Old 20-10-2009, 04:19 PM
beefking (Nathan)
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Observations 17/10/09

Last Saturday was the usual meeting night for the astronomy group of Mt Isa, and one of the members managed to get about 12-15 visitors along. It was good to see so many people out and having a look, especially on such a clear and cloudfree night (or so I thought).

The club's Mallincam was brought out for the occasion, and it gave some good views of the milky way's highlights. I had never seen one in action before, and the detail it can uncover is quite impressive.

I took my 12" dob out, and had a mixed night at best. I had some good views of star clusters in scorpio, but diffuse objects seemed washed out and a bit lifeless.

Turns out to there was a huge amount of dust remaining from the recent dust storms and transparency was very poor. 6477, the face on galaxy in Phoenix was barely visible, let alone detail - last month it was bright and obvious and I could glimpse the spiral arms.

The Veil nebula in cygnus was a shadow of it's usual self - visible but hardly impressive. even the dumbell nebula was looking, well, kind of boring, like who ever sketches the sky in each night had a blunt pencil and couldn't be bothered sharpening it.

NGC253 still looked impressive, but detail was lacking. M31 seemed badly affected though - it was big, but there should have been more detail.

to top it off, the wind picked up at about 10pm, which made starhopping downright enraging.

Saturday was definitely the first time I've come home from the observatory out here and been... not angry, just kind of irritated. The evening definitely did not live up to it's promise.

oh well, always next time.
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Old 20-10-2009, 05:37 PM
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pgc hunter
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sounds like a letdown of a session

You can check transparency near sunset, if the sky is white/milky within a few tens of degrees of the sun, transparency will be poor. You can also check the horizon during the day, any brown/grey/milky muck near the horizon will spell doom. Also check the blueness of the midday sky...if it appears a washed out, england-style "baby blue", transparency will be poor.

Never mind, you'll get much better nights soon, what being in Mt Isa and all
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Old 21-10-2009, 09:43 AM
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Paddy (Patrick)
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I know that disappointed slightly irritated feeling when I've got a dark sky, no clouds and I'm revved up yet don't see much.

But on good nights you must have some fantastic skies up there!
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Old 21-10-2009, 10:28 AM

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While we know how good a dark sky is, how did the visitors go? Did they enjoy the experience? Are they interested enough to come back?
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Old 22-10-2009, 02:46 PM
beefking (Nathan)
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yeah, I think most of them enjoyed it. Hopefully some will come again, but it's difficult to tell... some seemed a bit overwhelmed by the amount there is to learn etc.

and yeah, we do get some good skies. close to town there is some light pollution, but it's not a long drive to some of the darkest skies I've ever seen. and there is great access to northern objects too. I'm moving to Cairns in a few weeks, so it will be interesting to see what the opportunities are like over there.
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