Flintstone Stargazing

August 7, 2008

Jupiter on 8/7/08

Filed under: astronomy, Astrophotography, Jupiter, Observation Journal, Planets — Tags: — Ed @ 11:56 pm

After installing my new electric focuser I had to try it on something that was very difficult to focus on. Jupiter using eyepiece projection was a great torture test. When focusing by hand, using eyepiece projection, the magnification is so high, it’s essentially impossible to not knock the object out of the field of view while focusing. It’s also difficult to move the focuser only slightly at a time by hand. With the electric focuser, it was a dream. While it will shift the image a bit when I change directions (start moving out when I had been moving in and vice-versa), it’s nothing like hand focusing. It’s really extraordinary – the image stays very still and I’m able to change the focus in very, very small steps. This enabled me to get what I believe is the best focus I’ve ever had for a planetary image. The Great Red Spot is very visible and three of the four Galilean moons show up at the same exposure level. I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen – with sharp focus, they are bright enough to show up in an image like this. In the past, I’ve had to composite two images together with different brightness. I think I’m really going to like this new focuser.

Oh, and one more thing – the other night, I talked about joining the Astronomy Pirates by wearing my eyepatch. Well, the eyepatch thing works spectacularly. When I go to the eyepiece, I use the eye that’s under the patch and when I look through I can see so much better that there’s no comparison. Okay, sure I look dorky, but boy it makes observing a lot better and more productive. I heartily recommend joining the pirates to my astronomy friends. Arrgh matey!

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