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What can I see?

  1. Jul 17, 2009 #1
    So I just got my dads old telescope out, cleaned it, and installed new motors and cleaned the primary and secondary mirrors, and it's ready for use! It's a reflector with a 4-3/8" primary mirror, and I wonder: what can I see with this thing (besides the moon, obviously)? I know this is a super small telescope for seeing anything too great, but what are my options? Could I see the rings of Saturn, for instance?

    BTW, I live out in Missouri in a place with extremely little light pollution.
     
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  3. Jul 17, 2009 #2

    Chronos

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    Saturn will look good, as will Jupiter. There are also breathtaking star fields around Cygnus this time of year. The Hercules cluster is also a good view in a 4.5. My first scope was a 6, i enjoyed it very much just pointing around at random. I then signed up for AAVSO for a couple years and learned how to read star maps. Maps are hard. Finding those locating stars is harder than I expected.
     
  4. Jul 17, 2009 #3

    Nabeshin

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    Assuming your note about the light pollution is accurate, with a 4-3/8" primary you should be able to see a multitude of galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters.

    Planets are always a great target, and you will be able to see the rings of saturn, Jupiter with its moons, and cloud bands if seeing conditions are good.

    I don't really know a magnitude down to which you can see DSOs, but I would expect you should probably be able to see stuff down to 7-ish, at least. Like I said, in this range are tons of objects. The Orion nebula provides a fantastic first target, although it's a bit out of season this time of year. You might try to catch Andromeda, which should be high in the sky for you.
     
  5. Jul 17, 2009 #4

    HallsofIvy

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    Your main problem is that there will be so many stars it will be hard to determine exactly what it is that you are looking at!
     
  6. Jul 17, 2009 #5

    DaveC426913

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    Have you collimated it? Until you do, the chick doing yoga on her balcony is going to be your best bet.


    (Please note the distinct absence of a 'heavenly bodies' pun...)
     
  7. Jul 18, 2009 #6

    Chronos

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    A four inch scope should be capable of magnitude 12 objects. Many galaxies and other interesting objects are visually accessible in this range.
     
  8. Jul 18, 2009 #7
    Thanks for the tips! First, to tell you the truth, I'm not sure the exact amount of light pollution around my area (or how I would measure it), but I think it's fairly low. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sou...93.423615&spn=0.064831,0.110378&z=13&iwloc=A" (not the exact house, but you get the idea of the areas I can take my telescope and what kind of light pollution is around).

    I think HallsofIvy said it best when he said I basically won't know what the heck I'm looking at. I'll probably spend a lot of time downloading astronomy software and learning to make sense of those random points in the sky.

    I have collimated the telescope (it was in bad shape).

    What do you guys mean 'magnitude 12' and '7-ish' objects? What kind of measurement is this? Also, what websites or books or other media would you recommend for a clueless guy with a fixed up tiny telescope look at for figuring out stargazing?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  9. Jul 18, 2009 #8

    DaveC426913

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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  10. Jul 18, 2009 #9

    DaveC426913

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    Magnitude (we are referring to apparent mag, not absolute mag) is the apparent brightness as seen from Earth. A negative number is bright; a positive number is dim.

    The brightest few stars are around the mag -2 range.
    In very good seeing conditions, you can see down to about mag 6 - a few thousand stars.
    A telescope will get you down to mag 12.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apparent_magnitude" [Broken].

    Here's a virtual telescope where you can program views and magnitudes, etc.
    http://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/uncgi/Yourtel
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  11. Jul 18, 2009 #10

    Nabeshin

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    Will a 4.5" scope really get down to 12 mag DSOs? Seeing 12 mag stars is fine and well, but not terribly interesting.

    I have no conception of what scopes can do without light pollution because my skies are so mucky, but I have trouble seeing things past mag 5 with my 8" due to all the pollution =\.
     
  12. Jul 19, 2009 #11

    Chronos

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    You can view mag 12 DSO's in a 4.5 with good seeing conditions, but not easily.
     
  13. Jul 19, 2009 #12

    ideasrule

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    I'd recommend Cartes du Ciel as a star chart software. It's much more useful than AAVSO's limited star maps, and should be able to plot every star you can see with your telescope.
     
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