A PERFECT FRIDAY NIGHT AT BINBROOK, 6 JULY
I could not pass up the opportunity to try some wide-field imaging Friday evening at Binbrook. The sky seemed unusually clear with some high cloud and Jackie said she wanted to observe with her perfect little apo scope, so I had company for the session. She left for Binbrook before I did but somehow arrived about 5 minutes after me (go figure).
I set up a TAL clock drive mount with a SkyWatcherPro 80ED and had my scope polar aligned when Jackie pulled up. As she set up her go-to scope (aligned on the first try), I snapped some exposures of Venus settling toward the horizon over the lake, nestled between Saturn on the right and Regulus on the left:
It was simply a beautiful evening, perfect temperature, few bugs, a cooling breeze and even a couple of racoons in the nearby tree, watching with their bright green eyes. Of course July evenings are for imaging Sagittarius and Scorpius. We had the added benefit of Jupiter with a transit of Europa - Jackie spent most of her time watching for the moon's shadow, but it was so far behind the moon that it didn't arrive. TOMORROW we will set up at dusk to see the GIANT shadow of Ganymede on Jupiter (shadow transit ends at 10 pm). Imaging Sagittarius was my goal, let me know what you think of this much-reduced version:
And of course, capturing just about all of Scorpius and its tail (also much reduced to fit in this blog):
With her marvellous 5mm eyepiece Jackie captured excellent close-ups of M4, M22 and M20 and some dazzling views of the cloud banding on Jupiter. As we left Binbrook, the last quarter Moon was rising through the trees. I took a few images of it from home while downloading the above images:
If tomorrow is as good as tonight, we should have one really excellent outing. Bring your binoviewers! Remember, Tim Philp is coming out tomorrow with some (not all) of his astronomical equipment. It'll be a night to remember.
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