Sunday, March 30, 2008

What can you see with a 60mm telescope?

Like every other geek, I love astronomy and most things related to space. I never truly pursued this topic, apart from the odd article on NGS, but now I get to use a telescope on the weekends.

The telescope ain't that much, but it ain't that bad either. It's a 60mm Konus, with equatorial mount and a motor (which basically means I can point at an object, turn on the motor and the motor will make up for Earth's rotation).

One of the things I would like to know is what can you see with such a telescope. Oddly enough, I still wasn't able to find a comprehensive list on the net... so here's what I was able to see so far: (I've only used the telescope 3 times, so I hope the list will grow in the future!)
  • Moon: Excellent view, great contrast on the craters. I plan to look at it with a lot more detail.
  • Saturn: I was able to see the rings without a problem. I still wasn't able to see the Cassini Division, but I'll keep trying. I was able to see a bit of the texture of the planet, but it's mostly a small white ball. I was also able to see one of the moons of Saturn (Dione, I believe).
  • Mars: I've seen it without much detail, because right now it is way up in the sky and therefore a bit uncomfortable to watch. Still, it is rather small, and the only detail I was able to see was that it was only partly lit by the Sun.
  • Orion Nebula: You can see the trapezium cluster without a problem, as well as the nearer 3 stars. But the nebula itself is rather faint, and you can only see the brightest part. And even that is only a small blur.
Next, I plan to see the Sun (I'll need to buy a filter), Jupiter and some other Messier objects. (I'd really like to see the Whirlpool Galaxy, but I still wasn't able to spot it... don't even know if it is visible with my telescope!)