Everybody knows about magnification. More magnification means a bigger view. But light gathering ability of a telescope is more important.
For people who are not very familiar with telescopes the magnification (or power) of a telescope seems to be an important thing. What else does a person have to go by? How much power does the telescope have? Does it magnify100 times? 250 times? 500 times?
But this number is not very important at all! For the most part and with most small telescopes you shouldn't expect to ever magnify more than 200 power. Really as simple as that. You might be able to push it a little bit further than that if you have a high quality small telescope and really dark quiet night skies.
The thing that is much more important is the light gathering power of the telescope. And this is done by the primary mirror or lens of the telescope. The bigger the mirror or lens the more light it will gather. And this will enable you to see dim objects much brighter. And to see dimmer objects that can't be seen with smaller telescopes.
So, The bigger the objective, generally the more you will see. And the brighter it will be!
These next two images give you a good sense for what this means. Both images are with the same exact magnification (power) The image on the left is with a smaller telescope. See how it is much dimmer? It appears smaller too. But this is only because the telescope can't see the lighter details on the edges of the galaxy.
These two telescope views show the M31 Andromeda Galaxy.
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