While standing there in depressed frustration I was minded of Herschel’s oft-quoted description of the Orion Nebula: “Like the breaking of a mackerel sky”. But my mackerel was taking forever; and illogical dark thoughts were entering my mind. Was it different now with such a sky – is climate change now affecting Herschel’s breaking-cloud ‘promise’.
Finally and with the moon close north I got sigma & 58 Aqr with the 2” finder (from easily-seen delta & gamma Cap). Sigma & 58 Aqr my guides (using the 3” finder) to Neptune. These were still within a ragged thin edge of cloud but 58 Aqr looked encouragingly sharp in the 16.3” D-K at x535. So the wait went on until I spotted a faint pair of stars in the 3” (x55) strikingly contrasted orange & blue; the latter being my quarry and presented a well-defined disk in the D-K. The moon, c. 4 deg. N. causing little trouble, but Triton was out of the question. Neptune, however, was pleasingly contrasted (accentuated) in the moon-glowed field of the D-K and was minded to include this in the colour rendition but finally opted for the standard black surround.
Got Uranus then decided to go to bed and get up around 5 a.m. There was now cloud of a different type scattered here and there but it largely stayed out of the way and the seeing was superb with detail on Ganymede initially catching my eye at x365; and got some good detail with x535 & x665. Then thought to get Mars and let the GRS clear the limb before tackling Jupiter. This is the first time this apparition I have managed to get the spot well on the disk and was surprised how dark and almost brick-red it looked: about as striking as I remember it during that period in the 1960s – tho’ smaller! Certainly seemed more prominent near the limb than I judged it on Aug 6 when I got that Callisto shadow drawing.
It’s taken me till this morning to put all this together (and ALPO-J etc reporting) due to a horrendous observing ‘hangover’ yesterday!