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Last Post 10/16/2020 9:59 AM by  Kris Sigsbee
Need telescope?
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10/14/2020 2:01 PM
    Do I need an expensive telescope to enjoy astronomy? Do I need a special telescope to look at the sun?
    Thanks in advance!

    Christina Cohen

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    10/15/2020 6:43 AM
    This is somewhat a personal opinion, but I would say no, although it is definitely fun to have a good telescope of your own. A good telescope doesn't have to be expensive but it depends on what you want to look at.
    For instance you can see some really interesting features of the Moon with just binoculars. Similarly I was able to see the recent comet Neowise with binoculars.
    You can see Jupiter with a pretty basic telescope, including some of its color. If you want to get a good view of its moons you are going to need a stronger (and more expensive) telescope.
    Seeing galaxies and nebulae definitely requires a better telescope, and preferably dark skies.
    However, there are often 'star parties' and opportunities at various planetariums and the like to look through someone else's expensive/powerful telescope. Often this is also an opportunity to talk to experts and learn a lot about astronomy.

    In terms of the Sun you definitely need a special filter. It is very dangerous to look directly at the Sun, even without binoculars or a telescope, and especially with any magnification. The filters aren't hard to get though - there are a variety of kinds, but make sure you get a good quality one, specific for your telescope. It is also recommended that you have a set of 'eclipse glasses' (basically the same kind of filter for wearing on your face) on hand, since you are likely to be looking at or near then Sun as you position your telescope.

    Kris Sigsbee

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    10/16/2020 9:59 AM
    Hello Biniyam!

    You don't need a telescope to look at the stars and identify constellations in the sky. You can also sometimes find planets like Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars using just your eyes. However, they will look just like bright stars in the sky without a telescope.

    Christina mentioned star parties at planetariums as another way to enjoy astronomy if you don't have a telescope. If there isn't a planetarium near you, a lot of places are now having online astronomy events. The Van Allen Observatories at the University of Iowa has some upcoming virtual astronomy events on their Facebook page. If these don't work out for you, try checking out the web sites for astronomy departments at your local college or university, or nearby museums to see if they have any upcoming virtual events that you can participate in.

    Just by participating in Solar Week you are enjoying astronomy!
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