October 31, 2014

25.05.11: Catching Moon Shadows.

Two each shadows on the Jovian cloud tops. (Photo by Author).

This morning, the astro-news turns towards our very own personal exploits at the eyepiece. Thatís why we all blog in the end, right? To keep a sort of diary of our experience in this magnificent universe and so forth? I awoke at 5 AM EDT to begin gear load-out and setup. This is what folks who donít have an observatory typically do; an hour or so of lugging, prepping, and aligning only to find out that clouds are rolling in or the batteries are dying, or the scope is fogging up, or a million other things that send us headed back indoors. Todayís targets were two fold; a bright pass of the ISS during EVA#3, and a twin shadow transit of Jupiterís moons. While not extremely rare, only a handful of such transits occur a year. Fewer still are well positioned for a given longitude. Both were shot with our infamous ad-hoc webcam setup. The ISS pass ended up being a no-go for technical reasons; ya win some, ya lose someÖ but the transit imaging (as seen above) was a success; both shadows can be clearly seen, although we were shooting through the low altitude crud that is the atmosphere over Florida. These black drop shadow transits are always a delight to see through the eyepiece, and Iím always reminded just how different each moon shadow appears visually. While aligning and focusing on the Moon, I even caught Rupes Recta (the Lunar Straight Wall) which will provide photographic fodder for a future post, and a bright meteor streaked just below the Last Quarter Moon. I canít think of a better way to start the day!

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