Observing, Kings Stone Field
3rd Mar 2013
Wisely taking shelter from the south east wind in the lee of the Rollright Stone trees, 7 plucky astronomers made the most of a fine evening to take a look at Jupiter which is still a terrific sight. Early thin high cloud cleared as the temperature dropped throughout the evening and a haze gradually developed obscuring most stars up to about 20 degrees or so above the horizon. We all managed to watch Io as it slipped behind Jupiter whose gas belts stood out really well with more than a definite hint of a 3rd belt. Various magnifications were tried out with combinations of Barlow lenses which illustrated just how badly the image quality drops off once the capabilities of the optics are exceeded. Oliver was steering his Vixen with a bluetooth gamepad and Mel Gigg gave his new Takahashi refractor an airing, very nice – the scope that is, not Mel! Kevin H provided the evenings entertainment by (a) lining up on a star which was not Polaris and (b) getting North and South mixed up and wondering why things were not going fully to plan (but I promised I would never reveal that to anyone!) Don't worry Kevin, we have all been there. We were all packed up and leaving by 11.30pm, last man standing was Steve from Witney whose wide angle exposures suffered from the headlights of passing traffic. As we packed away, a film of frost on the grass and cars, and the flashing lights of gritting lorries reminded us that winter was far from over – a great enthusiastic turnout from everyone and, as usual Jupiter and astronomy won the evening.
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