I compared pictures of planets taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and by a small amateur telescope. It was INSANE

Been dreaming of viewing galaxies and planets through a telescope? Well, chances are that you’ve been expecting to see something based on the cinematic imagery often provided by NASA. While this imagery is visually augmented by image processing software, the reality of Planet gazing through a telescope is quite different.

Let’s begin by acknowledging that, yes, you absolutely can view planets through a telescope; but it may be far different from what you initially expected. For starters, you’re more likely to be viewing a grainy, blurry and elongated view of the intended target than the sharp detailed images that are often released by NASA.

It is difficult to completely represent our Solar System in a way that allows readers to get a sense of the actual reality of Planet gazing through a telescope. To complete side by side real-world comparisons, we can draw a formal comparison between reality and you may expectations based on NASA's imagery. The stark difference in details and clarity highlights the fact that CGI imagery and reality are often worlds apart.

What you are likely to experience when viewing planets through a telescope is the following: The detail of the planets will almost entirely boil down to grainy patches with the brightest parts of the cloud bands shown; the colour fidelity often seen in NASA’s pictures will be minimal; and they will be limited in size (the entire planet won’t be able to fit in your eyepiece).

No matter what you may experience whilst viewing planets through a telescope, it's important to remember that even the seemingly humble view you receive at the eyepiece is incredibly special. You are, after all, looking out into space and it is a powerful reminder of our small place in the grand scheme of an ever-expanding universe.

So don’t forget, when looking through your telescope, the view from your eyepiece will be incredibly unique and special - regardless of whether it lives up to your expectations.