Friday, April 15, 2016

we enjoyed Jupiter (Blue Mountains)

I prepared the Geoff Brown Observatory. Connected my ASUS Eee PC netbook to drive the Paramount ME with Celestron 14 and Tele Vue 101.

Ian made some coffee.

I viewed Jupiter. The seeing was rather good! After a moment... I thought something unusual. I noted a dark spot. How about that! A shadow transit. I spotted it near the edge! I confirmed it in SkyTools 3 Professional.

Intercommed the house. Grace, Tony, Ian had looks in the C14 and TV101. Grace spotted the "fifth" moon. The impostor star was HD 95848.

9:51 PM. They were curious if the shadow was coming or going. I simulated it in the software: the shadow was inbound!

Ian, aka Hawkeye, called out: "I see a moon in front!" I checked the software again. Europa itself was transitting, slightly left of the middle; Europa's shadow was to our right. Funny. Early I had seen something on the surface but just thought it festoons.

9:56. We wondered if the seeing would hold up. Bumped up the power a bit. From the Tele Vue 27mm to the old 20mm. It worked.

10:18. It was a fantastic view. We enjoyed the moon and shadow drifting left. The Great Red Spot was very colourful. The equatorial cloud bands were rich and textured.

10:25. It was a bit windy. I was not happy about that... I checked the on-site Davis weather station. It showed, as of 10:16, the following: 10 minute average wind speed 19.3 km/h from the SES; the high had been 46.7; the humidity was 50%; the barometer showed 1029.3 hPa; the temperature was 9.8°C with a wind chill of 6.6 (glad I brought my winter coat); and a predicted dew point of -0.2. Well away.

Everyone went into the house; Ian headed to his MODL.

10:33. Got more coffee.

10:39. I watched the moon as it detached from the planet. Teardrop.

Wow. What a great view.

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