Jiggly Mars


Tuesday night was very, shall we say, moist, but I could still see quite a few stars and Mars was shining like it was about to fall out of the sky so I decided to take the scope out for another whirl. I still haven't aligned the viewfinder, but I wanted to see if I could figure out how to use the freaky R.A./Dec. coordinate system on the mount. More about that in another post.

I was able to find Mars with the telescope by setting the appropriate (or close enough) declination and then free-adjusting the right ascension until I saw an orange glare coming from just outside the field of vision. I centered Mars in the eyepiece, and it looked like a tiny orange dot. I set the R.A. and Dec. clamps and got out my Barlow lens and the second eyepiece the guy at the telescope store insisted I have, which together should have increased the magnification of Mars considerably.

The first thing I noticed is that, when you're observing a very small area of the sky through a telescope, things move fast. In the time it took me to get the other lenses ready, Mars had drifted out of view. This wasn't a big deal, since I was able to find it again using the fine adjustment knobs, but it was still neat to see.

What was less neat was the view of Mars through the more powerful optical set up. The image did appear bigger, but it was also incurably blurry. No amount of fiddling with the focus knob seemed to help, since the orange dot was moving in steady, jiggly circles, apparently caused by some sort of vibration in the ground. I'm not sure how to cure this, since I'd imagine the stupid tripod would correct for that.

Hopefully big-gun optics will work better on larger objects, like Jupiter and Saturn, but we'll have to wait and see.


How is it that being a lawyer and having this fun new hobby seem to give you MORE time to blog? Freaky.

It's because I've also recently taken up guitar.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by hb published on January 6, 2008 12:18 PM.

SPAAAAAAAAACE! was the previous entry in this blog.

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