I will go ahead and post this to the stidmama at LiveJournal blog as well.

So you can manipulate the pictures yourselves, I am going to load them as a gallery of thumbnails you can click on to see a bigger image. Use your back button to return here afterwards.

This is Jupiter, with the four moons clearly set in a line, two on each side!

The nittygritty of the last night’s astronomical adventure: We used our new Nikon Coolpix S230 10 Megapixel 3x zoom ISO 2000 with vibration reduction. I held it up to the eyepiece of the telescope with the flash off and no zoom; I did not speed up or slow down the shutter speed. This method works best when the eyepiece is more stationary… the telescope is a bit shaky because it’s portable so the camera shakes. Even with vibration reduction, when the magnification increases, it’s noticeable. The final picture in the set of three was taken with higher resolution lens on the telescope, and most of those images were too shaky — even with the relatively fast shutter speed of the camera, in some images Jupiter looked like a neon squiggle.

About the refraction telescope: It is a Telestar by Meade that we bought last year for the family. first lens: 25 mm; second lens: 2.5 mm. The increase in size made it much nicer to view with the eyes, but a lot harder to get a decent picture. It also makes it more challenging to aim the telescope (a task I left to the more adept teens). It’s a nice telescope for our purposes. And as you can see, we were quite excited to get four moons showing up so beautifully!

Finally, if you want to try this yourself. Jupiter seems to be “up” around 9 or 9:30 pm where we live, almost directly south (slightly south-east now). We took these pictures between 11 and 11:30 or so. I can’t tell you how far above the horizon because that’s not visible, but I can say it’s a couple degrees higher than the 100+ foot trees about 100 feet away on the neighbor’s property.


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