Saturday, December 27, 2003

using the reflector (Union)

location: Union, Ontario

5:00pm - 6:45pm

Used Al's telescope, a Edscorp 6" reflector (on an equatorial mount). It has an eyepiece that looks about 50 to 60 power. Nicely collimated—my first attempt (thanks to the notes in The Backyard Astronomer's Guide)! First used it on the Moon (first quarter), then Venus, gibbous, and finally The Pleiades. The Moon resolved very nicely (despite heat waves), easy to focus. The Pleiades look really good in a wide field. Fired up my 'scope.

Even though the reflector has a smaller objective, it produces a comparable image to the cat (the Celestron 8" Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope on Vixen Super Polaris mount).

Looked at Mars, gibbous, and Venus (fairly low in the horizon). Mars is so much smaller now, cannot resolve any detail per se. It is half or a third the apparent size compared to the summer.

Lots of dew.


11:00pm - 12:00am

Frost. Heaters worked great. As the eyepiece warmed up, Saturn became incredibly bright and crisp. I could see different cloud bands, the shadow of the rings on the planet, and the Cassini division between the rings. Everyone (Mom, Donna, and Steve) enjoyed it.

Saturn is in Gemini at 6h43m RA and 22°23' Dec. Drew map of image in cat. This is my first time attempting to determine if I'm seeing the moons of the planet...

Orion Nebula. Could see the four little stars in the middle!

[ed: Messier 45 (M45), Messier 42 (M42).]

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