The celebrated life of world famous astronaut Neil Armstrong has passed last weekend. As a tribute, all weekend I observed the moon. From Friday to Sunday, I viewed the moon on every night using my dad’s 6 inch reflector and my regular- 70mm f/10.
My dad had just gotten one of those sky and telescope moon maps and he was using his little 4 1/2 inch reflector. It was the day after first quarter, so it was pretty bright by then. My dad was busy with the moon, I looked up and noticed how transparent the sky was! If you remember me talking about seeing the central star in M57, this night was 10 times better than that. Honestly, I think pretty much any night would be better that that one, but the Milky was seen, it was not bright, but it was there.
I viewed M31, Andromeda Galaxy, and countless others. The 2 other days were remarkably clear, in fact, I actually logged in many Messier objects for the program from the Astronomical League. Only 22 left!
Whenever I observe the moon, I always have to try to take some decent pictures. I took more than I should, but I guess that’s not a bad thing. They actually come out pretty good in the 70mm. I’ll share some of the best ones:
I have also been encountering severe moisture in the air late at night. After 2 or 3 hours of observing, I come in and it looks like my equipment was just sprayed with a garden hose. I guess that means that fall and winter are on the horizon, because it’s been cooling down more lately. More recently, it barely cools at all. At 11:00 last night, it was still something like 83 degrees. So I guess the heat is still to stick around for a little longer.
Regarding small scopes, the 70mm has become quite a performer. One thing to add before I go into a small discussion of moon scopes, I just cleaned my telescope lenses last night. The telescope is a second, meaning that it had minor imperfections There are a couple scratches here and there on the tube, but after thoroughly cleaning each lens, They were pristine. They actually looked better than when I first got the telescope.
On to the moon scopes. The 70mm f/10 is an excellent choice. It pulls in a fair amount of light, and has a long focal length for that size (700mm). For example, Sunday night I counted 5 crate-lets on the floor of Plato in full sunlight. It seems that refractors have an advantage over reflectors because there is no central obstruction. For that reason, refractors will always have sharper crisper images than reflectors. Virtually any decent Refractor will prove to be an excellent lunar scope. I love medium to large scopes too, and my serious aperture is Orion’s 10″ classic dob. I probably said that before, but it’s such a cool scope.
Don’t forget that observing with your telescope is supposed to be an enjoyable experience. I know that many astronomers take all their “observations” as pictures, but try to just observe. It’s a lot easier to set up too. Try sidewalk astronomy, it is really interesting as well
By the way, I didn’t take this picture of Plato!