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A birthday present of clear skies


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Part 1:

After my birthday dinner tonight, I sat at my computer and checked to see if the station was going to show up. It was due in 20 minutes! Time for some outreach!

I told my grandparents the space station was going to go fly over us and we'd be able to see it, my granddad decided he'd go out to see it. I got my binoculars by the door and telescope ready. About the time it was due we went outside; me, my dad and granddad stood outside waiting for it, my dad the first to spot it low on the horizon. We pointed it out to my granddad and he seemed quite amazed that it was visible, and said he thought he could see it as more than a point source in the binoculars. We watched it slowly accelerate and rush towards the orion nebula, but it fell behind earth's shadow before it got there (just crossed the witches' head before it became invisible). He seemed impressed. I then showed him the moon in my scope at 36x to start with. He stared at it for about 10 seconds remarking at how detailed it was, after a minute of be going back inside to get my other EPs and getting back to him he was still staring at it. I then put the 2x barlow in, told him it was 72x and he talked about how you could see just about every mountain on the surface. After that I said it could go even further just once more and he said some sort of joke, can't quite remember what it as though. But the seeing was, surprisingly, adequate for 180x tonight so the views of the moon were slightly fuzzy but acceptable. Looking through at the moon at this magnification he said "I think I can see a man painting yellow lines on the roads". After this I showed him a few constellations and went back inside. Sounds like he enjoyed it, I did!


Part 2:

At 11:20 I returned to the front garden to catch my first viewing of Jupiter this year. I stood outside waiting for the scope to cool for a few minutes, admiring the constellations of Leo, Ursa Major (now overhead) and the Auriga/Taurus/Orionset of constellations sat around the moon. After I had thought the scope had enough time to cool, I got it in sight of my 25mm EP to start with. A good start seeing all four Galilean moons. I then got my 2x barlow in and that kinda made things worse. But when I had the 2x barlow and my 10mm SkyWatcher... ortho? in the scope at 180x it was the perfect combination. With only 0.7mm exit pupil I could look down the EP without my glasses and the with 2x barlow in the eye relief was nice and comfortable. CA and sharpness loss minimal in this setup.

Jupiter, while mostly colourless showed two faintly red bands, and it seemed to have a darker, greyish cap on the top. Not much more detail was visible as my scope was at its limit and atmospheric conditions were messing with it just enough to notice so it wobbled occasionally. That and there were quite a number of floaters due to the small exit pupil (the one downside). Overall, it's great to see something so far away but still in our front yard in a sense so close up, with 2 moons visible during the observation at 180x.


That concludes my report for tonight. Going to chill now :)

Clear skies!


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Happy Birthday Pip.

I really enjoyed your report, it's always nice to see others' reaction the first time they look in a proper scope.

You're absolutely right, it's amazing that with relatively inexpensive equipment and a clear sky what can be seen from our own backyards.

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