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To see or not to see!

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Last night was a beautiful clear night. I had been excited about taking Copernicus, my 8"Newt, out to observe Jupiter. While waiting on darkness to fall, I tested a couple other scopes. One was a 40mm Halleyscope Zoom 2400. The Moon looked clear and sharp in the little refractor. Later I tried Halley on Jupiter. Jupiter was clear and sharp, but tiny on highest magnification. The four Galilean moons were bright pin points.

The other scope I tested was a cheap $25 junk scope I picked up at a dollar store. I bought it to experiment with and possibly make a solar projector with. The main point of the experiments are to find ways to improve ease of use. Its has the horrible .965 EPs. All lenses were plastic as well. It really surprised me on performance. It wasn't superb views, but definitely better than I expected. 

Finally once it was dark and Copernicus had adjusted to the temperature, I swung to Jupiter. The Jovian looked good in the 26mm EP, but any increases gave me a "boiling" image. Jupiter was low on the horizon, but I'd still pulled good views on objects there before. I put the scope on a random star field higher in the sky, the seeing was horrible!!! Ok. Not a big deal. Things can change. So I decided to get Kepler, my ETX 70 AT, out and compare views. Jupiter was ok in it. Fortunately the seeing improved. It didn't become fantastic, but was ok. Jupiter looked clear in the low end of medium sized EPs. Could finally inrease power enough to see the equatorial bands on the planet. But any higher and the boiling image came back. 

I figured I'd compare views side by side, but found out the barlow was not short enough for the ETX to match the newt. Oh well. 

After sketching the planetary view, I swung Copernicus almost to the zenith and dialed in the Whirlpool Galaxy. With the moon at almost 69%, I didn't expect to see anything. Boy, was I wrong. I was pleasantly surprised to see two smudges with slightly brighter centers. Not the best compared to a moonless night, but still not bad. I observed this gorgeous Messier for about an hour, trying to tease as much detail out as possible. After a sketch it was time to move on.

To finish up the night I looked at Saturn. Not a lot of detail due to seeing. Could separate the disc and ring, but could not see bands or Cassini's division. Titan was just noticable. 

After this I packed up and called it a night. To answer the question "to see or not to see", while originally not expecting to see, I did get to see better than initially expecting. It was still a good night. 

"Keep looking up!" -J Horkheimer


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Nice report Rob. Always worth getting out there. I do like your scope names :)

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I enjoyed your report, the fact that you name your scopes is awesome also, now I must think up names for mine lol.

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Thanks  y'all. I firmly believe a bad night observing is better than a good night at work! 😂

All my scopes have names except the cheap one, but after its performance last night, it might get one. My named ones are:

Copernicus- 8" reflector with equatorial mount

Kepler- ETX 70 AT refractor

Cassini- ETX 90 RA mak

Halley- Halleyscope Zoom 2400. Thinking about piggybacking it on the 8"

Galileo- 10x50 binos

If I name something then I can't sell it! 😂😂😂


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