A perfect night at the cemetery

Nice weather returned to the cemetery for the evening of August 19, 2022. With the moon nowhere in sight and Saturn now plainly visible just after dark. And – with Jupiter in tow a couple of hours later – it was about as perfect a night as we get. Temperatures were comfortable, bugs were…not too bad, and there was good transparency with above average seeing. That is, for us here in the northeast. Our gift is dark skies but “seeing” is often only average.

The nice weather report gave us sufficient notice to post an early impromptu stargazing invite. That and it being a beautiful Friday night got us a nice gathering of more than a dozen visitors to share the views. We were also joined by Paul from Lake Placid with his Sky-Watcher SKYMAX 102 telescope. That brought us up to three telescopes for the evening.

There wasn’t much time to seriously collect deep-sky imagery with all the eager eyeballs peering through the scopes. But I got a little time after midnight to take several three-minute sequences of Jupiter. Jupiter was so bright – the necessary exposure time for each individual frame was only 10 ms. I pulled out the best 5% to make this shot (processed in Siril):

Jupiter just after midnight on August 20, 2022. The Jovian moon Ganymede is just visible in this shot.

Alas, it was getting a bit late to take images of Saturn. it would have been a nice night to do so, but I didn’t have it in me. We’ll catch it next time!

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