It wasn’t deliberate but tonight was not only the start of BBCs stargazing series but also the night I first used my new 8 SE.
Setup was relatively easy, after entering my nearest City and time and date, the software asked me to locate a bright star – I chose Aldebaran, then I had to choose a second star, I chose Castor – the scope slewed round automatically, found it then asked me to confirm. That was it! Setup was complete.
I spent most of this evening observing Jupiter, which is currently very bright. I could easily see two red bands but not the red spot. All 4 moons were readily visible. I had a quick go with a Barlow lens which certainly magnified things but didn’t seem to bring out more detail. I suspect I wasn’t adjusting it properly – I’ll have another go some time with the Moon. A quick experiment with an Orion CCD also was a bit frustrating – nice large image of Jupiter but I think I had the exposure settings wrong. Will try again with the hopefully easier target of the Moon.
Two notes; I started off using batteries but they didn’t last long. I changed over to the 12v battery charger pack which was excellent and also had a useful red lamp to provide low level illumination. Secondly, things got a bit fuzzy after about 2 hours – as I suspected, the scope had dew on the front glass, so I called it a night – it would be worth looking at a heated dew shield.
Overall, a most enjoyable evening. Just as well I recorded Stargazing!