In order to expand on my own knowledge of the cosmos, and to share that learning with others, I plan on doing an extended series of simple infographics that deal with astronomical objects. I plan to keep them short and sweet, focusing on bite size informational chunks that contain important or interesting features of the object. (If you see any errors, please let me know!)
Here is the first one! Enceladus: Saturn’s sixth largest moon.
Snagged my friend Saturn pretty quickly. Sadly this is only a phone quality image, but its still cool. Too bad it doesn’t show the two moons visible through the scope.
I’ve only had my gear set up for 15 minutes and I have already made tons of friends. By tons I mean a swarm, and by friends I mean mosquitos. I’m almost thinking cold weather astronomy is better than this. No worries though. The brightest of the night’s stars are starting to show. It’s game time.
This was a quick project for a place to store all of my eyepieces and accessories. The only thing missing from the bottom image is one last compartment for the large 3mm Edge-on eye piece that is hanging out there above the rest.
I found the original box at Michaels, along with the felt and balsa wood for the compartments and lining. It worked out really well. All in all it ran about 30 dollars. Well worth it to have a single place to safely store my equipment.
Completely disregarding the potential rain and general bad weather, I hauled my XT-10 out for some observations last Wednesday night. I got to my observation site (which is located on the volleyball pit in the middle of my apartment complex) and was set up around 10:25. The site is up on a small hill, so hauling the OTA up was a workout. Once I was all set up and ready to go, I got to work scanning the sky for my first target, Saturn. It was easy to pick out, as always. I had my journal with me, so I’ll simply reproduce what I wrote when out in the field. The real-time journal can catch the emotion and feelings of the night better than memory. The italics are not part of the original journal entries:
10:29 - Found Saturn with Plossl 25mm lens. Calibrated finder scope.
10:33 - Switched to Plossl 10mm. Think I can see a moon of Saturn. (It was Titan)
10:38 - Installed Barlow 2X - DEFINITELY A MOON (Still Titan) Wind is killing me!
A crude drawing of the moon placement here.
10:40 - Cloud rolling in. See you soon Saturn!
10:50 - Tried Barlow with 3mm Planetary Edge-on. Too blurry. Too windy for even 3mm alone. Switching to 10mm for Messier objects.
11:00 - Wind is infuriating. Why wont it STOP!
11:05 - Switched to Plossl 25mm
11:24 - No success with Messier objects. Going to test out NexImage imager.
End of Journal
I ended up not having any luck with the imager either. I still have to see if I even have the software installed correctly. The biggest lesson of the night was the wind! I didn’t realize how much trouble it would give my scope, and my eyes. I had to call it a night around midnight, as I had work in the morning.
It was a great first light session, even though I had a few issues. Can’t wait for the next clear night!