Magnificent "Voyager of the Moons" GIF from Cassini's images from Jupiter and Saturn

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We are but specks.


And likewise we are The One. Isn’t it swell? :star_struck:

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Can’t get it to run. I think the ads in the page are screwing it up.

Wish boing boing had an ad free subscription model. I don’t want to deny then income, but I’m going to have to start using ad blockers soon.

My first impression of Titan was: that’s gotta be a faked depth of field effect–a blurry still, sliding over a still of Saturn. But then, I realized Titan is much smaller than the Earth, but has an surface atmospheric pressure 1.5 times higher than Earth’s and over 7 times the amount of atmospheric mass per surface area, so the blurriness makes sense after all.


This is nice, but if you haven’t already please look at Jupiter’s moons transiting across the face of Jupiter through a telescope, which happens most nights. Even a small scope, because the fun thing is somehow not that you see the moons themselves (or know which ones they are), it’s seeing the little circular shadows they cast on Jupiter. Nice little space-frisson.


How many times magnification would you suggest? Any Amazon links to a quality “starter-model?” I’ve been wanting to do just such stuff for a while now. TIA!

I have an older model Celestron Dobsonian with an 8 inch aperture. But there are lots of different kinds and sizes of scopes out there. I’d recommend reading up on the subject so you can get a scope you’ll be able to use. Dobsonians, for instance, are bigger and can be unwieldy and maybe hard to find good storage space for; at the other end of the size spectrum some people use tabletop scopes or binoculars. Plus, there’s tech to think about in terms of finding objects, etc.

There are lots of astronomy sites, but a good start would be Sky and Telescope. They have a helpful, informative site and regularly feature articles about purchasing a first scope, as well as listing viewing info/time frames for phenomena such as transit times for Jupiter’s moons:


Needs more Blue Danube.


It was only an 8" Cassegrain that took those images. Of course it matters where you set up your rig…

Fun fact: the gentleman that polished those mirrors also polished the corrective optics for the Hubble.



Just to add to what Spizilla said. What matters most is the amount of light getting in. Generally, any reflector under 6" is a toy, and any refractor under 4" is a toy. Dont get tricked by a telescope that advertises how much it magnifies (525x magnification!). Without enough light coming in your magnified image will be too dim. It’s easy to swap in a higher power lens.

Dobsonians are good for viewing because the mounts are simple and cheap, but they’re crap for talking photos of anything other than bright planets since you cant do long exposures. Equatorial mounts are what you need for photos of deep space objects but they cost a lot more. Reflecting telescopes are cheaper than refractors for the same size aperture.

If you’re starting out and just want to get great eyeball images of planets and galaxies then a 6" newtonian reflector with a dobsonian mount is a good low-ish cost option. A 6" newtonian with an equatorial mount is better if you need to store it easily-ish or want to take decent photos. Also, get an eyepiece with a large eye relief so you dont strain to see the image.

Christmas is coming so the stores will be flooded with junk telescopes shortly. Caveat emptor.


At this point, it should be György Ligeti’s Atmosphères, I think.

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