What does Saturn look like in a small telescope? That is the most popular item on my blog – the place more people go to than any other!
So, here are photos of Saturn, as well as Venus and Mars, all taken on two nights – May 18th and 19th, 2012, all except one, through my 8-inch dobsonian (reflector) telescope.
If you look at the photo before you click on it (unless you have a wide-screen and you’re looking close-up), it’s how Saturn looks in a small telescope.
Then click and you’ll get an idea of what Saturn looks like in a large telescope. (You may have to hit the ‘back’ button to get back to the post.) This is a snapshot, unprocessed. Your view through a large scope will be a bit larger with more details, with Saturn’s faint cloud belts, a thin gap splitting the ring in two and Saturn’s brightest moon, Titan nearby.
Here’s a shot over-brightening Saturn to get an image of Titan, faint, to the lower left. It’s more obvious in the eyepiece.
Here’s Venus, now visible low in the west, right after sunset.
Almost any binoculars or telescope will show Venus as a tiny crescent, looking like a miniature crescent moon. First the view through my 9 power finder scope, Venus at the bottom of the frame. I took this photo I took with my Canon XS held up to the eyepiece. The thick black lines are the cross hairs in the finder scope. Here’s Venus taken through the telescope with the Canon XS attached directly to the scope (“prime focus”). This is the same way I took the photo of Saturn, above. Notice how much larger Venus looks. Venus is smaller than Saturn, but it’s much closer.
Venus will get lower in the sky each night in May, with a slimmer crescent each night, but larger from end to end by a little bit each night.
Now for comparison, here is Mars, taken the same way. Mars is smaller than Venus and further away, so it’s tiny, even in a large telescope. Details are hard to see, except perhaps at high power and with a steady sky.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of planets through my scopes.