Jupiter and How to Observe It

Welcome to a wonderful pastime! Observing the planets and learning something about them is an activity that anyone can do. I often liken amateur astronomy to the game of golf. Anyone can take up the sport. You can spend lots of money for equipment or you can be more frugal. You can participate at any level you wish and you can start when you are young and continue until you are old, all of your life at any age! However, amateur astronomers have one great advantage; we don't have to complain about our golf scores! My interest in astronomy began in the 1960s, not in science class but in reading class. We read a story in the eighth grade about the Hale 200-in. telescope on Mount Palomar, and how George Hale raised the money so it could be built. I am not sure what happened, but something in me just clicked and I knew that somehow I had to get into astronomy. My parents were poor, so my first telescope was inexpensive, small and hopelessly inadequate; yet, I remember going out with it every clear night. Later in high school I purchased a telescope that was still small but much better optically, and my views became much more clear. The planets especially have always fascinated me with their bright appearance and motion against the background stars. Whether observing visually or taking images through a telescope, I continue to be intrigued by what can be seen on their surfaces, by what changes and what stays the same!

In writing this book it is my hope that after reading it the beginner, who is just starting out, will acquire enough knowledge from it to be able to go to the telescope and make a meaningful observation the very first time. The methods and procedures described are not, for the most part, overwhelming or difficult; they simply require patience, care, and attention to detail. I believe the advanced amateur will also find enough here to be challenging, especially the more advanced procedures of imaging and reducing and reporting real data that is scientifically valuable. I have tried to follow a logical approach. As with any new endeavor, it is important to understand terminology and scientific notation about the subject to be studied, before the study is undertaken. Speaking the language is important and I have tried to make 'Jupiter speak' a little less daunting. It can also be helpful to have an understanding of the subject's past history and to think about what might occur in the future.

Telescopes Mastery

Telescopes Mastery

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