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Old 08-01-2017, 01:34 PM
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Benjamin (Ben)
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Location: Moorooka, Brisbane
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3 nights at Lake Moogerah

Recent adventures to dark skies at Lake Moogerah (Haigh Park off the Moogerah Connection Road) have been quite varied. The first night (29/12/16) I attempted my ideal arrangement of an imaging setup (the ED80 and HEQ5 Pro) AND a purely visual setup (my 12" Dob) that could be used while Backyard EOS worked through the imaging session. To a certain extent this worked well but Lake Moogerah is also quite a touristy spot. The 12" Dob became the outreach scope and I ended up showing lots of people (accountants mostly!) the more exciting objects; Orion Nebula, Tarantula Nebula, 47 Tuc, Eta Carina nebula and the Pleiades. I had little chance to work through any of my visual targets but got a few off the Bennett list. The images taken were the Rosette Nebula, the Orion Nebula, 47 Tuc, a group of galaxies next to NGC1365 and the Tarantula Nebula. Seeing and transparency were excellent with little wind.

NGC 247 Spiral Galaxy in Cetus 9:01:28 pm
Long bright smudge with a bright star at one end and increasing intensity towards the middle. Oppsite edge more difuse
12" Dobsonian, Explore Scientific 20mm 100

NGC 288 Globular Cluster in Sculptor 9:10:06 pm
Nice dense fluffy globular surrounded on one by a ring of stars. A darker patch to the right. Slightly off center to the ring of stars like an egg yolk :-)
12" Dobsonian, Delos 17.3mm

NGC 300 Spiral Galaxy in Sculptor 9:41:53 pm Faint fuzzy area. Lots of white light about... grrr. Seemingly bounded by three stars with a sense of its roundness
12" Dobsonian, Ethos 13mm

NGC 1398 Spiral Galaxy in Fornax 11:24:32 pm Oval looking smudge with a bright star at the centre
12" Dobsonian, Ethos 13mm

Tarantula Nebula - NGC 2070 Bright Nebula in Dorado 12:13:05 am
A bright clear distinct nebula. Lovely shape and definiton. Striking grainy internal central structures and more melifulous legs.
12" Dobsonian, Delos 17.3mm

Rosette Nebula - NGC 2239 Bright Nebula in Monoceros 12:07:55 am
Vague areas of nebulosity (absence or bluriness of stars on one side in particular. The O3 filter made the nebulosity much clearer (a full ring) although not a lot of detail was necessarily visible. The general interuptions were noticeable. Nice bright central stars without the filter.
12" Dobsonian, Explore Scientific 30mm 82, Paracorr Type 1

The next night (30/12/16) became purely an observing session with my ST120 on an AZ4 (forgot my battery!). Not many tourists were around so I had time to work through my Bennett list and did a couple of very brief sketches. Clouds blanketed everything around 10pm so I called it quits, but up until then seeing and transparency were excellent, with only a little wind about.

Cetus A - M 77 Spiral Galaxy in Cetus 9:06:06 pm
A clear bright blob, almost star like in the 24mm. Forms a clear triangle with delta Cet and 84 Cet.
ST120, Panoptic 24mm

NGC 1097 Spiral Galaxy in Fornax 9:22:13 pm Small swirly patch roofed (on the side) by a triangle of three stars. The 12mm revealed a dense core and uneven swirls, possibly semi-eliptical.
ST120, Panoptic 24mm

NGC 1360 Planetary Nebula in Fornax 9:40:54 pm
Underlined by a T intersection of closely grouped stars. A faint patch with a core and two faint stars above to the right.
ST120, Panoptic 24mm

NGC 1398 Spiral Galaxy in Fornax 9:49:26 pm Hard to confirm this with star patterns but did see a diffuse object at the tail end of a flux-capacitor of stars with a small pair nearby. Seems to align with predictions :-)
ST120, Panoptic 24mm

Messier 30 Globular Cluster in Capricornus 8:33:44 pm
Distinct fuzzy spot in the 24mm. Two bright stars at and angle above and slightly fainter star right next to it. Not much more detail in the 8mm. Very compact.
ST120, Panoptic 24mm

Helix Nebula - NGC 7293 Planetary Nebula in Aquarius 8:25:09 pm
Fuzzy grey patch surrounded by 5 faint stars. Clearer bottom end, more diffuse upper end. Averted vision required.
ST120, Panoptic 24mm

IC 5265 Elliptical Galaxy in Grus 8:42:39 pm
A faint small smudge next to a faint star. Averted vision extends its boundaries somewhat. 12mm showed it more clearly but still quite small.
ST120, Panoptic 24mm

The final trip to Lake Moogerah was just last Wednesday (4/1/2017). On this occasion I went down with a friend of mine and lent him my 200mm Newtonian on an EQ5 motorized mount, while I imaged and tried the Aligmaster app. Unfamiliarity with new apps always seems to waste a ton of time, and often errors I'd pick up quickly (changing location settings from my backyard in Brisbane to Moogerah in EqMod for instance) get lost to questioning the new app. I ended up drift aligning in PHD which was both quick and easy and is something I'm very familiar with. My friend became familiar with the movement of the equatorial mount (he described it as a grid like process) and tracked down bright objects with a red-dot finder and viewed mostly with a Delos 17.3mm eyepiece. The motor drive sat nicely in the background and kept objects reasonably well in the eyepiece. By the end of the night he was swinging it around like a pro! I had my heart set on imaging the Sculptor but couldn't resist a crack at Eta Carina, the Sombrero and M1. The moon was up for a good while and clouds occasionally dotted the sky but once the moon went down everything became magical and clear (again seeing and transparency at that point became excellent). Many discussions about the smallness of ourselves and the remarkable significance that results, and AI and our future doom....
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2017, 01:56 PM
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Tinderboxsky (Steve)
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Excellent report Ben. I enjoyed your descriptions. Sounds like an enjoyable and successful trip.
Too much cloud here recently to achieve much.

Cheers

Steve
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Old 08-01-2017, 03:25 PM
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Benjamin (Ben)
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Location: Moorooka, Brisbane
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Thanks Steve and loved reading your recent report too :-) Looking forward to seeing Jupiter in the evening sky! As for the pup, I had no idea this existed. Sounds like a great challenge.
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