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I am investigating purchasing my first telescope, wanting portability, and am looking at the Meade ETX 90PE. I noticed in reviewing your site that you mention several times aperature, not power of magnification, should be a checklist item when considering a telescope. I saw in the spec sheet for this telescope that the maximum useful magnification is 250x. I also read in backyard skywatching books that the maximum power any telescope can deliver is 50 x the aperature in inches; exceed this limit and the picture gets fuzzy and faint. If that statement is true, then 50x3.5=175. What am I not understanding here? How is this telescope able to overcome the range of 175-250?
There are many other factors than just the aperture that affect the maximum power that a scope can handle. The most important factor is the atmosphere. It is very rare that you will get a clear and still enough day to observe at 200x or higher and still have a good image. 175x to 200x is a good area to atay at or below with your scope.