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Posted by Daniel Johnson on May 21, 2003 11:43:49 UTC

It is now possible to use amateur scopes to make photos of planets showing more detail than can be seen with the eye alone--dozens or hundreds of frames are averaged digitally, with web cameras or ordinary digital cameras being the devices used. However, I have seen the Red Spot many times. I have seen the shadow of Io as a crisp, round disk on the face of Jupiter, with the moons themselves just barely spherical (as opposed to point-like) on the very best nights (they are at the lower end of size for visible spherical shape with amateur scopes of 8 inches or larger). The Cassini division of Saturn's rings is easily visible, and at times a subtle band or two on the planet itself is there.
By the way, don't buy your scope from a local dealer. Either or will give you good service, friendly advice, and a much lower price.
Get a scope of 8 or 10 inch aperture if you can afford it. See my recent posts on this topic in the miscellaneous (general) category of this forum. I personally take some very nice photos of Jupiter with my 10-inch Meade LX200 GPS.

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