Atlas & Hercules

Yesterday was an awesome day for tellyscoping.  A little frustrating but very good overall.  I was driving home from work.  The sky was clear- not a cloud up there, which is kind of rare for the last month.  And, the conditions at night were favorable looking.  So I was looking forward to a 2fer.  Watching the Sun before the evening and then the moon at night.

I got home and totally forgot that my son had his band concert the same night!  Well, count the sun out, but I can salvage some time with the moon.  Got to the middle school and the band was really good!  But, then they had an extra choir number that went very long and the Jazz Band (which was awesome) played after that!  So I didn’t get home until 9pm.

I was bound and determined to see the moon through the new Ethos 3.7mm lens, so I set up the telescope and aligned the scope.  Took about 10 minutes and I was on my way to the moon.  By the way the alignment was very easy except I kept forgetting which one was which (Castor and Pollux).  So I pulled out my iPhone and used GoSkyWatch and problem was solved.  I then picked Procyon as my next star to complete the alignment process.  After that the AVX mount tracked right on to whatever I went to.  And every time it put my object right in the middle of my eyepiece each time.  Amazing!

Who is Castor and Pollux?   Wikipedia- In Greek and Roman mythology, Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces were twin brothers, together known as the Dioskouri.  Their mother was Leda, but Castor was the mortal son of Tyndareus, the king of Sparta, and Pollux the divine son of Zeus, who seduced Leda in the guise of a swan. Though accounts of their birth are varied, they are sometimes said to have been born from an egg, along with their twin sisters and half-sisters Helen of Troy and Clytemnestra.  In Latin the twins are also known as the Gemini or Castores.  When Castor was killed, Pollux asked Zeus to let him share his own immortality with his twin to keep them together, and they were transformed into the constellation Gemini. The pair were regarded as the patrons of sailors, to whom they appeared as St. Elmo’s fire, and were also associated with horsemanship.  They are sometimes called the Tyndaridae or Tyndarids, later seen as a reference to their father and stepfather Tyndareus.

What is Procyon?   (α CMi, α Canis Minoris, Alpha Canis Minoris; BrE /ˈprsi.ɒn/;PRO-see-on) is the brightest star in the constellation Canis Minor. To the naked eye, it appears to be a single star, the eighth brightest in the night sky with a visual apparent magnitude of 0.34. It is classified as a binary star system, consisting of a white main-sequence star of spectral type F5 IV–V, named Procyon A, and a faint white dwarf companion of spectral type DQZ, named Procyon B.  The reason for its brightness is not its intrinsic luminosity but its relative closeness to the Sun. As determined by the European Space Agency Hipparcos astrometry satellite,  it lies at a distance of just 11.46 light-years (3.51 parsecs),[2] and is therefore one of our nearest stellar neighbors. Its closest neighboring star is Luyten’s Star, about 1.12 ly (0.34 pc) away, and the latter would appear as a visual magnitude 2.7 star in the night sky of a hypothetical planet orbiting Procyon.

So after aligning I went to the moon.  beautiful view in my 20mm plossl.  But I just got my Ethos 3.7mm lens and wanted to see the moon with it.  For some reason I could not get my Celestron lunar filter attached to the lens- so I didn’t even try it.  I was not disappointed.  The moon was gorgeous- huge and crisp!  No matter where I looked in the lens I saw moon.  Way cool and definitely close enough to do any detail studies I would like to do.  Excellent choice for lunar observing.

I took this picture through the lens while holding the iPhone up to the lens.  Not the best way and really tough to do, but let’s you share what you saw.

Corrected 1

As you can see Atlas and Hercules stand right out a markers on the northern side.  But then I noticed a little guy (10 miles wide, and a mile deep) Bessel in the Sea of Serenity.  It is the crater that is perfectly round on the southern side of the sea and right on the Terminator (that’s the dark, light line).

Here is a close up of Bessel taken from the NASA LRO (a satellite that is still mapping and shooting pictures around the moon).


So who is this Bessel character?  I learned that most of the craters are named after folks.  Here is what I’ve found on Bessel:  Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (German: [ˈbɛsəl]; 22 July 1784 – 17 March 1846) was a German astronomer, mathematician, physicist and geodesist. He was the first astronomer who determined reliable values for the distance from the sun to another star by the method of parallax. A special type of mathematical functions were named Bessel functions after Bessel’s death, though they had originally been discovered by Daniel Bernoulli.  Way cool as that was one of my first questions- how do astronomers know the distances to stars?  Now I know the origin and the monument to him on the moon!

Again the night was fantastic!  I got to share the views with the family and now you.

Well that’s all for now-





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