Astronomy at dusk

Astronomy at dusk 1

Nothing is wrong with this picture. Yes, we were looking through the telescope before sunset last Friday, and no, we don’t have a solar filter yet. We were looking at the Moon, which looked pretty good.

Our plan was to look at and photograph the Moon before sunset, and then turn to Jupiter once it got high enough. (We stayed in the backyard because the path to our observing site was too muddy to carry a telescope along it, so solar system objects only that night.) But we never got that far: the onslaught of mosquitos chased us back inside before Jupiter was favourably positioned. I got bitten more in two hours than I had in five days of camping the previous week.

Note also the presence in the above photograph of one of my new toys: an Asus Eee PC, a Linux-based subnotebook with a solid-state drive. Basic, but cheap. Of particular note is that it comes preinstalled with KStars, the open-source planetarium application. One goal of last Friday’s observing session was to see if I could connect to the telescope, which was at least partially successful: the program recognized the telescope, but I didn’t do anything beyond that. Next time.