I have a telescope I bought at Wal-Mart one year after it was marked down. Apparently telescopes weren’t big Christmas gifts that year. Like most cheap telescopes its tripod isn’t as sturdy as I’d like it but the optics aren’t too bad. I confess it doesn’t get a lot of use primarily because of my schedule. I get up at 5:00 AM so about the time it gets dark I’m ready for or possibly already in bed.
On NPR the other day (might have been “Earth-Sky” they mentioned that Jupiter was currently the second brightest object in the sky and was near the moon. They also mentioned that with a “backyard telescope” one should be able to see some of its moons pass in front of Jupiter.
In my humble opinion, a Wal-Mart telescope bought on closeout should qualify as a “backyard” telescope, so I believe I’m ready. I dug the telescope out of the closet and tried last night, but Jupiter (which I had spotted earlier in the evening) was too low on the horizon and was blocked by the trees in the neighborhood. I plan on trying again tonight, so we’ll have to see how that works.
This image courtesy NASA at http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap090723.html
Wish me luck.