Market Power

Musings by an academic economist on the power of markets and the power over markets.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Telescope Images

Wednesday's Wall Street Journal hasan article about telescopes. I haven't been able to access the online version of the article so I don't have an address for you. Anyways, the moral of the story is as follows: caveat emptor. The telescope that you are getting in that box will help you see that object colorfully depicted on that box, but it will not help you see it with the colors and the clarity that you see on the box.

For example, M42, the great nebula in Orion, is visible to the naked eye. Here's a picture of it from the Astronomy Picture of the Day from September 27th, 2004:

Colorful pictures like this are composites of several different time-exposures taken through color filters to highlight different elements, such as hydrogen, that exist in the cloud. The images are also very purty. The images are then put together, these days with programs such as Adobe Photoshop, into striking images. But through many telescopes, it looks like mostly like a white, whispy, featureless cloud, and will be a disappointing view to many.

Unfortunately, some people have sued telescope makers for false advertising.