Friday, July 3, 2020
Third Time is a Charm
The last two observing sessions were beset by clouds. Shoo, clouds!
Not last night, though. The Clear Sky Chart called for average to good seeing, so I set a wrist alarm for 0130 to test the forecast. And I wasn't disappointed.
I went outside and looked up. The sky was still. Very little twinkling of stars and the planets were solid.
Mars had risen, but was still obscured by the neighbor's house. I whiled away the time, waiting for the Cat to acclimate to the outdoor temperature, by imaging Jupiter. I'm glad that I did because I caught Ganymede, the largest of the Galilean moons, as it neared the end of its transit across Jupiter's face.
A few hours earlier, Ganymede's shadow preceded it, though. Sorry I missed that, but I'm happy with this image. Moons in front of Jupiter are really difficult to see in the glare of the planet.
Mars is getting closer to us as it approaches opposition. We are still a few months out and surface features are starting to become apparent.
The polar cap is really starting to shine! Visually, through an actual eyepiece, it really glistens.
In a few more months, we will be able to see canals with the Martian tourists motoring in their boats. And if we are really lucky, we should be able to see the ski resorts up north!😎
I was out long enough to see Venus rise this morning. I don't often image Venus because it is usually pretty boring. It's just a really bright planet with no features apparent on its cloudy surface. I'm glad I did this time. Venus was a beautiful crescent.
Still bright. Still featureless. But a pretty crescent.
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