August 22

3 months 20 hours ago #109377 by lunartic
August 22 was created by lunartic
Hi all

Three of us ventured up to the Sugarloaf last night, I was joined by Michael and Ben.  The wind was so ferocious that I could barely get the car door open.  A decision was quickly made to relocate to Trooperstown car park just north of Laragh.  It is in a depression, surrounded by trees the wind was cut off and we set up.
I brought my 20x90 binoculars, thinking that we would be staying on the Sugarloaf, I didn't want to bring too much equipment.  The skies cleared beautifully, Jupiter and Saturn were prominent to the south.  I could see that Io and Europa were to the east of Jupiter and Io was sitting almost directly below Europa, Callisto was also to the east and Ganymede to the west.
As the sky grew darker the Milky Way really came out, it streaked from Perseus in the east all the way down to Sagittarius in the south.  Overhead it was spectacular, exploring the region around Deneb, the North America Nebula was obvious as a misty patch against the sparkling background.  The view around Sadr was amazing, there were so many stars just staring back at me.
Moving towards the south, I observed M27, the seeing was so god I was able to detect the "lobes" in the planetary with direct vision, averted vision made them pop even more.  Nearby M71 stood out well, despite it's small size.
Continuing south into Aquila, just past lambda Aquilae I came across the carbon star S Scuti.  The colour was a vivid orange and it really stood out from the background, thanks to it's colour.  M11 showed it's triangular shape well.
Moving ever south, I passed the Eagle Nebula and the Swan Nebula, both showing well defined fuzzy shapes.  The Sagittarius star cloud was visible to the naked eye.  I landed on M22.  Stars in this globular were easily resolved across the field of view, the entire object was large in impressive.
I went back to Jupiter and saw that Io had moved considerably in relation to Europa, at the first observation, they were almost vertical to each other, now, Io was lying at an angle of 30 degrees to Europa as it moved closer to Jupiter, even in that short time the movement was obvious.
Around 11.30 cloud began to roll in and by midnight it was almost total, just a few holes visible.  We just stood around and talked for a bit, I think we managed to solve all the world's problems.  One thing we all agreed on that it was is a better location than the Sugarloaf, there is greater protection from the elements, there is in traffic and the skies are clearer.  From the Sugarloaf, looking south we are looking towards Roundwood and Wicklow Town, from Trooperstown, south looks towards Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains National Park.  True, there are trees and a hill to look over, but the loss of a small bit of elevation is worth it, in my opinion.  Trooperstown is only 20 minutes south of the Sugarloaf, so it is no great journey.  The car park is hard packed earth, similar to the Sugarloaf and there is room for about a dozen cars, it is a more level piece of ground, better for those with Dobs.
There was so much more that could be explored if the sky behaved, Ophiuchius to the south-west, Perseus to the east and Aquarius to the south, the trees made observatrions to the north more difficult, but most of us want to observe the southern skies.


Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better programs, and the universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the universe is winning.

Rich Cook
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3 months 12 hours ago #109379 by flt158
Replied by flt158 on topic August 22
What a super report this is, Paul!
You clearly had a most marvellous time of observing with your 20X90 binoculars at Trooperstown on Saturday night with Michael and Ben.
There are some excellent deep sky objects here: NGC 7000, M22, M27, M71 and M11.
And, as I know I said it before, I haven't observed your new favourite carbon star yet - S Scuti. Carbon stars are so satisfying once they are found.
Sorry I couldn't be with the 3 of you last night; I had to be up rather early on Sunday morning.
It was very cloudy on Saturday night up here in south Dublin.
So it was a good decision to head down to your sheltered area.
The sky over my back garden was only enduring broken cloud.

And I don't know when I am going to have a clear night any time soon.

It seems we are going to have 2 stormy days coming very soon.

But I do thank you very much for your report, Paul.

Best regards from Aubrey.
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3 months 4 hours ago #109380 by Until_then-Goodnight!
Replied by Until_then-Goodnight! on topic August 22
Hi Paul, 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your report from Trooperstown. Your description of Jupiter and its moons was particularly interesting. And it was as if I was observing them for myself - great stuff Paul! 

It seems that you, Ben, and Michael made a great decision to travel that little bit further on Saturday night. Hopefully, we'll all get down there again sometime soon. 

Clear skies, 

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