Weather conditions were not that great on Lansdown yesterday evening. It was a clear evening but the sky was not dark or completely clear. Perhaps a bit misty or foggy. Far too windy. Luth joined me in the evening and waited patiently as I spent a while setting it up. It turned out that even though the conditions were not great we were still able to see loads of things.

I may have forgotten to correct the location on the handset of the NexStar 6SE, as I had set it to Bristol a few days earlier to test. While I tried to make the sure tripod was level, it was not perfect either so when it came to the alignment, I did a one star alignment and went from there.  That said, af

I forgot to correct the location of the handset of the NexStar 6SE, as I had set it to Bristol a few days earlier to test. I also failed to spend enough time setting up the tripod and ensuring it was level. As it was especially windy, I probably should have not extended the tripod fully either. When it came to alignment, “Star Align” failed, so I just did “One Star Align” and went from there. No doubt, “Two Star Align” would have been better.

The first target we asked for was Jupiter as it was high in the sky. With a 25mm eyepiece, after the telescope automatically slewed to it it was just off to the side but visible in the eyepiece. The whole evening, the scope would move to a target and be just off by the same amount each time, so I suspect my alignment was off originally, but even though I messed up the setup a little, its very cool to see it automatically bring things up.

The 9mm eyepiece is more zoom, but with the high wind the vibration was annoying. But with a 20mm eyepiece you could easily make out Jupiter’s bands and also clear was all four of Jupiter’s moons. At the end of the evening, we captured a photo of what we saw. The camera does not capture any of the detail or colour we saw with our eyes, but it shows the moons positions clearly. Image below shows from left to right Callisto, Europa, Jupiter, Ganymede, Io.


After that, we spend a couple of hours working through the Sky Tour feature, where its just a list of things that you might be able to see in the sky. You just browse through the list and push enter and it brings it up. Really impressed. Orion Nebula is easy to see. We also asked it to show us Andromeda Galaxy which was very close to the horizon and light pollution from Bristol I guess. As a result, all we could see was the core of the galaxy. Its quite visible though. Its visibility varies based on the time of year, so towards the second half of the year, maybe I take some long exposures with a camera as I could probably see more detail. Bode’s Nebula (M81) was also noteworthy.

We also saw various other things. To many to list. Saturn was below the horizon at the time unfortunately. It was extremely cold, so don’t think we could have waited until after midnight when it would be visible. Main issue is wind chill and gloves… You have to remove them to do things. If it was not for that it would have been fine. Will ponder a solution.