Sunday, June 24, 2007

M VEM J SUN P

Jupiter is very visible where we are now. A friend mentioned that we might be able to see the moons of Jupiter in our telescope. I immediately petitioned my husband to give it a try. We have a 4" reflector (close to this: Meade 4.5" Equatorial Reflector) and took a look last night. I was really amazed! We could see the moons and I could even make out some structure in the planet itself. Aaron doesn't have a camera hooked up to the telescope (apparently the motors do not track well enough), but I did find a picture that is pretty much what we saw.
What I found especially rewarding, and may actually help me understand why my husband stands outside in 20 degree winter evenings, was that after about two hours we really saw a change in the positions of the moons!
We also saw two globular star clusters and I was shown the constellations Hercules, Corona Borealis, Lyra, and Scorpius.
(The title refers to an old mnemonic to help remember the order of the planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Outdated now that Pluto is no longer an official planet, of course.)

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