Europa’s heavenly body.

I have gazed upon the moons of Jupiter……..the Galilean moons anyway: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.

I was walking home and I noticed that there was a convenient hole in the cloud around Jupiter. Sadly by the time I had got out of Sainsbury’s with my lasagne and garlic bread the hole had closed up again and by the time I got home the sky was once again an unyielding grey-red blanket of astronomical doom.

I gave up, cooked my lasagne and decided to settle in for the night. Then about an hour ago I was making tea and I noted that I could see stars out of the kitchen window. I still haven’t made tea. Immediately I set up the telescope and had a look. To say that I was uninspired by this initial glimpse of the heavens is an understatement because all I could see was a grey blob.

Eventually after a bit of fiddling with the focus suddenly the grey blob shrunk to a small bright blob with various bands and four tiny points of light emerged, three on the left, one on the right.

As far as pictures go it wasn’t that interesting, but I couldn’t help thinking that this must have been similar to what Galileo saw back in the 17th Century and how this simple observation, four moons circling Jupiter, revolutionised our understanding of the nature of the universe and our place in it. I found that, actually, I couldn’t stop looking, especially since the image was razor sharp. I’ve just been out and looked with the binoculars and yeah, you can see one of the moons, Ganymede, but it’s not the clearest and of course things are much better when you have a tripod and the image doesn’t shake around.

I’m really looking forward to looking at Mars and the Moon with it but that’ll have to wait for a while.



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