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What did you observe with your classic telescope today ?

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#7901 clamchip


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Posted 20 September 2021 - 11:37 PM

I was observing Jupiter tonight and only 3 moons. 

I was expecting one to come out from behind the planet, but no.

So I upped the power and noticed Europa and Ganymede were right on top

of each other, higher power split the pair. I don't remember seeing that

before, interesting.

Also a Polar Orbit satellite, traveling N-S. I don't see many of these. I'm not

purposely looking for satellites, but if I happen to see one I'll usually watch it

especially a odd-ball. Polar Orbit satellites require a larger rocket because

they cannot take advantage of Earth's rotational velocity. 

Almost forgot my instrument this evening was a C8.



Edited by clamchip, 20 September 2021 - 11:41 PM.

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#7902 highfnum


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Posted 21 September 2021 - 09:21 AM

was out with the Jeagers

83mm with barlow

152mm(6 inch) prime

seeing wasnt that great but eh ok


Capture 2021-09-20T22_05_19jag83sat.jpg

Capture 2021-09-20T22_11_17jag83jupE.jpg



Capture 2021-09-20T22_52_13jag6jupE.jpg

Capture 2021-09-20T22_56_03jag6jup.jpg

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#7903 ccwemyss


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Posted 21 September 2021 - 12:12 PM

Here's a picture from the setup at school two nights ago. 


Edmund 4 - 1 (6).jpeg


Last night I set up the Meade 152ED next to the AP 6" f9 for some side-by-side testing. Using the same type of diagonal on each (AP Maxbright), and transferring the eyepiece back and forth. I mostly used 7mm and 4.8mm Naglers, but also 8mm and 16mm UO Koenigs, and a 55mm Plossl. I let them both cool for about 45 minutes.


Jupiter up first. Nice image in the Meade with the 7mm Nagler. In the AP I immediately realized Io's shadow was transiting, just below a knot that was above the NEB. Back to the Meade, and with better focus it was also visible there. That was the consistent story through the evening. Realized Io was nearing the limb in the AP, found it in the Meade, Noticed some mottling near the S. pole in the AP, then found it in the Meade with careful observation. Saw details in the NEB in the AP, found them again in the Meade.


Pretty much everything I could see in the AP I could find in the Meade, but I always saw it first in the AP. Part of that may have been the Meade taking longer to cool -- the AP is wrapped in Reflectix, and is usable almost as soon as it is opened. But the AP also seemed to have a bit more contrast. Boosting up to a 4.8mm (285X), the views were similar, although holding up a little better in the AP. 


On Saturn at 285X, Cassini was a sharply defined line in the AP. In the Meade it would momentarily match the sharpness, but then go a little fuzzy. Titan and Rhea were easy in both. Dione was just visible. Interestingly, however, it was a little bit easier to pick out Tethys in the Meade. The AP has had its front coating removed, and is a triplet, so perhaps the Meade has a hair more throughput (the difference was spotting it around 50% more often in a short time interval). 


The moon showed the contrast advantage of the AP. White ridges and crater rims popped out in ways that drew the eye. In the Meade, they were there, but not so eye catching. Again, once I would notice something in the AP, I could find it in the Meade. Same story on the double cluster. Pretty little asterisms would catch my eye in the AP, and then I would find them in the Meade. At 285X the AP had no CA on the moon's limb. The Meade had just a hairline of faint yellow at the very edge - pretty close to APO color correction. Clouds were drifting through, so the only double I had time to observe was Almach, and it was similar in both scopes.


A star test, with the 8mm, on Altair, produced numerous, very fine rings just in and out of focus on the AP. Inside they were purple, but still very sharp. Textbook perfect. Inside of focus on the Meade there were three sharply defined rings with clear gaps between. Outside, there was a fat purple ring around the central point, and then the yellow outer ring. So some under correction. That is probably part of the difference. The Meade was a little harder to get to critical focus (perhaps in part because I'm still getting used to the electric focuser -- I kept wanting to just tweak the knob a little, but the resistance of the motor makes manual fine tuning cumbersome). I kept wishing I had a fine focus knob. 


The other contributor to the contrast difference is probably the baffling. I replaced the single baffle of the AP with a system of 6 baffles, painted with Black 2.0. The Meade has 3 baffles that are fairly reflective. 


Overall, I'd rate the Meade as offering 90% of the improvement over an Achro that the AP achieves. I didn't encounter anything in the AP that couldn't be found in the Meade with a little extra care. I'll be curious to see if that carries over to deep sky objects, after the moon moves away from full. Optically, it's a very good scope, and I don't think my students will miss anything in viewing through it that they would if I went through the tedious process to pull the AP from its carefully balanced tandem mounting. 


Just as I was about to wrap up, the Pleiades appeared in a narrow gap in the trees. So narrow that it was only visible to the Meade. The 55mm framed them nicely, and it was good to see them again, for the first time this season. 


Chip W. 

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#7904 highfnum


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Posted 21 September 2021 - 03:13 PM

looks like an edmund 4 on right?

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#7905 ccwemyss


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Posted 21 September 2021 - 06:53 PM

Post  #7899 was about an observing evening at school with the Edmund 4 and the Meade, two nights ago. Took me a while to get the photo uploaded. 


Chip W. 

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#7906 Alex65


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Posted 22 September 2021 - 06:12 AM

IMG_1024 (1024x503).jpg


I tried out the old Kenko 60mm refractor again early this morning. The moon was just past full (15.4 day / 99% illumination) so I thought that I would check out the terminator for some old favorites of mine.


Starting in the SE I immediately noted the 120 mile wide Humboldt crater with its 16000 foot high walls. It lay just on the terminator. Jutting against its western wall was the crater Phillips. Just above Humboldt lay Hecataeus, a 115 mile wide crater. Even with the small 60mm aperture, using 60X, I could see that it was a compound crater, narrower at the northern end. Following the terminator I spied the smaller craters Behaim and Ansgarius.


Heading further north I couldn't miss Endymion, the gateway to the Mare Humboldtianum. Endymion displayed its usual dark lava filled floor, surrounded by an impressive range of mountain walls reaching up to 15000 feet and up to 78 miles wide. Due east of Endymion lay the vast dark elongated oval of the Mare Humboldtianum with the terminator running through its western edges. The low oblique setting sun illuminated the superb mountain ranges, showing as a continuous wall through the small refractor. Following the terminator south brought me to another old friend, the 100 mile wide Gauss.


Once again, I went away rather impressed with the lunar views obtained through the small 60mm aperture though, as before, the views of Jupiter and stars (I also tried viewing M45) proved rather disappointing.

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#7907 Bomber Bob

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Posted 22 September 2021 - 05:14 PM

Finally!  First Real Cold Front started pushing through today...  NW winds at 25 kts + higher gusts... Yes!  Swamp Skies won't be scrubbed 100% clear until tomorrow night, and with the winds, I put 3 "short" scopes out in the shed as soon as I got home from work:  Mizar GT-80S + VG2, Mizar Comet + AR-1, & Tak FC-100 + SP.  These should cover all the bases.  Odds are, the air mass will be way too unstable for high-power planetary, but I look forward to seeing what conditions these 3 can overcome...


- - - - - - - - - -


As expected:  Transparency was about 8/10, but overall seeing was hurt by erratic atmospheric turbulence.  Despite the conditions, I answered 2 Questions using this gear while observing Jupiter for 2+ hours before / at / after meridian passage...


Mizar GT-80S (80x560) Refractor + 1.25" Baader Prism + AT Paradigm 3.2mm @ 175x

Mizar Comet (100x800) Newtonian + .965" spectros PL 5mm @ 160x

Takahashi FC-100 (100x800) Fluorite APO + 1.25" TAK Prism + TV Nagler 5mm @ 160x


Question #1:  Under adverse seeing conditions, can a smaller aperture telescope out-perform a larger aperture telescope?


YES.  I used a 10 minute mini-session at each scope and in rotation from the GT to the Comet to the TAK.  The GT was the least susceptible to image blurring / focus shift caused by all the air mass motion.


Question #2:  Under adverse seeing conditions, does telescope type / design affect visual performance differences?


YES.  Between the Comet and the TAK, the Comet was least susceptible to image blurring / focus shift caused by all the air mass motion.  That's right, a Reflector was slightly better at dealing with the turbulent air than the Refractor.  Why?  I think Temperature Adaptation was a factor.  ALL 3 scopes were placed in the shed at the same time -- several hours before sunset.  ALL 3 were set up outside at the same time & place (as close as possible without me knocking one over!).  But, from sunset until I began observing, ambient air temps dropped 8* F.  The Comet uses a thin-wall aluminum tube, and is open at the front -- any warmer air around the primary mirror rushed out the front very quickly.  The TAK is over-built, and close-tubed.  Its tube never felt as cold as the Comet's...


Also, after about an hour, the TAK's overall views improved, and after Testing, I had no trouble bumping it up to 250x with the AT PAR 3.2mm -- very sharp limb & fine details by that time!  So, it lagged behind the Comet, but it did catch up...  I think...


BIF:  Based on the GT-80's performance, I can see why folks go nutz over the Tak FC-76 APOs...  While larger scopes are adapting, the 3" fracs are ready to go; and, since they max-out at lower magnifications, and/or don't show as much fine detail, you don't notice blurring / focus shift as easily as you do with the larger scopes -- just my observation.

Edited by Bomber Bob, 23 September 2021 - 03:53 PM.

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#7908 Bonco2


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Posted 23 September 2021 - 03:54 PM

First clear night in weeks. Got to use my Model 128 with Unihex  loaded with a full set of Unitron .965's for the first time..Before I had some non parfocal eyepieces.  I really enjoy having a full parfocal set. I found they are not perfectly parfocal but it only takes minor adjustment to to get focus when switching to other eyepieces.  The best part of the evening was I  saw more detail on Jupiter than any other view I've had with a 60mm.  The 7mm Sym eyepiece was best view. Counted 8 bands that included striations in the polar regions. Unfortunately I only got a glimpse of Saturn before it went behind trees. I prefer using the Unihex on the 128 as it makes for a great complete grab and go and the.965's seem a good match. However I prefer using a 1.25 diagonal on my model 142. Nice to have different choices.


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#7909 oldmanastro


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Posted 23 September 2021 - 10:06 PM

Yesterday I had the first clear night in days. The RV6 with the recently recoated mirrors was out in no time thanks to wheels attached to the pedestal legs. The best polar alignment possible was done and everything was ready. With the bright waning moon out, the planets were the first target. Jupiter was showing many belts at 67x using the 18mm Konig. It was really detailed at 200x on the 6mm UO ortho and even at 300x with the 4mm ortho the detail remained intact. The seeing was about a 7 and sometimes maybe an 8. The variability depended on some sudden turbulence that came and went. Unfortunately the GRS was not in transit but dark spots were visible on the northern border of the NEB. The equatorial region was also showing some detail with dark and brighter areas. Saturn was great at 200x and 300x with the moons Titan, Rhea, Thetis and Dionne visible. The last two as tyne specks of light near the planet. The ring was showing the Cassini division all around with the A and B rings well delineated. At least two belts were visible with the polar region well defined. Visual observations of both planets was followed by some imaging. Not an easy task with the original mount especially when entering the image on the screen. This time I experimented with my 3X Barlow to see what the RV6 was capable of. The results are below. Not bad for a 50+ year old classic. 


The waning Moon was showing some areas very well. Mare Crisium was stunning and nearby craters Langrenus and Petavius showed impressive detail with the contrast provided by the low angle of the sun and the impending shadow that would overtake them. The image of Langrenus taken with a 2X Barlow shows what the RV6 can do on the moon with a digital camera. The image shows the RV6 pointed at the Moon with my astro-frankentable and laptop behind it. I spent quite sometime visually observing the moon before I moved west toward  to see delta Cygni. The 6mm ortho brought the nice pair clearly into view and the 4mm ortho showed it even better. At times of excellent seeing, two Airy discs surrounded by a diffraction ring were clearly visible. 


The imaging had taken sometime and it was late when I finally decided to close shop. As I did this Aldebaran and Capella were saying hello from the east and north east presaging the clearer skies of winter.

Attached Thumbnails

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  • RV6Imaging.JPG
  • Moon2021-9-23-0356-RV62X.jpg

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#7910 Bomber Bob

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Posted Yesterday, 08:01 AM

I'll try to keep it brief...


Carton 60B Collimation:  FAIL.  I could not prevent COMA due to the too flexible plastic lens cell.  There had to have been a plastic collar between the tube end & the lens.  IF I decide to keep it, I'll make one for it.  The Bright Spot:  The Asahi Finder.  At 18mm CA, it's dinky, but optically much better than expected -- showed Jupiter as a tiny tiny non-star + 3 Galileans!  Not too bad.  The Chrome Unitron Finder on my Jaegers 50 is inferior, so I may make a swap.


Seeing last night was 8/10 by 2100L (02Z).  There was enough moisture in the air that Moonglow became a factor by the end of my session.  But overall, best planetary night in a long while...


Friendly 4" Competition:  I set up the Mizar Comet right beside the Tak FC-100.  Took some adjustments, but finally had it where I could hop from one chair to the other without hurting the scopes or myself.  Best views of Saturn & Jupiter.  Okay, both scopes have 800mm FLs, so keeping mags the same is easy (I like easy math on a work night).


Common Things:


- Resolution -- both scopes are sharp.  Up to about 160x, the much cheaper Comet can hold its own with the FC-100 on these two planets.  Its Achilles Heel is the focuser, which is NOT as good as the Tak's.  Takes a lot of persistence & patience to nail focus.  To keep from dropping $$$ gear, I assigned the TV Naglers to the Comet, the Radians to the Tak, & did some limited testing of the AT Paradigms in both scopes.  (Both Mizar EQs have deep accessory pie-pans -- very handy!)

- Disk & Belt Colors -- pretty much identical.  No Doubt in BB's Mind that the Tak fluorite is very very close to natural colors, since I've confirmed this independently in the Comet, & my Tiny Tak.

- Moons -- Both scopes showed a cool triangle of Titan, Rhea, & Dione for Saturn; and, perfect tiny Airy Disks for the 3 Galileans (Ganymede was in eclipse).  Rhea seemed especially bright in the Comet.




- Magnification Per Inch -- on both planets, the Comet topped-out at 50x / inch (200x); while the Tak stayed sharp at 100x / inch (400x) using the Radian 4mm + Tak 2x Barlow.  With the AT PAR 3.2mm @ 250x, the Tak gives a very pleasing view of Saturn - great balance of detail, colors, & eye comfort.  The Comet went soft with this eyepiece.  When I used 200x with the Comet, the views were only slightly inferior to the Tak's.  I tried different 200x Eyepiece + Barlow combos with the Comet, and it was consistently great at this magnification.  But the Best Views in the Comet were with the Nagler 5 @ 160x -- I could've sat at this Newt all night!


- Star Fields -- Before Moonrise, I did drop the power in both scopes to about 40x, and survey the star fields behind / around both planets.  The Tak shows more & fainter stars.  However, functionally, I found the Comet easier to cruise with.  It's so light, the AR-1 moves almost like I'm holding the scope in my own arms.  IOW, effortlessly.  The much heavier Tak has momentum! that you better respect.


Had a lot of fun with these 2 x 4" F8 scopes last night.  If it hadn't been a Work Night...

Edited by Bomber Bob, Yesterday, 08:03 AM.

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#7911 highfnum


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Posted Yesterday, 10:47 PM

IR jupiter RV6

Capture 2021-09-24T22_13_19rv6E.jpg

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#7912 shredder1656


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Posted Today, 06:42 AM

Not sure the scope is a classic yet, but I do not think they are made any more, and the mount is the first edition EQ6, I believe.  Posting, because the scope came from ROLO.  Super nice deal.  First light with it last night.  Happened to have my youngest daughter, 4 of my nieces, and my dad at the house all at the same time.  So, they all participated in my ROLO Special's first light. 


Jupiter and Saturn were great, even through the seeing was barely decent and the sky was hazy.  Still the girls all "ooohed and aaaahed!" at the views.  It was a fun 15 minutes.  I had to pull the diagonal and eyepieces out ever so slightly, so I could reach focus.  I need to find an extension. 


Jupiter had nice banding, the GRS, sharp disc, and the moons were pinpoint with my 7mm Nagler (another Rolo special).  Saturn was affected by the atmosphere, but still very sharp.  Nice sharp rings, but the Cassini was imperceptible.  Once I dial in the extension, it will be an excellent gng. 




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#7913 John Rogers

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Posted Today, 07:35 AM

Woke up early enough to take a quick view of the Moon through my 1960 Cave Astrola 8" f7.  The seeing was average but the instrument still provided a stunning view of the sunset along the terminator.


A peak on the western edge of the crater Neander caught my attention.  A bright, craggy, spire was nicely illuminated, being surrounded by total blackness.



Photo courtesy of NASA Scientific Visualization Studio (https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/4874)

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#7914 Bomber Bob

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Posted Today, 11:52 AM

I ended the work week on a high note:  Saturn, then Jupiter in the extraordinary 1988 Tak FC-100.  IF I'd known the seeing was going to be so good, I would've prepped my Meade 826.  No Testing.  No Side-By-Sides.  Just soaking in the near-perfect views.  The GRS is so much smaller & dimmer than in years gone by...  I took breaks from the planetary appreciation to use the 1980s Mizar GT-80S for low-power & wide-field views of the Milky Way before the southern end sinks into the muck & mire.  2" accessories on an 80mm F7 achro... crazy!  But, cool, too.


Since tonight looks to be even better, I moved the Meade 826 out to the shed, where it has its own padded parking spot...  (Probably jinxed it.  Nah!  I'm not superstitious!)

Edited by Bomber Bob, Today, 02:44 PM.

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#7915 ccwemyss


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Posted Today, 01:09 PM

I was testing the Meade 152ED on a terrestrial target that I often use for that purpose. It's a building exactly 8 miles away, with window mullions that vary in width, 1", 1.5", and 2". (I've been there and checked them.) The 2" ones were obvious, the 1.5" ones were easily seen when the air movement allowed, and the 1" ones would just occasionally be visible. Mullions are high contrast, linear features, so they are a bit easier to pick out than in general. Those would correspond to .82, .61, and .41 arc seconds. The Raleigh limit for 152mm should be about 0.71. So I would say it is delivering diffraction limited performance, despite the under correction. Now I just need a good night to try it on some close doubles. 


Chip W. 

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#7916 oldmanastro


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Posted Today, 02:57 PM

After the evening started totally overcast, I went out at 10:00pm yesterday when I found that the sky had cleared completely. It was very clear and quiet. With no clouds lurking I set up the 100mm f/13 Carton on the Astroview mount.

This telescope always looks impressive and it is really a long cannon. 


I pointed at Jupiter starting with the 18mm Konig. The 72x view included the planet and all four satellites. Even at this low power I could easily see several belts on Jupiter. The 8mm Faworski Plossl followed and the view at 162x was excellent with five belts and the orange-brown color at the NEB. There was also a barge navigating the northern border of the NEB.

Using the 6mm UO ortho (216x) the view was crisp and clear with another smaller and dimmer barge visible in the NEB and some detail apparent in the equatorial zone. At 325x with the 4mm ortho the image held well. It produced no more detail than what the 6mm had brought forward but everything was there and sharp.


Saturn was excellent with the 8mm Plossl but much better on the 6mm ortho. I also tested a Parks 12mm Kellner and surprisingly the results were very nice. The image was tack sharp and the field of view quite dark too. The 6mm ortho provided the best view of Saturn. The moons Titan and Rhea were visible with a hint of Dionne during moments of excellent seeing. The planet's A and B ring were crisp and clear and the Cassini division was also a clear dark gap. The planet itself was showing at least two belts. 


After spending sometime on the planets the telescope was pointed at Delta Cygni. The uneven pair was clearly split with the 8mm Plossl. It was very well observed at 325x (4mm ortho) with the secondary just at the very border of the primary's first diffraction ring. Pi Aquila was next. This one required the high power provided by the 6mm ortho. It was a nice figure 8 also observed at 325x. A challenging pair. It was then that I veered south to find Gamma and Delta Piscis Austrinis a little south of Fomalhaut. Gamma was an easy split even with the dim 8th magnitude companion but delta was a flop probably due to the 10.5 magnitude secondary, a victim of light pollution. I star hopped from Fomalhaut to 41 Aquarii. A nice close double easily split with the 8mm Plossl at 162x. 53 Aquarii was next and was also a good split. By this time it was way past midnight and I had to get up early today so I did some leisure lunar observing before closing shop. The terminator was a plethora of detail that would have challenged the best lunar illustrator.


This Carton objective shows no violet fringing on the moon or Jupiter. It is surprisingly well corrected and it star tests beautifully with a green filter.


As I was getting everything inside Rigel was low on the horizon and the waning moon was reaching the meridian. It was a good visual observing session.

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#7917 John Higbee

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Posted Today, 03:48 PM

This weekend is a landmark for me.  It will mark the last observations I make from our Alexandria house (we moved out earlier this week, and received the shipment down on the river the day after).  Over 28 years in the same house, and many observations...definitely some nostalgia built up here, despite the gross light pollution from the DC light dome.


Rolled the Cave 12.5" into the driveway at 10:30 PM local...beautiful clear skies with only minor "boiling" present.  Spent thirty minutes looking at Jupiter...used my UO Konigs (16mm and 8mm).


Have learned the value of long, concentrated observations (60-90 seconds at a time) using the USNA Clark 7.75"...getting the chance to see several "steady windows" in between the boiling...sort of like "physical image stacking"!   Did that last night with the 12.5", alternating the 16mm and the 8mm, and saw:


North Equatorial Belt: looked like a vivid, bloody slash on Jupiter's disk;

Equatorial Zone: had a lot of light brownish-red whorls and eddys;

Just N of the NEB: saw one of the two "red spots" - clear and distinct against the off white background

Saw multiple thin bands S of the SEB, and N of the NEB...came in and out of sharp image due to the minor boiling.

Both polar zones were perceptibly darker, and limb shading was apparent.


Tonight (after midnight) will observe the waning Moon.  By mid-October, I'll be setting back up at "Ophelia Observatory", with the Potomac to the north, Chesapeake Bay to the east, in a very rural area of the Northern Neck (Bortle dark green, and close to the Bortle blue over the central Chesapeake Bay)!





Edited by John Higbee, Today, 03:52 PM.

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