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Posted by Bob Sal on June 12, 2001 18:01:11 UTC

Hi Bret;
First let me say nothing will look like the pictures you see. Most pictures are taken with huge scopes and long exposures, especially the deep sky stuff. Next when an item is low to the horizon your looking through quite a bit of atmosphere which will degrate the image. Even when a planet is high you still have to wait for thoes "Moments of Clarity" when the atmosphere settles down for a moment and you get a clear clean view for a second or two. That's when you'll see amazing details. Most of the time in a 5" scope you'll see 2 or 3 bands on the globe of Jupiter and you'll always see the moons. You wont see any color to speak of. Double stars with a wide color difference will show a little color but it's very subtel. Higher magnification will not help. It will make the planets look big, but it dulles the image a little,so it's a trade off. Of course a bigger scope will be better. There's plenty to see out there even with a 3" telescope. All 110 (if you count M101 twice) Messier objects a visible with the 5" scope. Many NGC's are also quite visible in a 5". Doubles stars, plenty. This is a hobbie of subtle beauty. I've explained to many people what they about to see in my eyepiece. There are only 2 responses. Like you, some look and say, "That! That's it! That smudge! That Dot! Oh Brother!" and are disappointed. The others go," Woooo, look at that! I can see it! Unbelievable! Amazing! What else? What's next?" and go home having a whole new universe opened up to them. Don't be disappointed with what you can't see, enjoy what you can see. A 10" Dob will run you about $600. That will give you great views of thousands of objects. A 12" will be way better. Contact you local Astronomy club, get out to a star party and check out the scopes there. People usually want to show off their equipment and are more than willing to let you have a look. That's the best advise I can give you. See for yourself what people are using, looking at, and lugging around where ever they go. Clear skies.
That's it;
BOB SAL

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