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January 8, 2010 January 8, 2010

Posted by orionrising in Observing.
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Photorealistic Image in Stellarium

Object: Jupiter

Site: Front Yard

Seeing: Adequate

Transparency: 1

Type: Solar System Object

Size: 34.5″

Magnitude: -1.66

Constellation: Aquarius

Magnification: 10x

FOV: 4.8 degrees

Observing Time: 5:30-5:42 pm

Notes: After two and a half weeks of cloudy nights, finally had the chance to try out my binoculars again.  Jupiter was shining bright as I was travelling home from classes, so I decided to brave the cold (-18 with the windchill!) and observed Jupiter through binoculars for the first time.  First impressions: very bright, and incredible because I saw two of its moons to the left of it!  Through later research, found out that Ganymede was the moon farthest out, and Io was closer one to Jupiter (see photorealistic image).  Io was a slightly darker colour than Ganymede.  Jupiter was not white, it had a creamy yellow-white colour.  A stringent test for the optics, Jupiter did not look like a circular disk.  It’s appearance was more spiky and had an elongated character which was not symmetrical.  Could have been my eyes too, since it was so bright.  Nevertheless, Jupiter was bright enough that it looked like the Fourth of July without some sort of stabilization; I found the snow shovel (of all things) and used that with my elbow resting on the top of the shovel.  It helped a little bit, and with closer inspection I could make out two nearby stars, 38 Aquarii and Iota Aquarii making a crude right angle triangle in my field of view (Jupiter is in Aquarius today).  The camera is not available, so only the photorealistic image in Stellarium is posted.  Once I get hold of the camera again I’ll post my sketch.  Moon was not available for observation, I’ll catch it next time.

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