60mm Telescopes Can Be Fun

As a kid, your first telescope was probably given to you as a gift and was probably a 60mm telescope. The ones you can buy at any local department store where everything you need comes all packaged right in the same box. They are inexpensive and easy to set up. You didn’t know it then but someone just handed you your first hobby. And you though it was cool for a while but then it got shoved to the back of the closet and forgotten about.

Well, if you still have it, take it out and start using it again. There are many wondrous things you can see in the night sky with these 60mm telescopes.

Start with rediscovering the moon. The moon has hundreds of craters and mountain ranges you can refamiliarize yourself with. Get yourself a good map of the moon so you can explore it and compare what you see through the telescope to the picture of the moon on the map.

You will also be able to see some of the bigger planets like Jupiter and even the four biggest moons of Jupiter. Named for Galileo’s four sons they are called Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. You can actually watch them orbit Jupiter if you are patient and watch long enough. It would be cool to see the big red spot on Jupiter also. Scientists and astronomers say it is a storm that has lasted many, many years. Maybe even thousands of years.

Saturn and it’s rings can easily be seen through the viewfinder and, if you have a higher magnification eyepiece, you can see some details on Saturn like the Cassini Division and Titan, Saturn’s biggest moon. Titan is bigger than the earth’s moon and the planet Mercury.

The planet Mars is visible through your telescope as well as the planet Venus but, even though they are closer to the planet Earth they are smaller in size than Jupiter or Saturn and so the details you can see are minimal. If the viewing conditions are optimal you may see Mars’ polar ice caps and Venus is just one big gaseous cloud.

Also, with optimal viewing conditions, stars and star clusters like The Pleiades can be seen through your telescope. If you know where they are in the sky then you won’t have a problem. If you don’t have a clue then get a star chart or download a star program onto your computer. A good one will allow you to enter your location and then give you a picture of the sky in your area so it is easier to find what you are looking for.

You probably don’t know you can also use your telescope during the day to do some birdwatching or nature viewing. Wildlife preserves sometimes have a viewing platform so you can set your 60mm telescopes up on a tripod to help keep them steady while you watch the wildlife around you and maybe get some amazing pictures, too.