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Old 15-12-2010, 12:53 PM
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Jeeps (Sam)
Waiting for a clear night

Jeeps is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Boonah, Queensland, Australia
Posts: 139
Ops report 14/12/10

It's been so long since i have been able to get the scope out let alone get a clear night for a decent amount of time at the eyepiece however last night it cleared to a very nice night. I went out about 11pm and came back in about 2.30am this morning. Through most of the time i was out i couldn't see any stars twinkling overhead, just a couple towards the horizon. The milky way was bright, clear and full of detail. The seeing conditions were terrific!

1) I went straight to the Orion nebula there it was full of green and blue colour particularly around the trapezium. I went to my 12mm eyepiece and there as clear as day were all the stars including stars E and F. They were bright, clear and crisp. I went to the TMB 9mm which was great and then tried the 6mm (200x) but started to lose a bit of detail. I put my GSO OIII filter into the 20mm and there was so much detail.

2) I then went in search of the Horsehead. I found the flame nebula very easily and it was quite bright, very visible with dark lanes throughout. I tried my 30mm and 20mm GSO superview, 12mm and the OIII filter but i found the best was a cheap 25mm plossl without the filter. By placing the near bright star, i think it's called Alnitak, just outside the field of view made viewing easier as it was washing out some of the nebula. I tried searching for the Horsehead but a combination of not really knowing where to look and lack of a H-beta filter (i think that's the right one?) meant i didn't get it. This morning looking at Stellarium made me say "oh that's where it is again... doh"

3) Observed a few clusters like NGC 2516, 2632 with the naked eye. They were quite bright so i turned the scope and had a closer look. I need to get myself a set of decent binoculars

4) Went over to the SMC and had a look at Tuc 47 and few other fuzzies. It was getting low in the sky and trees were blocking my view.

5) Had a look at the LMC and the Tarantula nebula was a stand out. So luminous and clear. There were dark lanes everywhere! I popped in the OIII filter and there was so much detail to take in! I had a scan around the LMC and there were too many fuzzies and dust clouds to count! I need to learn this part of the sky!

6) Had a good scan around the area north of the southern cross and came across a few clusters such as NGC 3766. Some of these were full of red, blue, white stars. Very clear and not a hint of disturbance/twinkle.

7) I then looked further up with just my eyes and above the crux and the above mentioned star clusters i could see more bright hazy/fuzzy milky way. Pointed the scope there and to my surprise is was filled with some sort of nebula. I assume it was NGC 3293 & 3324 but i can't be sure as there was so much nebulosity and dark lanes it took a while to take it all in and Stellarium doesn't show this . I put the OIII filter on my 20mm and just took it all in. This was really quite a surprise, i have not been able to identify which nebula it is with stellarium and i am quite blown away by how clear the dark lanes were. It rivalled the Tarantula neb that's for sure!

8) While in the area i saw a very very faint sattellite pass by. I was able to track it with the scope but it kept disappearing and faintly reappearing. It looked like it was going in and out of the dark lanes in the nebulosity. Maybe it wasn't a satellite and was the Enterprise at warp speed?

9) And in the 3 hours i was out there i only counted about 35 meteors but my eye was at the eyepiece most of the time. I saw 2 or 3 meteors which stood out. One directly to the east which was very bright, low to the horizon and was almost horizontal. You could see individual flames on it! It darted about 2/3 across the sky. Another towards the north west darted across the sky and left a trail of smoke behind it!

All in all a great night with some very clear skies. I was too tired to go any longer and a very very light coating of dew was starting to appear.

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