Monday, June 20, 2011

Observing with the kids

The plan is simple, the kids wanted to see the Saturn! Therefore, we don't have to travel but we can truly grab-and-go! I've my Ranger on Gitzo G106 with Manfrotto 410, I also have a 40mm Pentax SMC XL as a finder (over 5 degrees of view) and a 20mm Widescan (24x) and also a 5x Powermate (120x).

I was soon misled by Arcturus which is similar in coloration! Without much sky to deal with, I swing my Ranger around to point at Arcturus thinking that it was Saturn... it's nearly the zenith and thus I had a hard time to locate it. After fooling around for nearly 5 minutes, I managed to get it into the view... you know, using a 410 head suffered from the Dobsonian hole issue for target near the zenith. Got it but then it's nothing but a star!

Being cheated, I asked my sister to use her mobile phone to locate Saturn... we were surprised to see that it was partly hidden by the bright spotlights of a nearby building! I swing my Ranger there, immediately blinded by the spotlight but still, it's not hard to point at the Saturn. Pushing the power to 120x, the view was not affected at all.

The kids took turn to look into the eyepiece. I guess some managed to see, but some with doubt. I guess I should keep an easier eyepiece for the kid, like a cheap Plossl, since Widescan or even Nagler could be quite hard to look through due to their sweet-spot and blackout issue. However, the wider field of view should be nice for a non-tracked mount.

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