Jupiter, the Moon and Geneva

Last night Bicycle Astronomy had a great little impromptu star party in front of The Red Dove Tavern on Castle Street. I arrived around 8:15, set up my telescope (I was using a 4″ Vixen refractor on a Giro III alt-az mount for the astronomers in the room), and showed passers-by and Red Dove patrons the full Moon and Jupiter. 

There were spotty blankets of clouds that obscured the view, sometimes minute by minutes, but most people got at least a good peak at both. There were some good moments. Like when Brady and Antje’s daughter Charlie (six years old?) corrected an older gentlemen who said the moon was moving fast. “No, it’s the earth that’s moving.” Right on, little lady, right on. 

Jenny Madia stopped by and snapped a great image of the full moon through the telescope…with her smartphone! Here’s the pic, it came out pretty nice:




Just about everyone who looked at Jupiter could see the four Galilean moons, strung out two by two on either side of Jupiter, and the two most prominent cloud bands on the planet, along the tropics. We’re talking about seeing weather on a planet 12 times the diameter of the earth, over some 600 million kilometers from the earth. I think that’s pretty amazing: the stargazers seemed to agree.

At about 9:30 I packed up and went into the Red Dove to celebrate the new issue of Geneva13, which is all about apples, and Abbie made me some peppermint tea to warm me up. The ride home, up Castle and High, was miserable, because of a headwind just strong enough to seem to triple the drag of the cargo bike. But all in all, a successful evening. Thanks for everyone who braved the chill to look up with me.  


8 thoughts on “Jupiter, the Moon and Geneva

  1. Today I’ve talked about you during a conference around my novel “Sur la route des frères Patison”. Remember you are the one who has brought the light for me to reach Kristina in the real world. Many thanks !
    Have a wonderful week-end on the other side of the Ocean !
    Max, from Champagne, France.

    • John,
      I’m trying to rustle together an astronomy buyer’s guide for this Christmas. What kind of telescope are you thinking about? What are you hoping to observe, where, and how will you get there?

  2. Doug: We will either be walking or bike riding to our stargazing destination. There is very little light pollution in many areas that we can set up. Right now we look at the moon, the bright planets and the common constellations, like the Big Dipper and Orion. We both want to see more.
    My minimal research tells me I want a 4″ or 6″ refractor telescope. Something decent and above minimal entry level.

  3. I think you are shooting in the right aperture range. Why are you thinking refractor over reflector? There are pros and cons to both, so interested how you figured that. Regular bike or cargo bike?

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