Observing with a small telescope



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I've been interested in astronomy on a casual basis for years. Lately my interest increased and I did a fair bit of observing using a pair of 10X50 binoculars. That whetted my appetite for astronomy further and I just had to get a telescope. But what to buy! I eventually decided that the best telescope I could afford would be a 6" Reflector. I held off buying until I was certain what could be seen through this telescope. Obtaining this information turned out to be more difficult than I expected. The information contained within these pages tries to answer the question.......

What can you see with a 6" reflector?

And as the site has developed

What can you see with other small telescopes?

Much of the information contained within these pages describes what I can see from my light polluted back yard (I have two street lights to contend with, one either side of me and no more than 20 yards away) with descriptions of the various objects. The pages will grow as I gain more observing experience. In addition to my own observing experiences with a 6" reflector I'm continually gathering observing reports from  amateur astronomers who own telescopes with an aperture of 6" or less. These reports are not limited to reflectors but include observations made with binoculars, refractors and schmidt cassegrain telescopes.

I would hope that our combined experiences will help newcomers to astronomy decide on what telescope might suit their needs or inspire them to try and locate objects described by other astronomers. 

To make these pages a success I need further observing reports from astronomers with telescopes of 6" aperture or smaller. The reports needn't be lengthy, a description of the latest object you've tracked down would still be useful. There's a form available to submit your observations.

To assist with reading the observing reports I've added a search facility which can be accessed from the Observations page. Type in the catalogue number for an object eg M57 and you will see which pages have an observing report for that object. Use the browsers 'find' facility to quickly locate the report on the relevant page.

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Links to other astronomy related sites
A glossary of astronomical terms
Choosing a telescope
Read observing reports from other astronomers
Compare Hubble images with what you can see through a small telescope
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Last updated: 5th January 2001