Old 07-07-2007, 11:03 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Brisbane, QLD
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Observation Report: 7/7/07

'Wow' is pretty much the only word I can think of that can accurately sum up tonight's session.

I stepped outside at 8:30pm and looked skyward and was greeted by the clearest sky I have ever seen in the four years I have lived in Australia. The Milky Way wasn't just visible. It was practically glowing. I waited until my eyes had fully adapted to the dark and I could clearly see dark areas of the Milky Way. It shocked me how clear everything was. The stars weren't scintillating. It was perfect seeing.

I then started aligning the scope using Ascella (ζ Sgr), Atria (α TrA) and Algorab (δ Crv) as my three stars. Just aligning these three stars was a learning experience to me as although I have loved astronomy for years I haven't really had much experience outside and using star-hopping to find my stars I could make out the shapes of the constellations in the sky. It was far, far easier than I thought it would be. Sagittarius really does look like a teapot!

The first thing I looked at was Jupiter. It was very, very high and at -2.09 magnitude. I used a 10mm Plossl and the view didn't dissapoint. The bands were very clear and I swear I could see great detail in momentary glances. The Great Red spot was very nice indeed.

Then my dad came outside to have a look, We both looked at Omega Centauri and he was keen on seeing a galaxy so we then looked at Centaurus A which was just astounding. The thick dust lane was clearly defined and it was brighter than what I had anticipated.

Then onwards to the Wild Duck Cluster which filled the FOV with the 10mm and was ideal in the 15. While he was looking through the scope I looked North and noticed a bright star which I immediatly knew was Vega. I've always had a soft spot for Lyra and I've always wanted to see the Ring Nebula and tonight was my chance. I pointed Vega out to him and after 20 minutes or so I had an unobstructed view of the entire constellation. The scope slewed to the Ring and I looked through the eyepiece.

'Incredible' is good word to describe the Ring Nebula. It was much bigger and brighter than I had expected it to be, it is certainly the best planetary neb I have seen yet. Clouds started to move in from the West so I decided it was time to go inside.

So there's the first real observing session I have ever had in my life and I'm stoked.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:08 PM
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ballaratdragons (Ken)

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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: In the Dark at Snake Valley, Victoria
Posts: 14,412
Congratulations James on: 1. A great report, and 2. having a great time!

Savor those special nights as they don't come often enough! Well done.
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:06 AM
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h0ughy (David)

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Location: NEWCASTLE NSW Australia
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Top report James, and I am glad you roped your dad in to enjoy the views. Its better with another person to show and share.
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:34 PM
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A great report James, well written. It's a pity the clouds had to join the party as well.

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Old 09-07-2007, 10:03 PM
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astroron (Ron)
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Cambroon Queensland Australia
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Great first observing session report James, may you have many more of them.
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