Blog Sunday November 20th 2011
If you read my blog on the odd occasion you will likely know that Es Reid features quite often in postings as he is a close friend and a great support in keeping my observatories, serviceable and developing. Well Es was visiting on this afternoon for dinner, and laughter too I suspect. I had also invited another friend Ken White who is not an astronomer but is interested greatly in the natural world and has travelled extensively during his 70 odd years.
So two good friends visiting, and a clear evening sky outdoors, this must mean a look through a telescope! The HST Calver being the tool of choice on this fine evening, Es, Aubrey and I soon had big Victorian reflector mobilised in the observatory and locked onto Jupiter. It was a misty evening and as Es said that bodes well for a fine, steady view, we weren’t disappointed.
My Denkmeier binoviewer’s work well with this scope despite the 100 year difference between their design and that of the venerable telescope, they are my choice for planetary observing, and so that is what we used.
It was soon Ken’s turn to climb a few rungs on the wooden steps and push his eyes into the rubber cups sealing out distracting stay light. Ken was very clearly amazed but what he saw, it was still a little while however before I the penny dropped with me that this was his first telescopic view ever of Jupiter! There were no transits, no GRS or even any of those brick red barges that are so prominent at the moment, that notwithstanding, it was a splendid, sharp and steady view, the 3 Jovian Moons close by obvious discs and therefore undoubtedly worlds in their own right.
Ken asked many questions and spent considerable time at the eyepiece, no quick glances here, a real good look drinking in detail his brain building the image and seeing more the longer he looked, how marvellous. I was very pleased that he enjoyed it and was filled with awe and wonder, when he left to drive home to the next county he remarked how he was going to call his brother down in Kent immediately as he was very interested in astronomy. The telescope is 106 years young and is still thrilling just it did upon first light.