As your stargazing knowledge grows, you might want to invest in a piece of optical equipment. This will help you to enjoy more detailed views of the night sky. A good size binocular or telescope will subsequently allow you to see bright images of astronomical objects within our solar system. As well as other interesting objects found in deep space.
For those starting out in astronomy binoculars will likely prove more useful than a telescope. A good 10×50 binocular or above will allow you to see the Moon, planets, delicate star clusters, bright galaxies and nebula. The first number refers to 10 times magnification, and the second to a 50mm aperture. They can, however, weigh more than 800 grams so you might want to use stability support. Advantages of binoculars include being relatively inexpensive and highly portable. A wide field of view will also make objects easier to find. In addition, right-side-up images will provide more natural stargazing views.
Telescopes are less portable and more expensive than binoculars. However, a good quality 4″ reflector or 3.1 inches (80 mm) refractor will allow for much greater levels of detail when observing night sky objects. Within our solar system, you will be able to see mountains and craters on the Moon, Mars’ polar cap and dust storms. As well as Saturn‘s rings, and Jupiter’s Galilean moons. Objects further afield will also be brought into view, such as deep space star clusters, galaxies and nebulae. Before buying a telescope, though, you might want to first read this linked article. It will help you decide which telescope is better suited for your stargazing purposes.
A tripod or stand supports the telescope. Once the finder scope pinpoints objects for viewing, the telescope then moves along in a curved line so as to track their motion through the night sky. This process used to be done by hand. However, it has now become much simpler with the introduction of computerized telescopes using GPS and a motor to do most of the work. Other telescope optical equipment accessories include eye-pieces, filters, dew shields, star charts and planispheres.