Friday, August 7, 2009

Jupiter, The Pronto and Me

Tonight it was clear, much like last night. But of course it's clear, the Moon is just past full.

I was rather tired and not very motivated to do a whole lot astronomy wise, so with the Pronto in AZ mode it made it easier just to grab it and take it outside in one shot, with the eyepiece case. No EQ mount tonight, no battery, no drives. Just a simple set up.

Jupiter was on tap, with the Moon higher and bright, the sky was awash with moonlight so seeing anything apart from Jupiter would have been difficult, but I wasn't up to it anyway.

Jupiter is the first planet I ever saw in a telescope. It is also the first planet and only planet I saw in a junky telescope. So I have a special attachment to it because just over 20 years ago, I was looking at this same planet, albeit, in a trashy 60mm refractor on a rinky-dinky tripod. Back then it wasn't easy, but with the quality of the Pronto, Jupiter was very pleasant.

Without getting to sentimental, I suppose that my love for astronomy starts with Jupiter, but not just through a telescope. I remember being glued to the TV when I was a child and watched in awe as the spacecraft Discovery-One in 2001: A Space Odyssey approached Jupiter after spotting the larger, second Monolith. I remember then that Jupiter was a cool place to be (well, Kubrick went to Jupiter, but Clarke actually went to Saturn in the novelized version). Seeing it in a telescope for the first time was a thrill then, and it still is. "Starship Pronto" was able to get a hint of the GRS which was nice and all four moons were making their way around the planet. Io and Europa were making a nice "double star" tonight that was impressive. Sorry folks, no large rectangle was spotted. Lucky me, the Pronto does not contain a murderous freak named HAL 9000.

You can say that I feel like a kid again, but I am quickly reminded that the view then pales in comparison to today. But the feeling is the same, and that is something that will never change...


1 comment:

  1. Nice write up about "real life astronomy" and life experiences. I like reading this stuff - it continues to amaze me how much this universe thing effects the lives of us all with rich memories of the past and the forging of new ones today! These are indeed treasures.

    Now Marc, you learn the "Way of the Moon" for even tonight the eastern edge contains treasures that most be experienced..........just ask Mr.Drive By about his observe last night!

    Oh I'm sure you do enjoy our Moon from time to time..................