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Word Count: 484
The View Through a Telescope The Moon is by far the most dramatic target for any new telescope An alien landscape fills your eyepiece field with the same stark craters and mountains the Apollo astronauts skimmed over 25 years ago Even a small telescope working at 100 power can show you the Moon as it would appear from a spaceship orbiting a few thousand miles above the lunar surface Each night the view changes as sunlight creeps across the Moon to reveal new moonscapes emerging from the deep lunar shadows The planets being much farther away reveal their features only under careful examination At 100 to 150 power Jupiter shows itself as a flattened globe crossed by several dark cloud bands With a trained eye you can begin to pick out changes in the Jovian cloud structures from week to week even night to night In some years Jupiters famous Red Spot storm shows up as a pale pink oval in the southern hemisphere And as an added attraction Jupiters four large moons shuttle back and forth from one side of Jupiter to the other changing positions noticeably even within a few minutes Mars is an elusive world seen at its best only every two years For a few weeks during its biennial close approaches to Earth Mars appears as a small reddish world in the eyepieces of telescopes around the world Amateurs everywhere scan the Martian globe following the changing polar caps and subtle dark markings that were once thought to be fields of vegetation blooming in the deserts of Mars Venus with its perpetual cover of cloud shows only its changing phases through Earthbound telescopes But Saturn more than makes up for the elusiveness of Mars and the featureless disk of Venus If there were no object in the sky other than Saturn it would still be worth owning a telescope Even at low power its rings are plainly visible
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