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Jupiter and Venus 12/6/18

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This is my first observation log on here and also the first time I have looked at the planets.

I used my Bresser MC-127 Mak, initially with the kit supplied 26mm plossl EP on a Skywatcher Star Discovery GoTo mount, although I did not use the mount as a GoTo at all and manually adjusted it throughout the evening.

I started at just after 21:30 BST with Jupiter as it crept above some tall trees to the southeast of my garden.  Lined up with a Telrad and then centred using the 26mm EP I was instantly amazed at being able to see not only Jupiter but four moons as well.  I moved up to a 12mm BST Starguider EP and the view was incredible - Jupiter was (relatively) huge in the eyepiece and I could just about see banding.  The planet and four moons just fit within the view at this stage (the 12mm EP gives a magnification of x158).  Knowing it was well beyond the scope's limits, I tried my 5mm UWA Planetary EP but the view was blurred, I could not achieve enough focus to see any banding or detail at all.  Moving back to the 12mm I spent some time letting my eyes get used things but the banding never really got crisp - seeing was not good particularly with Juipter only just creeping above 20°.

I had a go with my binoviewers with 20mm EPs and the view was, to me, no better than through the single 12mm EP.  I put the x1.6 barlow onto the binos to bring the EPs down to 12.5mm equivalent and funnily enough got a pretty similar view to the single 12mm EP.  In fact, I preferred the view through the single 12mm EP.

As it was still pretty light (I could read the manual for the mount - which was needed because I think one of the clutches is playing up, hence manual operation) I thought I would wait to see if the view improved.  Whilst waiting I turned to Venus, which was shining incredibly brightly in the west, following the Sun which had just dipped below the horizon.  The planet was so bright I struggled to focus it with either a 20 or 12mm EP.  There was a 'rainbow' of colours around part of the disk in both eyepieces - with hindsight perhaps I should have put my moon filter on to dim the planet down a bit?  I think I saw a disc with the top right corner cut off, but cannot be sure as the view was not good at all; Venus was very low in the sky and I was viewing over a town with lots of heat and light.

I then retired to the shed for a drink and to wait a little while for darkness to come.  I went back out at 22:45 and revisited Jupiter.  The view was almost identical to that from earlier in the evening.  I was expecting an improvement, but by this time the planet was over my house and so I was viewing through heat haze, I guess this counteracted the improved elevation of around 25°.  Still, I looked at the planet and its moons for a good 15 minutes, even contemplating waking up Mrs cv01jw for a look, before deciding to call it a night and pack away.

Thanks for reading, and apologies for the waffly nature of my first log.


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Glad you had an enjoyable time. You should plan an all night session soon if you can (they can only last till about 4 atm) and bag Saturn  & Mars as well. You won't be disappointed. 

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I would love an overnight session but am struggling for time.  During the week it would be a bad idea as I would be useless at work the following day.  This coming weekend we have a wedding to attend.  I may be able to sneak one in on 22/23rd :)

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They will both remain reasonably good (allowing for the [lack of] altitude) for some time to come.

Just noticed your location - you are just up the road from me (Poole)

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Nice. Reminds me of my first "proper telescope" viewing session just under a year ago, also with a (Skywatcher) Mak 127. I never fail to be amazed looking at Jupiter and Saturn especially, and judging by planetary comments from far more experienced observers than I am, that thrill never goes away...


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