C: WHAT CAN WE SEE IN TELESCOPES?
Few of us live in the middle of nowhere—what can be seen in an
Binoculars will see thousands of stars where we can only see a handful—and
many beautiful star clusters become objects of beauty.
The small refractor can see the Sun, the Moon, all the planets, thousands
of double stars, many wonderful star clusters, lots of Variable Stars,
and several of the brightest nebulae. Most of the brighter comets and
even a handful of galaxies can be viewed from the city. Most of the fainter
objects won’t be visible in the city, but we are fortunate our scopes
are so portable. A periodic trip to a darker site once in a while (make
it a family trip) will enable you to see a lot more objects in the sky,
and more details in the ones you already know and love.
A mid-sized telescope will see every object more brightly and with more
detail. Telescopes are light gatherers—the bigger they are, the
more they gather. On top of that, the larger the telescope the smaller
the details that can be seen at the same power, compared to a smaller
telescope (it’s due to the wave nature of light). So larger scopes
will not only see every object more brightly (making some invisible ones
visible and some faint ones bright), but also with more detail.
Nothing exemplifies this more than the larger telescope (8” and
larger). Literally thousands of objects become visible, most with details.
Escaping from the city to the rural environment makes the night sky appear
magnificent. A few thousand stars become visible with the naked eye, and
our telescopes, of whatever size, see much farther into the Universe.
If you’re planning a vacation this year, think about taking your
telescope—National Parks are often wonderful places to see the stars.
Every mile farther you get away from the city makes a huge difference
in what you can see through the telescope.