Friday night, on a whim, I pointed my old and semi-cheapo Tasco birding scope at Saturn, and was unprepared for the clarity of the disc and rings. The scope, when deployed at maximum zoom to observe a territorial subject, displays bleeding and dimess, refractory halos around discrete subjects. So I tend to not use it at max zoom for looking at the mountains and so forth.

It’s a useful adjunct for nighttime astronomical observations, because:

  • it has a relatively wider field of view than the finderscope on the Meade
  • it needs to be used on a tripod
  • it shows astronomical objects in natural orientation, not inverted, as is the case with the Meade
  • it is capable of higher magnification than my binoculars (x50 vs x60)

So on Saturday, I geared up and got the big glass on Saturn proper. As is my tradition, I took absurdly poor pictures through the viewfinder, which I have not uploaded yet.

I was able to verifiably observe Saturn, rings in essence precisely edge on, Titan, and Rhea, the two largest moons. It’s possible I saw Enceladus as well.