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Old 14-11-2019, 01:00 AM
StuTodd
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Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Dunedin, New Zealand
Posts: 328
Tech epiphany

A "hands up" to equipment box left on the driveway, cable on the kitchen shelf etc.

Personally, I have had 3 disasters in just this year, after 39 years of visual observing of Solar System events, I'm slipping.

The April 25th Saturn occultation by the Moon was hampered by talking to members of the public and not getting the EQ6 even dialled in for the disappearance, you can guess the result of the reappearance.

Novembers occultation was more successful, got a nice crowd of Dunedin Astronomical Society members at the dark sky site (very close to Radagast the Brown's chase) and viewed the disappearance on a laptop screen.

Dialled in on the point below Mare Crisium, I had perfect focus and position and tracking. As 21.46 rolled by followed by "wow"s" and "ooh, looks amazing", my laptop screen was blank apart from a lovely lunar limb. I had under-exposed the planet by a lot.

I ripped the DMK off the C9.25 and put an EP in, focussed and wow, I had the best visual view of all the scopes we had there, from 8" to 18" dobs, plus a C11. The C9.25 was singing, the view amazing but not of the actual event.

So here I am now having looked at my paltry 5 frames of the Mercury transit. I deleted them. We had 56 minutes of the event from sunrise to end here on the South Island and what an eye-opener it was.

I was on a windy headland on Cape Saunders having had 2 hours sleep after a bad night shift. Me and the pacific ocean for company, the first mainland landfall of the new day. And an epiphany hit me.

I closed the laptop, the wrestling with software was gone. The forgotten EQ6 power cable didn't matter. I just simply observed the planet crossing the face of our Star with my own eyes.

That last 10 minutes will stay with me forever.
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Old 14-11-2019, 08:58 AM
Saturnine (Jeff)
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wollongong
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Hi Stu

I think most of can share your pain about forgetting some piece of gear when heading out for a nights observing and / or imaging. Is it because a lot of us aren't getting any younger and the memory is not as good as it used to be or has our inventory gotten too complicated. Distinctly remember underestimating how long it takes to set up when trying to capture the April Saturn occultation and missing the first half of ingress and also getting it wrong where on the limb the re-appearance would be. By the time I realised that I should be seeing Saturn again and panning along the limb only to find that it had already completely re-appeared.
Glad you got to enjoy the Mercury transit visually, hopefully I will get to see the next one.
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Old 14-11-2019, 01:12 PM
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Tinderboxsky (Steve)
I can see clearly now ...

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Thanks for sharing your “epiphany”. Totally agree.
There is something serene and uplifting about being able to observe celestial events with the naked eye using minimal technology. I have been a keen chaser of transient events and I find I can remember them all vividly and my impressions at the time just by revisiting the brief observing notes I make for each one. I don’t have anywhere near the same feelings and connection for those events I have imaged in some form.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuTodd View Post
I was on a windy headland on Cape Saunders having had 2 hours sleep after a bad night shift. Me and the pacific ocean for company, the first mainland landfall of the new day. And an epiphany hit me.

I closed the laptop, the wrestling with software was gone. The forgotten EQ6 power cable didn't matter. I just simply observed the planet crossing the face of our Star with my own eyes.

That last 10 minutes will stay with me forever.
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Old 14-11-2019, 04:03 PM
N1 (Mirko)
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Location: Dunners Nu Zulland
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So true. Nothing beats seeing things like that with your own eyes! I was lucky on Tuesday because the RC and mount happened to cooperate and required minimal attention. Had it not, I would still have just enjoyed the view through the visual set up. Images are strictly a bonus.
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