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Old 14-03-2010, 11:29 PM
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michaellxv (Michael)
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Observation report 13/03/10 - First dark

Finally made it to my first viewing night at the ASSA southern site. There was a bit of cloud about during the day but that wasn't going to stop me.

Didn't get lost this time . Arrived right on sunset and found others in various stages of setting up and the clouds all but gone.

Set my scope up and then waited for it to get dark. It's nice to be in no rush to do anything and just watch the stars come out and the milky way unfold over head.

I looked around for some naked eye objects that can't be seen from home. LMC and SMC were clearly visible. No doubt about the coal sack, at home I am never sure if it some local cloud in the way. With the binos I found the Dark Doodad nebula.

Before it was completely dark I checked out some favourites. M42, A-crux, NGC4755 (Jewel box). Everything was just so much clearer even in the twilight.

NGC104 (47 Tuc)
By now it was getting dark and unlike at home I didn't have to go searching to look up and find it in the sky. Through the scope I could resolve more stars then ever before.

SMC
I then moved up through the SMC and stopped in an area with several objects in view against the background of stars. I think I was in the area of NGC346 but was just enjoying the vista.

NGC362
This is a globuar cluster just outside the SMC, smaller than NGC104 but easy to find against the dark background.

NGC3372 (Eta Carinae Nebula)
First time viewing this at a dark site, makes a huge difference. I could see so much more of the nebula that I had not seen before. It completely filled the FOV. The dark areas through the middle clearly stand out with so much more detail visible throughout.

Later on I got a look at this through an 18"dob. OMG I thought I had put on 3D glasses. I got a feeling of depth and over laying areas of nebula. It really started to look like the photos, just missing the colour.

Now I was distracted I stayed around a got a look at NGC2359 (Thor's Helmet), NGC2736 (Pencil Nebula) and NGC3242 (Ghost of Jupiter). Life's easy when someone else does the finding for you.

At some point someone asked for Omega Centauri. As I climbed the ladder I braced myself for my eyes to be burned out. What a sight, the way the stars resolved really made it look like a ball of stars rather than some stars surounding a white ball.

Somewhere in amongst this I had a go at some of the March challenge object in my 80mm refractor.

M104 (Sombrero Galaxy)
The central bulge was clearly visible but the outer edges quickly tapered off, no other structure visible.

M83
I found it, but could really only see the central bar. I will need to go back to this one.

I finished up at about 2am, was tucked up in bed about 3am. Had a great night. (and slept in )
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Old 16-03-2010, 04:03 PM
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Sounds like a fun night you had! You should've had a look at Thors Helmet in the 18", it really is amazing, and you can see all the features that appear in photos.

The dark doodle is one I must try in the 120ST. It is very dense, blocking all light from background stars. There is also the globular cluster NGC4372 lies just east of its southern end.
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Old 16-03-2010, 07:10 PM
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michaellxv (Michael)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgc hunter View Post
You should've had a look at Thors Helmet in the 18", it really is amazing, and you can see all the features that appear in photos.
We did and it is
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Old 16-03-2010, 09:04 PM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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Sounds like a great night Michael. Looking forward to more reports.
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Old 18-03-2010, 03:44 PM
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Nice report Michael sounds like you had a good time,

Just wondering what telescope you were using for these observations?

keep up the good work
Orestis
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Old 18-03-2010, 04:07 PM
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michaellxv (Michael)
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I have a Nexstar 80GTL

I can feel a fever developing
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