This is the second thread in this forum ( following the one which effectively sought experiences with resolving the gap between Saturn and it's rings ) with the main question appearing to be focused ( no pun intended ) on aperture, as opposed to magnification, the latter of which I feel to be far more pertinent to the challenge than aperture.
Although aware that not everyone ( probably very few ) could even be bothered going to the trouble of making aperture masks, it would be interesting to hear from any of those who claim to have "succesfully identified" either of these truly wondrous sights at 20x or less magnification, with the objective lenses masked down, and at what stage in the aperture reduction does the "confirmation" become marginal or negative.
Just for the record, I'm not necessary doubting any of the claimed observations, just curious.
In the case of Saturn's rings, my personal experiences over the past 20 years or so have been varied depending upon the apparent angle of tilt and general seeing conditions, but I've never positively perceived the beautiful sight so obvious at around 50x magnification through a good scope, through any of my binoculars, which "top out" at 20x90 ( effectively closer to 18x80 ).
Co-incidentally, the lowest magnification at which I feel to have "truthfully discerned" both Jupiter's EQ bands and Saturn's Rings is around 26x, through my Televue 76 with an 18mm Radian.
Although I've never tried it, I feel reasonably confident that through that particular scope/ eyepiece combo, masking down the objective to around 25mm., to yield an exit - pupil of around 1mm. ( but at the same time increasing effective focal ratio to such an extent as to effectively negate most affects of astigmatism ) would not as a result render the challenge impossible.