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First proper look at Jupiter + Orion Nebula


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Up until now I've only seen Jupiter late at night as it comes over the rooftops and with it low in the horizon the viewing hasn't been great. So wanting a better look, I set the alarm for stupid o'clock this morning and was out and set up by about 4.30.

I had a really good session - I spent 20 minutes or so first on the Orion Nebula... my first reaction was wow! plenty of structure and gradations in the brightness - I could just about see the two 'arms' that arc back away from m43. Can't wait to take the scope to some dark skies and see it with better contrast.

I then spent the rest session on Jupiter. Absolutely worth getting up to see it higher in the sky. I've read here how much it helps to spend a long time with something to tease the details out, and that was definitely the case. At first I could see 4 very obvious brownish bands. As I spent longer with it I could start seeing that the edges of the bands were uneven and 'swirly' (if thats a word!!) and started seeing variations in the colouring and shading of the bands.

Spending around an hour on it I really noticed how much the seeing can change minute to minute. There were moments of really steady seeing - so another good reason to take enough time to really take it all in.

One thing that did bother me a bit were the diffraction effects (not really spikes like on a star but more like smears). I think I might try making an aperture mask - hopefully that will take the spider out of the picture and as a bonus increase the f-ratio and reduce the atmospheric effect.

All in all a good couple of hours and my first (but Im sure not my last) time packing up the scope in sunlight.

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Nice one Jim. Two really great objects to view and it sounds like your early morning start paid off handsomely. M42 is fabulous, I could look at it for hours. Did you catch the E or F stars in the trapezium? Probably not possible until it gets higher up.

Jupiter is another favourite because it is always changing and there is, plenty of detail to be had with patience.

Great report, thanks


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