On the 60mm Telescope Club, one of the members let us know that there would be a double transit of Jupiter from Io and Ganymede last night, starting about 11 PM CDT.
I am just getting back into observing from an required hiatus due to a condition in my hands and forearms (tremors). Earlier in the week I had three trial sessions with a few different scopes. I did not break anything or flip eyepieces across the concrete, so I am good to go.
In my earlier sessions, I have primarily been comparing my three Polaris reflectors 114, 127, and 130, using Jupiter and Saturn. The 114 definitely comes out on top with contrast, subtle greys, and resolution. I am using a Baader blue filter, so color is not a consideration.
Tonight, would be a long delayed first light of an Eclipse View 76. I first looked at Jupiter before the transit started and was pleased with the contrast and subtlety in greys. It is at least as good as the 114, and maybe a touch better with differentiation of greys. Contrast was about the same as the 114. Definition was less than the 114, which I expected, but I was surprised at what I could see. I could see that things were going on in the big bands, but could not see it as well as with the 114, but I think the tonal difference was a touch better. There was a white band immediately along the outside edges of the two big bands, which would prove nice when the shadows came on later. I could see the normal darkening of the poles but could not see any temperate banding.
With Saturn, I could make out the Cassini division, off and on as well as what looked to be a darker band running around on the planet itself. I am not sure if it was a true band or ring shadow, but I am leaning more toward a real band in my thinking. I don't think a 76mm reflector would be capable of seeing any of the lesser moons, but I did see a few very quick blips in areas where a moon could be. However, they were more likely cells in my eyes misfiring, rather than one of the lesser moons to Titan.
While waiting on Jupiter, I studied Antares (pretty colors, but looked pretty much round), M7 east of Scorpius's Stinger, M7, 20, and 21 west of the Teapot's lid. I got engrossed in looking for "winkers" and nebulosity in those and missed the first part of the transit.
I was unsure if I could see the actual shadows of Io and Ganymede, but I sure could. Ganymede's shadow was a very defined black dot running along the white band just under the lower main band (north band, I think, with things being upside down and backwards in the eyepiece) and a less defined spot (GRS) running along the white band above the upper band. I was able to study the scene while the shadows were more toward the middle of the planet, until a thin layer of something came across the view for a while. I weathered that and then had the sharpest view of the night.
Along about that time, my joints were telling me it was time to go in, which I did reluctantly after a bit. It was a really enjoyable evening, ending about midnight.