Monday, May 26, 2014

Still Holding

Clouds and wind have conspired to bring this project to a screeching halt.

I'm seriously considering getting more into radio astronomy.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Clear and Windy

Nothing much to update.  It's been mostly clear this past week, but also windy.  Wind bumps the scope around too much which makes for useless data.  I now have an even greater appreciation for domed observatories.

Saturn at opposition yesterday, 177 degrees away from the sun.

It's about time that I start to make the plots of the data I actually want to see: brightness versus orbital phase.  Stay tuned for that.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Seeing Effects

Had a great session last night -- the first night in nearly two weeks!  My prediction that I'd get about half of the nights was very far off.  Sofar, since my Jupiter work started on 12 Feb 2014, I've had 14 observing sessions.  So that means that my "observing efficiency" is at 17.5% (14 / 80).

The surprise this evening was the seeing.  Towards the end of the session, I turned the scope to Saturn to start collecting 300 images of prelim data (I'm still assessing whether I can get "good enough" signal to noise to make the effort worthwhile) when just a little breeze blew through.  The breeze was enough to notice but it was brief and, I thought, uneventful.

However, this little breeze brought with it some nasty air!  The seeing went from really good to really bad in a matter of a couple minutes.  Check these images out of Saturn:

Figure 1: Saturn in good seeing and in bad seeing, minutes apart

Having high-resolution astronomical imaging in my background, I'm curious about these things and would like to understand them better.  I don't recall ever witnessing the seeing deteriorate so quickly.  I'd like to know what exactly causes this and how long it lasts.

I can't make a post to this blog without a nice picture of the Jupiter system from last night:

Figure 2: The Jupiter system 03:09 UTC 03 May 2014
Also some nice Jupiter moon events for May:

5/8     E eclipse R     04:06
        I eclipse R     05:52
5/11    I/E close       04:00
5/17    I/G/C close     04:00
5/18    I/E/C close     05:00
5/24    G eclipse R     03:31
        I eclipse R     04:10
05/26   C eclipse D     04:39