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Sciency stuff-See 5 bright planets in February

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  • Weather permitting, of course.

    https://earthsky.org/tonight/see-all-5- ... n-february

    In February 2020, you might be able to see all five bright planets, two after sunset and three before sunrise. By bright planet, we mean any solar system planet that’s easily visible without optical aid and that’s been watched by our ancestors since time immemorial. In their outward order from the sun, the five bright planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. And they really are bright and noticeable in Earth’s sky! The illustration above – which is from NASA – shows the five bright planets, plus Earth, in their order outward from the sun. Their relative sizes are correct in this illustration, but – in real outer space – their relative distances from one another are much more vast.


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    sutz
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  • Thanks, Sutz. Love your sciency stuff. I should get my telescope out of the garage and dust it off. It's a rather primitive-looking but efficient homebuilt instrument I made when I was 15. I ground the mirror myself (it is a 6-inch Newtonian reflector); the tube is a piece of large PVC irrigation pipe, the stand is made of old metal water pipes, and the counterweight is a length of wound lead pipe.

    The light pollution is pretty hopeless in suburbia, though, unlike the pristine night skies I grew up with in the country. I still get a reasonable view of Jupiter and the four large moons, Saturn's rings, Mars and Venus. The moon is of course spectacular, to the detriment of all else when it is gibbous.
    Aussie Seahawk
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  • Wow, a home made telescope. Awesome. Since it's summer down under you would have a better chance than here to see something. We're dodging in and out of rain/snow showers here in Washington.

    Shouldn't be too far of a drive to get to the outback for some improved visibility, is it?
    sutz
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  • sutz wrote:Wow, a home made telescope. Awesome. Since it's summer down under you would have a better chance than here to see something. We're dodging in and out of rain/snow showers here in Washington.

    Shouldn't be too far of a drive to get to the outback for some improved visibility, is it?


    I'm of course... terribly sympathetic about your rain/snow showers... with a worst-ever degree of sarcasm and insincerity. :)

    Well, my 49er friend, at whose place I watched the Superbowl today, has a high-end Celestron telescope (over $10K) he bought a couple of years ago. He is retiring in a couple of years (a very senior civil engineer in bridge design) and we are going to do just that. Buy some camping gear and absolutely do it!

    It's been many years since we've had a Messier hunt! I just can't get up the energy to travel the required distance myself.

    I'll post some photos of my homemade 'scope, when I clean it up. I'm ashamed how totally dusty my one-time pride and joy is. It is like Bill Denbrough in "It" when he sees his boyhood bike ("Silver") for sale in a secondhand shop in Derry. It looks like a piece of utter crap, but it works, and the primitive stand holds firm in a wind, within reason. The eyepiece holder has no fancy focusing knobs; it is just concentric brass tubes, with a bit of lubricant, but it works.
    Aussie Seahawk
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  • Thanks Sutzy! Good to know. I love this kind of stuff. I used to have a 15" manual reflector scope and an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain computer controlled scope. Not home made mind you lol. I was always awestruck by watching things like the giant red spot on Jupiter or seeing the shadow of Saturn's rings on the planet. There are some pretty cool things in astronomy!
    FPD
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  • FPD wrote:Thanks Sutzy! Good to know. I love this kind of stuff. I used to have a 15" manual reflector scope and an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain computer controlled scope. Not home made mind you lol. I was always awestruck by watching things like the giant red spot on Jupiter or seeing the shadow of Saturn's rings on the planet. There are some pretty cool things in astronomy!

    My pleasure. I try to keep up, especially in the off-season. :mrgreen:
    sutz
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  • Love this stuff. Thanks Steve!
    Aros
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    sutz
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  • FPD wrote:Thanks Sutzy! Good to know. I love this kind of stuff. I used to have a 15" manual reflector scope and an 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain computer controlled scope. Not home made mind you lol. I was always awestruck by watching things like the giant red spot on Jupiter or seeing the shadow of Saturn's rings on the planet. There are some pretty cool things in astronomy!


    15" - that is a serious instrument! Do you have any photos of it?

    My naked-eye vision, which used to be better than 20/20, is now terrible. I used to be able to see the Andromeda galaxy (M31) easily, and more than seven "sisters" in the Pliades, but now I can't even see 47 Tucanae or Omega Centauri.
    Aussie Seahawk
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