What can you see with a high end telescope?

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lizard_king420

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I am a COMPLETE newbie. but i really want to get into astronomy. If i buy a really high end telescope (i know they are VERY expensive) will i be able to see more than planets and stars? like some nebulas, or something along those lines? I know most of you will find this an extremely stupid question but i would like your advice nontheless. thank you for your time.
 
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MeteorWayne

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You don't need a high end telecope to see more than stars and planets. In fact stars are rather uninteresting, after all, they are just points of light. Even a 4" reflector will allow you to see galaxies and nebula (in fact, one galaxy you can see with your unaided eye under dark skies, and it's 2.5 million light years away!). A 6 to 10 inch dobsonian will show you many galaxies (hundreds), comets, asteroids, planetary moons, etc and can be had forseveral hundred dollars, if you want to learn your way around the sky and point it yourself. If you want the scope to point at objects yourself, then you are up into the $1000 plus category. I'd suggest you read the thread at the top:

Looking to buy your first telescope? Read This!
 
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crazyeddie

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lizard_king420":x48h1z6q said:
I am a COMPLETE newbie. but i really want to get into astronomy. If i buy a really high end telescope (i know they are VERY expensive) will i be able to see more than planets and stars? like some nebulas, or something along those lines? I know most of you will find this an extremely stupid question but i would like your advice nontheless. thank you for your time.
One thing you should be aware of: no telescope you can buy, at any price, will show you the planets and the nebula with the same degree of splendor that you see in photographs. Seeing the beautiful images from the Hubble Space Telescope, or even from talented amateurs, can be very stirring, but observational astronomy is a very different thing. Images will be dimmer than you expect. Nebula will all appear to be various shades of bluish-green, or gray. Galaxies will be amorphous blobs. Observing planets will remind you of trying to see what kind of coin is at the bottom of a turbulent swimming pool. This is not to say that you will be disappointed.....quite the contrary. There is a thrill involved with viewing the wonders of the universe with your own eyes, and that is the pleasure of amateur astronomy. Just be aware that things won't look like the pictures.

That being said, if this is your first telescope purchase, I strongly recommend that you reconsider, and start with a more modest instrument. Until you get to know your way around the sky, and how to use and handle telescopes, it doesn't make sense to start out with an expensive instrument. Let me give you an example of what I mean. My first reflecting telescope was an expensive Mag 1 Portaball, which cost me $4,000, and comes with a Zambuto mirror, considered the finest available to amateurs. The first time I tried to collimate the mirrors, I made a very common mistake: I had the telescope pointed straight up and down, and guess what I did? Yep! I accidentally dropped the collimation tool, which landed right on top of my precious and fragile mirror. I was lucky, it did no discernible damage, but I might have ruined it. The lesson: never collimate your telescope with when it is pointing towards the zenith! And don't invest in expensive and fragile equipment until you know how to handle it correctly! ;)
 
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SpaceTas

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See the sky and telescope web site with an article on a first scope.

The next 2 steps up from these are:
A 6-10 inch Dobsonian telescope; easy to use, good aperture. Refractors 3-4" (a lens, more expensive, can be compact and easy to use, very stable image quality) are similar to a 6" reflector in what you see

As you go more expensive you pay for the size of telescope, the quality of the mount, and quality of optics, fancy goto systems. In roughly that order. High end mounts are mostly good for taking long duration images. I have found the GoTo systems frustrating, but if you survive programing a video recorder they maybe for you.

Above 12" the clarity is generally limited by the atmospheric turbulence ("seeing"), but you see fainter objects.

To underscore MeteorWaynes message. I once got a look through a 1 m (40 inch) telescope of M101 (Sombrero Hat). Yes you could see the dark lane, the bulge and maybe 16th mag stars; but it was a bit disappointing, it was no where near as good as Hubble.
 
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JROYB

Guest
I started out with a 4" reflector and gradually worked up to my 11" SCT. What brings me joy is knowing what I'm looking at and really appreciating its size and distance. On a night with good seeing, there's nothing quite like having an entire galaxy or nebula in your field of view.

It's a great hobby!
 
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lizard_king420

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ok well would you suggest my first telescope be one that uses computer software that allows you to type in the coordinates (or select from a list of items) and it automaticaly orients itself?
[/quote]
That being said, if this is your first telescope purchase, I strongly recommend that you reconsider, and start with a more modest instrument. Until you get to know your way around the sky, and how to use and handle telescopes, it doesn't make sense to start out with an expensive instrument. Let me give you an example of what I mean. My first reflecting telescope was an expensive Mag 1 Portaball, which cost me $4,000, and comes with a Zambuto mirror, considered the finest available to amateurs. The first time I tried to collimate the mirrors, I made a very common mistake: I had the telescope pointed straight up and down, and guess what I did? Yep! I accidentally dropped the collimation tool, which landed right on top of my precious and fragile mirror. I was lucky, it did no discernible damage, but I might have ruined it. The lesson: never collimate your telescope with when it is pointing towards the zenith! And don't invest in expensive and fragile equipment until you know how to handle it correctly! ;)[/quote]
 
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MeteorWayne

Guest
I would not myself, but that's just my preference. I feel you will get more out of the hobby with a modest dobsonian that will allow you to learn the sky and still see plenty. If you then decide it's worth spending a few grand on a computer controlled (but more difficult to set up) you'll know what you are spending your money on.

I highly recommend visiting a local astronomy club to get to see some real instruments in action, and get a feel for the bang for the buck factor.

Other folks go right for the goto scope and are happy. YMMV :)
 
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crazyeddie

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lizard_king420":102su34d said:
ok well would you suggest my first telescope be one that uses computer software that allows you to type in the coordinates (or select from a list of items) and it automaticaly orients itself?
Do you live where there is a lot of light pollution? If so, then yes, a computerized scope is worth considering, because it will be easier to locate objects in the sky. Otherwise, no. But if you are only interested in the moon and planets, you don't need a computerized scope, because they are bright and easy to find without assistance.
 
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tlb467

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We bought my daughter a telescope for Christmas one year. We bought it at Walmart for about $125. We can see nebulas and planets. I was a little skeptic when the box said we could see Saturn. We did and it was great. She loves it. Seeing the rings of Saturn impressed me.
 
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