I have been trying to see surface features on the disk of Jupiter with my Natgeo 76/700 EQ1 but it does not appear to be too clear. So I was wondering:

  1. What kind of image I should expect from this telescope?
  2. If my experience doesn't match expectations, what are some likely reasons?

1It's a 76 mm f/9.2 Newtonian reflector

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    $\begingroup$ You can see Jupiter with the naked eye! See deepskywatch.com/Articles/what-can-i-see-through-telescope.html for ideas of what level of detail you can see. This is "small and cheap". $\endgroup$
    – James K
    Nov 7, 2022 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ What are the focal lengths of the eyepieces that you've tried using? Also I'm not familiar with that telescope - is it a refractor or a reflector? $\endgroup$
    – Aaron F
    Nov 7, 2022 at 18:43
  • $\begingroup$ @RudraSingh Welcome to Astronomy SE! I've made some edits to clarify your question and to address some of the comments. I'm pretty sure that by "See Jupiter" you mean visually resolve features on the planet. The short answer is that we just can't expect to see that much through a small telescope to begin with, and atmospheric effects (depending on time of night, weather, etc.) can make things even worse. While seeing the surfaces of planets is often the first reason we buy telescopes, there are a lot of other interesting things better suited to small telescopes. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Nov 7, 2022 at 22:15
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    $\begingroup$ It a reflector telescope, has a clear aperture of 75.2 mm, focal length of 694.2 mm, Barlow is 3x $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2022 at 3:36
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    $\begingroup$ The lenses have a focal length of 8 mm, 12.5 mm and 30 mm. $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2022 at 3:36

2 Answers 2


You can see some large details

With a 76mm scope and a decent eyepiece you should be able to see the bands of Jupiter, the Great Red Spot (if it's rotated to the side facing us), and the Galilean moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede, Callisto). The moons will be points of light like stars, but you'll be able to see their positions with respect to Jupiter as they orbit.

You will need decent 'seeing' (not too much atmospheric turbulence) and an eyepiece that gives you enough magnification if you want to see the bands or the GRS. It will help if Jupiter is very high in the sky. The surface details will be quite faint and may be difficult to see because of low contrast on a small inexpensive scope.

The Galilean moons are your best bet for first observation. Galileo discovered the moons with a primitive 26mm scope.


Nobody can see the surface of Jupiter, or Saturen, or Uranus, or Neptune.

Jupiter has no surface. the Atmosphere of Jupiter just gets denser and denser with depth until it beceomes denser than the center of the Earth, without having any solid surface layer.

What looks like the surface of jupiter in photos is actually a more or less opague cloud layer in the upper atmosphere.

You can see Jupiter as a very bright dot in the sky without a telescope or binoculars.

With binoculars you should be able to see jupiter as a tiny bright circle in the sky instead of a dot. And probably also a few tiny specks of light beside Jupiter. Those specks of light will be the four large moons of Jupiter. And you should be able to watch them move relative to Jupiter and each other from night to night.

With a telescope Jupiter will look bigger, depending on the focus and mangification settings. You might be able to see the colored bands in Jupiter's atmopshere and maybe the Great Red Spot. And the four main moons will look much brighter.

And more experienced amateur observers will be able to tell you more about wha tyu could see.


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