Stargazing with the kids

My daughter has an assignment to watch the Moon over the new four night and see how it changes.  Which, unfortunately, may be difficult given the weather forecast, but maybe we’ll watch it on a webcam if it’s raining.  So tonight we went out to see the Moon.  She observed that it was a thin, waxing crescent, and Venus was nearby.  Then I got my telescope out, and we looked at it through that.  Both of my daughters loved it; it’s amazing — the Moon is the most familiar object in the night sky, and yet seeing it through a telescope is astonishing.  Transformative, the first time, but it never loses its charm.  Tonight, it was difficult to see Earthshine with the naked eye, but through the telescope it was quite obvious.  Then we looked at Venus (too bright to make out the crescent shape) and Jupiter.  Jupiter’s quite nice right now.  The seeing was good tonight as well, and I was able to go all the way up to my most powerful lens without any difficulty.  The cloud bands were clearly visible, and we could see all four Galilean satellites.  That’s another thing that tends to be transformative, the first time you see it, because the moons are something you can’t see with your naked eye — and yet clearly, there they are.  I only wish Saturn were also up, because that’s always a winner as well.  But it is bedtime, and we can’t stay up long enough for the darker sky targets.  Little ones need rest, before they go to school tomorrow.  😉

Oh, and the CRS-6 Dragon capsule has returned safely to Earth.  So that’s your space news for today.  😉

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