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How to buy a telescope

After looking at the high resolution versions of the 200 megapixel view of the Pinwheel Galaxy taken by the Hubble Space Telescope


and seeing the effects of light pollution on urban skies - as an example compare these two images taken during and after the 2003 Eastern North America Blackout:

I have concluded that for looking at the stars the best view can be obtained not with any telescope which you can buy in a store, but simply by buying a computer and getting a fast internet connection.

Trying to see the details of constellations and other cosmic wonders through a backyard telescope is rather like producing an international news broadcast by walking around with your video camera. Doing so might be fun, but the results are not comparable to what you can find simply by googling for a few minutes.

Thanks to the "Bad Astronomer", Phil Plait for pointing me to the image of the Pinwheel Galaxy.


Comments (1)

I will tell you though that looking through a nice instrument on a moonless night high in the Rockies can't be beat for all out awe. Stepping away from the scope and simply looking up at billions of visible objects does it for me.

Hubble can do better of course, but actually "feeling" the sky can't be replaced by a hi-res image.

BTW the Robotic Servicing Mission may come back if STS desn't get going soon. We wrote a winning proposal and all the hardware is still lying in the hi-bay ready to be assembled.

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