When I look into the night sky on a clear evening I am always completely in awe of the immense beauty of it all. That is why before leaving the house last night, I thought of getting an image of the first quarter moon that seemed to smile at me in the western sky. 🙂
Image taken via afocal method (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 digital camera on Galileoscope).
The image shown above was last night’s Full Moon called the Paschal Full Moon.
In Christianity, the first astronomical full moon after the vernal (spring) equinox is usually designated as the Paschal Full Moon or the Paschal Term. Traditionally, Easter is observed on the Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon.
Image taken via afocal method (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FH2 on my Galileoscope)
I and my fellow UP AstroSoc members, Aaron Misayah and Bea Banzuela observed the Partial Lunar Eclipse at Moonrise last Dec. 21, 2010 from the roof deck of Bea’s house in Marikina City.
During this observation, I took pictures using my portable Galileoscope and Kodak C813 8.0 megapixel digicam while Bea used her Canon 400D DSLR camera .
The sky was about 70-80% cloudy when we set up and the northeastern horizon was blocked with haze and big clouds. At first, we thought that we may never witness this event because the whole phase visible in the Philippines will occur at a very low altitude (below 5 deg.) and one must have a very clear eastern horizon to see the rising eclipsed moon.
At 5:44 PM, all of us become ecstatic as we turned our gaze to a bright yellowish light (which we soon recognized as the eclipsed right limb of the Moon) emerging from behind the clouds above the mountains. We were so amazed by this spectacular view that we almost forgot to take pictures of it. 😀
This ‘celestial experience‘ was indeed an early Christmas gift from above 🙂
After several months of waiting, I finallly got my IYA 2009 Galileoscope which I ordered from the Galileoscope website. I’m soo happy!
There were some shipping problems, and it took longer than expected (they arrived about a month ago but I’ve been too busy to write up this post). Before anything else, I would like to thank the following for their enormous help.
Mr. Rick Fienberg, Galileoscope team member, for being kind enough to send me regular updates regarding the status of my order;
Ms. Amy Pekar, for taking charge of resending my order 😛 (They had to resend it 3x because the first 2 got lost somewhere and didn’t reach me.)
Nicole Obidos, for driving us to the Marikina Post Office 🙂 *clap clap*
The Marikina Post Office, for giving me 50% discount on the tax i have to pay for the parcel;
and to Andre Obidos, for serving as another recipient and helping me assemble the Galileoscope 🙂
The Galileoscope is a ‘cornerstone project’ of the International Year of Astronomy (IYA). It is a high-quality, inexpensive telescope kit designed by a team of folks who wanted to make the night sky available to as wide an audience as possible, especially young people.
Peeking through a Galileoscope is like seeing the celestial wonders that Galileo first glimpsed 400 years ago, which still delight stargazers today, including lunar mountains and craters, Jupiter’s moons, the phases of Venus, Saturn’s rings and countless stars and deep-sky objects invisible to the naked eye. It incorporates features such as achromatic optics, stray-light rejection and a 1.25-inch focuser normally found only on more expensive telescopes.
It comes packed pretty well, and all the pieces were there. The 50-mm f/10 objective lens is an achromat made from two types of glass, and the 20-mm (25x) eyepiece employs two achromats — a total of four lenses — made from two types of plastic (this four-element configuration is similar to that of the popular Plössl eyepiece, a high-quality design rarely seen on any telescope eyepiece). The plastic in the tube is solid and fits together pretty well. However, I will say that the instructions are not terribly clear; I had to download the additional pictorial instructions from the website in order to better understand the whole assembly procedure.
Assembly took about twenty minutes. When it was done, I mounted it on a sturdy camera tripod that was available then.
I first looked on the bright planet Venus which I saw in its crescent phase.
An hour later after sunset, we point it on the waning gibbous moon and then to Jupiter. Through low power the planet is easily resolved as a disk, with its four largest moons. I could even just barely make out two or three of the cloud stripes on Jupiter.
(Photo details: Kodak EasyShare C813 6mm focal length F/2.7 lens aperture at ISO 80. Taken using afocal method. Second image was processed in Registax)
The higher-power eyepiece was almost impossible to use, which I actually expected — it’s hard enough in much more expensive telescopes. Higher power means smaller field of view, so finding objects is tough. Focusing is hard as well, since the target is hard to keep centered given that telescope has no adjustment knobs for easier navigation. Perhaps it would be better to find the best focus with both eyepieces and then mark the slider tubes with a white or silver marker that you can be seen in the dark. That way, one can pre-focus.
All in all the Galileoscope is a good piece of equipment. It’s not that hard to assemble, and if you have a tripod and some measure of patience it will allow you view large bright objects. You won’t go galaxy hopping with it, and the inverted view makes bird-spotting hard too. But it serves the purpose it was designed to do: get astronomy in the hands of people everywhere for a very low price. 😀
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