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First time Saturn

matt c

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Hi people

Just come in from the first decent session in a week, started off on the moon managed to resolve some of the smaller craters not sure which ones they were though. Definately need a darker filter, the brightness of the surface even at 200 times magnification is actually quite difficult to cope with I came away half blind.

Second was mars managed the same amount of detail as I've seen before but still no moons, maybe need a bigger scope. I actually preferred the 10mm piece I could see more detail and it seemed a bit sharper.

Last of all is the planet I've waited for for a couple of weeks SATURN. I simply could not believe what i could see with own eyes the size of it is stunning considering it's distance, my girlfriend remarked that it just didn't look real. I have to say I agree with her it's just so bright and beautifull, the more I watched the more detail i could see. I managed to see the space between the planet and the rings it was actually quite crisp at some points, I didn't see any banding though so maybe another night. I also saw 5 moons (i think), i think they were Titan, Dione, rhea, tethys and lapetus i must have spent an hour on saturn alone.

And that concluded my night and i enjoyed every minute of it, saturn is something everyone should see in their lifetime:):hello2::)

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still no moons, maybe need a bigger scope

Mars' satellites are faint, around mag. 14 at the moment, and being so near to the planet they're really difficult targets because of the glare. In fact with the bright full moon I've been really struggling to get to mag. 14 in the variable star fields well away from the moon, that I can usually get to mag. 16 when the moon is out of the way.

Try an occulting bar (a piece of wire glued to the field stop, you hide Mars just behind this to reduce the glare).

Even then, Phobos is only visible when it's near maximum elongation - half the time it's either in front of or behind the planet, then you stand no chance at all of seeing it even with Hubble.

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So is my scope actually capable of that magnitude of moon?

Yes. Phobos & Deimos have been seen with 6" though that was when Mars was at a perihelic opposition (half the distance of this one). At the moment they're a similar brightness to Uranus's two brightest satellites, though there is less glare from uranus, if you can see those (and I can, quite easily, with 11" when the sky conditions are reasonable) you may be able to see Phobos & Deimos - with an occulting bar.

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