Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Missed Jupiter!

Just been out with the Opticron to see if I could get another view of Jupiter but it is not high enough in the sky yet and I have work in the morning. Also it is too early to see anything else, the problem with astronomy of course is that in the winter you get plenty of observing time but it is very cold, yet in the summer you have to stay up very late to do any observing.

A couple of years back I had an excellent summer session laying back in a deck chair with my monocular, I could even see M31 with the naked eye....

Today I bought the latest issue of Sky at Night magazine, they have published a list of the "50 wonders to see before you die". I can tick around 35 of them so am not doing too bad on that count.

I note that number one on the list is a total solar eclipse and that there is also an advert for a company running a tour next year to an eclipse somewhere over Okinawa, prices start at £1,395 per person sharing a cabin. I doubt that I'll be able to afford that :o(

The last Rosliston Astro club evening that I attended (2 years ago?) included a presentation from a guy who had been at the last dozen or so total eclipses. He never did tell us what he did for a living but but one of his trips involved flying to Australia and then boarding a charted flight over Antarctica where he had booked two seats in order to not be disturbed during the event.

Anyway, hopefully I will be getting more time looking at the sky from now on!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

After an evening out I spotted a very bright object to the South fairly low in the sky, and thought it could be Jupiter or Venus (or an aircraft on aproach to the local airport).

So, after getting home managed to get out with the opticron to take a look. My southern aspect is not the best being obscured by some large trees but I did manage to get a look.

Jupiter is looking awesome, all 4 Gallilean moons were on display, 3 to the left and 1 to the right. Even through the small aperture of the Opticron at 40x mag I could make out two cloud belts quite clearly. The view was only spoilt by atmospheric distortion and was otherwise stunning.

Can't wait now to get some serious observing sessions in, the kitchen is finished and the workshop almost compltete, I just need to put down some decking and build a small shed for an observatory.

Earlier in the year I put a few photos onto a free photo album site www.fotothing.com/mitch62 and I included a few astropics, namely the moon, vega and M42. The moon shot and vega were quite popular and only last week I was contacted by two US based astro organisations who want to use the image of Vega!