Ever seen Saturn in a telescope?
Aw, heck. This was supposed to be a blog post about the beauty and "real-ness" of seeing an actual planet in your own backyard with a cheap-o telescope from a flea market, but I'm no poet. I'm not good enough with words. My point was going to be, "We spend hundreds of hours in the Internet, reading words about reality instead of experiencing it. We've seen thousands of images of Saturn in our lives, but it's easy to forget it's a real giant encircled ball millions of miles away. We all ought to buy a telescope, just a tube with a few glass lenses inside, plant it in our driveway, and crouch on our knees late at night to see Saturn for ourselves."
If you're reading this in June, 2011, Saturn is the only planet reasonable to see at night; everything else is sort of clustered near the sun, early in the morning.
Anyhow, in our little 2" or 3" scope, Saturn looked like a tiny yellow O with a line through it, like a letter of some Scandinavian novel held out at arm's-length. Using our imaginations it looked like this:
Anyhow, if you have the chance to grab a decent 3" refractor on a tripod, pick one up!