Observing with a big aperture scope is definitely worth it. My dad recently purchased the Orion 14″ go to model. I’m sure everybody who’s got a scope around that size has probabily looked at on telescope.com.
Last night was nearly full moon, I think it was 98% or something close. It was not a very good night for lugging out the big scope but he had just got it laser collimated with his new device. It worked good enough, the images were crisp all the way down to 8mm. We first looked at Saturn. I counted 6 moons and 3 divisions in the rings. A great view for such a crummy night. Then we looked at some open cluster in Cygnus. It normally is a star filled area but I only counted 7 stars in the cluster. Then finally, we pointed the big gun toward the moon, which was over the basketball hoop at that point. I got the first look with about 175x. It was blindingly bright as it should be. When you leave the eyepiece, you get that imprint on your retina. I can remember closing my eyes and still seeing Kepler and Copernicus. He filtered it down some, but it still hurt a lot.
It wasn’t a very good night but it was certainly memorable for some reason. By the way, my book Uranometria came just after I finished my post. It truly is the “deepest” map I have ever seen. The only drawback is that Sagittarius and Scorpio get cut off, they are considered a southern object. But in late July to August, they work their way up in the sky pretty high. Oh well, I guess that means that I’m buying the southern edition. Anyway, if you really want an advanced set of charts, buy Uranometria 2000.0. Highly recommended to the experienced amateur. Even though I have this detailed chart, I am still going to buy the “Bright Star Atlas” by Wil Tirion. It is a nice little chart that shows bright stars and bright deep space objects. For one of those nights when you don’t want to scan the skies for faint fuzzies.
Uranometria Northern and Southern Bright Star Atlas
Orion 14″ go to Scope