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By Victor Boesen
Yesterday I managed to climb out of bed at a little past 3:30AM to get my small portable rig out to a small nearby park and setup to observe Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. I got the Skywatcher Evostar 72ED DS-Pro last summer so I was especially excited to see how it would perform on Mars because of its red wavelengths which many small fracs often have trouble with handling.
At first it was partly cloudy but I persisted and was out and setup on the field at around 4AM. The sky was already surprisingly bright here in Denmark but Jupiter was shining bright and Saturn faintly visible almost right besides Jupiter. Fortunately for me it wasn't too cold, but I was happy I brought some gloves anyways;)
This picture was taken at 5AM while I was observing Mars.
I remember from last year that my scope didn't perform great on Jupiter for some reason, and the view of the gas giant wasn't anything different this time either. Using my 4.7mm ES 82 degree eyepiece not much detail visible except the two main bands and its moons. I would later return to Jupiter after the scope had cooled down a little and the view was perhaps a little sharper.
Pointing the scope at Saturn, which I was very satisfied with last year, I was amazed of the detail the small scope managed to squeeze out. It doesn't compare to the view I had last year with my 10" dob under great conditions at 255X but I was able to easily spot surface banding on the planet itself, and the Cassini division was also surprisingly stable. I really enjoy the stable and consistent view through the small refractor! I observed Saturn for quite a while until I eventually set out to try to find Mars. At this point I couldn't even see Saturn with the naked eye but I was fortunate that Saturn and Mars were approximately the same elevation above the horizon.
After a few sweeps across where I though Mars would be I finally located the small red speckle, this time with my 6.7mm eyepiece so I had a larger FOV. Switching to the 4.7mm, though still very small, I was surprised that I could pick up a dark surface marking across the disk on the lower southern half of the disk. Furthermore, the southern polar cap was really pronounced and you couldn't miss it. I watched Mars drift through the FOV until about 30 minutes after sunrise where the contrast between the planet and the sky became too low and the dew started to set on the lens element.
Using my small refractor for observing the planets I have always wanted to magnify things a little bit more, and I think the telescope would have no problem doing so. A Nagler zoom 3-6mm has been on my wish-list for a couple of years now, but the upcoming planet season really makes me want to find one second hand
Here's a video I've made that covers what I've written above with some footage I tried capturing through the eyepiece:
I hope everyone on here is still doing well despite the current situation!
This is a re-processed image from some videos I recorded on a trip to Somerset in 2018 during the Mars Opposition. Unfortunately, I lost the exact day of the recording. Telescope: Skymax 150 Maksutov with a TeleVue 2x Barlow. Focal length was approximately 3600mm. Camera: Canon 550D unmodified at ISO 200 with 1/60 exposure. Video was recorded in 640x480 crop mode at 60fps. Processing: Video formatting, quality control and centralising done using Pipp, stacking and tweaking done using Registax.
This planetary grouping from 20th March around 5.30am shows Saturn to the left with conjunction of Jupiter above & Mars below, sharp eyed may also see... Io, Ganymede & Callisto in a string just right of Jupiter.
Image taken from Lesmahagow, South Lanarkshire looking toward the SE.
Pentax K1 / Pentax 67 165mm lens / Exp. 2 secs @f8 / iso 200
Ioptron tracker at siderial.
I'm having a bit of a clearout to make way for a new project. For sale here are a couple of items that have seen very litle use:
1) Celestron Omni CG-4 GEM Mount + Tripod - £125 *** SOLD ***
This is in generally very good condition. There are a few marks, and scuffs consistent with normal use. There are also a couple of minor (small) patches of surface rust on a few of the bolts and steel legs. It has seen very litle use, and has been in storage for the past few years so it is time to find it a good home. The small rubber tips that go on the very end of the feet have perished, so these won't be included.
It includes tubular steel tripod, 2 counterweights, built in polar scope, built in bubble level and slow motion controls.
Due to size and weight, collection would be preferred from the RG27 area. If you are reasonably local, I would also consider delivering.
Price: £125, but I am open to offers. Payment can be made via Bank Transfer (preferred), Paypal or cash on collection
2) ***SOLD*** Celestron Omni XLT 127mm Telescope ***SOLD ***
Again this is in very good condition, and has been in storage for the past few years and has had very little overall use. A few marks on the dovetail as is to be expected.
It includes a small finderscope, diagonal and a 25mm eyepiece
Can be collected from the RG27 area, I could deliver if you are reasonably local, or can be posted for an additional £8.
Price: £110, but am open to offers. Payment can be made via Bank Transfer (preferred), Paypal or cash on collection *** NOW SOLD ***
Any questions please do let me know.
Hey guys. Thought about starting this thread. I feel like we all should inform eachother and newer members alike about the magngifications that can be achieved on planets,that provide the best sharpness/size ratio,depending on the scope and seeing. After this thread has grown a bit, i feel like this should be pinned,as to provide a little guide to newer members that are not experienced with planetary observing,as many will be fooled with the typical 50x per inch of aperture and get disappointed when they find that that image will be dim and blurry.
For my 8” F/6 Sky-Watcher Dob
For Saturn i like to use 150x in medium seeing and if i want something a bit bigger , switch to 240x ,which will give me a bigger,but blurrier image.iBut In good seeing, i found that 240x was very usable.When we have perfect conditions, i m certainly trying 300x.
Mars, isnt very big in the sky right now,so even at high magnifications like 300x it still appears as a small orange dot. For observing mars,I suggest waiting for it to reach opposition.It benifits hugely from it! However,this happens once every 2 years....But 5ere are other planets to keep you occupied until then, such as jupiter,saturn and Venus.
For Venus, i use 50-100-120 depending on its phase.
For Jupiter, i like to use 150x, as it provides a very sharp image,with key features of the planet such as bands being very detailed.Waiting on my 6mm UWA Skywatcher to bring it to 200 and see how that plays out. Be careful! Don’t magnify jupiter too much, as it will loose much of its features and sharpness.
Neptune and Uranus: These two will not impress, but are certainly have a nice colour to them. Even ar high magnifications, such as 300x and 400x, they will look like small discs with color in them.Uranus will look be colored green and Neptune a fainter blue.
Mercury About mercury...Havent gotten the chance to observe it ,so the guys will have to inform you about that?
Feel free to give your own opinions as to give members a wider source of information to help them observe better !
Cheers and clear skies.