First Light Moon and Jupiter – 14th September 2011

Well, finally the cloud shifted and I was able to get the scope out.  This time though, I fancied a try at some visual work, as the Moon and Jupiter were well positioned, also my dad wanted to have a look.  So packed up all the kit into the back of the car (Grandad Picasso C4) and the boot was full, so I don’t think it will be going on holiday’s with us :-)  and made the short journey to my dad’s abode.  Setup didn’t take long and we were straight on it once we got the mount polar aligned and synced with Cartes Du Ciel.

First up was the moon.  Arrgghhh, bright, blinded.  OK lesson learned you really do need a filter to reduce the amount of light.  Polarizing will do the job nicely.  Next up was Jupiter.  I was quite amazed that in the finder scope I could see four of Jupiter’s moons as well as Jupiter, which appeared to be a bright large star.  Of course, things are never so easy, the finder scope was not aligned with the main scope, so some adjustment had to be made here which was pretty painful as it was hard to run to PC to make adjustments and then back again to see the effect.  With the annoyance of this I plucked out my Saitek Cyborg controller, and after a quick automatic calibration I was controlling the mount while looking through eyepiece.  Brilliant!

Finally got Jupiter aligned and it was a good experience.  I change the eyepiece to my 6mm which gives a mere magnification of only 150x.  You could make out two red bands on the gas giant which was a good feeling.  It’s pretty amazing seeing pictures of the planets, but seeing them with your own eyes if you know is so much better if you know what I mean, even if you can’t quite see so much.

After a bit of viewing it was time to fit the 40D to the scope to do a little video recording of both targets.  First up the Moon again, then Jupiter.  I used Backyard EOS for the recording as it has the ability to record using the Liveview function on the Canon 40D.  Both recording’s were taken using the 5x zoom function so you could see something.  I’ve posted these images in my Astrophotography gallery, which doesn’t have too many photos in at the moment due to persistent cloud all year.  The focus could be improved, but hey, not bad for a first attempt!

Jupiter just grazed past the moon not quite an occult