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Sub-zero fun


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Having made the decision to brave the cold and observe the shadow transit of Io, I was disappointed when I realised Jupiter was going to be too low. But I thought, what the hell, the moon and Mars look good, so worth going out anyway.

I wasn’t taking any chances in the -2C temperatures, so wore my ski jacket over the top of three layers, hat, hood, two layers of gloves and winter socks. Result - completely toastie for the entire 90 minute session. 🙂

Used the 102ED with binoviewers, giving round 170x, with each eyepiece wrapped in a dewstrap - essential in these cold conditions, especially with BVs it seems.

Had some nice views of Mars, was hoping I might get to see Olympus Mons and a hint of the chain of three volcanoes nearby, but not a trace. Seeing didn’t seem too bad when looking at bright stars, but it didn’t seem to translate to good views of Mars. There were some nice dark features visible to the South and the polar cap was just visible, but nothing really stood out tonight. I tried the blue #80A filter and was surprised to discover it did seem to make the polar cap stand out more, turning the planet a pale blue. Tried a yellow #12 filter and that didn’t seem to help a huge amount, possibly a slight increase in contrast in the dark regions, but the yellow tint became quite extreme when viewing the red planet. Finally tried a polarising filter to see if the reduced glare was the reason why the blue filter worked, but the polarising filter was no where near as good.

Headed off to the moon and had a nice time scanning the terminator from a lunar phase that I rarely observe.

Finally a couple of doubles. Rigel and its companion were an easy split but not very bright due to the moon and mist lighting up the sky. Alnitak was also easy, a tight double with a bright primary which can be tricky, but no problem for the 102ED. 

Feet starting to get a little cold, time to go in. 


Edited by RobertI
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I've been gazing southeast as there are a few flashes of lightning off the Essex/Suffolk coast. 

It's the coldest temps so far this winter at -5C , the fog is trying to form now. 

Mars and Sirius looked bright, but the moon is overpowering. Haven't seen any Geminids yet. It's looking cloudy again until Wednesday.

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I caught Io moving onto the limb and GRS transit but like you say it was too low to catch the shadow unfortunately. Here the seeing was very crisp and Mars looked good- I imagined I might have been seeing hints of Olympus Mons at times but the contrast wasn't good enough to be certain- probably imagining it ;) By the end I could scrape a layer of ice off the telescope tube but luckily nothing fogged up too much. Very fresh out there!


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Lovely report buddy , as I was out last night also I concur with your wardrobe choices lol I done two hours on many targets mainly because although transparency was initially. Very good it faded quickly along with th seeing 

Mars seemed quite muted last night did get some albedo features with my stopped down ST80 with #21 orange but nothing more than that esp as the moon was lightening the sky enough to wash everything out great report buddy 🙂👍👍👍👍

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