‘Tis the Season

Hurricane Wilma scraped by us to the south yesterday. The good news is it would seem I was just out of her reach. We got very little wind and rain to speak of. Yesterday afternoon after the storm had cleared, the sky became a cloudless blue and the temperature dropped 20 degrees into the 60s… amazing. With the low humidity, cool temperature and clear skies it was “scopin’ time!”

I hadn’t had the scope out since May 20th (according to the Autostar controller) so it took me a while to get set up and oriented. The one thing I REALLY noticed now is that my clock drive has ALOT of slop and my focus is jerky at very fine adjustments. Perhaps when I can afford it I’ll have the whole thing supercharged. This service is praised by the leading ETX expert Mike Weasner. At any rate, once I had my target centered, the scope tracked fairly well and it was almost 10 minutes before I started to notice any drift.

My initial intention was just to observe Mars and call it a night as I had gotten a late start. Even at 276X, Mars was a nearly featureless pale pink disk… rather unimpressive. So I broke out my iBook G4 and the Meade Lunar Planetary Imager (LPI) and did half a dozen runs at varying exposures. The processed results came out a bit better than I expected.

click for larger

Even for nearly “ideal” viewing conditions locally, the was STILL alot of atmospheric turbulence. 🙁

Until next time!

2 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season”

  1. I like the side-by-side comparison of your image and the Starry Night simulation.

    I’m glad you got missed by Wilma as the TV images didn’t look good.

  2. Seems everyone is having turbulence probles with Mars. I don’t anymore though, Mars is covered in a nice blanket of cloud.

    Great image though. This was about the time of the start of the dust strom, so I wonder if the plains were brighter because of this?

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