It’s amazing to thing that that 200 years ago, thousands of deep skyobjects were found with just a basic telescope. A telescope you could buy today for $130, shipped. What’s even more amazing is when you compare the blurry black and white images to what the Hubble Telescope sees. As you can see above.
Salvatore Iovene has a nice comparison of what he sees through his 80mm Refractor, and what The Hubble sees. It’s a big difference isn’t it. Now can you imagine 200, 300 years ago, when those things were first discovered, and all they had were simple telescopes. Maybe they were able to take some long exposures with photography in the 1800s, but still nothing as clear or beautiful as Hubble.
I find that to be one of the most amazing things about all the space discoveries from prior to 1950. I have a 70mm refractor, and an 8in reflector, and I’ve seen a handful of the fun thing, but again, without long exposure, it’s all mostly just grey blobs. I don’t know how you’d be able to actually figure it out if you were just scanning the sky on your own. It’s impressive, to say the least.