Tumbleweed Observatory's

Astronomy Hints




Simulated Views of Jupiter with Different Size Telescopes

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The Public Domain Jupiter Image was Supplied by NASA/NSSDC
This Site Not Endorsed by NASA

Note: The images in the below illustration are bigger than actually seen through a telescope, but give a sense of the details seen through the respective instrument. As telescope size is decreased, less detail is apparent, and image size for given focal ratio is reduced.

Notice also that with small aperture telescopes, the image of Jupiter appears mostly in shades of gray, with more color being apparent as the telescope aperture increases. The reason for this is that the detail acuity of the human eye is more sensitive than the color detection. Until there's enough intensity in the image to sufficiently stimulate the color detection mechanism of the eye, the perceived result is a gray object. As telescope aperture increase, the light intensity of the image increases, causing enough stimulus for the eye to perceive color.

Other factors enter in to viewing clarity, such as atmospheric turbulence, telescope focal ratio, and secondary size.