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Planetary night, plus Luna too!


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I had been waiting days to take a scope out and get a peek at Mars. Worked the past couple days and came home to cloudy skies. Today I ran errands to very clear skies and excited to get home to the scope. After a bit of supper, I grabbed Cassini the 90mm Mak and headed outside. Looking up the sky was covered in heavy patchy clouds. Despite that, Jupiter was shining bright with Luna in a clear part of the sky. Both were near each other and I thought they would make a gorgeous picture together. I gave Cassini a quick northernly alignment , then put Jupiter in the EP. Ran the mag up to 100x with the 12.5mm EP and retained a sharp image. Gosh, I love Maks! A light blue filter adjusted things just right! The Equatorial Bands popped and the southern portion of the planet shaded nicely. On each EQ band was a spot that appeared darker than the rest of the bands. They became more pronouced after a few minutes. It was the Great Red Spot on one band and what appeared to be a blue patch on the other. Ganymede was off to one side of Jupiter while Io and Europa were right next to each other on the other side of the planet. Callisto was way past Io and Europa, just hanging alone in the blackness. After sketching for a bit (wow, did I get rusty while on hiatus) ,I swung the scope to our incredible moon, Luna. It took a bit for me to decide on what part to study. Since I was still working out the viewing and sketching cobwebs, I decided to concentrate on the area around Copernicus and Kepler. What better way to get back in the groove than with two old friends. I played around with the magnification for a few minutes. All EPs were giving sharp views, but decided to continue with 100x with the 12.5mm EP. I placed the ND96 filter on for comfort and began sketching. I sketched for awhile while also continuing to think about a picture of Luna and Jupiter.  I couldn't shake the thought. Now my astrophotography experience is very limited, but what the heck! I figured I'd try to get a picture using my phone. Well all I got was bright featureless balls of light. Even tried the ND96 over the phone cameras lense. No dice. Tried adjusting setting, but still no good. Tried it through the scope and had semi success.  The edges of the moon appeared good, but the middle was washed out. Oh well. It was worth a shot. I'll get it figured out. Well about this time, Mars began to climb out of the clouds to the east. I know it was a lot of atmosphere to look through, but did it anyway. All I could see was a small red disk with no features. All EPs gave very soft views. It was difficult to even get focused. Once again, oh well. It was worth trying. That sketch consisted of a small circle. So artistic! 😆

Well about this time, the body began to hurt and was saying time to pack up for the evening.  I just might have to get up early and check out Mars while high. But either way, it's nice to be able to be out viewing again.

Keep looking up!


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