Since I built my prototype telescope I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to make a good lunar observation. Last night was it.
Given the current lack of a tripod I wanted to try for something bright and easily targeted. So the moon is the obvious choice as it would have been for Galileo. Last night I had a nice clear night with a nearly full moon up high enough that I could easily target it from my front deck.
I was amazed.
This is still only a small telescope in the sense that I’m looking at about 14x magnification just like Galileo, but even given that I was startled at how clearly I could see the moon. Well, parts of it anyway. Just like Galileo’s telescope mine has a very limited field of vision. So limited in fact that I can only see about 1/3rd to 1/4 of the moon at any given moment and I must pan the telescope slightly to see all of the moon.
But that is kind of the point. I’m trying to recreate Galileo’s conditions and ultimately his observations.
So all in all I’d say a successful first observation. I imagine that Galileo must have had the same sense of “gosh wow” that I have and that he may have done very little in the way of writing down anything for the first night. But being eager to continue and being ready to engage in more detailed and more accurately recorded observations as soon as possible.
For him, I’m sure that will have happened immediately the next evening.
For me, not so much. The pressures of modern life being what they are I will have a few more mundane things to deal with and really, before I can begin to be even remotely accurate I need to get myself a tripod. My camera tripod seems to have vanished into the ether so I may need to just purchase a new one (thus forcing the old one to rematerialize) and building a simple rack to attach my telescope to it.
For now I am well pleased.