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    Re: CN aboard a Cessna 172
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2010 Jan 31, 22:50 -0800

    Hanno Ix, you wrote:
    "If they could make a small part of the time accessible to the public, I think it would give a big boost to Astronomy. "

    Well, but there's the Hubble problem. Most people alive today have grown up on highly processed, long-exposure photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and other major ground telescopes like the Keck (which most people also assume are Hubble images). But the view of, for example, the Orion Nebula through a huge telescope with a human eye as optical sensor is only slightly different from the view through a large backyard telescope. You don't get much improvement beyond about 12-16 inches aperture. This is connected with that issue we were talking about a year ago. Larger telescopes do not make extended objects brighter in terms of magnitudes per square arcminute. If you've seen the Orion Nebula through a big backyard telescope at 100x magnification, then you've seen very nearly how it would look through that giant scope on Palomar Mountain. It's even possible that a backyard telescope will provide a BETTER view of the Orion Nebula since so much design effort has gone into creating high-quality, and high-priced oculars for them. Still, large aperture DOES help resolve very faint stars and it might be nice to show people certain faint star-like objects --for example, I would love to see a Kuiper Belt Object other than Pluto with my own eyes.

    It's a nice drive and one helluva big telescope, and I enjoyed every minute of my visit.

    -FER
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