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rjc404

Jupiter this morning - first time through my scope 16.09.013

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I don't have to work today so was out late last night (this morning). I initially started out practising imaging for the first 2.5-3 hours. Started out beautifully clear, only to be interrupted by squally winds and cloud for about an hour from 12.30 to 1.00am. Then once my power pack and camera battery both died shortly before 3am I ventured out from the safety/warmth of my kitchen where I'd been controlling my camera via usb.

First time I've been out that late with my scope (only purchased in July) and wow was it beautifully clear.

Andromeda was high in the sky. Ursa major had rotated around. I could see the Betelgeuse glowing in full red and then down below Capella was something even brighter as it just cleared a nearby tree.

Immediately ran for my 6mm eyepiece, pulled the camera off and stowed that safely and then manually slewed to the big gas giant as my battery pack had died and used the slow motion controls to bring it into my finder scope.

Glanced through my eyepiece and completely out of focus from my dslr imaging - gave the focus wheels a quick spin and wow! There it was drifting from left to right across my eyepiece with at least 4 moons, maybe five but wasn't sure. 

After my initial jaw dropping amazement, sorted out some minor focus issues and resolved enough to see cloud bands and hints of colour. Boy is Jupiter bright through the eyepiece! Contrast and seeing was amazing. Tried an ND filter but soon took that off as it darkened it too much for my liking.

I then thought I'd get the barlow out (for which I didn't have high hopes). Tried with my 6mm first and could pull the big planet into reasonable detail but couldn't resolve it fully so moved back to the stock 10mm which came with my scope (which I have been growing to hate). Once that was in the barlow, all I can say is wow! Blown away! My two least favourite eyepieces pulled out superbly resolved images of the big gas giant. Skywatcher I take everything back about those eyepieces! Spent the next hour just watching the big giant and its accompany moons drift through my eyepiece from left to right; could clearly see cloud bands and colour and it was great just watching them float there as seeing occasionally improved and produced even even better views. I had to eventually stop just after 4am as sleep deprivation got the better of me. Just wished the camera battery hadn't died as would have loved to try the 640x480 video mode in combination with the barlow and seen how that shaped up on Registax.

All I can say is I can't wait for winter when Jupiter is up at a more sociable hour and that what a scope the Skywatcher 150PL is! Couldn't be happier with it now in terms of portability and bang for buck.

Roll on clear skies for all and  I now know what people mean when they say seeing Jupiter for the first time through a telescope is an amazing experience! (Can't imagine what it would look like through a bigger scope!)

Cheers

Rob

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I was out last night but have to be up for work at 0540 so staying up was not an option!  I did see Jupiter from the kitchen window this morning, taunting me as the sun came up.  I'll catch up with that big fella when it rises at a more sociable hour later in the season!

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The 150 Pl is a planet killer. It provides great views full of contrast and is very forgiving to eyepieces. I fitted an RA motor to the mount and it's smooth. Jupiter is a superb target for early morning, don't forget the small red target further down the ecliptic, Mars,

Nick.

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Thanks for the heads up about the little red fella, Mars. If it's clear on a Friday or Saturday morning in the next couple of weeks I'm definitely making the effort to get up to view again. And thanks also for the info about the 'fifth' moon as I was only expecting to be able to see four so that clears that up nicely. Might also take a look at the Orion Nebula as well as that should be around at that time of the morning.

Cheers

Rob

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Thanks for the report, Rob, and sure you'll get lots more chances for Jupiter. Very exciting to see it back in view isn't it?! When we lost view in the spring it was near the Crab Nebula (ish) and is smack in the middle of Gemini now. Pretty amazing to see that progression and now its near the Eskimo!

I had my first proper look at 4am Sunday and it was great wow moment. I detected a pin of light just off Jupiter in the 2 o'clock position in the EP and wondered if it was a star or 5th moon. That's a fairly busy section of sky so figured it was a faint star, and I haven't had another chance to look for a shift in position. I found the transparency was great that night but maybe too clear for ideal planetary viewing? Also noticed it was very dewy which we haven't experienced for a while. Autumn is back, and oh yeah, so are the sociable viewing hours!

Thanks for the heads up on Mars, Nick: will definitely check that out. :)

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