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Excellent planetary seeing conditions!


Nik271
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Last night I enjoyed some of the best views of Saturn and Jupiter I've had for the past 2 years. The sky was a bit hazy but it was calm and despite CO making dire predictions I set up my Skymax 180 to cool from 6pm. I started observing from 8:30pm and for the first 20 mins there were occasional heat plumes disturbing the view. Then from 9pm onwards the conditions became rock steady, and I started to see detail I've never seen before: 

On Saturn I could trace the Cassinig division all the way around the ring. I was really obvious, like a groove in a vinyl record. The other amazing thing was a thin darkish band next to where the ring was in front the planet. Initially I thought it was the shadow the ring itself was casting on the planet but I realized this is not possible because the Sun and Earth are both on the same side of the ring plane. I believe I was seeing the inner C ring outlined across the brighter surface of the planet. That's a first for me :) Saturn itself was showing several pale bands, there was a  prominet large and bright one near the equator.

When I moved to Jupiter I was rewarded with miltiple bands, with exquisite detail. There was a prominent dark barge above the NEB, I watched it rotate out of view by 10pm. I could see some white ovals next to the white STZ  in the southern hemisphere.

I called it a night by 10:30pm because I had an early start in the morning, but  it was really hard getting away from the eyepiece.

My consolation is that the forecast for the next few days seems very similar, so fingers crossed for more of this!

 

PS: all observations were with 15mm EP at x180 magnification.

Edited by Nik271
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Some of the best seeing in Southampton for Jupiter and Saturn that I’ve had since I started looking at these two at the start of June. Yet the night before was complete rubbish with a ton of wobble. How quickly things change!
 

@Nik271 - I know what you mean about that darkish band on Saturn. I hadn’t seen it like that before and assumed it was shadow. But I think you might be correct in that it was the inner c-ring. It was quite obvious too. 
 

Also had a quick look at although the moon at the end of the session. Although it was nearly full I got some excellent steady views of craters and mountains along the edge. I haven’t seen the moon like that in a while. And of course the moon is starting to get higher in the sky which helps. 

Edited by PeterStudz
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Yes it was really quite nice - even made me try my first imaging of Jupiter!

The moon was pretty good too - especially around the terminator (spent most of my lunar time visually on Hecataeus & Humboldt).

Saturn unfortunately had already gone by the time I was setup & cooled.

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Yep, I had a similar experience , thin high cloud obvious around the Moon, so my expectations were not high, but parked my mak 127 out to cool anyway, just in case . Unfortunately there's a neighbour's whopping great tree due south of my garden, just too tall to view the planets at their highest at the moment, so I have to wait until they emerge to the west of it.

What I got was the best view of Saturn I've ever had, as you said, the Cassini Division was incredibly clear, I've never had good enough seeing to take 250x magnification on a gas giant before but it worked beautifully around 11pm . I had a break for about half an hour when Saturn headed behind yet another tree, then back out around midnight when Jupiter slid into view, not quite as good seeing by then , 187x was the most magnification I found useable, but still moments when fabulous detail showed .

Heather

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Hi I had the same experience last night the seeing started off a bit iffy at around 7.45 but soon improved giving magnificent view of both Saturn and Jupiter.

At around 9pm Saturn became obstructed by the local trees but Jupiter remained well positioned.

the moon started to come into view and  then I called it a night I used my Celestron 6se 

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5 hours ago, Nik271 said:

On Saturn I could trace the Cassinig division all the way around the ring. I was really obvious, like a groove in a vinyl record.

Nice report Nik... and for our younger readers , ask an older person about vinyl records 🤣

Can't wait to get out tonight ! 

Edited by Stu1smartcookie
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I looked up the jet stream forecast and this is what came out:

hgt3001.png.6f8191284c6379eaf16860c6b8925b97.png

 

Almost all of the UK except northern Scotland should have a good stable air in the upper atmosphere :)

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Cloud moving south and east, going to arrive here soon (NE Derbyshire). Had been looking forward to clear skies all evening, according to the MET OFFICE! 😤

image.png.8459d7971d8852d9945d0f955302401d.png

Update at 6p.m. , clouded out, heavy dark clouds. 

Edited by Laurieast
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1 hour ago, Laurieast said:

Cloud moving south and east, going to arrive here soon (NE Derbyshire). Had been looking forward to clear skies all evening, according to the MET OFFICE! 😤

image.png.8459d7971d8852d9945d0f955302401d.png

Update at 6p.m. , clouded out, heavy dark clouds. 

It was clear when I set my scope up an hour ago but that cloudy stuff has crossed the Severn from Cardiff and is now covering my sky :rolleyes2:

 

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1 hour ago, CraigT82 said:

Looking good here in Bristol. Got the 300p out for a bit of visual observing... alongside the H130p. Also got a 90mm aperture mask for the 300p so will try that too. 

Solid cloud now about 12 miles SW of you - I can see the Bristol "glow" reflecting off the bottom of it. Good for you if you have found a gap ! :thumbright:

 

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Just came in from a planetary session with the 12" f/5 on the EQ platform. Thin haze, but rather good seeing, allowing  183x mag. Observed the last phase of Io's shadow transit. All four moons visible as tiny discs. Saturn showed the Cassini along almost the whole circumference; some faint bands on the surface; the planet's shadow on the ring could be seen clearly. Titan and Rhea readily visible, Dione was more difficult, but to spot with AV. Tethys (10.9), very close to the planet, was seen for fractions of a second. Japetus. No traces of Mimas or Enceladus. Rising moon made fainter stars fade out. Still one of the best views I had during the last two years.

Stephan

Edited by Nyctimene
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12 hours ago, Nik271 said:

The other amazing thing was a thin darkish band next to where the ring was in front the planet. Initially I thought it was the shadow the ring itself was casting on the planet but I realized this is not possible because the Sun and Earth are both on the same side of the ring plane. I believe I was seeing the inner C ring outlined across the brighter surface of the planet. That's a first for me :) Saturn itself was showing several pale bands, there was a  prominet large and bright one near the equator.

Looks like this is the effect showing up in Damian Peach’s shot here.

http://www.damianpeach.com/sat21/2021-09-16-2052_2-RGBdp.jpg?fbclid=IwAR0xKDucYIHWE9cXzxL7WpMyzU4rjkBLFbE-4-KcT3-lD9vDOGO3Ls5FCC8

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I just packed up for the night. The seeing is meh, waited an hour but it's not improving, even at the zenith the stars are wobbly. It's very strange because otherwise is a still and clear night. Grabbed a quick view of M2 and Neptune, but at high magnification it's a lost cause ☹️

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36 minutes ago, John said:

Solid cloud now about 12 miles SW of you - I can see the Bristol "glow" reflecting off the bottom of it. Good for you if you have found a gap ! :thumbright:

 

Alas... it was not to be, the clouds found me just before 9. Never mind! 🙄

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3 minutes ago, Nik271 said:

I just packed up for the night. The seeing is meh, waited an hour but it's not improving, even at the zenith the stars are wobbly. It's very strange because otherwise is a still and clear night. Grabbed a quick view of M2 and Neptune, but at high magnification it's a lost cause ☹️

I debated putting the 80mm out tonight but it’s been a touch breezy here which normally cream crackers the seeing IME.

Got some stunning views of Saturn and Jupiter last night though. Particularly a complete visible Cassini division, vibrant colour banding and wonderful planetary shadow covering the ring using the 6mm Starbase ortho. Continuously impressed at what a 3” is showing me!

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16 minutes ago, Nik271 said:

I just packed up for the night. The seeing is meh, waited an hour but it's not improving, even at the zenith the stars are wobbly. It's very strange because otherwise is a still and clear night. Grabbed a quick view of M2 and Neptune, but at high magnification it's a lost cause ☹️

Some consolation for my cloud cover then - sounds like the seeing would have been poor anyway !

I've just bought my setup in as well :sad:

 

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HI managed about an hour on Jupiter and Saturn the seeing was still very good but high whispy cloud arrived and started to obstruct both planets .

the Moon was starting to come into my view but it was accompanied by dark clouds so put the 102 Celestron GT refractor back into storage, but as the saying goes (every little helps)

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