MadSci Network: Astronomy

Re: Should I choose a 6

Date: Mon Dec 18 01:00:26 2000
Posted By: Adams Douglas, Senior Developer
Area of science: Astronomy
ID: 973887517.As

Richard, as you're probably aware, the aperture of a telescope affects its light-gathering power. The bigger the aperture, the more light gathered and the fainter the objects you can see or photograph.

Now, since you say you live in the suburbs, I assume you mean there is good sky visibility (good seeing) but you still have some light pollution from the nearby city. If there is a lot of industrial pollution in the atmosphere, that can also affect your seeing.

Normally, a 6" reflector should let you see objects of about 13th magnitude. In a light-polluted area you might get a little less. But an 8" would only get you under a magnitude more. So unless you want to jump right in with something really big, my advice would be to spend your money on a high-quality 6" with features you're likely to want and use, instead of a low-quality 8".

Here's a British website with some basic advice on telescope selection:
http://www.u-net .com/ph/naw96/telescope-guide.htm

Happy viewing!

-Adams Douglas

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