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Old 10-11-2010, 07:16 PM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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Observation Report: Coolabine 6.11.10

Well, we had quite a fantastic night at Paul's place in Coolabine and some beautiful dark skies and it stayed clear for most of the evening which was wonderful!

Firstly, after Terry helped me lift the dob out of the car (Thanks Terry! ), I aligned the scope on Jupiter, appearing stunning as usual with a lot of detail from both bands and surrounded by its moons with Callisto on one side and Europa and Ganymede on the other.

Once I had aligned my scope I spent a bit of time familiarising myself with the night sky and identifying some of the constellations using my Astronomy 2010 book's star maps (I'm still learning where they all are, it can be very daunting and confusing sometimes!). I located Sagittarius first, having a quick look at M6 (Butterfly Cluster) first and then referred to my little book of "Stars" to decide what else I wanted to find.

I decided to look for M70 and was surprised at how quickly I spotted it, although the dark skies probably helped a bit! M70 was beautiful at a mere 29, 300 light years away and so close to the galactic centre! It shimmered so clearly and brightly I couldn't hold back a smile at seeing it in such amazing detail. The nucleus appeared very bright and dense and the surrounding stars were pin sharp.

Jeanette got out the green laser pointer at this stage and pointed out the Lagoon Nebula as clear as day in Sagittarius and once finding it in the telescope I was blown away by how much more detail a dark sky unveiled than a street light ridden suburban street! Dark patches of nebulosity surrounding bright pin points of light sprung out from the eyepiece, it was definitely a beautiful sight! I also saw the Trifid Nebula not far away, it was amazing!

I then turned my gaze to the Small Magellanic cloud and easily found 47 Tuc, so noticeable even in the finderscope. It appeared crisp with a tight nucleus of extremely bright stars, wow! It was still stunning the first time I saw it in suburbia but this was just mind blowing!

Terry then took hold of the scope and turned it toward NGC253, the Sculptor Galaxy in the constellation of Sculptor. A long, reasonably bright smudge and a beauty to see in such dark skies so thank you Terry!

It was then we decided to give Ron a "surprise" visit in which there were many hugs and laughs and some extremely impressive views through Ron's 16". The Andromeda Galaxy, well, WOW. It filled the eyepiece to the brim with a bright halo of fuzzy goodness! And my first time viewing Andromeda, it was unbelievable!

47 Tuc was incredible in the 16", the stars appearing as tiny, extremely sharp pin pricks of light, glimmering and dense in its nucleus and still so crisp in the not as tightly packed regions.

We also had another look at NGC253, appearing so very large through the eyepiece and moderately bright with some discernable detail.

By this time Orion was high enough in the sky to have my first peak at the Orion Nebula which I had been looking forward to for months and months! It was impressive to say the least, with dazzlingly bright stars and the trapezium clearly visible amidst blue grey hues of gas and dust. The clouds decided to wreck my moment though and so the seeing wasn't as optimal as I would have hoped but still amazing nonetheless!

I have to say the highlight of the evening was staring with my jaw dropping towards the floor at the Tarantula Nebula. I could not believe how much it seemed to pop out of the eyepiece, its features seemingly 3D and filled with blue grey nebulosity, dark lanes of dust and gas and many bright stars surrounding that. I was in absolute awe!

After this we proceeded in much chit chat and all had a laugh about how amidst all the new arrivals and astronomy talk, no one had asked to see Jupiter through the 16" scope. Figures with beauties such as Andromeda and the Orion Nebula sweeping overhead that we could disregard Jupiter!

After a fantastic couple of hours we said our farewells amid a few more hugs and went on our way back to Paul's, who was kind enough to stay behind to guard the equipment.

After all the excitement over the Orion Nebula I couldn't help but point my scope towards it just to see it one more time before the night was over and I went back to terribly bright, crude suburban skies. Wow, again. The conditions had improved since my viewing at Ron's and I was blown away again by it's beauty. Such detail and even definite amounts of colour! The bright stars of Orion's Belt seemed to explode with white light amidst the glowing lanes of dust and gas weaving its way around them. The trapezium seemed even clearer this time round and when I showed Jeanette she commented that the trapezium and HIP 26258 appeared like two eyes in a lion's face. It took a few moments but I did see the lion's face, it was awesome!

Well, I had M17 as the last observation on my list but that's impossible as it wasn't even above the horizon at the time! Guess lack of sleep got the better of me when I was randomly typing my observations into my phone at 2am

Anyway, Jeanette piggy backed my camera on her telescope and we did some exposures of Orion and Eta Carina though she did all the focusing and manoeuvring so it really wasn't my doing at all except for the first few with round smudgy stars. We got a picture of Eta Carina with an ominous looking cloud hovering beneath it about to eat it up which I fondly named "The Dark Doodad". The clouds continued to follow us after that, all the way to the Magellanic clouds so after that we gave up and called it a night!

Had an amazing time with some wonderful memories of the beauties of the night sky I saw and the new friends I shared it with.

Thanks for looking and clear skies!

Shell
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:23 PM
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jjjnettie (Jeanette)
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A wonderful report Shelley we all had a ball!
It was great to finally put faces to names.
Thank you for you kindness too, on Sunday morning. Not quite the ending we'd expected.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:02 PM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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Originally Posted by jjjnettie View Post
A wonderful report Shelley we all had a ball!
It was great to finally put faces to names.
Thank you for you kindness too, on Sunday morning. Not quite the ending we'd expected.
No worries jjj, I hope you're doing okay. Big hugs and thanks for a great weekend!
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:24 PM
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astroron (Ron)
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Hi Shelly, what a fantastic report
I enjoyed you and the Gate Crashers company and I was very happy to show you some of the wonders of the night sky with the 16"
It was a pity about the cloud but it did clear up when you left
It was great to put a person to a name,and I hope we can get together again sometime soon
Cheers
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:39 PM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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The cloud seemed to follow us back to Paul's place

And thanks Ron, had a blast and definitely hope to do it again soon! Now that I've had a taste of dark skies, nothing will ever compare!
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:13 PM
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Great observational report Shelley. Sort of shame we didn't look at Jupiter when I think about it!

Terry
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:36 PM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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I know! It would have been amazing through Ron's scope. Oh well, maybe next time
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:49 PM
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I know! It would have been amazing through Ron's scope. Oh well, maybe next time
Shelly Jupiter will still be in Good Position on the 6th of December which is the Next Cambroon Night
At 304x mag Jupiter is Awesome
Cheers
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Old 10-11-2010, 09:54 PM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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I think I know where I'll be!
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Old 10-11-2010, 10:48 PM
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nice report shell ive never written an observational report before.. haha.. i just like looking at pretty things and take pretty pictures... LOL It was great fun. cant wait till the next time... hopefully before i go to korea or after... in the school holidays

cheers,
tony
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:45 PM
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Nice report Shelley and great that you've had a good taste of dark skies. And the Tarantula - it is a stunner. And 47 Tuc. Beyond words.

Did you know that " Dark Doodad" is the name of a dark nebula in Musca?

Looking forward to more reports!

PS Tony, you don't know what you're missing til you do some obs notes - this from a convert.
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Old 11-11-2010, 12:54 PM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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Nice report Shelley and great that you've had a good taste of dark skies. And the Tarantula - it is a stunner. And 47 Tuc. Beyond words.

Did you know that " Dark Doodad" is the name of a dark nebula in Musca?

Looking forward to more reports!

PS Tony, you don't know what you're missing til you do some obs notes - this from a convert.
Hey Patrick, yes I knew that. It's where I got it from because I always found it amusing

Hence this as well: http://www.demotivationalpics.com/di....php?pid=18421 ...

And I agree with you about reports, this is the first in depth report I've written and being a bit of a writer I enjoyed describing what I saw. I also know I can look back on my observations and recapture the memories of what I saw and how it made me feel at the time. All part of the fun of visual astronomy!
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Old 13-11-2010, 06:49 PM
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Great report Shelley. Keep them coming .
I didn't know dark doodad was astro related.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shelltree View Post
Hey Patrick, yes I knew that. It's where I got it from because I always found it amusing

Hence this as well: http://www.demotivationalpics.com/di....php?pid=18421 ...

And I agree with you about reports, this is the first in depth report I've written and being a bit of a writer I enjoyed describing what I saw. I also know I can look back on my observations and recapture the memories of what I saw and how it made me feel at the time. All part of the fun of visual astronomy!
Shelley not only enjoyable, but also doing reports at the eyepiece (as opposed to after) makes us actually look for more detail. I have joined the league of people that use voice recorders at the eyepiece and when it came time to write out my report, I realised while listening to the recording, there were a few things that I forgot until I listened to the recording.
I guess one example of doing notes at an eyepiece is when I viewed all six stars in the Trapezium of the Orion Nebula (4 are easy, the other two E & F stars are harder). I didn't know where the more difficult E & F stars lurked and they weren't on my "to-do" list for the night. I voice recorded their exact promixity in detal where they were. One of them was so feint and so close to another Trapezium member I even thought maybe I'm imagining that one (the seeing wasn't the best at the time). So I was thrilled when I was able to confirm my observations.

I have a brilliant observing book titled "Deep Sky Companions - The Messier Object", by Stephen O'Meara (one of my best observing astro books that I would never be without).
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book...essier-Objects.
It is a very useful book for observing as it tells you what to look for within objects. His observations and pictures are those seen through his 4"refractor and in black and white, so we have a better idea of what to expect. He made a point at the beginning of the book by saying he wanted the book to sound as if he was having a conversation with us at the eyepiece.
I should actually do a write up of this book sometime and put it in books & media section in this forum.
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Old 13-11-2010, 07:29 PM
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shelltree (Shelley)
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That would be wonderful Suzy! Another book to add to my list...
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