Hoping For More Clear Skies

In my last post I had talked about how I got a telescope for Christmas. Well I’ve used it a few times and it is AMAZING! I’ve been doing lots of reading on astronomy and spending a lot of time just learning as much as I can about the hobby. In case you enjoy astronomy or are looking into getting into it here is what I’ve done since I got my telescope, which is an Celestron Astromaster 114EQ (which is the telescope in the picture on the right).
Ever since I was a kid I used to just love staring up into the sky at night and looking at stars. Seeing the occasional meteor, which if you look up long enough you will be bound to catch one in the sky. On top of that if you look up long enough you will see a glowing light going across the night sky. When you’re a kid you like to think it’s a UFO, unfortunately they’re just sattelites reflecting the light… or maybe they are UFO’s (hehe)! I would take a pair of binoculars and look at the moon and see the craters larger than you ever could with the naked eye. Space is an amazing place filled with all types of things, endless views for your eyes to take in.
With a telescope the views become even more beautiful. The last few clear nights I’ve had have been freezing cold but that didn’t stop me from spending an hour or so outside looking at beautiful things like the Orion Nebulae, Sirius, Jupiter and it’s moons, and then just random stars. One of my favorite things has been the Orion Nebula. The gas clouds surrounding stars when viewed through a telescope aren’t the pretty colorful pictures you see when you look at astrophotography. They are actually just shades of gray. This isn’t a dissapointment especially if you know this going into astronomy and viewing through a telescope. It’s still more beautiful to see with your own eye in your backyard than it is to view in a picture, at least it is to me. Having the power in your own hands is wonderful. Now I just need to find a place far far far away from light pollution, which way up here in the North Country shouldn’t be too hard.
You may wonder why you can’t see these colors through a telescope, even if you have a very high powered scope, you still won’t see these colors the way you see them in photos. Well the answer is it’s physiological. Your eye is incapable of detecting color in low light. Since you’re viewing stars and nebula at night time and it’s dark in space you will not see these colors. The colors are a result of multiple pictures stacked and edited in photo editing program, and levels being adjusted. Although you can look at Saturn or Jupiter and see color because they are bright enough objects to reflect enough light into your telescope and to your eye. Galaxies and nebulae are far too dim to reflect enough light for color. Although with a strong enough telescope and the right seeing conditions you may be able to see a slight greenish colors. Below is an example of astrophotography and naked eye viewing of the Orion Nebulae (also known as M42)
Orion Nebulae, Nebula, M42
Borrowed this picture and summed up the information of why you don’t see color in your telescope from Visual Astronomy and Seeing Colors
I’m new to the whole astronomy thing and have been reading up non stop since I got my telescope. It has become extremely interesting to me to the point where, as much as I love snow, I wish the sky would clear up and the temperature would rise so I could spend more time looking into the sky. Would love to take a dive into astrophotography but there is more money and more learning involved in that so I doubt it will happen anytime soon. I will definitely be getting many years of enjoyment from this telescope and the sky above.