Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Stargazing Pleasure of owning a telescope a telescope

  1. Feb 20, 2011 #1
    i think everyone should have the pleasure of owning a telescope a telescope can clearly put a lot of things into perspective
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 20, 2011 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    That's true, of course, though "clearly" might be in question, depending on the observer. When you look at the Orion Nebula, it's easy to say "pretty" and move on if you are incurious. If you spend time on that object with the idea that it is a really active stellar nursery, and imagine the view if our Sun and solar system were embedded in that nebula, it can blow your mind.

    Look at M13 in Hercules. It's a very dense globular cluster orbiting the MW. What would our night-time skies look like if our solar system were embedded in that cluster? And these are just local objects. Even modest 'scopes can show you M51, M81, M82, etc - whole "island universes" with their own special characteristics and properties. Once, astronomers had to rely on published catalogs and survey photos to reference extra-galactic objects. Now, we have access to so many on-line resources (NED, HyperLeda, SDSS, IRSA) that it's just mind-boggling. And that doesn't count the imaging done in infrared, ultraviolet, X-rays, etc.

    I used to plunk myself down with a planisphere and my Burnham's handbooks to plot observing sessions. Nowadays, people can not only consult planetarium software adjustable for their latitude and longitude; they can go on-line and access huge databases of images, spectroscopy including redshifts, angular dimensions, etc, so that when they go out to observe, they have a lot of background on the objects they plan to see.
  4. Apr 4, 2011 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Planning to buy a first telescope?

    A small scope on a decent goto mount is more enjoyable than a giant dob with star charts. I tried it both ways. It's like driving a BMW after riding a horse. You can get there either way, but ...
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook