Lunar photograph, one of the first using my new telescopeI have just come in from another night of playing with the best present I have ever received, a telescope.

It’s something I’ve wanted for a while, but never desperately enough that I’ve done any serious research or examining of the options, or even looked in a telescope shop. However my girlfriend on the other hand must have done quite a bit of research as the telescope she got me for my birthday is not a cheap entry level small telescope, it’s actually quite a large and ‘proper’ telescope (with all sorts of stuff on the mount that I have no idea what it does at the moment) and it’s amazing.

The other night I managed to take some fairly good pictures of the moon (see end of post) considering I took them by just pointing my point and shoot digital camera down the eye-piece (not the best way to take pictures with a telescope - something I’m trying to rectify).

But tonight I managed to find Jupiter (which was actually quite easy with Stellarium on board) and got a good enough view to be able to distinguish the different coloured bands on Jupiter itself and could cleary identify all 4 of its moons (Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto), it looked exactly like this screenshot taken from Stellarium (except without the name tags, and the moons aren’t as big - that’s Stellarium pointing them out to you):

Stellarium Jupiter - 2008-06-14

I’ve never even identified where Jupiter was in the sky before tonight, never mind seen it so clearly in real life and it was fantastic - I must have spent the best part of an hour tracking it and watching it.

So take this as a warning that if I get a bit more into this astrophotography lark that I may be posting more pictures, if it ends up being silly I’ll separate them out to a different RSS feed though.

Here are my pictures of the moon from Wednesday 11th June 2008: