February 2, 2020
With the Moon and Orion high in the sky just after the kids went to bed, and the weather relatively mild, I just had to have a look. Once again, I hauled my Takahashi refractor to the rooftop - although I'm not sure "haul" is the word to use for carrying such a light telescope, mount, and tripod.
The currents coming off my building again add an artificial layer of low-lying turbulence to the view, and I'm starting to suspect that my Berlebach Report tripod can barely handle the FC-100DC (the TV 85 is a slightly better match). There's a bit more vibration than I usually prefer, though I'm sure that's also a function of the wobbly concrete slabs we have on our rooftop. In any case, although the seeing wasn't bad, the Moon trembled in the eyepiece.
Still the view was, at times, utterly spectacular, especially around Plato, where the rim shadows seemed fantastically long and sharp: as though they were cast by a gigantic palace overlooking the crater. At times it seemed as though the shadows shimmered ever so slightly, an effect first noticed by Selenographers in the late nineteenth century (and then blamed on "lunar meteorology"). Although the crater floor is pitted with tiny craterlets - well, tiny as viewed from Earth - I couldn't spot any. Is it futile to look for them with a small refractor? Maybe. I'll need to bring out my Mewlon when the weather is warmer.
The 3.7 mm Ethos eyepiece certainly makes a big difference on the Moon by greatly expanding the field of view, but the 200x it affords was just a bit too much for the atmosphere tonight. The view was just a little soft. Turning to the Orion Nebula with the eyepiece attached, the Trapezium wasn't as sharp as it was the other night, and the nebulosity surrounding it was a little washed out - partly, no doubt, by the brighter Moon. A lower magnification would have served me better, but I had to hurry downstairs to kids who needed my attention.
All in all, a good hour on the rooftop. Someday, I keep reminding myself, I'll be able to stay outside for longer!
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