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Glenn Chaple's observing basics: Clearing the air about seeing vs. transparency

November 2008: Read this and you'll understand what keeps you from seeing celestial objects clearly.
Susan bought a telescope. Not just any fly-by-night model, mind you, but an expensive, high-tech instrument. On the first cloudless night, she aimed the scope at Jupiter, peered into the eyepiece, focused, and … ack! What's this? All she saw was an undulating blob of light. Susan was understandably frustrated and considered returning the telescope for a refund.

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