Friday, October 01, 2010

fantastic Jupiter (Blue Mountains)

Someone said it was clear again. We peeked outside. Almost the entire sky was free of clouds. Very nice. What a surprise. I asked Sharmin if she wanted me to open the GBO. She described the big smile on her face. Let's do it! Tony, pooped, went to bed.

We viewed Jupiter. Ah. All four moons now were visible with Io having emerged from the bright disk. When suddenly I noticed the seeing! It was incredible. Absolutely incredible. Perfect, rock solid seeing. I called everyone around. Someone went to wake Antonio.

Phil wanted to bump the power. Slowly, we moved from 71x, to 144x, then 217x, and finally 321x. The imaged started to break down a bit but it was still amazing. The north equatorial belt was dark and seemed to have some mottling in the middle near the meridian. The thin north temperate belt was clearly visible with festoons or clumps. The white region between was clear and separated it from the polar region. The south equatorial remains pale white.

Meanwhile, I put the battleship binos on the Pleiades and then, at Greymi's request, some double stars.

Tried Steve's image-stabilised binoculars on the Pleiades. Then we scanned for comet Hartley 2 near α (alpha) and η (eta) Cassiopeiae. There was a small, compact smudge nearby. With these conditions, it would be hard to tell something from a cloud.

As clouds rolled in, we tried for Uranus. I had to back out to 144x to find it. Centred. Then went back to 217x. And then I asked if people could see any moons. Steve thought he might have seen one (Ariel?). Kiron and I could not spot any points nearby. We called it quits.

I got Steve and Kiron to help me close up. As we emerged from the GBO, we felt rain drops. Good timing.

Back in the house, Kiron said, "That 5 minutes of observing Jupiter [so clearly] made the whole evening." Indeed.

No comments: