Wednesday was a lovely cold, clear day so, after work, I put the telescope tube in the car so that it would cool to ambient temperature.   After a refreshing snooze and dinner, I set up under a waxing moon. The frost was starting to fall and in the distance the local fox was competing with the rumble from the M1.

The moon, as always, is a stunning sight. I followed my usual routine of starting at the top looking for interesting sights. First up the northern polar region. I couldn’t help but notice how much of the polar region was visible under this libration. I took a video for analysis later that, using Rukl and NASA’s map[1], shows the north pole just off the crater Peary. This is an interesting region that I should explore more often.

Lunar North Pole 20160218 labelled

Further south, Copernicus looked very dramatic but I was looking for the very subtle: the lunar volcanoes (or domes) around Hortensius and Milichius. These shallow features are very hard to see unless the lighting is just right. Milichius Pi is quite clear but the 5 to the north of Hortensius are only just detectable so one to return later.Hortensius Domes 20160218 labelled

The area around Palus Epidemiarum (to south of Mare Nubium) is also an area that I have only a handful of observations. As the picture below shows, it is covered by fault lines from the lava flooding in an earlier age. Note also the striking crater-group Hainzel , made from 3 principal craters and several smaller ones. It was clearly a popular target for asteroid impacts in a bygone age.

Palus Epidemiarum and Lacus Timoris 20160218 labelled 2


Although I was pleased with these pictures, I had a number of frustrations. The ASI driver for some reason failed so I had to take the laptop back inside and reinstall the software. Then Autostakkert refused to stack several video files including one around Copernicus and a second around Moretus. I have no idea why it liked stacking these images yet rejected others. Oh well, not a total loss but I hate it when I spend time troubleshooting rather than observing.

I popped back inside at 10-ish for a second snooze while I waited for Jupiter to clear the rooftops. As you can see, I got some good pictures of the Great Red Spot transiting. It seems an age since I have caught some of the moons and their shadows. It seems that the interesting phenomena is on a cloudy night. The clear nights are reserved for when the moons are some distance away from Jupiter.

Jupiter 20160218_19_Radice

I packed up at 0130 and was up at 0700 for work. Ah the joys of a late night before a day in the office! Despite being tired the next morning, I still had a buzz from a productive night at the telescope. I am now checking the weather forecast for the next clear night.