Observing with a bag of rice


Trying not to lose touch with the sky, I’ve had the 10″ out.

Saturn is bright enough, but it’s already sinking by the time darkness begins to gather, and I follow it down with the scope.  However, by the time I’ve added a red dot finder, a shroud and a big multi-element eyepiece or Barlow to the front end, the gears in the mount start to slip.  A pound of rice tied on the back end corrects the balance just enough to prevent the nose dropping to the concrete.

Seeing wasn’t great, but there was banding on the planet and a good view of the Cassini Division.  I couldn’t be sure of Enceladus and missed Mimas altogether, but in the circumstances the four moons I could see wasn’t a bad score.

I worked on my star hopping through a murky sky.  Antares was flashing green and red in that peculiar way it has; Zubenelgenubi is an attractive double, but not as pretty as its name; Cygnus was coming and going through the clouds too much to observe.  The ISS graced proceedings with a bright pass.  A turbulent threatening wind got up and silent lightning flashed on the horizon.  I took the hint and went to bed.


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