Mars, Jupiter & the Moon
I noticed that the cloud had cleared at 21.05, so set up on our Tarmac drive at the front for a change. Scope used OO VX8L f6 on an HEQ5 mount:
I used the van to try and hide some of the many street lights, but wasn't too concerned as the objects I'd be looking at were bright. As tarmac isn't supposed to be as good as grass at damping out vibrations, I was concerned that it would prove troublesome at high mag, but it wasn't as bad as I thought.
First stop Mars.
Observed for around 35 mins overall trying various EP's but eventually settled on my Pentax XL 10.5mm barlowed at x 252. Finding the optimum focus point was fiddly, but I eventually found it, (see upper part of sketch sheet).
Atmospheric shimmering was evident on the rim of the planet, which probably meant seeing conditions weren't perfect. I could see two main slightly darker areas. Keeping Mars in the FOV was tricky (I was sketching throughout) and was thankful for the motorised drive, but even so I had to adjust its position regularly! If only I had an assistant to keep it in the centre of view via the Telrad centre circle.
The lower part of sketch is of Jupiter with its four moons, with a close up of the planet itself below. Sadly the GRS had transited at 20.30 when it was cloudy!
Then I moved onto the Moon and the craters Copernicus and Reinhold just above it with the mountainous ridges and the nearby pockmarked Mare area. I chose to view with my 6mm Fujiyama Ortho x 200 and Copernicus was fascinating with it's many concentric tightly spaced ridges hinting at its violent birth! The three central elongated peaks were clear and sharp as was the dramatic terminator detail. I took some pics with my iPhone 4 again, here are a selection of the best ones. They're not quite as sharp as I'd like, but considering I took them whilst holding the phone against an Ortho EP with just 4.9mm eye relief they're not bad!