Thursday, September 29, 2022

Saturn and Jupiter (St Thomas)

Looked correct... Here we go.

8:42 PM. First light from the new deck.

Meade ETX 90 Maksutov-Cassegrain with the Celestron 26mm Plössl eyepiece. On the Mamiya tripod at 2/3 height (too high, I wondered?). Camera finder with 3D-printed adapter. Clothespin on focuser. Astronomer chair.

No tracking though. I had not brought out the battery pack. So I had to manually pan. RA knob clockwise.

Viewed Saturn in the south-east.

Clear skies! Cool air.

8:44. Tan coloured planet and rings.

I spotted Titan below. Easy. [ed: magnitude 8.5.]

Headed indoors for the zoom eyepiece.

Plane flew overhead.

Enjoyed the view in the baader planetarium Hyperion Mark IV 8-24 aspheric zoom ocular. First time in the ETX. Another first light! It worked. Not a perfect fit (collision with the finder adapter) but it was fine. Sweet.

Fairly high power, second from last (12mm). OK view. It was better resolution. The rings were better defined. Titan, 6 o'clock position.

8:47. Noted the shadow on the right side of the planet. I could see a dark band behind between the planet and the ring. Probably the the shadow and not the C-ring. Equatorial belt on the planet was a touch lighter. Hints of the Cassini Division. The seeing was better. Nearly stable. It held up.

Couldn't see other moons...

Up high in the BigDOC chair. Uncomfortable. But I didn't want to rejig things at this stage. Next time I'll not go as high on the tripod. Might also help avoid some of the light glare from the parking lots.

Seeing went off.

Oh. The 'scope was warm. I forgot about that. I should have put it outside much earlier to equalise the OTA. Maybe I was seeing tube currents.

Took a short break. Grabbed the Android.

Fired up SkySafari on the phone to identify the Saturnian moons.

moons of Saturn from SkySafari

9:07. I might have seen Rhea to the left, the 8 o'clock, about half the distance. [ed: magnitude 9.9.] And I think I saw Dione, to the right of the rings, about the same distance as Titan, once, just for a second, averted. [ed: 10.6 mag.] Couldn't get that again.

The view was getting better as the ringed world slowly climbed. [ed: to culminate at just after 10 PM.]

Briefly considered some deep sky targets, like open clusters and doubles. Took me a while to sort out showing the current evening's best targets.

Tried for M30 (Messier 30), starhopping down, but didn't make it.

I think I ended up at ε (epsilon) Capricornus in the zoom (at low power, 24mm) also known as H 6 6. I saw a very faint star well away, to the right. That may have been the B companion alluded to in SkySafari at 65.8". Oddly, SkySafari did not show the B point on the screen (another double star goof-up).

double star epsilon Cap in SS app

Was keeping it light and easy so had no intention of using SkyTools on the Surface. But sure wanted to know what the field of view was supposed to look like.

[ed. I stand corrected. The faint star up and right of ε Cap A shown in SS is Tycho 06370-1178 1. According to SkyTools, this is in fact B, the companion, aka H 6 6 B. So I did see the mag 9-10 star.]

Swung to the east.

9:33. Viewed Jupiter, finally clear of the big maple tree. Very neat arrangement with the moons and Callisto extremely close to the planet, impersonating a tight double star, above (north).

Jupiter and moons from SkySafari

Started at low power. Clicked to the highest zoom setting, 8mm (about 140x). The seeing was OK. Detail on the surface of the gas giant, just after opposition. A very nice view. No Great Red Spot.

Looked for shadows. Didn't think there were any going on (confirmed in SkySafari). Next double shadow event on the Jovian world is due on 12 October...

Shot a photo of the setup with the Motorola camera. And the bright parking lot nearby.

ETX setup on deck

Phone battery alert.

9:40. Packed up. Leg sore. Not a lot of energy for a long observing session.

It had been comfortable, temperature-wise. Shirt and sweater, PJs, new fuzzy slippers from sis, deer toque with ear flaps by sis.

No vision issues.

This had been great. Good to get some telescope time, at last.


Forgot to snap the Clear Sky Chart at the time. 

CSC from morning after

The one above is from the morning. Still, it shows no cloud, good transparency, and good seeing.


In the spirit of nicknaming, I dubbed the new observing perch, the third floor balcony, with a nickname applied in SkyTools. The walk-out at Colbeck in Bloor West Village was The Overlook. The lovely backyard at Hurd St in BWG was Cupcakes. This place? Elevator.


Sis said...

Sorry, you don’t have an elevator 😞

bla said...

S'ok. Doesn't bother me. Just surly movers...