Traveling in space and time

September 18, 2009

I’m going out of the country for a week, and I doubt if I’ll get anything posted while I’m gone. In the meantime, the Small Telescopes blog has some great targets for binoculars and, uh, small telescopes, that you might want to check out. Cloudy Nights also has a monthly highlights list and a constellation profile.

And speaking of Cloudy Nights, my first article was just published there today. I wrote that little piece ages ago and most of it will be familiar to readers of my blogs; this blog is sort of an extension of that into an ongoing project.

Have fun while I’m gone!

One comment

  1. I originally posted this in the wrong spot, so I’m reposting….

    Skies here in AZ have been cloudless for a few days, and the humidity is way down. Tuesday (9/22) night I was able to get about an hour of observing in. I went outside to do some woodworking, one of my other pursuits, and instead grabbed my 8×32 binoculars. I caught the crescent of the moon on the way down. Wanting a sharper view I went back and got my 10×50s. The moon looked nice, and several features popped out with the longer shadows (though I’d have to sit down with a moon map to figure out what they were). So I moved to Jupiter. Actually I caught Jupiter with the 8×32s first, and could make out 2, “maybe 3″ moons. With the 10×50s I could definitely pick out 3, and I think that’s all that were visible. I usually use a tripod as with both these binoculars I can’t hold them steady enough for my taste, at least not the 10×50s. But, I was at a good spot to rest on the top of my block wall for the moon, and prop against a gate for Jupiter. I found this was steady enough to separate the moons, and to make sure I wasn’t just seeing more due to the shakes.

    I went back inside and brought up Stellarium (recommended!), and verified 3 moons visible. I also remember reading in last weeks Sky & Telescope email that an asteroid was visible. I pulled up that article, found it was Juno, but could not tell from the star chart where to look (and I don’t see near that many stars in my sky!). So, I queried Stellarium, and found it. I didn’t know if it was high enough in the sky to see from my vantage point, but I figured I’d give it a shot.

    Several trips in and out and I got to what I think was the correct area of the sky. I may or may not have seen Juno. I’ll try again some night, hopefully this week, and later so it’s up higher. I also scouted out Uranus and Neptune, which are in between Jupiter and Juno. I picked up a faint fuzz of light that should be Neptune, since Sellarium didn’t show any star as being there, and I picked up a star configuration that included Uranus, but I didn’t go back outside to make sure (when I got back to the computer to double check where it was, and realized I’d actually seen it, I moved on to other things).

    Not all of these can be seen without some aid, but I was using binoculars that are fairly commonly owned. And maybe we can get the author of this column to tell us how to get to those objects without having to keep going back and forth to the computer – Turn Left at Jupiter? 😉


    As a follow-up, I went back out on Friday, much later, and verified that I can locate Uranus/Neptune/Juno with binoculars. I was a bit worried as I’d seen postings on other forums that you’d need 100x (not 10x that my binoculars are) to see them, but I think that hinges on the definition of seeing. I can spot a pinpoint of light at the right location AND that spot moved from Tuesday to Friday, especially for Juno, so I’ve confirmed the sightings. No, they are nothing to behold in the realm of Jupiter, but, I was able to locate them.


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