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First view of Jupiter last night

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Not really a question but I had to share this.

SWMBO felt I needed a new project so gave me an Explorer 130P a couple of days ago. I matched it up to an EQ5 Goto (thanks FLO) and tried the combination out for the first time last night.

First what didn't go well...

  1. Polar align failed badly, as it was dark I couldn't make out any of the markings on the polar scope reticule and wasn't even sure if any of the stars visible through the polarscope was Polaris :)
  2. I tried a 2 Star alignment, and was disappointed when the mount stopped skewing 20-30 degrees off both Vega and Mizar. Looks like I have a lot to learn!

This all paled to a distant memory though when I finally centered the scope on Jupiter, WOW! :p Using the 10mm Standard eyepiece and the skywatcher 2x barlow I was able to get a good view of the bands and at least 3 moons (maybe 4 but that might have been a star).

Initial reactions...

  • Didin't expect it to be so bright, possibly too bright to get a good view.
  • Focus is VERY sensitive, will have to work on my steady hand.
  • GOTO mount performed an excellent job of tracking it once centred.

Now - what to try tonight!


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As a newbie to this I was amazed at Jupiter last night too.

I borrowed a friend's scope and it was already dark when I got it home. Probably committed a cardinal sin but assembled it and didn't really carry out any alignment at all and managed to locate Jupiter after a while. I could clearly see two bands and I think maybe 4 moons (but as Mcwill said ... these could have been stars!).

I'm now reading through the instruction manual to learnm how to do this properly, but guess I'm like a kid with a new toy and no patience!

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FYI you can check on which moons are where in Stellarium.

Good point, I do have it installed, one sec......

[Keyboard tapping and muffled cursing from stage left]

.... Yep only three moons, Io was hidden at the time of viewing.

Thanks for the pointer,


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Tried again last night and this time the mount performed perfectly :p

I set the mount up in the garden whilst it was still light and levelled it off with the built in bubble. Come twilight I could start to make out Polaris so was then able to centre the polar scope quite easily. (So much easier when there is only one visible star)

Then it was a case of attach the scope and wait for dark. I decided I wanted a fresh start so performed a factory reset and started a three star alignment... Much better, the scope was slewing close to target as opposed to 30 degrees out, successful alignment and we were off stargazing, tell the scope to goto an object and it would, hitting it bang on :)

Something else we tried for the first time was Sky Safari on the iPad controlling the scope, this also worked well but I didn't get much time with it. My 12 year old daughter commandeered it and was happily deciding what to look at next and pointing the scope all over the sky! Although I did wrest control back long enough to point at Andromeda, that was impressive.


(slowly getting there)

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