Montebello, Saturday 2/22/03

by Rich Neuschaefer

There were about 10 observers at Montebello tonight (2/22/03).

The seeing was quite good we had high thin clouds move over, but most seemed to be to the east of us. There was some dewing but not too bad. As I was leaving about 12:30am the dew had cleared and the skies were more transparent. I got to MB about 6:45pm.

I was using my 6" refractor. Early, it was easy to see six stars in the Trapezium. The small companion star to the eastern belt star in Orion was easy to see. Saturn was showing very nice detail. A little before Sirius transited I tried to see if I could find "the Pup". Another observer there had suggested trying to see it. We both looked. We did see a much less bright spot at about 4:00 o'clock, near the outside edge of the series of defraction rings. I was using a 90 deg star diagonal with a binoviewer stuck in the diagonal like a large eyepiece. The binoviewer was pointing up. If I remember correctly we were using close to 300x.

In the early evening Jupiter was showing thin curved lines in the EZ. By about 9:45 pm the GRS was in full view. there was much more detail. White ovals were following the GRS. I should have made notes and made sketches.

I was surprised that there was much more detail to be seen on the GRS side of Jupiter. Maybe it was just better seeing at the time the GRS came into view. I'm used to seeing the GRS and white ovals trailing it, but the festooning in the EZ and detail below the SEB made the views of Jupiter on the other evening about the same time, when the GRS was not in view. look pretty bland. There was some festooning in that "non GRS" view but it didn't stand out as clearly. I'm kicking myself for not taking notes and making sketches. I did share the views with about a dozen people at our little star party in the hills above Palo Alto, Calif. We were also looking at a number of other objects.

I spent most of my time observing Jupiter from about 9:40 pm PST to 10:00 pm PST. I did a little more observing of Jupiter about 11:15 pm PST.

About 11pm I looked at M3 and M51. They weren't anything to write home about in my 6". They looked much better in another observer's 11" SCT. The last object I tried was the close double star Porrima. It was a little low for best observing but it was split. You could see two not so nice Airy discs almost touching.


AP 155EDFS 155mm f/7 triplet APO refractor
Zeiss binoviewer and AP barlow element used directly in an AP Maxbright star diagonal.
Zeiss Abbe Ortho eyepieces (10mm used to view The Pup. The binoviewer has a 1.25x corrector.
Other eyepieces used, Pentax SMC-XLs used in mono mode with the Maxbright diagonal.