Watched the clear skies yesterday in school, would it last?, forecast was even better clear skies, cold and low humidity, not to be missed ! Set up scope, ages since it's been out , first time this year!
20:00 3 star alignment Rukbah (Cas), Betelgeuse(OR), Poluux (Cass).
Went straight to M42 , in middle of fov, trap stars clear with 24mm setting on Hyperion zoom, really clear with 8mm setting.
20:40 what's this, bands of cloud drifting in from SW, obliterating any view of M1 and made M81 /82 faint.
Decided to get on to Jupiter in case this was going to be a permanent state of affairs.
Used Neximage 5 camera to image Jupiter, 10fps and approx. 1/150" exposure with gain slightly up, locked in electric focuser to aid focussing. Usual routine of lining up image with illuminated graticule before inserting camera ensured image was always in fov on screen. HEQ5 pro mount tracking was good, with little drift.
Best of images above:
1. Jupiter with no magnification.
2. Composite image of Jupiter and two closest moons. Ganymede was on the same side as Io and Europa but much further out and Calisto far out on the other side.
3. Jupiter with x2 Barlow.
All images 600 frame .avi stacked in Registax5.1 and wavelets, final polish in P.S.6.
The Great Red Spot had transited earlier at 18:08 and Europa was going to transit starting at 23:12 with its shadow transit starting at 23:09
Like Roger I was very tempted to switch to the pd camera and try to image M1 which was now more clearly visible as the cloud bands had passed, but Tuesday is a full day in school and it was another 30 mins to pack up so finished at 22:10.
noticeably very little sign of dew at all, forecast was correct , apart from the stray cloud.
It was good to get out again and to find everything working OK.
Here's to more clear skies.