After reading several reviews, you finally got your telescope. You’ve probably already spent some good hours to assemble it. Now, you should be almost ready to go out there and explore. We say almost ready because you have to make sure that you know what to look for out there.
Don’t worry, you don’t need an in-depth research of astronomy or celestial bodies to be able to locate them. While interpreting an astronomical map can get confusing, you can easily download an app that would help you locate what you’re looking for.
Here, we’ll cover 10 celestial bodies you should be looking for during your first space exploration with your telescope.
- The Moon
Observing the moon is one of the best things to do with a telescope. Don’t get fooled with how luminescent it is, because the moon alone doesn’t produce light. It only reflects light from the sun, but not too much that you can’t stare at it.
It’s also a common misconception that it’s best to observe the moon only when it’s full. On the contrary, the best time to do this is when it is in its first or last quarter phase. If you take a look at the moon when it’s full, it will mostly look like a ball of light. Not much to see there!
Seeing your first planet with your telescope could be a memorable experience. Located in the south-eastern part of the sky during twilight, Mars is easily seen because of its reddish color. If you’re in luck and you got your telescope in the middle of summer, then you’ll get a chance to see Mars when it’s nearest to Earth.
We’ve known Venus to be Earth’s sister planet but this sister is actually notoriously hard to observe. Venus is only visible for a short time before sunrise and after sunset. Unlike Mars, it doesn’t really have a distinct color. Sometimes faint yellow in color, Venus is usually cloaked in its clouds so you can’t really expect to see much of its surface.
Known as the biggest planet in our solar system, Jupiter offers a spectacular view through a telescope. It is usually surrounded by clouds and gases. If you’ll rely on its color to make sure that you’re looking at Jupiter, it may appear with reddish and brownish stripes.
Like Venus, there will be times that Jupiter will look like a blob of light. Aside from this planet itself, you’ll also find seeing its moons amusing. Out of its 11 moons, you may be lucky to see at least 4 of them clearly. But to have a nice viewing experience, you can read telescope reviews on TelescopicWatch and find the best equipment to see Jupiter.
Saturn could be the most exciting planet to see through your telescope. It’s always fascinating to see it with its ring if it’s nicely tilted. Golden in color, Saturn will make you feel like your telescope is making a play on you because of animated it looks.
As you take a good look at its rings, you may notice its major division which is called the Cassini Division. You’ll be amazed to know that the four main groups of Saturn’s rings are actually made up of thousands of thin rings.
- The Orion Nebula
Clearly seen during winter nights, the Orion Nebula is placed in the middle of the constellation Orion’s sword. This nebula gives an effervescent and luminous patch seen on the Orion. This is actually considered to be one of the easiest celestial bodies to spot with a telescope so you may want to start with this.
- The Ring Nebula
The Ring Nebula is located in the constellation Lyra. True to its name, this nebula looks like a bright ring with a misty inner section. If you have a telescope with high magnification, you’ll notice that the inner part of this nebula is bluish and yellow in color. It kind of gives you the impression of a fire set on gasoline.
- Dumbbell Nebula
Interestingly, this nebula is named because of an English astronomer who saw it similar to the shape of a little dumbbell. This planetary nebula is also pretty easy to find within the Vulpecula constellation. Like the Orion and Ring nebulae, this also has a gaseous glow that would leave you amused.
- Mizar & Alcor
These two are known double stars within the Big Dipper asterism. If you’re already familiar with the Big Dipper – to be more precise, Mizar and Alcor, are the two bright stars within its handle.
Without using a telescope, you can easily spot these two, but once you use a good telescope, you’ll realize that both stars are accompanied by a star each. So they’re not just a duo, but rather four bright stars altogether.
- Andromeda Galaxy
There are other galaxies out there that you can spot with your telescope but the Andromeda Galaxy would be a good start. In fact, this galaxy is possible to see with just our naked eye. It’s oval in shape and is located pretty much in between the constellations Cassiopeia and Pegasus. What makes it easier to tell that you’re looking at the Andromeda Galaxy rather than a star is its faint glow.
Those are the 10 celestial bodies you can start observing with your new telescope. Just remember to go to locations with low light pollution for you to have a better experience. Go out and enjoy!