Saturday, April 22, 2006

A Dam Good Friday

It didn't look like it was going to be much of a night last night. The sky was full of crud, and every time an airplane flew over, it left a contrail that just fattened up until it covered a big stretch of sky. By about 11:00 most folks at the dam were packing up to go home, but I wasn't ready to give up just yet. There was a general clearing in the west, and I suspected that the reason those contrails weren't going away was that we had a pretty steady upper atmosphere, which would mean good seeing.

I'm glad I stuck around, because by 0100 the sky was completely clear. There was no wind, the temperature was reasonable enough to not require a jacket, and the dew was just holding off, mostly.

So here's the boring side of Jupiter, with Io just peeking around the edge. Unless I modify my camera, I don't know any technique I'm not using to get the most out of my setup. Collimation? As good as I know how to make it. Focus? The WO focuser is working well, and I've been bracketing my shots to try to find the sweetest spot. Seeing? I can't control it, but last night was as good as we've seen in a long time. Jupiter's altitude above the horizon? It's just 39° up at this point, but even at transit it'll barely top 43°. It's just not going to be a great summer for shooting Jove this year.

Anyway, here's a three-frame animation shot in just six minutes. The big guy moves fast!

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