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Quick look at Saturn and Jupiter


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I've been using my ED120 refractor tonight to observe double stars and the Moon.

Saturn and Jupiter come into view rather late here due to surrounding houses but I've stayed out a bit later than intended to get a view of both.

The seeing conditions were decent but not exceptional. 180x (Pentax XW 5mm) seemed to give the sharpest views of both planets.

Saturn showed it's disk banding rather well with a couple of equatorial belts visible plus the dark northern polar cap. The cassini division and the A & B ring brightness differences stood out well as did the ring shadow on the planet and the planets shadow on the rings. The C or Crepe Ring popped in and out of visiblilty as the seeing fluctuated. 6 Saturnian moons were showing which is a decent tally for the 4.7 inch aperture. Enceladus was pretty challenging being close the the planetary disk and relatively faint. I found that higher magnifications (257x) helped to tease that little world out of the glare of it's host planet.

Jupiter was a little higher in the sky. Quite intricate planetary belt detail was showing with 7 belts detected plus the north and south polar "hoods". The Great Red Spot was nestled into the southern edge of the south equatorial belt and I agree with other recent observations that it looks rather faded in tone this year. It also seemed quite elongated - rather like an eye shape, compared to the more oval form that it has had in the past. The north equatorial belt seemed darker than the other belts and somewhat clumpy. There was what seemed to be a continuous belt running through the equatorial zone although this could have been an impression caused by a number of festoons running into each other - I've seen that before on Jupiter.

3 of the Galilean moons were showing at the time of viewing. The differences in their apparent diameters was fairly easy to see at 180x. It's fun to try and work out which is which from this and then check Stellarium or similar tools to see if you have it right !

An enjoyable 30 minutes or so with these giant worlds. Hopefully longer sessions when they rise a little earlier :icon_biggrin: 

 

Edited by John
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Yes, the seeing was alright once the heat had gone. I matched my 1.4" record on doubles.
And once the moon had set, the sky looked as dark as it ever does here.
My Mak didn't match your 120ED, but I was happy with another look at Jupiter (four cloud belts) and a first look at Saturn (Cassini division, hints of banding, three moons) which was worth staying up for (I also have to dodge the houses).

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Festoons and barges? Any good Jupiter observing guides that someone can recommend? After the weekend's observing, I think I'm going to be spending a bit of time on this later in the year!

Edited by Pixies
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57 minutes ago, Pixies said:

Festoons and barges? Any good Jupiter observing guides that someone can recommend? After the weekend's observing, I think I'm going to be spending a bit of time on this later in the year!

Here is a little info on the main features of Jupiter:

Jupiter_belts.jpg.b982b95cb65706b4186219265c6023bb.jpg

jupiterfeatures.jpg.53afcbb376462bb262d278699eeb2a1d.jpg

 

I also use the Virtual Planet Atlas (freeware), Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel for moon and GRS positions.

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Agree viewing was not the best last night. I held out for an extra ten minutes (school night) and then Jupiter snapped into focus, with the different belts being visible. 
Amazing the affect of the atmosphere…

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21 minutes ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

Great stuff a man of your age staying up so late John. Inspirational!

 

If only my other half saw it that way ..... :rolleyes2:

 

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Great report. Urged on by the many contributors here I dragged myself out of bed at 3am. I wasn't disappointed. Excellent seeing and a wonderful view of the GRS.... 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just let the dog out for her nighttime business and saw Jupiter was visible, extremely bright and in an opportune viewing location. Got the 80mm F10 achro out in under a minute and with the Helios 21.5-7.2 zoom was observing straight away. The NEB presenting as a lovely thick orangey-brown band on the huge planetary disc. Even better was Io and Europa, who were very close to one another, almost appearing as a close binary pair. Great stuff.

Managed 13 minutes of observing before being clouded out, the joys of a small refractor. 🤗

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Hi John, nice report :).

I am in a Bortle 4 area which is an improvement on the usual sky. Had a quick look at some doubles. But the treat was saturn and Jupiter. I only had the ST80 and a max mag of x67 available. It was good to get a decent view of both planets as they are too low to be seen cleae ly from my garden.

cheers

ian  

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On 20/07/2021 at 10:36, John said:

Here is a little info on the main features of Jupiter:

Jupiter_belts.jpg.b982b95cb65706b4186219265c6023bb.jpg

jupiterfeatures.jpg.53afcbb376462bb262d278699eeb2a1d.jpg

 

I also use the Virtual Planet Atlas (freeware), Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel for moon and GRS positions.

Thanks for these images John, very useful reference points.

It's a sad fact that since I had my FS128 services and lens cleaned by Es Reid on 7th June, I have not had one session with the scope since that time. 3 main reasons:

- lousy night time weather here, even after the day might have been sunny!

- a plethora of short breaks, 5 in all, due to family commitments (catching up post Covid lockdowns etc), leisure breaks , 3 of 4 nights each, two of which had been postponed due to Covid, so had to "use them or lose them"..

- and this past week, 3 good nights, during which we have been home but my wife caught a nasty bug (not Covid) and had to go to bed early on 2 nights ( didn't have the heart to disturb her by moving about, she's a very light sleeper), and one night after I'd been working hard in the garden all day, up ladders, using chainsaw etc etc - and I was just too dog tired to stay awake!

Not moaning (honest!) but I have felt a little unlucky in astro matters, but very blessed to have had some very nice trips around the country, both seeing family and also having some nice leisure tours of Devon, Sussex and Surrey..I know many people who have yet to leave our village for the first time in over 12 months due to the pandemic!

Sorry to go off topic John, that ED120 of your sounds like a cracking scope, and really delivers for you in a way that the two I previously owned just didn't. Great planetary report!

Very glad you had such a rewarding session👍😊

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1 hour ago, F15Rules said:

Thanks for these images John, very useful reference points.

It's a sad fact that since I had my FS128 services and lens cleaned by Es Reid on 7th June, I have not had one session with the scope since that time. 3 main reasons:

- lousy night time weather here, even after the day might have been sunny!

- a plethora of short breaks, 5 in all, due to family commitments (catching up post Covid lockdowns etc), leisure breaks , 3 of 4 nights each, two of which had been postponed due to Covid, so had to "use them or lose them"..

- and this past week, 3 good nights, during which we have been home but my wife caught a nasty bug (not Covid) and had to go to bed early on 2 nights ( didn't have the heart to disturb her by moving about, she's a very light sleeper), and one night after I'd been working hard in the garden all day, up ladders, using chainsaw etc etc - and I was just too dog tired to stay awake!

Not moaning (honest!) but I have felt a little unlucky in astro matters, but very blessed to have had some very nice trips around the country, both seeing family and also having some nice leisure tours of Devon, Sussex and Surrey..I know many people who have yet to leave our village for the first time in over 12 months due to the pandemic!

Sorry to go off topic John, that ED120 of your sounds like a cracking scope, and really delivers for you in a way that the two I previously owned just didn't. Great planetary report!

Very glad you had such a rewarding session👍😊

Sorry that you have have had a run of bad luck with astro Dave. I sincerely hope that things pick up from here on for you :thumbright:

Since I've owned the Tak FC100-DL and the TMB / LZOS 130 F/9.2 triplet (over 5 years now, believe it or not !) I've realised just how good my old ED120 is. Maybe mine is an above average one ?. It's one of the early gold / cream ones previously owned by a very experienced person. I bought 2 scopes from him and both turned out to be crackers so I think he knew what he was about !

Cloudy again here tonight though so more patience required :rolleyes2:

 

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