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Jupiter and Mars on 15/4/13

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Although there was quite an overcast last night, I set up the telescope with the hope of doing some obseving of Jupiter and Mars. I initially had problems polar aligning as Polaris was a bit lost in the haze. It did pop into view through a hole, eventually, but I reassured myself that this would at least add to the cool down time. It was quite mild last night and I was hoping that it would be stable fairly quickly. Anyway, I started observing Jupiter with my 5 mm EP (200x) and it was quite overcast by then. I could only see a faint hazey blob. I was about to pack in (annoyed that I'd been tempted out after it had been completely clear all day) when a hole appeared and I started getting improved views. I was wanting to experiment with higher magnification so I then used my 10 mm EP with a 3x Barlow. This boosted the magnification to 300x. The view was still sharp, during the better seeing, and I was pleased that this allowed me to squeaze out a little more detail on Jupiter. I expect that this is the magnification limits of the scope. Has anyone tried a 3 mm EP with the 200p (F5)? My 2mm EP, which came as part of a package, is beyond the magnification limit. I'd like to consider a decent 3mm, if it's useable, as the Barlow is a bit comprimised.

After Jupiter disappeared behind the neighbour's house, just as the GRS was starting to emerge, I had a quick view of the moon before turning my attention to mars. I only have a brief opportunity to view Mars, unless I stay up really late, as it passes through a gap in the trees at the bottome of the garden. Although still low, and bouncing around like a squishy jeally bean, there were still brief periods of reasonable seeing. The gusty wind definately didn't help last night as a gust would come along and the view vibrated really badly. I was surprised that even in the brief good moments I could easily see Syrtis Major and the polar caps. There was also a hint of the dark feature Utopia. The contrast between the dark features, the polar caps and the remainder of the disc was also surprisingly good. I'm really looking forward to full oposition.

I did a little imaging with my xbox webcam connected to the 3x Barlow. The result wasn't so bad considering how unstable things were due to the wind. I think I was lucky that Syrtis Major was in view at the time.


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