Old 04-07-2009, 02:19 PM
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StephenM (Stephen)
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Brisbane
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Early morning tour of the Local Group

Hi all,

Here's a quick report from a recent camping trip to Jimna State Forest 140 km north of Brisbane.

There was a bit of haze around, but the Moon was setting in the early hours of the morning so I decided to get up at 4am to have a look at the Andromeda Galaxy M31. I didn't have room for the scope, but did take 7x50 binoculars.

As soon as I stepped out of the tent I was looking south, and the view of the LMC and SMC was fabulous! (I'm used to the light poluted Brisbane skies!). I took a quick widefield image which I'll post in the Deep Sky image forum. After spending a few minutes looking at the Milky Way's two satellites, I walked down to the other end of the camping ground to get a view north. I was expecting to have to do some careful star-hopping to find M31, but was surprised to find it easily visible to the naked eye! The view through the binocs was great, with the long axis extending about halfway across the field of view. I'd only seen M31 once before, and the sky was not nearly as dark, so I was very impressed. After several minutes enjoying the view of M31, I scanned over to where M33 should be, and again to my surprise it was a very easy binocular target! I've never seen this one before, so was very impressed with that as well.

Just to cap off a nice hour's viewing, there were 3 or 4 bright yellow meteors, including one that passed through the edge of the binocular fiels when I was looking at M31!

And because it was so much fun, I got up again and repeated the whole tour the next morning! It's great that we've introduced the kids to camping, because I should be able to get out to dark skies more regularly.

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Old 11-07-2009, 08:04 PM
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hotspur (Chris)
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: south east QLD,Australia
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re camping observations

Sounds like you had a great time under the clear skies!!!! thats really good to get away from Brissy lights.

I hope you can visit and camp here one day,the skies are very dark,i have some 15 by 80 vixen binos,bino astronomy is agreat deal of fun.

regards Chris
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