rejectomorph (flying_blind) wrote,

Weather vs Telescope

Clouds are moving in. The valley became somewhat cloudy in the afternoon, and some very nice cirrus formed over the ridge in time to capture the soft pinks and mauves of sunset. It was quite nice, but if the clouds continue, it will be more difficult to see Mars. Wednesday morning just a bit after one o'clock in the morning Pacific Time is when Mars and Earth will be at their closest. There is a possibility of more thunderstorms. I like thunderstorms, but the timing couldn't be worse.

Of course, I'm not sure I can get that telescope working properly, anyway. It turns out to be somewhat more exacting than I expected. There are two viewing lenses -- one is the finder scope, which has fairly low magnification, and the other is the main telescope, which is 45x. Because the magnification of the instrument is so great, it is almost impossible to find a small object in the sky, unless it is first found in the finder scope, and in or deer to do that, the telescope and the finder scope must be set up to match exactly. To match them up, it is necessary to find a distinctive land-based target no closer that two hundred yards away with the telescope, and then adjust the finder scope so that that object is in the scope's cross-hairs.

Well, in this place, distinctive is right out. The only thing to focus on is pine trees, which all look very much alike. And there is only one place nearby where there is a relatively open view of at least two hundred yards. I worked on it this afternoon, for the better part of an hour, but I'm not sure I got the finder scope focused on exactly the same tree that I had in the telescope. And, while adjusting the finder scope, the telescope wiggled a bit to the side of the image I was trying to synchronize with, so its probably a bit off anyway. I'll try it out on Mars later tonight, if the cloud cover isn't too thick, but I'm not very hopeful.

In any case, Mars is quite impressive now, even without magnification. I'd like to get the telescopic view of it, but just the bright red dot seen with the naked eye is nice to see.

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