August 6, 2022

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What is the Best Lunar Telescope?

Originally published September 14, 2012 LPOD-Sep14-12.jpg
image by Morgan Wood

Recently I was asked for a recommendation for a great lunar telescope. Fortunately there are many good answers because a variety of different telescopes provide excellent views. LPOD has data that could quantitatively answer that question based on the 365 great lunar images published each year. I don't have time to extract that information but do have some general observations. Small aperture APO refractors have produced excellent global and regional mosaics. The most amazing closeup images tend to come from 16"-18" newtonians with high quality mirrors, specifically ones made by Zambuto. Very few LPODs came from Meade telescopes but Celestron 9.5" and 11" scopes seem to frequently provide great images. Very few LPOD images were taken with high end refractors such as Astro-Physics, TMB, Takahashi - their owners seem to be satisfied dominating DSO imaging. Russian telescopes of 6-8" aperture - Intes and Tal - often produce much better images than expected from their size. Of course, only a few masters seem to be able to coax the highest quality from any of these instruments, as many folks who own the same scopes and camera sadly know. This is a topic where every observer has some experience. What is the best lunar scope (other than LRO)? My best ever lunar views were with a 5" Intes Mak-Newtonian. My new refractor shown above has such excellent contrast that it shows more than its 4" aperture would suggest. What is your experience?

Chuck Wood

Yesterday's LPOD: Seeing in the Dark

Tomorrow's LPOD: Interplanetary Ballooning


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