Debriefing J one and two, my first observations with a 70 mm
November 9, 2013 at 2:46am
here’s my debriefing from the first two observations with my new 70mm telescope.
I bought a Celestron 70mm telescope which is actually a scope manly used for birdwatching. To start familiarize and as suggested learn step by step the art of Astronomy. Familiarizing slowly is important, I’ve experienced it is important as in astronomy like in scuba diving, these are other Worlds and if you go too fast you might quickly too, lose your interest for bad choices you make and unpleasant results.
I have to say it all started in July 2011 when I first visited the sky with the eyes and the aid of a sky map, Stellarium (computer software working well with XP - you need OPEN GL acceleration) - after also with my Samsung smartphone had at Christmas, Google Sky in the months of 2012 and especially now in 2013 has been very used and useful - and readings on a basic encyclopedia. It is produced by Mondadori and it is a kid encyclopedia. Chapter 5 and 6 speak about the Universe the first and the Solar system the second.
I agree that the first approach must be with eyes and a sky map, and by reading.
Lot of sites show images and especially to say one like Space.com or NASA.gov (and web sites related) explain things. Getting some basic books\encyclopedia for kids too and then specializing with some particular books on themes you are interested in is the way to follow.
After observation with binocular, a good old one kept by my father and special events seen at naked eye (I haven’t spent a word about this, but having good eye view or glasses, having a place where you can observe easily without having the problem of light or other kind of pollution is fundamental), from Chinese lanterns\balloons to a Bolid at night, I kept building discovering this new World with passion.
After some months of pause, after earning the first money I chose, with some spare time from work, to buy the scope I introduced above in the note. It arrived safe and sound at home and quicker then I expected. (amazon has really good service indeed) and I was lucky enough quality of the item was OK. Sometime we buy items and quality is ruined by industrial construction defects that we find in everything randomly (phones, knives, glass and indeed lenses…).
—-| First day (Nov. 5th 2013) , time of day morning 05.30, 1h before the effective dawn until 06.30
Temperature cold, humidity over 60 percent.
Objective, observing Mars (position East\South East) and something else. (you need to have a purpose).
Other tools, a good wool parka and gloves just in case, pile hat. Important and useful, from the smartphone, the torch with the red screen mode, useful to see if needed without breaking the night view we develop after some minutes (20’ and more to reach the best ability to see). Needed also, great will to great will to avoid sleeping or being bitten by a vampire the night before, some ladies might prefer.
I brought out the scope, started unpacking by the protection plastic it has and mounted almost in the dark, at open air on a balcony balustrade. I noted that it is useful to be placing the scope on a middle level or human neck level. It’s hard to observe things that are on the Zenith. Fortunately all the things I was looking for had a favorable degree or I found a good solution (a car roof, later in the observation session, for Jupiter and it’s moons). The scope in this case mounts in a very logical way, after I started to observe and everything was very easy to use and self explained, I tried also the use of techniques of watching in the lenses and understood how to position or aim with the little monocle used to point to the stars. Remember, lenses are showing you on the reality upside down. Left is right, up is down and vice versa.
I tested all the things possible, removing the big lenses light protection, I used also the 20mm and 10mm adapters to see the difference and interchanged more then two times to understand better the differences. (on that I still have some doubts). I practiced looking through the scope from different “angles”.
Before observing Mars, which looks like a burning ball at first sight, I have fell into the sight of a random satellite passing in the portion of sky I was watching.
The new sensation I felt watching Mars was it is much closer then we might feel.
Mars was positioned just under the Leon constellation, and mounting up in the sky.
It’s incredible we will reach that far and near in the same time Planet, humans will go there in a few years. Probably for the first time, because we don’t know yet where we are from really.
During the observation if you randomly scoop through the stars that are too small or low brightness you might discover satellite passing at a very high speed and easily still be able to follow them. The two I observed didn’t had any flare Phenomena, instead they are a small source of light pollution, if you didn’t know.
After observing Mars I moved out to go back at the old way of watching the stars and I checked what was possible admire that night up there. The eyes had accustomed to the night incredibly and I could see better the sky also thanks to a cold night (after 2 weeks of clouds and rain).
I went on Google sky application on my phone and I checked if the big item in the sky was Jupiter, it was correct, it was the Planet and actually in the middle of Gemini constellation, my constellation, in the zenith at 06.00 at early November,in Northern hemisphere.
The only problem was that being on the other side of the house instead of watching between two house buildings like I did for Mars, I had to go on the other side of the house and point high in the sky. So I did, but I needed a high support and I chose a normal car not a 4x4, to watch. It resulted a perfect point of support.
Jupiter (Zenith almost) appears with 3 moons instead of the 4, I couldn’t see or distinguish the 4th. Their names are Io Europa Ganymede and Callisto. Two where at my left, and they were keeping what seemed a regular distance scheme. two on the opposite sides where at the same distance when the one on the left coupling with the other was half the distance. It was an amazing sight. The color much different, bluish white, rose.
The moons appearing like jewels or infinitely small but enormously valuable sea pearls.
Objectives accomplished. Learned and tested all the instruments, still have to familiarize with the 20 and 10 mm lenses oculars. Seen two Earth bound satellites randomly when searching for Mars.
—-| Second day (Nov.6th 2013), time 17.50, 30’ of observation
Temperature cold, and humidity very high. End of session 18.35
Objective: very young Moon and Venus. (both South\South West low and lowering height in the sky) (unfortunately with Google Sky I saw Saturn was in conjunction too with the Moon but too far to be seen with the telescope of 70mm)
This time I involved also my mother that I wanted to introduce to the amazing atmosphere of sky observation.
Mounted in almost total darkness the telescope I put it in a open area that could give me margin of watch time since the two sky items were falling on the Horizon; for this I used a little iron table and brought a tripod chair helping to sit with the waist at level or lower then the scope tripod resting zone.
We checked first the Moon even if the planet was disappearing under the houses and the bushed in front of us on our artificial horizon, and we have been kept long time on it. First words my fellow observer said were: “ow, it’s really quite full of craters! …”. She then referred to the possibility of a person to be there and say hailing at us.
Well this is simple and might be trivial but it is beautiful and it is what the observation activity and learning of the sky and new Worlds study provokes in you. What we should all tend to is the orbital perspective I believe, which is one of the way that makes discover how lucky we are, and how Earth keepers we shall all become.
Moon appeared yellow, the dark side invisible but perceivable. Lots of craters on the illuminated side. By the way in these days is in the news the great number of meteorites reaching our satellite. These are visible with good scopes with bright explosions, which still stay very small at the eye, unless you use a very big telescope, but still…
The Moon is bewitching and I promised I would see it again in the next months bringing the scope with me wherever will be the next destination.
We passed also on Venus, a white fireball, a little bit bigger then Mars and extremely bright differently from it.
I am looking forward to reach these planets with a stronger telescope to see them in their effective colors and shape and not anymore stereotyped like I can see them now.
The activity of sky observation is relaxing and helps you foster your imagination.
The first two observations couldn’t go better and I am looking forward to provoke the interest of other people to the art of Astronomy in the near future not just because it is an important science should be part of our curriculum but also for mere pleasure.
Next Objectives: Moon, The Pleiads and hopefully (possibly visible at naked ide) the comet ISON.
In first picture from left to right Jupiter, Mars and our Moon (which is believed to be a piece from Planet Earth fruit of collision Mars billions of years ago).
Second picture, my first observation,a random satellite and Mars.