Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Astronomy Lesson #1

Lesson #1 - Acclimate your binoculars. Last night was a fairly clear night, so I decided to try out my new binoculars and tripod. So, I set up on my back porch and started viewing. Things were going well for the first couple of minutes and then stars which I had been making out started to fade. Then I couldn't see a damn thing in the sky at all. I thought perhaps I had hit some cloud cover, but when I pulled back from my binoculars all the stars were there. I looked at my binoculars and it seemed as if they were filled with smoke. What happened? Condensation had collected on them. I guess bringing them from the dry, cool 72 degree indoors to the hot, humid 90 degree outdoors was the culprit.

Lesson learned. Though the night wasn't a total loss. I identified my first star. Not the hardest trick in the book, seeing as how it was Vega, the second brightest star in the sky (see picture below, which I didn't take), but hey ... it was the first time I ever truly looked at a Sky Chart and tried to pick out individual stars. I'm waiting on Saturn, though she's only visible around 9 pm, and she's barely over the horizon ... so I'm going to have to wait for awhile.


Terry said...

Take a look at Jupiter as well, in the Southeast after sunset, very bright, impossible to miss. The cloud belts and any visible moons are pretty cool in binoculars

Tom said...

Thanks Terry. I'll give Jupiter a looksee over the next few days while I wait for Saturn to pop up over the horizon for more than a few minutes at night. Thanks for stopping by too.