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From Our Backyard - 01/28/02

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Posted by Glenn Muller on January 29, 2002 15:08:45 UTC

Report from Grimsby, Ontario, Canada

For the 28th of January, daytime temps of 9c (48f) and nightime temps of 2c (35f) are rare, here. Add to that the complete absence of wind and you've got an extremely pleasant night to be out. If only it wasn't hazy. That, and the fact I felt like I was getting a cold meant we nearly didn't go out, but we'd begun identifiying craters on the Moon during our last session and thought we really shouldn't waste such a nice night, so we put the 6" dob in the shelter dome to cool and took the mutt for a walk.
With the Moon filter attached to the 10mm ep, I sighted the bright orb by looking through the lens of the Rigel Quickfinder. With it's small window, I didn't even need to turn the circles on to locate such a large, bright, target however, the haze tended to soften the views and we soon turned toward Jupiter.
At 120X the two main bands were reasonably well-defined and 3 of the moons were visible, but adding the Meade #140 barlow enlarged the image but again the image seemed soft. We've had much better results with this combination so blamed the haze. On to Saturn.
Always pretty, I think it would make a great cameo, or ring decoration, if made out of coral, and I enjoy the small, tight, view as much as the one that occupies much of the FOV. Tonight, though, we seem to have the same results with magnification as Jupiter.
Looking around, apart from Aldebaran, the main stars of Orion, and a couple of Cassiopiea, there wasn't much visible to the naked eye. The Pleiades (sp?) were a fuzzy blur but my wife suggested we give 'em a look before packing it in. It was then I realized my rookie mistake.
Taking the 10mm from the barlow I noticed the Moon filter was still attached (Doi!).
Off with the filter, back in the barlow, back to Jupiter - now that's more like it! And hugging the planet's rim was a moon. Was it going in or coming out? Quick, look at this before it disappears, I said to Gail. When she relinquished the scope, I noticed the moon didn't seem any closer but, then I caught the small black dot of it's shadow - COOL! Unfortunately, Gail couldn't make out the dot, and when I had another look it had become difficult to resolve; so I now have an excuse to buy that 8mm Radian!
By now, the haze was degrading to overcast and we called it a night. Inside, I identified the moon as IO which had just finished it's transit. Just when you think there's not much to see - there's something to be seen.

Glenn Muller

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