what can you see with a 12 inch dobsonian telescope

What Can You See With a 12 Inch Dobsonian Telescope?


Everyone knows about the Dobsonian telescope. They are perfect for beginning astronomers, but many experienced amateurs enjoy them. 

They are less costly and easier to use than other optics, with a stable mounting system. Cheaper doesn’t mean inferior; it can look quite further.

So, what can you see with a 12-inch Dobsonian telescope?

This gives us amazing views of Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. One can admire the planets and Moon even in cloudy skies or winter. It offers great views of star clusters. Stunning globular star clusters can be seen. Dust lanes of Andromeda galaxy show the Orion Nebula’s faint outer regions.

12-Inch Dobsonian Telescope is Capable of Seeing What?

Among the huge Dobsonian telescopes, the 12-inch model is the smallest. With a 12-inch Dobsonian telescope, even from a city’s light-polluted sky, you can see remarkable detail on Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn, 

especially in the winter months when there is a steady sky above the planets and the Moon. The terminator area of the Moon, in particular, is breathtaking.

Regarding planetary views, a 12-inch telescope offers an excellent resolution because of its large primary mirror.

Using a 12-inch telescope in the city provides excellent views of star clusters. The most stunning globular star clusters may be seen through a 12-inch telescope, even from the city or in a dark location, and both views are breathtaking.

Compared to the 8-inch and 12-inch telescopes, the 12-inch telescope catches more light when used in hills or dark places like villages. Objects in the night sky leap out of the telescope. The Orion Nebula’s faint outer parts are readily visible in the dust lanes of the Andromeda galaxy. To get the best picture of the Orion Nebula, let it float across the frame of vision without moving the telescope. 

It is possible to get a good look at some fainter Massive objects, notably M76, M97, and M61.

Brief Information About  Dobsonian Telescope

A Dobsonian telescope is widely regarded as the ideal “first telescope” for a novice astronomer. It provides the largest aperture and the best visual perspectives at a reasonable price through the eyepiece.

John Dobson popularized the Dobsonian (“Dob”) telescope in 1965. In terms of light-gathering power, it’s impressive. The altazimuth-mounted Newtonian reflector design is ideal for amateur astronomers due to its low cost and high performance.

With a curved main mirror and a secondary mirror flat, the telescope functions by reflecting light that enters the optical tube assembly. A secondary mirror illuminates Focuser and your telescope eyepiece.

Here we suggest some of the best Dobsonian telescopes for you to choose from-

Meade Instruments 1210-90-03 LX90-ACF 12-Inch
Meade Instruments 1210-60-03 12-Inch LX200

Characteristics of the Dobsonian Telescope

The following features characterize the Dobsonian design:

Altazimuth Mount

It is an instrument that rotates a telescope around two perpendicular lines (horizontal and vertical). An altazimuth telescope mount keeps the eyepiece on the side of the telescope.

It reduces telescope weight, size, and total cost. It simplifies the telescope design and makes it portable. No need to move counterweights, drive components, tripods, or pedestals when using a Dobsonian telescope with an Altazimuth mount. Placing the dob on the ground and fixing it with a clip is all it takes. 

The weight of the altazimuth mount is uniformly distributed. That’s why hitting the button smoothly moves the telescope with minimal blowback.

Having a Large Diameter Compared to Its Mass and Cost

A low ratio of mass to size can be looked at in the Dobsonian telescope. As volume and weight are assessed, the design’s structure is relatively small for any given objective diameter.

A low ratio of cost to size can also be observed. From a financial standpoint, the Dobsonian design often gives the customer a greater objective diameter per unit of an expense than other designs.

Ideal “Deep Sky” Telescope

The Dobsonian design is great for watching dim star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies (deep sky objects). Seeing these a telescope requires large objectives and transit to dark sky areas, making the design perfect for this activity.

Having Some Balance Issues

Most Dobsonian telescopes may tolerate a considerable imbalance because of the high friction in the bearings. 

Nevertheless, this friction can make it difficult to place the telescope in the desired position precisely. Counterweights may be attached behind the mirror box to counterbalance the imbalance.

Advantages of Using Dobsonian Telescope

Dobsonian telescopes provide numerous advantages. Because of these, the product became its users’ favorite and offered many benefits.

Having Large Aperture

Dobsonian telescopes provide the largest aperture compared to other telescopes at the best price. The crack of a telescope is the opening where light enters. The telescope collects more light as the aperture increases. 

The outcome is brighter and crisper photos. They are cheaper to make as they use mirrors instead of glass. That’s how they improve their telescope’s specs.

Great for Planetary Observation

The huge aperture of the Dobsonian telescope collects light reflected from the planets, making the image brighter and clearer. This telescope allows you to look further. 

Dobsonians, more sensitive to atmospheric disturbances, require regular “planet viewing.” Beautiful planets and their moons will be visible in the clear sky.

Easy to Use

A Dobsonian telescope is simple to use. Place them on the viewing site, check their collimation, choose your eyepiece, and point the telescope at the planet you want to see.

No cables, power source, polar alignment, or complicated software setup is required. Beginner astronomers choose it for these reasons.

Not Suffering from Image Distortion

All the lights entering the aperture should be collected to enjoy a bright and sharp image. Telescopes using lenses suffer because of chromatic aberration.

Dobsonian uses mirrors instead of lenses to reflect light. This means the wavelength of the spectrum is the same at the same time. It results in the desired image you want to see.

Disadvantages of the Dobsonian Telescope

It, like any other element, has its drawbacks. Here, we explain them.

Big Size

The large size of the telescope makes it difficult to move. It’s not the telescope you can pick up and go. If you wish to move it, your vehicle must have enough space. 

Also, lifting 45 pounds of equipment to move it may not be something you want to do after a long day.

Not Suitable for Astrophotography

An altazimuth mount is used in classic Dobsonians and can’t be used for astrophotography. If you want to shoot long exposure photos with your DSLR, you need a tracking mount that allows you to do so.

 As the Earth rotates, a motorized equatorial is essential for astrophotography. Without it, your photographs would be sprinkled with stars.

That’s all we had to say. I hope it was useful.


Is a 12-inch telescope good?

12-inch Telescopes resolution is a lot better for their size. It can see double stars in the sky about 38 arcseconds apart. They can also be magnified up to 610 times what the human eye can see.

What size Dobsonian should a beginner get?

Getting an 8-inch Dobsonian telescope should be ideal for the beginner. It has a large aperture, is easy to use, and is very portable.

Why are Dobsonian telescopes so cheap?

They are less expensive than other telescopes with the same power and aperture size because they have a simple construction consisting of a tube, a set of lenses, and a basic mount.


If you’ve made it this far, we sincerely appreciate your attention. In this article, we tried to explain what you can see with a 12-inch Dobsonian telescope. I hope now you know about its capabilities.

Good luck!

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