Thursday, August 18, 2016

#55 - Thursday, August 18, 2016 - Sidewalk Astronomy

My original plan was to image Saturn with the QHY5 camera, but just as I was setting up, a girl who lived in a nearby apartment walked by and asked what I was doing. I invited her to hang out for a few minutes while I got the telescope set up and aligned.  Thankfully, the C8 is so easy to put together and align.  I invited three other curious passers-by to check it out as well, and they went back and grabbed some of their friends.  It was awesome!  There were clouds overhead, but thin enough to still view through.  This limited how high I could push the magnification though.  So first I had them look through the 8mm eyepiece, and then the 17mm, which offered a sharper view but smaller.  Titan was visible, however, in both views.  I was very happy to share Saturn with all these people, and they were thoroughly impressed with both Saturn and my setup (and my credentials), but clouds came over and didn’t clear, so I didn’t get to image Saturn after all.  Oh, well.  Next time!

The girl hung out for a bit longer than the others, and we looked at Mars too.  It was very bright but also appeared to not be “full,” although that may have been the eyepiece I was using – the 17mm has some weird internal reflections that muck things up.  It was bright enough that I had a hard time making out surface features, but my eyes were also still dilated from my eye appointment earlier that day, so anything bright had a weird chromatic aberration shadow and was just saturated in my eye.   But yeah, still an enjoyable evening!

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