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I'm going to miss Jupiter


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Ever since I started this hobby (about 4 years ago), I've really enjoyed the annual Jupiter opposition. Along with M42, it's the object I've spent the most time with. I've also found it's a great way to assess what sort of Astro equipment I prefer. For instance the sharp images of Jupiter through a refractor have made me a 'refractor' man. I have 5 refractors and no other type of telescope now.

However, from next year and for several years after Jupiter will be low in the sky. So I've decided to make the next few months count if I can, by having lots of focus on the king of planets.

Ive just had some lovely views of the GRS -really clear and a bright orange colour. The banding was also nice and distinct. I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing a few shadow transits in the next few weeks.

After a direct side by side comparison at the weekend of mono vs bino, I've worked out that bino is the way forward on planets for me, much more comfortable but also the bands show obviously more detail. I like the 3D effect with binos as well.

However, Ive been using binos for around a year, and have struggled to find eyepieces that work for me. Finding mono eyepieces that hit the spot is much easier imo. So far the pan 24mm are my clear favourite but even with the 2.6x gpc I only get around 115x. I used this tonight and was very happy - with binos Jupiter just seems bigger. I've tried vixen lvw, Nagler, Delites, Pentax xf, and starguiders but each set wasn't quite right for me for differing reasons. However I really want to get at least 150x and I think I have worked out what should hopefully get me there. 

So to make me able to fully enjoy the last good Jupiter opposition for a while, I'm getting 2 new eyepieces tomorrow to fill the empty slots in the photo. I hope this will be the solution.



Edited by Gavster
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Nice one Gavin :)

I still struggle with binoviewers for planets but will have another go at the next opportunity.

I tend to use my 25mm Zeiss Orthos with an AP Barcon and several extension tubes. It looks a bit unwieldy but gets me up to around x200.

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I wouldn't give up on Jupiter when its low. What I do is look at it on my summer holidays. I just pack the C8 in the car, and go to southern France or Italy, where Jupiter is 9-10 degrees higher up than from my place.  You can then get some great views, especially in the mountains

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I also use Pan 24s & 19s as my binoviewer workhorses.

Can't fault them.

i get 38x & 48x with them Binoviewing sans GPC as my low power options.

High power planetary demands a GPC, not only for the higher power, but also to correct for prism induced sphero-chromatism.

I tend not to bother with the 1.25 & 1.7 GPCs and use a separate Baader prism where the 2.6 GPC permanently resides.

The 2.6 with the above Pans then gives me 100x & 126x magnifications.


Still not really enough for good nights so i keep a set of 13mm Naglers, giving me 185x magnification.

I find this plenty of power, and don't really feel the need for more.

Because of our dreadful weather and seeing conditions, as well as Mars', Jupiter & Saturns low southerly positions (by default so it seems) its actually a rare night that i get to use the 13s at all.

But when everything falls into place, the views are truly spectacular.

Edited by Tubby Bear
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Hi Tubby, thanks for the comments. I guess I will find out soon but do you find the lesser eye relief of the pan 19 vs pan 24 is noticeablely less comfortable. I just find the pan 24 so easy to view in bino mode. I have used a Nagler 11mm and liked it but found the eye relief possibly a shade too tight.

Edited by Gavster
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On ‎28‎.‎03‎.‎2017 at 01:08, Gavster said:


(...) next year and for several years after Jupiter will be low in the sky. So I've decided to make the next few months count if I can, by having lots of focus on the king of planets.


Jupiter wont be that low observed from London latitude. It wont dip below 15 degrees altitude Next few years.

I`ve (at 59N)  had great views of Saturn beeing closer to the horizon than 15 degrees.

Mars at 9 degrees (2016) was really hopeless though..



Edited by Pondus
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