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Journal FortKnox's Journal: April 16th... a day that will live in infamy... 13

Saturday night, I was at my folks house in Medina (between Akron and Cleveland... as in... away from city pollution). That night it was crystal clear, only a half moon so it wasn't giving us too much light. I was able to pinpoint saturn in a couple minutes. Under my 20mm lense was even able to barely see the rings... I had a good dark area so my night vision was good. Pulled out the 3.5X barrow and saw the rings in all their glory.

Switched to Jupiter. Got it in another 5 minutes. Barrowed up and I was even able to see the cloud lines on the planet (though I was the only one. I had been working with the scope so much that my eyes were more attunded to seeing them than my parents and wife).

Now I'm going to start looking for harder stuff, like orion's nebula...
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April 16th... a day that will live in infamy...

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  • by grub ( 11606 )
    "Barrowed up"

    Do you mean "Barlowed"? [segue] I haven't had my telescope outside yet since the snow melted but Evil Kim and I were out on Saturday night throught the park and I said that it's time!
    • The gettin's good. Its cool but not cold, and no bugs (mosquitos) yet!
      • Funny you mentioned the half moon on Saturday, I did the same thing when I mentioned that I should get the scope outside. Evenings here are still a bit cool (~5-10C) but days are great. High of 26C today. Not that using a telescope in the day will get me much... ;)
  • now all you have to do is hook up a camera so we can all see what you do :)
    • I did take a couple pics of a shot at the moon just to see how it looks. Wife plans on uploading the pics later this afternoon. If its good, I'll try to grab saturn and jupiter on camera...
  • and all I could see was Uranis! ;-)

    Hey, they call it toilet humor because it's funny. If it wasn't, they'd call it toilet non-humor. :-)

  • With a small (80mm IIRC) refractor and some good quality lenses I was able to make out dark smudges where Shoemaker-Levy had hit Jupiter [nasa.gov] a day or so after the impact.

    Saturn's rings are an awesome sight too, although the angle we are seeing them is getting worse - they'll be edge-on in 2009, the next maximum will be around 2015/21016 I think. I saw them in their full glory in 1987 and they were clearly visible even through the crappy scope I had at the time.

    Yuo really want to spend some time observing Jupi
    • I have a small reflector (I can't recall the size, but its around 3"). I did resolve color of the planets and, as I said, saw cloud lines on jupiter. I did get 3 of jupiters moons up without much trouble, also. Will have to spend more time on it at the next clear night...
      • With a 3" reflector you get about the same resolving power as my old 80mm refractor. (Actually, slightly less, but barely a noticeable difference.) Making out the spot on Jupiter with that size scope would be close to impossible. Maybe with perfect seeing and a lot of patience you might make something out, but at least the banding will be quite apparent.

        Sky & Telescope magazine should have star charts and IIRC they also had a section on planets that are visible each month. That should help to locate t
        • I'll admit up front I was really having a frustrating time looking at things. Didn't have anyone to really bounce ideas off of and such, so I was mostly doing things from scratch. What's worse is that I was doing everything in winter in well under freezing conditions, so I wasn't able to stay out long.

          I started realizing the best way to move my scope, understanding when to use better lenses and when to use a barrow (this was big... I was trying to focus a planet with a 4mm lense and a 3.5X barrow). Now
          • I think you mean Barlow [telescopes.com]. ;-)

            The hardest thing to really grok when starting out is higher power/magnification is not always better. Sometimes it is best to use a lower power - especially when starting. There are many pitfalls with going to too high a power too early, ranging from the limited field of view (meaning it is harder to locate things) to reduced light-gathering and quality.

            The lenses you got with your scope are probably of a decent quality, but the ones I had with my scopes were pretty poor to be
            • I think you mean Barlow [telescopes.com]. ;-)

              Wow, he's rolling in his grave, ain't he? I've been misusing that for months now! Thanks for the (second) correction there :-)

              I've been on the lookout for a redflashlight ever since your first suggestion. Will look into sky & telescope mag and almanac, too.

              My only major disadvantage is that my scope comes from a company not know for scopes, but for binocs (bushnell). My laser on my finder went out and I can't figure out how to replace the batts.
              • For a red flashlight, try a red LED torch - that should work and they're easy enough to find, or do as I did way back when and get some red cellophane. From memory half a dozen or so layers should give a dark enough red...

I don't want to be young again, I just don't want to get any older.