fun.

Are All Types Of Clouds Bad For Astronomy?

Yes and no. All types of clouds are bad for astronomy despite the common misconception that a telescope can see through objects masked by clouds.

For the clearest snapshots, the sky has to be clear. No, because some high and thin clouds can allow some more experienced astronomers and stargazers to have fun using a telescope.  

Can A Telescope See Through Haze?

When it’s hazy, it’s still possible to use a telescope, but it takes a different approach. First and foremost, determine how thick the fog is in reality, as using your telescope can still be worthwhile even when the fog is thin or broken in a pattern.

During times when the fog cover is excessive, consider preparing for the next clear night by studying star charts, researching celestial phenomena, or even monitoring another aspect of the natural world. 

Finally, try updating your telescope to improve your viewing experience on overcast evenings as a last resort.

To What Extent Is It Too Cloudy To Use a Telescope? 

Unfortunately, not every night is completely clear and still. Clouds can interfere with your celestial observations even if you are far away from city lights and in the middle of nowhere.

Clouds that are thin and high in the sky can generate spectacular scenes, which is especially true when it comes to lunar observation.

Nevertheless, even bright planets and stars of high magnitude can be seen through thin clouds, particularly ones composed of high cirrus, cirrostratus, or cirrocumulus clouds. It may be worth a look.

Clear, dark skies are essential for midnight stargazing, whether you’re an amateur or a professional. When high pressure takes hold following the passage of a cold front, it is common to get these types of evenings a day or two later.

Temperatures, humidity, and wind are all at their lowest levels during these serene starry nights.

Is It Possible To See The Moon On A Cloudy Night With A Telescope?

As Earth’s nearest neighbor in space, the moon can also be one of the most visible objects in the night sky, if not the most visible. Because of its brilliance, it may be seen even when there is only a thin or partial layer of cloud cover.

Indeed, in some situations, a slight amount of cloudiness can provide some interesting lunar effects, particularly at night. 

When there is a thin layer of cloud cover and the particles in the cloud are all around the same size, this can result in a corona effect. 

An observable halo around the moon can be formed when thin clouds that contain ice crystals condense and condense around the moon. Of course, some people enjoy seeing the full or almost full moon on evenings when clouds are breaking after a storm since it signifies the end of a long period of darkness.

How Can You Enjoy Using a Telescope Even When It Is Too Cloudy? 

If the clouds are too thick to allow you to see any celestial body using your telescope, have a look at some of the incredible photographs taken of both the light and dark sides of the moon. 

Get to know the diverse mare and highland locations by walking around them. Afterward, when you can see the moon, see if you can identify any of these features with or without the use of a telescope once the moon is visible.

If the cloud cover is thin enough, it may be possible to observe some celestial objects. Some amateur astronomers indeed relish the opportunity to capture spectacular images of the moon and other heavenly bodies against a partially cloudy night sky.

Tips for Knowing the Best Weather for Astronomy

Setting up a telescope and looking up at the sky only to see clouds can be extremely frustrating. When it comes to enjoying astronomy, a clear sky is essential for the best experience.

Without a doubt, the most favorable conditions for stargazing are found on clear and still nights with little wind. Certain types of overcast nights can still yield successful astronomical observations, particularly when the cloud cover is high and thin, or when the clouds appear and disappear in short bursts.

It can be beneficial to engage in other activities when the sky is too foggy to see the stars, planets, or the moon clearly at night. In addition to studying star charts and astronomy applications in preparation for future night expeditions, students will also participate in a night hike.

Aside from cloud cover, several other weather-related conditions are important to astronomy. Clarity and visibility are also important, but these are terms that are unlikely to be familiar to the majority of the general population.


Conditions in which the sky is clear are referred to as transparent conditions. For the most part, clarity can be considered satisfactory when there is no humidity or dust present.

In general, winter is considered to be the most transparent season, while summer is considered to be the least transparent. Therefore winter nights are the best when it comes to using your telescope. 


The visibility conditions refer to the stability of the atmosphere as it relates to light. Sometimes when you look at the sky and see stars dancing, they are not.

Poor visibility conditions in the atmosphere make them appear to be twinkling. 

When viewing celestial objects under poor viewing conditions, the objects appear to shimmer and glisten. Because of the blurriness of the sky, it will be difficult to make detailed observations, which will result in a less than satisfying night of stargazing overall. 

When using a telescope, always aim to do your stargazing when visibility conditions are stable. This is when the stars appear to dance or twinkle less

Final Thoughts 

If you are a night gazer or an astronomer either amateur or professional, using your telescope depends on weather conditions. For clear snapshots of magic moments using a telescope, cloudless nights are recommended.

This is because clouds mask objects beyond them making visibility through them using a telescope impossible. If there are no clouds in your way and you still can’t see, you may need to fix your telescope’s focus.

Please be careful and use at your own risk
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