Originally posted by pjdami
will a telescope like John bought be enough magnification to view clusters, nebula, and galaxies? Like the horsehead nebula in Orion for example? Or the Andromeda galaxy?
Well, first off, it's not really magnification that enables one to see more objects - it's light gathering ability of the scope in question, which translates to...the bigger the scope (i.e., mirror) the more things you'll see at higher magnification, all things being equal. Also EXTREMELY important is how dark the sky is at your observing location. Ambient light from more developed areas can essentially ruin your ability to see anything remotely interesting, except for perhaps, the moon. There are various light blocking filters you can purchase to reduce this interference.
Regarding the horsehead nebula, you need EXTREMELY dark skies and a scope with a mirror size of at least 12-14" in diameter to see this one, preferably 16-18", or larger!
Andromeda is another story - you can get a decent glimpse of that object with just a pair of binoculars, but ideally, you want to be in the league of at least a 8-10" scope.
Keep in mind that deep sky objects are generally considered "faint fuzzies" for the most part, so don't get the idea that any photographs of objects you see on the scope box come anywhere close to what you see in the eyepiece. Color is nonexistent for deep sky objects - the color you see in photos are long exposure. However, some objects, like the Orion Nebula, are incredible to look at even with binoculars - but when you view that one through a decent 10" or larger scope with a quality eyepiece and a nebula filter, you will be floored!
It is amazing to think that the light that we see from Andromeda (the most distant thing visible to the naked eye) is from over 2 million years ago. Well before humans as we know it even existed.
Yep - pretty wild. Light from this galaxy began its journey to us while woolly mammoths were still roaming our planet.
Its mind boggling. I am convinced that there just has to be intelligent life out there somewhere. there just has to be.
Yeah, and sometimes I wonder where I can even find it locally. :)