Last night’s planetary observations

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    Good morning, everyone,

    I would like to share with you some observations of the planets I made last night.

    My observing commenced shortly after 22:30hrs and ended at 00:06hrs BST. The morning of the Autumn Equinox.

    I own a Celestron C9.25 and decided that it was about time I brought it out hibernation. This is a fine telescope, as Damion Peach will testify in his review of it on his website.
    I have this mounted onto a Losmandy G11 with Gemini 2. And I am currently using a Stellar Lyra 1.25-inch Star Diagonal, the optics are collimated and very clean.

    All observations were made at the C9.25 native F10 at 2,350mm focal length and I used a 13mm Baader Hyperion eyepiece giving a magnification of x180.

    Seeing at times was ANT-II occasionally ANT-I my skies were hazy.

    It has been too long since I last had a look at this giant. Tonight, I was delighted to see the planet again. Through my C9.25. Jupiter was pleasing to see. The seeing was steady. But the planet was visible through a hazy sky. I think this helped to settle the seeing. On the planet. Jupiter’s two main belts were clearly visible. I thought the NEB looked brownish to my eye. Maybe someone on here can confirm this? I was able to see other features including Festoons and barges. IO was Orange in colour whilst the other three were white dots. One of the moons Ganymede was very close to the planet, and I thought it might have just come out of transit. But wasn’t certain of that.

    I spent a long time studying the planet and trying to familiarise myself with all the belts and zones. I must read up on observations of Jupiter before next time.

    My next targets were Uranus and Neptune. I am happy to say both planets were clearly visible. Uranus appeared as a tiny orb at x180. But I wasn’t able to see anything else. Neptune again, appeared as a small disk. I wasn’t able to see any colour in Uranus or Neptune.

    It made a pleasant change to use the Mk1 EB again. And the SCT.

    David Totney

    Sounds like an interesting night. I find SkySafari 6 Pro is very useful for predicting Galilean eclipses and transits. I viewed Neptune on the 10th of September along with Jupiter with my 127mm Maksutov (Sky-Watcher SkyMax). I could perceive colour in Neptune even though it wasn’t much more than a tiny disc.

    Telescopes: One Newtonian, three Maksutov Cassegrains, seven refractors, and a large SCT.

    Andy Wilson

    Hi Paul & David,
    After not doing much observing over the summer months, I am also starting to get back to visual astronomy. I had a nice short session last night of about an hour, taking brief looks at Saturn and Jupiter along with some deep sky objects. I am using a Mewlon 250, so not far off a C9.25 in performance.
    I need to spend a bit of time planning some sessions, as I find it rewarding to concentrate on a few pre-selected targets. When I am feeling brave I like to make drawings, though my artistic skills need work!

    Daryl Dobbs

    I’ve observed Jupiter several times in the past couple of weeks, NEB does indeed seem a brownish colour and the GRS pale and small, watching the antics of the satellites are interesting. Last night was frustrating, cloudy when I looked out at 8:30 but when I looked out just before 10 not a cloud in the sky, by which time I gave up all hopes of observing due to work the next day.

    Sky clarity recently hasn’t been all that good, but we live not far from Newport, Cardiff and across the river Bristol.

    Saturn and its satellites are disappearing into the tree line, pity as it’s an enjoyable planet to observe, such are the joys of living in a valley, I’ve only seen Neptune and Uranus once recently but due to the turbulent hazy air they were just feature less blobs.

    When the clouds clear it’s back to the variable stars.


    David Totney

    Hi Andy,

    Most of my astronomy is with smaller grab and go scopes. Even so, I do tend to plan an evening’s viewing even if only at a basic level. Jupiter’s so dynamic as a system it’s worth a bit of preparation. I caught an Io eclipse back in June. It was quite novel to watch the Jovian moon disappear quite rapidly, even though I’d prepared for the event with astronomy software.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 9 months ago by David Totney.

    Telescopes: One Newtonian, three Maksutov Cassegrains, seven refractors, and a large SCT.

    David Strange

    I too was looking at Jupiter last night, and found this view very disconcerting!
    Callisto now passing to the south of Jupiter and no longer transiting (South at top in image).



    I too am passionate about planetary observation. I first saw Jupiter with its 4 satellites through a self-made telescope (the one in the attached photograph. I was totally penniless, not even money for the cinema). It was a cardboard tube with two lenses. As objective an old biconvex spectacle lens (+ 2 diopters) d30 mm, the eyepiece made with a small lens from a wire counter produced about 25X. The finder had been given to me a few days earlier. Red and blue colours were abundant, but I saw the planet as Galileo had seen it in 1610: orange luminosia star in the centre and four small stars almost aligned. I enjoyed telling everything to some classmates at school and to the Italian and literature teacher. We were studying the meaning of Don Ferrante in the novel I Promessi Sposi by A. Manzoni. It was a cold, clear winter evening. I had no gloves and at a certain point I could no longer feel my fingers. A wonderful memory that still excites me after so many years.

    Translated with (free version)

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