Bridgenorth - Sunday 6th - The perfect beginning to the week@PhotonsPharm.
Yes Photon did feed the Horses!
Yes ‘Oldboy’ did venture out and brought the whole family (Well done Wayne, Rebecca and the boys for heading out) . Also well done Simon Pinnel who visited us for the first time and truly did dazzle us with his 12 inch Dob. (Damn why did didn’t I buy one of those!)
Yes Dave Pretorius was allowed out and we caught up on some of the Ballarat Gossip (But where’s that motorised Dob)
Yes there were one or two points in the evening where Moonman did shut-up and do some observing!
We all discovered the truly unique experience of a night under a clear sky shared amongst a group of people with varying range of experience and equipment. We all learnt something new and developed closer ties of friendship as well.
The evening’s viewing was heralded in by the stunning view of the Moon’s waxing crescent adjacent to a very bright Venus. Mars was also in view and this gave us the opportunity to help Wayne and family get the best out of their refractor. Everyone of us all identifies with the experience of finding your feet with your first Scope and the ensuing craziness where suddenly money becomes no object with the onset of ‘aperture fever’.
Comparison views of 47 Tuccane with the 8 and 12 inch dobs showed a remarkable improvement in contrast and detail. Well done Simon for really biting the Aperture Bullet first up in a big way.
A bit of high level cloud hung around earlier in the evening and the wash of light from the moon did pull the viewing back a bit but much was achieved in this time slot as Wayne and family were introduced to some of the aspects of the night sky with the aid of Dave's laptop and software. We also spent a bit of time experimenting with each others EP’s and by the end of the evening I was lucky enough to procure a Barlow off Dave.
Patience and persistence paid off as we waited for the moon to set and WOW! Things really did hot up and Orion rising slowly in the Eastern sky revealed its beauty and all were impressed (many for the first time) with the Orion Nebula and the brilliant blue effect and the dazzling group of 4 stars (sorry no naglers present) clustered together in it’s midst.
47 Tuccane and the Tarantula were some other striking targets that increased in brilliance at this point but with some bigger fish to fry Dave set to finding Uranus in the western sky the result being another first for many of us a view of a that wonderful blue dot on the ecliptic. The best view we got was through Dave’s 10 inch where we saw a round blue blob. We then set our scopes to the north to view the bright haze in triangulum and a short but aborted attempt at Andromeda.
After this point we chewed the fat and sipped our hot chocolates (many thanks Mr and Mrs Photon), Ian and Shirley, and took in the panoramic sight of the dark night sky with the milky way sitting in the eastern sky. We were treated to a number of meoteors one or two coming in low across the western sky and some Taurids coming from the East.
We looked at our watches at about 1.00am and cruised our scopes into the South Eastern sky where as a final treat for the night we viewed Eta Carinae and the Jewel Box and Dave showed us where we could find the Horse Head Nebula so we would all know were to look when we purchase our 20inch Dobs for next time. Mind you if we all did buy 20inch Dobs I’m sure the sky would be clouded over for MONTHS!
Packing up and leaving was a painful process as we wrenched ourselves from the brilliant early morning sky but time was short and the due point of the evening air had well and truly come so it was time to pack up the gear and head off.
As we stood by Dave’s car we still stared upwards making naked eye observations of 47 Tuccane and the Tarantula Nebula. The SMC and LMC were truly remarkable sights as we all eventually climbed into our respective cars and headed homewards back to the city lights.
I'm at work now but when I get home I'll post the pics from the night.