The Sun Solar System: the Moon Planets observing logs

The Planets



March 17, 2004: Observing Jupiter, Saturn and Mizar


On March 17th 2004 I started my observing session with Saturn about 19.00hrs UT from my own backyard. The seeing was great. It had been 20 degrees Celsius all day and I

On March 17th 2004 I started my observing session with Saturn about 19.00hrs UT from my own backyard. The seeing was great. It had been 20 degrees Celsius all day and I guess this was a period where the air was completely stable, no air currents and no turbulence at all.

With the TAL 200K (8-inch f/10) the Cassini division could be seen at 80x easily. I used the 10mm Lanthanum eyepiece and the TAL 2x Barlow to go up to 400x. Even at this high magnification I got very sharp images. Under "normal" viewing conditions, from my own backyard, 170x to 200x is the maximum magnification for Saturn. The equatorial zone and the south (?) equatorial band where visible.

At 20.30 UT I turned the telescope to Jupiter. The seeing was already getting worse. At 166x I noticed the four moons. On the sketch below you see from left to right (east to west) Ganymede, Europa, Io and Callisto. The sketch was made at 20.55 UT, using a 12mm Vixen Lanthanum eyepiece. Magnification is 166x.

Jupiter

The Equatorial Zone, the South and North Equatorial Band were visible at 62.5x. At higher magnifications, The South Tropical Zone was also visible; the zones and belts south of this zone appeared as a uniform, slightly darker area. South of the North Equatorial Band in the Equatorial Zone I detected a big oval feature, with a dark rim around it. The red spot was not visible. To give you an idea I made this simple sketch:



I ended the observing session with one of my favourite doubles, Mizar in Ursa Major. On the sketch below you can see Mizar at the centre of the field of view. Alcor lies to the east. Between Mizar and Alcor an 8th magnitude star is visible, that forms a triangle with Alcor and Mizar. The sketch was made using a 32mm Televue Plossl eyepiece (62.5x).







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