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Another great observing session…

Amazingly, after the Venusian Cloud Cover weather we’ve been suffering here recently, I managed another observing night here last night after getting back from work. It was actually a spectacularly clear sky, with a gorgeous First Quater-and-a-bit Moon shining high above Kendal, and Saturn glowing serenely beneath Leo… So, time to get my newly-repaired telescope out of its twin bags, set it up outside, set it cooling down, and wait…

Back outside half an hour later, and the ‘scope had cooled down perfectly, giving me crisp views of the stars. I wanted to look at the Moon right away, but first I tried looking for Comet Lulin with my binocs… but after 5 mins of serious sweeping and scanning, I still hadn’t found it; either it has grown too faint itself, or the light of the Moon was drowning it out, I don’t know, but I just couldn’t see it. Maybe I’ve had my last views of the Great Green Comet… if so, Farewell Lulin, and thanks for the show 🙂

With no Lulin to look at the Moon was the obvious target, so I swung the ‘scope around towards it, lined up roughly, lined up more accurately with the finder, and looked into the eyepiece –

WOW! What a view! The craters, mountains and hills stood out from the surface starkly, casting jagged, dark shadows behind them onto the bone-grey lunar surface. It was such a stunning view I decided to try taking some photos – nothing fancy, literally just holding my digital camera up to the eyepiece, clicking, and seeing if anything came out. How well did it work? Well, you decide…

moon-mar4-010b

Yes, I’m rather pleased with that! 🙂

Next target – Saturn, of course! Well, you have to, don’t you? The ‘scope gave me a great view, and I was able to see the rings very clearly, again little more than just a short thin “bar” sticking out of either side of the planet’s disc. But even better last night, I could see what I thought were three different moons! Tiny teeny pinpricks of light bathed in Saturn’s own glow, just a lovely sight. “Which moons are you?” I wondered, peering at them through the eyepiece. I later found out I was actually looking at just two moons – Titan and Rhea – and the third “moon” was actually a star, HP55455, 140LY away…

All in all it was a fantastic viewing session, and I was very pleased with the photos. It’s clear here again tonight, so it’s time to get the ‘scope out again ready for more Moon-watching later… 🙂

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