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Old 25-10-2009, 10:56 PM
mac (Matt)
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mac is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 138
Observations - first dark sky test for 10" Dob

I finally managed to get out of Auckland City tonight, and drove for 45 minutes to a beach where there are some fairly dark skies. The Moon is in its first quarter, of course, so the skies weren't completely dark.

To re-calibrate my finder scope, I locked onto Jupiter. The telescope hadn't cooled down, so it was a struggle to get good focus. However, it was so bright that I don't think much detail could be seen anyway without a filter. That's an object that I'm better off viewing from downtown.

Next was 47 Tuc. Oh my gosh... a kajillion stars were visible as pin pricks all the way into its core. My wife really loved this one.

Then I looked around the SMC and LMC, but I forgot to bring a chair so moved onto the next object: M31 - The Andromeda Galaxy. I'd never seen it through a scope before, and it was the main reason I chose my observing site - views northeast all the way to the horizon. It was easy to find, using Mirach and HIP4436 as 'pointers'. It appeared as a clear fuzzy oval. With averted vision, it stretched further across the eyepiece's field of view.

By this time, Pleiades had come up so I took a look at that - it didn't even fit into my 26mm EP's field of view! Time for a wide angle, me thinks!

Then onto the Orion Nebula, M42. The nebula was very bright and wonderful to look at. Four stars were tightly packed together in its core. Averted vision made some darker areas and structure in the nebula easily visible.

It was a good night. Unfortunately observing on a sandy beach is hazardous to telescope equipment, so I didn't stay out for more than a couple of hours. I wish it had been possible though. So much to see...
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