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Old 19-10-2014, 11:49 AM
Rob_K
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Location: Bright, Vic, Australia
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Observation report, 17 October 2014

Had our club meet at Porepunkah Airport near Bright last Friday, one of the rare nights in the last two years that hasnt been cancelled due to cloud! Cracker skies and we had seven people in attendance. Several scopes were in use and we unveiled our new club scope to go with the existing 8 dob. Its a donated 3 reflector that has been put into a locally-made Dobsonian mount. Nice kids scope, not a toy in dark skies.

Id prepared a number of detailed charts of some comets and some fairly obscure objects and typically when I arrived at the field I found Id left them behind. Bummer. So it turned out to be a highlights tour of familiar objects, nothing to be sneezed at given the glorious dark sky!

Date: 17 Oct 2014
Location: Porepunkah Airport, Porepunkah, Vic
Time: 8:45pm 10:30pm (UT+11)
Transparency: 9/10
Seeing: 3/5
Equipment: 4.5 f8 Tasco reflector, 21mm eyepiece (43x); 10x50 binoculars.

C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring): Despite no chart I was able to find this faint comet as Id been following it photographically for ages as it and Mars converge, and the comet happened to be conveniently located beside a distinct 3-star asterism at the time. I found the field easily and spotted the comet immediately, a bit surprising in such small aperture given recent reports on how difficult it was even in medium aperture instruments. It was a small, very faint glow about an arcminute in diameter and could only be held in averted vision. It was a thoroughly diffuse object and there was no sign of a tail. I followed the movement of the comet away from the three stars as the evening progressed. I got one of the other guys to put his 8 f10 SCT on the comet. It was quite clear using a 40mm eyepiece but best views were with a 25mm eyepiece (I think thats about 80x). It could be held in direct vision and a starlike central condensation could be seen in moments of good seeing. No noticeable addition to extent with the extra aperture, still about 1 in diameter. I did an observation and made it out to be about mag 11.6 (m1), probably a little fainter than most recent reports.

Galaxies: Local Group galaxies NGC 253 and NGC 55 were well-placed for viewing and didnt disappoint. Both large cigar-shaped glows and the lopsidedness of NGC 55 was very apparent. Later looked at these two through the SCT at 80x, awesome! Both were bright, extending almost the width of the field, and mottling was visible. Given the skies I should have gone for the Grus Quartet but in concentrating mainly on the comet I clean forgot! The Andromeda Galaxy, M31, rose above the northern horizon as the evening progressed and fairly good views were obtained through the binoculars despite the low altitude. LMC & SMC were fantastic through binoculars.

Other stuff: Where do you start? Saturn was observed, a bit shimmery with the low altitude but hey, its Saturn! Looked at a few globulars including 47 Tuc & Omega Centauri (v low), then Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae, Tarantula Nebula in the LMC, etc etc. A thoroughly enjoyable night but cold beat me in the end. With chattering kneecaps I packed up and headed home with the car heater on full!

Cheers -
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  #2  
Old 19-10-2014, 11:55 AM
PeterEde (Peter)
Prince Planet

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Join Date: May 2013
Location: Albert Park, Adelaide
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My first look through a telescope was in grade 5 I think. Open night at school. My interest was astronomy. But the teacher scared me half to death when he was the sun would die in a few billion years. A child has no concept of billion. Scared me for a long time.

Sounds like a fun night
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  #3  
Old 20-10-2014, 06:22 PM
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barx1963 (Malcolm)
Bright the hawk's flight

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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Waurn Ponds Vic
Posts: 3,789
Great to hear Rob! Glad you are getting out. Just a minor point, not sure 253 and 55 are Local Group members?

Malcolm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob_K View Post
Had our club meet at Porepunkah Airport near Bright last Friday, one of the rare nights in the last two years that hasnt been cancelled due to cloud! Cracker skies and we had seven people in attendance. Several scopes were in use and we unveiled our new club scope to go with the existing 8 dob. Its a donated 3 reflector that has been put into a locally-made Dobsonian mount. Nice kids scope, not a toy in dark skies.

Id prepared a number of detailed charts of some comets and some fairly obscure objects and typically when I arrived at the field I found Id left them behind. Bummer. So it turned out to be a highlights tour of familiar objects, nothing to be sneezed at given the glorious dark sky!

Date: 17 Oct 2014
Location: Porepunkah Airport, Porepunkah, Vic
Time: 8:45pm 10:30pm (UT+11)
Transparency: 9/10
Seeing: 3/5
Equipment: 4.5 f8 Tasco reflector, 21mm eyepiece (43x); 10x50 binoculars.

C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring): Despite no chart I was able to find this faint comet as Id been following it photographically for ages as it and Mars converge, and the comet happened to be conveniently located beside a distinct 3-star asterism at the time. I found the field easily and spotted the comet immediately, a bit surprising in such small aperture given recent reports on how difficult it was even in medium aperture instruments. It was a small, very faint glow about an arcminute in diameter and could only be held in averted vision. It was a thoroughly diffuse object and there was no sign of a tail. I followed the movement of the comet away from the three stars as the evening progressed. I got one of the other guys to put his 8 f10 SCT on the comet. It was quite clear using a 40mm eyepiece but best views were with a 25mm eyepiece (I think thats about 80x). It could be held in direct vision and a starlike central condensation could be seen in moments of good seeing. No noticeable addition to extent with the extra aperture, still about 1 in diameter. I did an observation and made it out to be about mag 11.6 (m1), probably a little fainter than most recent reports.

Galaxies: Local Group galaxies NGC 253 and NGC 55 were well-placed for viewing and didnt disappoint. Both large cigar-shaped glows and the lopsidedness of NGC 55 was very apparent. Later looked at these two through the SCT at 80x, awesome! Both were bright, extending almost the width of the field, and mottling was visible. Given the skies I should have gone for the Grus Quartet but in concentrating mainly on the comet I clean forgot! The Andromeda Galaxy, M31, rose above the northern horizon as the evening progressed and fairly good views were obtained through the binoculars despite the low altitude. LMC & SMC were fantastic through binoculars.

Other stuff: Where do you start? Saturn was observed, a bit shimmery with the low altitude but hey, its Saturn! Looked at a few globulars including 47 Tuc & Omega Centauri (v low), then Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae, Tarantula Nebula in the LMC, etc etc. A thoroughly enjoyable night but cold beat me in the end. With chattering kneecaps I packed up and headed home with the car heater on full!

Cheers -
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  #4  
Old 21-10-2014, 10:10 AM
Rob_K
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Location: Bright, Vic, Australia
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Eek yes Malcolm, not Local Group!

Busy observing time recently but on the night that really mattered, when comet C/2013 A1 did its buzz past Mars.... you guessed it, cloud!! Back to clear skies again now, when the show's over.

Cheers -
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  #5  
Old 25-10-2014, 08:08 AM
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MattT (Matthew)
Reflecting on Refracting

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Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Nice report Rob. A question...your part of Vic is my favourite part of the world so how many nights are good on average? Melbourne has about 3
Matt

Edit: 3 nights a year that is!

Last edited by MattT; 25-10-2014 at 11:14 AM.
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Old 25-10-2014, 10:36 AM
Rob_K
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattT View Post
Nice report Rob. A question...your part of Vic is my favourite part of the world so how many nights are good on average? Melbourne has about 3
Matt
Hi Matt. Seems to be picking up again after a couple of lousy years. We get a lot more clear sky than Melbourne being north of the Divide. It's a sheltered place so never much in the way of wind - sky transparency is awesome but the seeing is chronically poor, no good for planetary people.

I don't think I could put it in terms of nights/week or month!

If you're ever up this way when we have the club observing nights at Porepunkah airfield, come along and introduce yourself! We're only a small group and pretty laid back. The club has an 8" dob which anyone is welcome to use. Dates are posted here (still showing our Oct meet, Nov yet to be determined):
http://brightastronomy.webs.com/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/856298011051513/

Cheers -
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