Re: introductions from Florida

Leigh Caldwell

Hi Jeff

Wes is absolutely the expert and you should do everything he says.

But from one beginner to another, my experience was: It took me a few nights to get the hang of even simple things like using ExploreStars and finding the right focus point for a new eyepiece (though I was pretty much new to telescopes as well as this mount - you may have more experience than I did). So if you don't get it worked out tonight, and given that you only have a couple of hours to see this tomorrow, consider going straight to Wes's point 13. In fact you can keep it even simpler like this:

Unlock the clutches (making sure to support the weight of the telescope), swing it round and point towards the two planets. You'll easily be able to point to them, and will probably be able to aim the finderscope with one hand (and eye!) while locking the clutches with the other. If the planets are in the center of the finderscope they will most likely be visible in your biggest eyepiece. Adjust until they're in the center and then switch in a shorter eyepiece if you want to. Jupiter is so bright that you'll easily be able to refocus even without tracking to keep them centered.

You can do all this no matter what way the mount is pointing, and potentially even without powering it up. Having said that, if you don't get it to track, you'll need to keep adjusting by hand, but that's much better than missing the whole thing while fiddling with technology.

I saw them tonight - at about twice the separation they'll have tomorrow, I think - and they looked stunning in my 28mm eyepiece (1000mm focal length telescope - Skywatcher 200PDS). I did have my tracking working so I took some video footage which I'll try stacking tomorrow, but even if that doesn't come out well, I still feel I've seen an almost once in a lifetime sight.

Good luck tomorrow and hope your kid enjoys it! When they're 31 they'll be able to look up at the conjunction again, and remember this experience.

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