By far the most exciting thing to happen to me yet in my beginner backyard astronomy is pointing the 10×50 binoculars on a tripod at Jupiter and seeing 4 moons. Wow! I had no idea that was possible. When I started all this astronomy learning I didn’t even know Jupiter was so bright; it’s so far away! But it’s enormous of course, and in a dark sky it stands out pretty vulgarly.
I was so excited to see the moons I tweeted about it and got way more favorites and retweets than usual:
TIL you can see 4 moons of Jupiter with just some simple binoculars (and a clear dark sky). It looked like this
I included a screenshot from Stellarium of roughly what it looked like. I’m proud of myself that I picked this out myself, before looking at Stellarium. The moons looked so tiny, and I remember it having more color than this simulated image.
I’m off to go look at those moons again. The planets are fun! I looked for Jupiter Dec 7 around 8pm with handheld binoculars. I think I spotted the moons, at least a couple of them, but even at 10×50 the image was shaking a lot and 30×50 was hopeless. Need a tripod.