There is no shortage of what you can see on any given night. But what are the top places that people aim for when they start out with their telescope? Everyone has a favorite, and there is no set order to go in. But the more popular destinations are below and can be seen from just about any capable telescope. Remember that the better the scope, the better detail you will see when peering through the lens.
Probably the number #1 planet that people look at when they get their telescope. Not just because it will show up the most detailed, but because it is a planet that you can see in the night sky without a telescope. Now imagine what it would look like through the lens of a good telescope. Not only would you see some very interesting details, but you can also catch things like weather changes or rock formations. It’s an exciting thing to witness first hand, and with a planet as visible as the Moon there is always something interesting happening.
Many telescopes include a Moon guidebook showing all of the intricacies of everyone’s favorite planet to view. With these books you will discover parts of the Moon that you never knew existed. Things get even more fun to monitor if you view the Moon through one of its many phases. With it being our closest neighbor you could speed hours looking over the Moon’s surface and not get bored. It is a real treat to look over the Moon, and is one of the main reasons why it is first on the list when it comes to beginners and discovering their telescopes capabilities.
This giant planet is hard to miss due to its massive size and wonderful brightness. But the fun part about Jupiter is the many Moons that circle around it. With a normal day for the planet lasting no more than 10 hours, you’ll get completely different images of it minute to minute. It is a very active planet where something is always happening. The big ball of gas known as Jupiter also has rings like Saturn, although it is a lot less distinctive.
The activity happening on the planet that gets the most attention is a storm that has lasted for centuries known as the Great Red Spot. This huge storm is frightening to see with a powerful enough scope, but is one of those great phenomena that you don’t want to turn your head away from. Since Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system, it’s no surprise that the size of this never-ending storm is massive enough to swallow up the Earth whole. If you ever get a chance to see any of the Moons of Jupiter, there is a lot of reference material to help you figure out which Moon is which.
Considered to be the most beautiful planet to look at, Saturn is still a favorite among the community. But this is one planet that you won’t be able to view with a weak or cheap telescope. If you do opt for something underpowered, then you’ll get a blurry image that won’t do the planet justice. Saturn is popular for its rings, a look that has been popularized in media over the years.
While there are many ways to view the planet to get the best look, it is the least active planet in terms of things happening. When compared to the Moon you’ll get an entire story to tell within a matter of minutes. Saturn does have some interesting things happening every once in a while like the many Moons that rotate around it. But the finest details or action takes place when viewing it when the shadows are just right, which in turn gives the planet a 3-D effect.
If you’ve never heard of Magellenic clouds then you’re missing out on a lot. Both the large and small Magellenic Clouds are in the Milky Way’s companion galaxy and have a very distinct look about them during night. Looking like merely clouds in the night sky, don’t let the image fool you the first time you see it. There is a lot of space within those clouds than meets the eye. Studying both the big and small cloud further during your time with the telescope will deliver much bigger surprises than you’d expect.
Don’t be afraid to explore, and remember that you aren’t limited to anything that is on this list. Everyone starts at a different point in the galaxy, so if you have a favorite place you want to look then check out a map and give it a shot. And if you just want to look around and have fun, go ahead, that is what telescopes are for!