How to view planets with a home telescope?
It’s quite easy to view planets with a home telescope, you just need to follow a couple of steps. First of all, find the precise location of the planet you want to view at the observation time. You’ll find sky almanacs online that will tell you the planet’s location, azimuth, and altitude at any time.
To find the planet in the night sky, find a bright object that isn’t sparkling as much as nearby stars, then compare the location of the object on the star chart. In the event that the object doesn’t show on the star chart, then it is a planet.
Now, point your scope at the object. Use your finderscope to aim and make adjustments on the primary telescope. If your scope has an adjustable magnification, begin at lower magnification to locate the planet, and switch to higher magnification levels afterward to see the details. Focus your telescope with the aid of the planetary disk’s edge. The circular edge ought to be clear and sharp when the scope is focused correctly.
Adjust your scope to counterbalance for the apparent motion of the sky. Since the Earth is steadily rotating, the sky seems to shift position from time to time. This rotating motion will quickly take the planet you’re viewing out of your sight. Scope drive motors are capable of matching this steady motion, or you can even manually move the scope every couple of minutes.
Features to consider while choosing a telescope
Before purchasing the best home telescope for viewing planets, you need to take a couple of factors into account. Different models are suitable for different skill levels, so you need to keep the factors you’re looking for in mind.
There are three main types of scopes and each type has its strengths and weaknesses. Scopes are usually categorized by their abilities to collect light and their approaches. When looking for the perfect model to view through light pollution, there is no better choice than the refractor type. Refractor scopes are also suitable for lunar and planetary observations. On the other hand, reflector scopes are suitable for deep-sky viewing and aren’t really great at viewing through light pollution. They need constant adjustment and alignment if you use them on a regular basis. The third type is the compound scope, which is a combination of refractor and reflector elements. They are ideal for general sky watching and perform excellently when viewing through light pollution.
The telescope’s aperture size is a huge factor you need to consider when purchasing a scope since it determines the amount you will be able to see through the scope. There is a proportionality between the telescope’s size and the resolving power, which is the ability of the scope to show details. Basically, this means that the greater the resolving power, the more the telescope will be able to display nearby objects one by one.
Big scopes are able to collect more light, allowing you to see fainter objects. Especially vital if there is pollution in the sky. Some models with big aperture sizes on this list include the Orion 10016 StarBlast 6 and our Editor’s Choice, the Orion 09007.
The focal length is another important consideration you need to make. Basically, it is a measure by which the telescope’s magnification is determined. While we won’t be digging into the scientific definitions, we will only mention that there is a direct correlation between the scope’s focal length and the lens of the eyepiece. Choose a model with a long focal length, such as the Celestron NexStar 5 SE and the Meade Instruments 216003.
One very key feature of any scope is its mount. The mount provides the stable position which is fundamental for a crisp and clear image. Generally, there are two main telescope mounts on the market – the equatorial mount and the altazimuth mount.
In recent times, however, some computer-controlled mounts have been gaining popularity among beginners, as there are numerous objects in their databank.
The eyepiece plays a significant part in planet viewing. To get a clear and crisp planetary image, you’ll require an eyepiece that has a high magnification and a short focal length. When thinking about viewing planets, you need to keep in mind that the eyepiece must not go beyond a magnification of 50X for each aperture inch. For instance, you shouldn’t go beyond a magnification power of 200X if you have a scope with a four-inch diameter (aperture).
When it comes to astronomical telescopes, bigger doesn’t always mean better. It is ideal that you go for a long focal length, particularly if you are intending to view high-power objects such as double stars, Moon, or planets.
Therefore, if you intend to see galaxies, then choose a scope that has a large objective. However, if you are only into the Milky Way or sparkling showpieces, then you can make do with a small, short scope.
You also need to consider extra features such as included accessories and warranty terms. Telescopes for viewing planets are usually expensive, and you don’t want to make such an investment without having security. The warranty, in this case, is your security and you must consider the terms when choosing the right model for your needs. You should also look for products that come with useful accessories and instructional DVDs.