Bigger Eyes on the Sky

Greetings readers! Yesterday, I got my first ever telescope! Words cannot describe how excited I was, and neither could they describe the look on the Amazon delivery guy’s face when he saw me jumping up and down. Today, I tested it on the moon, which I thought would be the most obvious target in the sky. Nonetheless, even the Moon proved to be difficult to find in the eyepiece. After painstakingly pointing it towards our natural satellite, the view through was absolutely breathtaking. I could see the valleys and craters of the moon so clearly! It was really one of the happiest moments of my life.

Coming to the telescope itself, it’s a Celestron Astromaster 130EQ, with the 130 meaning it has a 13cm aperture. The bigger the diameter of the aperture or opening of the telescope, the more powerful it is. This is because the size of the aperture determines how much light your telescope will be capable of collecting. If you collect more light, you will be able to see even fainter objects. Thus, if you’re planning to buy a telescope, don’t  be fooled by the claims of 300x and 500x magnification on the boxes. The only thing that matters is the size of the aperture. It’s this parameter that gives you the resolving power, or absolute limit to which you can magnify.

With this new telescope, I hope to view planets, stars, and even deep sky objects like star clusters and nebulae. Speaking of telescopes, the biggest ones are getting even bigger. Gone are the time when the Kecks in Hawaii were the biggest eyes on the sky. Make way for gargantuan projects like the Thirty Meter Telescope and European Extremely Large Telescope. These absolute beasts will be able to directly image exoplanets, planets which are orbiting a star hundreds of thousands of light years away! With imaging exoplanets being the new thing, the James Webb Space Telescope will be a massive mirror array that will continue the legacy of The Hubble. This is truly an exiting time for astronomy! We’re exploring deeper into the universe than we ever have.

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