What Can You See with a 6, 8, 10 & 12-inch Dobsonian Telescope

What Can You See with a 6, 8, 10, and 12 inch Dobsonian Telescope?

Imagine you are in your backyard with your telescope. Frustrated for not being able to see the stars clearly enough, you just tell yourself :

Could I see more if I had a bigger telescope? In reality, what you are really asking is: 

What can you see with a 6, 8, 10, and 12 inch Dobsonian telescope?

And long story short : 

You can easily watch the moon with a 6-inch Dobsonian telescope. However, if you want to view the clusters in great detail, then 12 inches is going to be better. In the end, it comes down to what exactly you want to see. Also, you need to consider where you are going to gaze from. 

Mythbusting : Bigger Size Doesn’t Mean You Can See Further

There is a rumor that bigger lenses result in better views. In reality, it is far from the truth. 

The most important factor, in this case, is the place. To get the best view with your telescope, you need an unobstructed sky. You can never enjoy the vast space by stargazing from the city. Light pollution, heat, and humidity will always get in the way.

Therefore, even a small telescope can give you the experience of a lifetime if the sky is right! On the other hand, you can spend several thousand bucks and still have a hard time seeing the moon.

Let’s Get into the Main Part

We all have the knack for observing the vast sky. When it comes to using a telescope, we like to see 3 things. Those are 

  • Objects within our solar system (moon, planets, asteroids etc)
  • Stars 
  • Celestial bodies (galaxies, clusters etc)

Now let us find out how much of it we can see.

What Can You See with a 6 inch Dobsonian Telescope?

Because of the small focal length, people often ask Is a 6 inch telescope good?

The answer is yes. A 6-inch telescope is good enough for daily use. Despite having a focal length of 1500mm, it has a decent aperture. You can see the objects within our solar system pretty easily. Plus, you get to see faint stars and clusters. This is the most budget-friendly telescope that will get your job done. 

So how much of the dark space becomes visible to you?

Within the Solar System

You can easily see the lunar domes and other features less than 3 km across. The details of the Moon will be clear as daylight. 

Here is a picture of the Moon from a 6-inch Dobsonian :

Source: telescopetobuy.com

However, to take things to the next level, you should consider taking a filter or two. With just an extra investment, you can get 5x sharper details. 

And if luck’s on your side, you can even see the surface features of Mars along with the belt of Jupiter. Here are some of our recommended filters to use with the 6” telescope-

ProductReasonPrice
Celestron 94105 Neutral Density Moon Filter 1.25″, Black This filter is basically the minimum budget one. It won’t hurt your wallet that much but you’ll understand the magic of filters.  Check Price
Orion 05662 1.25-Inch 13 Percent Transmission Moon Filter (Black), SingleThis filter is for you if you’re convinced to shed some extra cash while getting that 5x sharpness.Check Price
Celestron Omni 2X Barlow LensThis one’s a bit on the high end. But, if you want something that’s really versatile, this is the one to go with. Check Price

Stars

You can possibly see some faint stars from 13 magnitudes or more. For example, you can see the Proxima Centauri; our closest star shining 4.25 lightyears away.  

Source : Wikimedia.org

The telescope will also capture some of the closest brown dwarfs. Such as stars in the Luhman 16 system. 

Deep Sky Objects

You can witness faint details of star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies with your 6-inch Dobsonian. The Hyades cluster is one of them. 

By adjusting the angles a bit, you can even see the M81 group. For those who don’t know it’s a big open cluster that’s only 11 million light-years away. 

What Can You See with a 8 inch Dobsonian Telescope?

Here is a better version of the 6 inch Dobsonian. You can get more aperture through this. Thus, things become brighter and more clear. From surface details of Mars to the local superclusters, you can see them all. Moreover, you can see the Triangulum Galaxy (M33), Leo I, and NGC 6822 are some of the clusters with this 8-inch telescope.

Within the Solar System

The solar system becomes more visible with an 8-inch Dobsonian telescope. Lunar features less than 3 km across will be much more clear. 

The belt of Jupiter through 8-inch Dobsonian is much more noticeable. The flowing gaseous pattern of Jupiter is perfectly clear with this telescope. Plus, you can vaguely see the volcanic mountains of Mars with this telescope.  

Stars

Here It’s easy to see stars that are more than 100 million light-years away. Moreover, stars hitting below 14.5 magnitudes are super visible with the 8 inches. 

Barnard’s stars, Sirius, Wolf 359 are some of the notable stars you can easily see. Under good weather conditions, you can also notice the flare stars in the Wolf system.   

Deep Sky Objects

Globular clusters, nebulae, and galaxies are much more visible in this telescope. This telescope can brighten the faint celestial objects at low to medium power. For this, you can enjoy the amazing bright nebulae from a dark site. 

What Can You See with a 10 inch Dobsonian Telescope?

A 10-inch Dobsonian telescope has an aperture of 254mm. So, more lights are coming in and you can explore the space more. 

Within the Solar System

People often ask, How good is a 10 inch Dobsonian telescope?

Simply put, the 10-inch Dobsonian is the best telescope for beginners and professionals. Details on the Moon become clear as daylight. You can observe the marks and rilles on the moonless than 2km across. If you are lucky, you can see many faint comets and asteroids.

Also, much more of Jupiter’s cloud belts become visible. Because this telescope has higher magnification, it can capture sharp planetary images. You can even see the ring split of Saturn through 10-inch Dobsonian!

Stars

Even while living in the city, you can expect to see the bright stars with this telescope. Stars of magnitude 12.8 and fainter become much more clear. Double stars with a 0.5 arc-second separation become noticeable. And finally, images from a 10-inch Dobsonian come out pretty good.

Deep Sky Objects

With the 10 inch Dobsonian, you can see some of the brightest quasars in the sky. 

For example, 3C 273 in the constellation of Virgo.

Source: alchetron.com

Moreover, galaxies like Hercules A, Abell 2261, and ESO 306-17 are all visible. If you are lucky, you may also see the biggest galaxy IC 1101. 

We recommend using a star chart. If you are new to stargazing, you’ll probably find yourself lost with all those options out there. So, before buying anything based on a hunch, you should seek out some opinions about quality sky atlases.

A good sky atlas can save you hours of time. Basically, you’ll learn to find the right constellation and clusters easily.  

What Can You See with a 12 inch Dobsonian Telescope?

12″ Dobsonian telescope comes with a big price tag. But you will definitely enjoy what you will get to see. 

Within the Solar System

If you want to observe the planets in great detail, this can be your go-to telescope. 12-inch Dobsonian telescope images are really high quality. The 3048mm focal length even allows you to capture Neptune’s moon. You can also view significant details of Jupiter through a 12-inch telescope.

Stars

A 10-inch telescope can show you bright stars that are more than 100 million light-years away. A 12 inch one can increase that number 3 or 4 fold. You can see stars at ease even if you are in the suburbs. 

Deep Sky Objects

Under dark skies, this telescope can illustrate almost all the Messier globulars. You can expect to see clusters that are 300 million light-years away. 

Such as the Coma Cluster. You can also see the Andromeda galaxy through a 12-inch telescope. The details and spiral flow of Andromeda will be clear as daylight. 

Moreover, you will definitely be surprised to see the Orion nebula through a 12-inch telescope.

So, Which One Should You Get?

It’s okay to be confused at this point. So, we’ve made a chart for your ease. This chart explains which one you’d get the most value for the money. The ratings show how clearly you can see with different telescopes.  So, let’s take a look-

Sight Ratings for Different Lens Sizes

Objects6”8”10”12”
Moon4.5/55/55/55/5
Mars3.5/54/55/55/5
Jupiter3.5/54/55/55/5
Saturn3.5/54/55/55/5
Galaxies2/53/54/55/5
Nebulae2/53/54/55/5
Clusters2/53/54/55/5

FAQs

Is a 12 inch telescope worth it?

Absolutely, if you are thinking of taking stargazing seriously. Although it is heavier than their cousin, you can watch more with it. Many professional astrophotographers use this telescope to take pictures of the giant clusters. As for space exploration, nothing can beat this within the price range. 

What size Dobsonian should I get?

It depends on your choice. Do you camp out a lot? Then going for something lightweight would be better. So the 6inch dobsonian is perfect for you. If you are new to stargazing but want to see clusters? Then going for the 10-inch dobsonian is wiser. 

Are Dobsonian telescopes good for viewing planets?

The answer is yes. Because the dobsonian is a reflecting telescope, it captures light very well. You can definitely see more than planets with this.  It is also easier to use than the typical reflector telescope.

Conclusion

So, if someone ever asks you, what can you see with a 6, 8, 10 and 12 inch dobsonian telescope?

You can just tell them that they can see almost anything. Whether it is astrophotography or simply gazing, any dobsonian will get it done. However, do remember what we said before. 

Telescope quality or size won’t matter if your sky environment isn’t clear. So, before buying anything, make a plan for that.

Good luck. Happy Stargazing.

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