seeing the lines on Jupiter
Sunday, July 26 2020
I finished installing the last of the Durock in the upstairs bathroom today and then, wanting Gretchen's opinion on a possible tiling pattern, decided not to begin the tiling of the floor under the tub, which was to be the next step. Instead I made a small rectangular hole in the ceiling above the house's front entrance area just beneath the tub's drain trap, which will allow me to hook up the plumbing once the tub is in place. My first attempt at cutting this hole had me working in the wrong place; I'd used magnets to find where in the joist bay the ceiling below was, but apparently I'd been led astray by a screw or nail head. I'd neglected a second step when using magnets to find places on the other side of drywall: remove the magnet assumed to be providing the attraction for the magnet on the other side and make sure that magnet falls. If not, it could be attracted to some unknown piece of metal instead.
After Gretchen and Powerful returned from Woodstock, I showed Gretchen my possible tiling ideas, which would've made use of some scraps of the original tile to extend the existing design slightly into the new floor. But Gretchen said she preferred just starting the new goldenrod-colored filler tiles at the place where the old tiles ended. Since this whole project is mostly to make Gretchen happy, I said okay.
Later we had a long call with Gretchen's parents on the subject of the new 43 acre parcel on Woodworth Lake. The long and the short of it was that they will be doing some financial machinations to make it so that we won't have to take out a mortgage to pay for the expenses of building our dream cabin on that parcel. I knew I'd married into a rich family when I married Gretchen, but I never expected things to be quite like this. It's frankly a little embarrassing.
Towards the end of the call, I noticed Jupiter rising in the east, so I set up my 3-inch reflector telescope on the table on the east deck and managed (with some effort) to point it at our solar system's largest planet. I found that attempting to move the telescope with respect to the tripod was too imprecise to successfully track Jupiter as it moved quickly across the narrow part of sky that the telescope could watch. It was best to instead slowly extend one of the legs of the tripod, which tilted the telescope back in much more subtle increments. The east deck didn't provide a particularly solid base to view from, and Jupiter tended to whip around in a little circle as I tried to watch it. But as the sky grew dark and vibrations calmed down, I could see Jupiter with increasing clarity. The first amazing thing was to see the tiny pinpoints of the Galilean satellite, all in a line and clearly belonging to Jupiter. But when the image would be especially still, I could also make out the characteristic color lines across Jupiter's surface. I think I could even make out the Great Red Spot. As much as I've seen Jupiter in photographs, etc., there's nothing quite like seeing it with your own eyes through a telescope. This was actually the second time I'd seen Jupiter this way. It's such a stunning thing to behold that I made sure Gretchen got a look, and she was almost as excited to see it as I was. This was, I'm pretty sure, her first time seeing Jupiter through a telescope.
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