Got Telescope? Binoculars?

Last night I noticed some bright planet-like things in the western sky, so I dragged the old Dobsonian telescope out of the basement for the first time in years.  The objects turned out to be Jupiter and Venus.  I’m clueless at taking photos through my telescope, but I found some examples by the talented jpstanley to give you an idea of what you can see through a normal amateur telescope:

Jupiter and its satellites
Jupiter and its satellites (photo by jpstanley)
Venus (photo by jpstanley)

Even a good pair of binoculars will show you Jupiter’s moons and Saturn’s rings, and if you catch a half-moon (when the shadows are longest), it’s one of the most rewarding sites in the night sky:

Moon (photo by jpstanley)

The next time you see a half-moon, grab your binoculars, you’ll be amazed at the detail you can see.

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