Tuesday, August 25, 2009

8/25/09 Observing Log

It rained for a few minutes in the early evening, so I thought it might be a good time to go out and finally take a look at Jupiter. I haven't used the scope in about 6 months due to timing with cloud cover when the moon has been new and full moon when it has been clear. This is the first time I've viewed Jupiter through the new scope. Crescent moon tonight (36.7% waxing according to my iPhone Moon Phase app).

Observed these objects tonight:
  • Jupiter - First sighting. Tried a few eyepieces: 16mm Orion Edge-On, 13mm Orion Stratus, 8mm Orion Stratus, 5mm Orion Stratus. The 8mm Stratus, which gives a mag of 150x, gave the best combination of magnification and detail tonight. Enough to sketch the view through the telescope below. Fair amount of atmospheric turbulence, so you had to watch it for a while to see detail crisp up and pop out from time to time.

  • M57 - Ring Nebula. First sighting through the new scope. Pretty easy to find. Central "hole" very faintly visible. I remember seeing this 23 years ago with my brother-in-law's high school's 8-inch Celestron that I was able to borrow during one summer.

  • M27 - Dumbbell Nebula. First sighting. Star-hopped from Beta Cygni (Albireo) towards 13 Vulpecula to M27. Looks better with UltraBlock filter on the eyepiece. Actually a bit more bright than I might have expected given my urban setting, but not really distinctly dumbbell-shaped either.

According to my August 2009 issue of Sky & Telescope, Io will transit Jupiter Thursday night, so hopefully the sky will be clear and I've have another chance to go out and see that. Couldn't make out any Great Red Spot, though nowadays I understand it is pretty dim. Sky & Telescope calculates that the Spot will transit the meridian around 00:08 this morning, so presumbly I should be able to see it now.

UPDATE: Yeah, I can see the Great Red Spot, but only by putting in the 5mm Stratus, which gives 240x mag. It's very faint, and you have to watch it for a while to pick it out from the South Equatorial Belt (which is the top belt in the updated sketch below). Io is also getting closer to Jupiter and will begin transit within the hour.

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