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ABQ planetary observations early morning 28 June 2022

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#1 ABQJeff


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Posted 28 June 2022 - 04:10 PM

After nearly three weeks solid cloud cover and rain (intense start to the summer monsoon here in Albuquerque), the skies parted around 2:30 am leaving crystal clear skies with just 2 mph wind. By 3 am my C9.25 Edge was working its way thru Pensack 500 and DeepMap 600 DSOs I hadn’t yet logged from home: 6035 ft, Bortle 4 (looking East) - Bortle 8 (looking West). At 4:30 am, after 17 DSOs had been “checked off”, as early morning twilight started to appear over the Sandia mountains, I turned my attention to the planets. Saturn was highest up and putting in a 9 mm Morpheus the view was stunning. Crystal clear barely any shimmer. Cassini Division, all the major ring groupings, even multiple cloud bands were visible. I then went to Neptune, and more of the same. Crystal clear blue ball.

With that I decided to go to my TS Big Binoviewers, with a Baader BBHS prism diagonal and 1.75 GPC. Turning towards Jupiter I was able to work my way up to my pair of 8mm Stellarvue Ultrawide EPs. Jupiter was still rock steady at 514x, but was starting to lose color due to 0.38mm Exit Pupil. Backing down to 10mm Luminos pair, 411x, I was able to resolve dozens upon dozens of cloud bands, and the Great Red Spot was transiting and I could see the swirls of white cloud bands circling by it. Using the binoviewers not a detail was lost.

I went back to Saturn with the Binoviewers and 10mm Luminos and the same rock steady seeing but was able to see even MORE detail using two eyes. Just incredible.

I then went to Uranus, again a crisp blue-green marble at 411x.

Going to Mars, Venus and then Mercury I was able to see them all, but their low altitude started to effect the seeing. Even still, on Mars, I was still able to see polar caps, black lava fields and plains of red soil.

Thus by the whims of weather, I did not miss the planet parade and was able to do all 8 planets (Earth was in foreground of finder scopes ;->). And as a reward for my patience I had the best seeing I have EVER had in my nearly two years of astronomy with the planets high in the sky.

Points of this post:
1) Weather can be cruel, but be patient and it can also reward you
2) Binoviewers are fantastic on planets (duh!, I know)
3) My C9.25Edge is superb on both the faint 12.8 mag galaxies and Planets. In seeing like this it confirms my desire for a C11 Edge (which I have been recently pondering). My 9.25 Edge solidly outperformed my 0.96 Strehl 140mm FCD-100 Triplet APO, which I also used in parallel this morning but in no way could it keep up either on the small faint DSOs or planets. Aperture rules.
4) ABQ was spared having to miss the planet party
5) Another clear night tonight, New Moon!…

Speaking of 5) , I am outta here!….



Edited by ABQJeff, 28 June 2022 - 04:12 PM.

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