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Old 20-05-2015, 07:36 AM
N1 (Mirko)
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Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Dunners Nu Zulland
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19-20 May 2015 - Biggish Scopes under City Skies

Location: Beverly Begg Observatory, Dunedin NZ
Time: 21.30 - 0.30 NZT
Seeing: 9/10
Transparency: 7/10
Averaged SQM-L reading: 19.8 mag/arcsec˛
Temp: 8°C
Wind: 0-2 bft S-SW
Scope: 14" f/11 (C14), 18" f/4 (Dob)
Lowest Power used: 45x (40mm plössl in dob)
Highest Power used: 560x (7mm ortho in C14)
3 observers

General conditions: Cloudless. Not an overly dark sky but spectacularly steady night.

1. Saturn
First target of this session and first indicator that this night was going to be special. Rock steady views in the 18" at which point we decided to open the dome for the C14. Crepe ring, polar hood, cloud bands, 4 moons, planet surface visible through Cassini division, minimal shadow consistent with opposition. Best viewing at 430x in C14. Best views of Saturn in a very long time.

2. Homunculus Nebula, bipolar, inside NGC 3372
2 orange-y disks with a star squashed in between.

3. 47 Tuc, GC
Beautifully resolved core in the 18", even though resolved is an illusion. Not quite sure of the colour but 3 observers agree it's not white or grey.

4. Ghost of Jupiter NGC 3242, PN
Beautiful turquois. Central star seen by 1 observer.

5. Sombrero Galaxy M104, GX
Dark lane obvious in direct vision in the 18".

6. Tarantula Nebula, emission neb in LMC
We all agreed that in the 18" the hi power views with an OIII filter mounted were as much fun as any photo of this object. Seeing this right after a Hubble photo, I would not feel cheated. A striking mess of tangled filament structures with darker pockets between them.

7. Antares
Split! Antares B first showed in the C14 at 220x, then also at 120x. What a beauty. First time for me. Best double I have ever seen with a stunning colour difference. The 18" newt showed it later - I suspect one of the diffraction spikes had rendered the companion invisible earlier - it was first spotted right outside one of the spikes. When I spotted B, I had a distinct feeling that it had always been there in plain view (i.e. not lost in scintillation), except it takes a few moments to work out what you are actually looking for.

A very interesting evening.
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