September 16, 2011

A Four AM Trek: Lunar And Planetary Challenge

 What an amazing night! (boy, I could label all my articles that!) I dragged myself up, got some sweaters on and a winter hat (chilly out there) and my bag with my observing books etc I keep organized for when I decide to pop outside everything is there and ready to go. Very handy, make one for yourself!  I am working on all the lunar observing section of Phil Harrington's Cosmic Challenge.

Tonight I start on what craters and features that are present. I love observing challenges, bring it on Phil!  Next summer  I  plan on completing  observing lists like the Messier objects, and observing the NGC list and others from different astronomy clubs and leagues. But tonight I am browsing some winter sky sights with Ambrosia, my 12 inch dobsonian. Taurus is a complete blast to explore, as I mentioned above it is chilly tonight but I am ready for it with an electric blanket plugged into the outside plug on my house. It is keeping Sophy nice and warm.  Jupiter and the moon are still riding through each constellation at a close pace. Moon is leading the way.

This is a treasure at 4 am with great weather to observe by. I took a lengthy  look at Jupiter, I read in my sky News magazine earlier for September/October 2011 skies that Jupiter will be very bright and brighter in October sometime, wow really? It is so super bright now, just shimmering out there tonight.  It is so vivid in my scope tonight  I had to tone the brightness with my moon filter.  I slapped on my ultra high contrast filter and wow what a show the moons of jupiter put on. I put in my Barlow and switched from my 26mm eyepiece to my 10mm Plossl and you cannot see the terrain or atmospheric  details of the moons but it was a great idea to try it. It brought out really cool  striking effect. I thought the 10mm Plossl would bring them in too much but it turned out effective on exploring them in more detail.

Jupiter got really wonky looking up close so I tapped the scope's tube  so the ultra close planet was out of my field of view and I focused my view on the moons.  This time too much magnification worked, you have to work with your scope and eyepieces magnification powers carefully with different deep sky objects but this experiment worked well.  I decided on a whim too try my Lumicon UHC  filter then amped up the eyepiece power to goof off, try it yourself some time. My scope  size may differ from  yours but it is fun to test out your scope's power to magnify.  Deep  sky  observing with low numbered but high power viewing is tricky, specially with 10 mm  too 7mm high powered eyepieces.  Best thing is experience and writing down what worked and didn't work out.  Have to play with your optics now and then, a great learning tool to be the skilled deep sky observer you want to be.

After that I got to work on the lunar challenge and that was a complete blast but you'll see sometime soon what I observed, I am opening a separate page for it for fun. As I packed in everything I was once again thankful that I dragged myself out here, always worth the while!

As I enjoyed a glass of apple juice before I went back to sleep I noticed something new to explore. What fun can I have next with my Lumicon filter.  I do not play with my eyepieces and filters together very often but I will test out my Lumicon UHC more, it is a great addition to amp up your observing our fun to explore night sky.  As always, I feel so soul fulfilled and amazed at what I observed and felt deep in my soul. I am happy to be an observer once again, a passion that will never leave my life. Astronomy and observing it's not just a hobby it is our way of life.


Nate said...

you've inspired me to get a telescope.. thanks.. I find space so amazing.

Stargeezer Jake said...

Thanks for the eyepiece tips, I took my equipment out last night and did exactly what you did with the moons of jupiter, WOW!

14 inch dobsonian here, you love dobsonian telescopes I can tell!

NiteSkyGirl said...

I'm a dobsonian girl for life! Nothing beats them.