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Old 19-01-2009, 12:32 AM
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Screwdriverone (Chris)
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Short But Sweet, Obs Report 18/1/09 wth a twist

Hi All,

Just thought I would take you all on a journey through space and time by telling you a story of my Observation Night tonight.

After a good and long day in the backyard gardening with "she who holds the telescope purse strings" and after I made dinner for the family, I decided (or rather was allowed to ) to go up to my favourite dark sky site for a bit of a look around as the afternoon seemed quite clear, with only a few wispy cirrus clouds high up which turned a nice pink by sunset. I knew these wouldnt last long so after the wife and kids retired to bed, I was set to go.

Into the car went the scope and the tripod for the binoculars, two laptops (my new one (no Parallel port for the webcam LE mod) and the neighbour's one which is a Pentium II but has said parallel port.

A quick change into some jeans and a warm shirt and I was off, only 60kms and about an hour to get to Linden and I was itching to get some serious observations and maybe some pictures done.
I left at about 9:50pm and arrived at 10:40pm.

The weather didn't disappoint, no clouds by the time I arrived, the Milky Way was quite clear and visible to the naked eye, the LMC, SMC and even 47Tuc and Omega Centauri were clear the moment my interior light turned off.

No wind to speak of, the only sounds were the wallabies bounding about in the bush and the occasional "woosh woosh woosh" of the Blue Mountains "Mega Bats" swooping over head on their way to a meal. 4 foot wingspan was my estimate....

Well, after about an hour of observing I had gleefully checked out the following objects;
Eta Carinae, The Jewel Box, M41 the beautiful open cluster just south of Sirius, M45 Pleiades, Taurus, Orion and M42, LMC, SMC, 47Tuc, Omega Centauri, IC2602 a beautiful open cluster near Eta Carinae (my favourite) and a host more.

Add to that, I saw 5 Orionids meteors flash across the sky from south to north and one of these was even a quite bright 3 second fireball that was a spectacular orange and blue streak!

All of this was observed over the hour I was there with......wait for it.................................







My eyeballs and an 6 x 30 FINDERSCOPE!

Yes, I had done the unforgivable and left my eyepiece case which contained ALL my eyepieces, my charts, planisphere, red light torch, my jumper and even my binoculars! at HOME sitting in my garage in the box I normally grab first when I am heading out.

What I DID have was my SW135 - 5 inch newt scope (useless) and my binocular tripod (even more useless) with nothing to use them with!!!!

Hence the 60 mins or so looking up with my eyes and then, when it finally twigged that I had SOMETHING with some magnifying power, hence I extracted my poor little finderscope from its bracket. I WAS hoping that someone else may have turned up and I could have "borrowed" an eyepiece so at least I could have set up my scope, but no, all the smart people were in bed.

So there I was, all alone standing in an observing field, holding a finderscope like some sort of sad Astronomical Pirate looking at the cosmos at 6X magnification. Yeaargggh!

Still, I had a GREAT time, after I got over my initial HOMER moment of DOH! 2 mins AFTER I arrived and found I had left all the goodies behind.

I even had the brainwave of hooking up my webcam via the laptop and trying out some LE shots of M42 etc, until I realised that it too was sitting in the box back in the garage. So much for the TWO laptops I remembered to bring with me!

Anyhow, I thought I would share with you what turned out to be a fun time even after I thought I may as well just turn around and drive an hour back home and battle with light pollution from my backyard instead.

Just goes to show you, astronomy is what you make of it, NOT what you have to look through!

NEXT time, I will make sure I have everything BEFORE I drive 60kms from home and feel like a complete moron the moment I arrive.

Thanks for stopping by for a read, I hope you enjoyed my little story.

Cheers for now

Chris

Last edited by Screwdriverone; 19-01-2009 at 01:05 AM. Reason: Finderscope sadder than I thought (not 8x40)
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Old 19-01-2009, 01:02 AM
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ngcles
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Arrrggh me hearties!

Hi Chris & All,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Screwdriverone View Post
After a good and long day in the backyard gardening with "she who holds the telescope purse strings" ...


... Well, after about an hour of observing I had gleefully checked out the following objects; Eta Carinae, The Jewel Box, M41 the beautiful open cluster just south of Sirius, M45 Pleiades, Taurus, Orion and M42, LMC, SMC, 47Tuc, Omega Centauri, IC2602 a beautiful open cluster near Eta Carinae (my favourite) and a host more.

Add to that, I saw 5 Orionids meteors flash across the sky from south to north and one of these was even a quite bright 3 second fireball that was a spectacular orange and blue streak!

All of this was observed over the hour I was there with......wait for it.................................

My eyeballs and an 8 x 40 FINDERSCOPE!

Yes, I had done the unforgivable and left my eyepiece case which contained ALL my eyepieces, my charts, planisphere, red light torch, my jumper and even my binoculars! at HOME sitting in my garage in the box I normally grab first when I am heading out.


... So there I was, all alone standing in an observing field, holding a finderscope like some sort of sad Astronomical Pirate looking at the cosmos at 8X magnification.

Still, I had a GREAT time, after I got over my initial HOMER moment of DOH! 2 mins AFTER I arrived and found I had left all the goodies behind.
Mate, we've all had a night like this before but it's good you got home with a smile on your face and having seen quite a bit anyway.

... like a sad astronomical pirate !! Loved it

And as for "she who holds the telescope purse strings" -- never a truer word said in jest !!

I worked at Syd Obs tonight and I suppose it won't help one bit to tell you the seeing (though not the transparency) was actually pretty steady from there!

Better luck next week ...


Best,


Les D
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Old 19-01-2009, 01:10 AM
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Screwdriverone (Chris)
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Hi Les,

Ha Ha, yes, the wife is the giver of cash for the Astronomy hobby, but I suppose this is good, otherwise the only thing to eat in my house would be Takahashi cardboard for dinner......

Thanks for the comments, you might remember me from the last WSAAG meeting where you presented on Globular Clusters - fantastic presentation which I thoroughly enjoyed, you threw me a few minties to the "beginner".

Nice to hear from you, must come down to the Sydney Observatory, me being a Powerhouse Member and all, I wont need to remember the eyepieces either!

Cheers

Chris
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Old 19-01-2009, 08:17 AM
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astroron (Ron)
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Thanks for your report Chris, as Les said we have all in our time had one of those occasions that you made the best of the situation shows that on these occasions all is not lost
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Old 19-01-2009, 09:25 AM
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bmitchell82 (Brendan)
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Don't worry too much about it, one night i was out with the 12" at curtin, got everything set, trained the drives did a PE run did everything as accurate as i could, even had the evening Astronomy 101 class coming to view what we did and see what we could see with the camera.

tripped over the power cord... !@#!@# IT and that would almost be the end of the night, we couldn't get anything to work after that! the go to was out by a country mile, and coupling that with a small FOV, all that work for nothing .

Then again in one night we caputured 6 different nebulae? go figure

Good obs report though its sometimes just nice to spend some alone time away from the hustle and bussel of everyday living! (and to get away from the mother inlaw )
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Old 19-01-2009, 10:13 AM
Rob_K
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Nice report and great yarn Chris! Brendan's got it dead right I reckon - time spent alone under a starry sky is never wasted!

Cheers -
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Old 21-01-2009, 01:38 AM
Enchilada
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Wink Wearing Egg Foo Yong (...an Expert's Guide)

There is one little secret they haven't told you here... even if you forget everything, simply make a pinhole camera and look for something bright. I.e. Sun, Venus or the Moon. Then project the object onto a piece of paper or card. You mightn't see very much, but it at last you can say you have observed something and not go home with so much Egg Foo Yong all over your face!

One very simple positive suggestion (based on actual experience), get a really crappy eyepiece of not much valuable and just leave it in the glovebox. This works well, and will give you piece of mind!

Welcome as the newest member to the largest amateur astronomical club in the World!

Last edited by Enchilada; 21-01-2009 at 01:43 AM. Reason: Whoops!!! Forgot to read the Thread...
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Old 21-01-2009, 09:44 AM
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Screwdriverone (Chris)
I have detailed files....

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Thanks Ron, Brendan, Rob and Enchilada (mmmm hungry again),

Too true about the situation Ron, I toyed with the idea of just throwing it all in and heading home, but the sky was so beautiful and dark, even if I hadnt remembered the finderscope, I still would have stayed and stared......

Brendan, the inlaws? must be living with them hey:? you poor bugger, no wonder you are spending up big lately?

Thanks Rob, it certainlky wasnt wasted, lucky there wasnt anyone there to see my red face (without a red torch too)

Enchilada, great idea for the eyepiece in the glovebox trick, I have just the one that can graduate from the eyepiece case to the plastic box and into the glovie, cheers for the idea, that makes me feel better for the future, thanks.

Cheers

Chris
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