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Thread: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

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    Default Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public



    I’m not normally a solar system observer, but with Mars at opposition, I felt it was time for some lunar and planetary observing - at a shopping street.

    It was hard to decide which scope to bring, since the site I had in mind – the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica (a popular tourist destination) – was far from where I live. Portability (smaller scope) vs. size was the issue here, but since my sister was visiting and offered a lift close to Santa Monica (to my office in Westwood), I decided on my Meade Polaris 114mm F/7.9 Newtonian. This decision was also made easier by the fact that Meade has just come out with a series of soft carry-bags for their line of entry-level Infinity and Polaris telescopes (for the thread on these bags, see: Telescope bags for Meade line of Infinity and Polaris telescopes now available). I ordered and received two of these bags, one of which was custom-made for the Polaris 114EQ. Both scope and tripod (incl. counterweight) fit snugly into the bag, compared to the Orion bag I used previously to transport the scope. The bag is held closer to the body, so it is easier to carry over longer distances. This makes my workhorse 114mm F/7.9 scopes (I also have a Celestron Powerseeker 114EQ with identical weight and height dimensions as the Meade Polaris) more grab-and-go than ever before:

    IMG_3027.JPG

    With my New Meade Polaris 114 bag, I was easily able to get the scope out to the Promenade. I brought along only the stock 26mm (34x), 9mm (100x). and 6.3mm (143x) Modified Achromat (MA) eyepieces, along with a 32mm Plossl I didn’t use. Set up my scope where I had a good view of the Moon, Mars and Jupiter, despite all the artificial lighting:

    IMG_3031.JPG

    First up was the nearly Full Moon at 34x – it was an awesome sight.

    Next was Jupiter - I was able to get good sharp views of Jupiter and its banding at 100x & 143x. I was very pleased with the seeing conditions.

    An extremely bright Mars was just a little to the right of the Moon. This was my first view of Mars in 2016 on a night of good seeing. Through the scope I saw a large dark “splotch” on an orange disk. Just above the dark marking I saw what appeared to be a whitish area (ice cap?), which might have been more distinct with a magnification above 143x.

    Unfortunately, I totally forgot about Saturn that night, if you can believe that

    And of course, interested pedestrians got to look through the scope as well:

    IMG_3032.JPGIMG_3034.JPGIMG_3037.JPG

    Overall, I was very pleased with the views on a night of good seeing. Both scope and new carry bag acquitted themselves well last night.

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    Default Re: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

    Ha! Nice reporting Terry! Great job on sharing the views! Good looking new scope case too!
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    Bryan
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    Default Re: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

    Thanks Bryan! Will definitely get some observing in tonight (projected as "mostly clear" until after 1AM), though still deciding if I want to take my scope out to another public spot (closer to home) or not.
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    Default Re: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

    Nice report, Terry ! And it is cool you shared your views with passers by.
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    Default Re: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

    Hi Terrynak

    it's nice to see some details on Mars , i've tried yetserday to observe it but as usual it was orange ball and can't see any details

    but according to your experiments with both of the powerseeker and the Meade Polaris, i think that both of them are Jones-Beard scopes with 114mm , correct me if i'm wrong. did you noticed any viewing deference between both of them?
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    Default Re: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

    love it. Get people looking up at the stars instead of at their phones for Kardashian tweets
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    Default Re: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

    Good to hear you managed some viewing time and shared it with others
    It sounds like a nice night.
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    Default Re: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

    Great report Terry, very nice sharing with the public, hopefully open up some eyes
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    Default Re: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

    What a great idea - sharing your gear and love for the night sky with people who might never even look up! Well done! If I did that here in stodgy New England, I'd probably be hauled off to prison . And some detail on Mars too. I need to get out and get a look before it is too far gone past opposition. May get a break before the Stanley Cup finals start, then at least one off day between games!

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    Default Re: Viewing the Moon, Jupiter and Mars last night in public

    Quote Originally Posted by Pionneerr View Post
    Hi Terrynak

    it's nice to see some details on Mars , i've tried yetserday to observe it but as usual it was orange ball and can't see any details

    but according to your experiments with both of the powerseeker and the Meade Polaris, i think that both of them are Jones-Beard scopes with 114mm , correct me if i'm wrong. did you noticed any viewing deference between both of them?
    Both of these scopes are NOT Bird-Jones scopes, you can tell by the long length of the tube. The Bird-Jones have short tubes, which is the reason why these scopes are made in the first place (for compactness).

    Both my Celestron Powerseeker and Meade Polaris 114 scopes are identical in dimension (900/114mm Newtonian with spherical mirror), but I've never compared the views between the two. Maybe I should.

 

 
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