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Last night observing Report...Kerry Astronomy Club

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DATE: 29th January 2006
VENUE: BANNA BEACH
TIME: 7.30pm til 11.20pm

Smaller than our recent observing sessions but every bit as good. This session started off with some constellation pointing to some beginners who have signed up for our introduction to astronomy course. We saw and explained the Zodiacal Light. A brief tour of some notable highlights followed including Saturn, The Pleiades, The Great Nebula in Orion, The Andromeda Galaxy and The Double Cluster. As we looked at these objects in Binoculars and telescopes we explained their nature, distance and scale. The cold finally got to most around nine or half nine leaving, just two members to brave the bitting wind,

Over the course of the next two hours a huge amount of objects were tracked down starting with a few Messier objects. M81, and 82 were targeted and a bonus of NGC 3077 (I think) was spotted, Next up were M51 and 101, which were hiding low in the murky atmosphere. Another look at M31, M32 and M110 followed which was a stunning sight. After gorging on galaxies, it was time to track down some clusters and Nebulae in the southern sky. M50, M46, M47, M48, M41, M93, M35 and NGC 2158, M67, M78, M1 and the globular M79 were spotted and bagged.

After Messier we moved on to a number of NGC'S. First up, the rosette cluster (2237/44), The Cone and Christmas Tree (NGC 2264), NGC 2215, NGC2232, NGC2185. Then Mike Scully pointed out what was the highlight for me, NGC2024 (The Flame Nebula). It was a stunning sight through the Dob, and is definitely one of those Objects that will be revisited again and again.

To round off the evening we had a quick look again at Saturn. Finally admitting that we could no longer feel our fingers, we left at 11.20 pm.

One of the other highlights of the night has to have been a visit from the Local Garda, approaching with headlights on full.... “What are them Yokes there Lads, There not rocket launchers or anything”. The temptation to start flashing the laser pointer around was overwhelming, but sense prevailed and we explained that we were amateur astronomers and would he care to look at Saturn.

Yet again, A thoroughly enjoyable evening.
Cheers
Trevor
16 years 11 months ago #22861

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Trevor --

I gotta know... did the Garda have any scientific curiosity? (Did he take you up on your offer or not?)

-- Jeff.
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Solarscope SF70 / TV Pronto / AP400QMD             Coronado SolarMax40 DS / Bogen 055+3130
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16 years 11 months ago #22862

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Sounds like a great night lads,
the garda visit brings back a memory from a long time ago when a club observing session also brought the local gards out to see if we were testing mortars :lol: Its only when they saw stars through the clubs 12" dob did they believe us.
Dave L. on facebook , See my images in flickr
Chairman. Shannonside Astronomy Club (Limerick)

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but what a way to go. :)
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16 years 11 months ago #22864

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Trevor --

I gotta know... did the Garda have any scientific curiosity? (Did he take you up on your offer or not?)

-- Jeff.


He took us up on offer, but did not get overly excited. He remained very professional throughout..
Cheers
Trevor
16 years 11 months ago #22866

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Trevor --

I gotta know... did the Garda have any scientific curiosity? (Did he take you up on your offer or not?)

-- Jeff.


He took us up on offer, but did not get overly excited. He remained very professional throughout..


Ahh, well, that's probably about as much as you can ask for. Well done!

-- Jeff.
Nikon 18x70s / UA Millennium                              Colorado:
Solarscope SF70 / TV Pronto / AP400QMD             Coronado SolarMax40 DS / Bogen 055+3130
APM MC1610 / Tak FC-125 / AP1200GTO               Tak Mewlon 250 / AP600EGTO
16 years 11 months ago #22868

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Replied by SeanOSullivan on topic Re: Last night observing Report...Kerry Astronomy Club

That sounds like a cracking evening of viewing Trevor. Banna beach is a lovely spot for it aswell. I can't wait to join up with the club soon enough. The Garda story is funny aswell, considering the history of the beach.
16 years 11 months ago #22877

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A 12" DOB does bear a passing resemblance to a "Barrack-Buster" mortar, for those not yet acquainted with astronomy. I can imagine the confused thoughts going through the Garda's mind as he approached. Funny, very funny.

Clear skies to all.

James
16 years 11 months ago #22885

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Thats a great report of what sounds like a stunning evening under the stars!! I am very interested in hearing more about your Zodical light observation :D I assumed of course it was in the evening sky in the SW?
Martin Mc Kenna

coruscations attending the whole length of the luminosity, giving to the phenomena the aspect of a wrathful messenger, and not that of a tranquil body pursuing a harmless course..comet of 1680
16 years 11 months ago #22888

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  • johnflannery
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hi all,

great night of observing from Cloon Wood near Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow last night in the company of Paul Tipper, Gordon Nason, and Philip Lardner.

saw the zodiacal light too from there which is the first time I've seen it from that site.

Philip and Gordon showed us Hubble's variable nebula in Monoceros which was pretty neat. M1 was beautiful in Philip's 20-inch Dob while Gordon was able to zero in on some very nice NGC objects in the Winter Milky Way along with NGC 404, a galaxy in the same field as Beta Andromedae. Paul let me have a peek through his Dob at some of the Messier objects on view this time of year.

I used the 22x100mm to track down some very hard to see galaxies (for binoculars). NGC 2903 in Leo was easy while M77, the Seyfert galaxy in Cetus was also a nice find. Harder to get near M77 was NGC 1055 which I confirmed on a chart this morning. I also picked up M108 as a mottled greyish streak and the Owl Nebula, M97, as a large dim oval. M81 and M82, the UMa galaxies, very nice too. A new NGC cluster for me was 2360 in Monoceros, just east of Sirius. It appeared as crushed grains of sugar strewn in a nice star field. Lots of other star fields scanned also.

atb,

John
John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
The chicken's motive for crossing the road would not be questioned in an ideal world
16 years 11 months ago #22889

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Excellent observing John! Thats a great target list for binoculars!! I have to confess that i have not seen Hubbles variable nebula yet but i will try for it soon :D

What were the large binoculars like? :D
Martin Mc Kenna

coruscations attending the whole length of the luminosity, giving to the phenomena the aspect of a wrathful messenger, and not that of a tranquil body pursuing a harmless course..comet of 1680
16 years 11 months ago #22891

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Thats a great report of what sounds like a stunning evening under the stars!! I am very interested in hearing more about your Zodical light observation :D I assumed of course it was in the evening sky in the SW?


Hi Martin

It was more west that south I reckon, I really will only be guessing at dimensions as I did not measure it at the time, but here goes.

I quess it extended for 10-15 degrees along horizon and extended 50-60 degrees upwards. it was easily visible when we arrived at observing site at 7.30pm. We observed it intermittently for about 15 mins and then continued observing other objects. I did not notice it any more, but then again I was not looking for it. I promise if I see it again to take proper measurements. :oops: :oops:
Cheers
Trevor
16 years 11 months ago #22901

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That sounds like a cracking evening of viewing Trevor. Banna beach is a lovely spot for it aswell. I can't wait to join up with the club soon enough.


Looking forward to it
Cheers
Trevor
16 years 11 months ago #22902

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  • johnflannery
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What were the large binoculars like?


really pleased with them Martin. I had read on CloudyNights that the image focus on these instruments drops off from about 60% of the way out from the centre of the field and the stars do appear out of focus towards the edge. Not a lot can be done about that unless anyone wanted to donate me a $17,500 pair of 25x150mm Fujinons!

deep sky objects are nice and the usual tourist spots of M42, etc. show up really well. The transparency wasn't that great where we were last night as I did see the NGC complex north of M42/M43 very obvious on Christmas Eve but barely at all yesterday evening. Sigh, I'll just have to do a bit of overtime to fatten the Fujinon fund :)

the mounting is a lot steadier now after I screwed the supplied threaded disk onto the tripod attachment rod (I'm sure there's a technical name for that bit).

the field of view is about 2.6 degrees and at first I thought I couldn't find M46/M47 because of the narrow field . . . turns out that both lenses were badly dewed up! A decent night will be needed to see how these binoculars perform up against the 20x60mm that I've had for about 15 years. M79 was barely there . . . again, because the atmosphere was laden with moisture. It should have been a cinch to spot.

a parallelogram mount is a must though because of the literal pain in the neck from trying to look higher than 50 degrees altitude.

ltr,

John
John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
The chicken's motive for crossing the road would not be questioned in an ideal world
16 years 11 months ago #22903

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Thanks for the info John..i was thinking of getting binos in this size range. Do you reckon they would be good for observing bright comets?
Martin Mc Kenna

coruscations attending the whole length of the luminosity, giving to the phenomena the aspect of a wrathful messenger, and not that of a tranquil body pursuing a harmless course..comet of 1680
16 years 11 months ago #22933

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  • johnflannery
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hi Martin,

the 20x60mm have stood me in good stead over the years for the clutch of comets that have swung by the inner Solar System. Ikeya-Zhang, Austin, and a host of those LINEAR's that fragmented and brightened unexpectedly were all very nice . . . not forgetting Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp of course.

the 20x60mm were even good enough to show a definite "shape" to Encke on it's last return. The larger objectives of the 100mm will almost certainly pull in the fainter comets. Often it's the skill of the observer as a great deal of patience is needed to tease any sort of detail out of "faint fuzzies" (comets, DSOs, etc.).

I think giant binoculars will stand you in good stead for open clusters and other extended objects. An example was NGC 2360 in CMa which I saw on Sunday night for the first time. A beautiful cluster in the 22x100mm and I was wondering how I missed it before. That said, reading the various observing handbooks on the bookshelf later revealed conflicting accounts of how the cluster would appear. One claimed that binoculars would not show it ("Observer's Sky Atlas" - probably pre-giant binos) while a couple of others only gave it a cursory mention.

ltr,

John
John Flannery ( aurorawatcher - at * gmail - dot * com ... remove hyphens/asterisks/spaces for email)
The chicken's motive for crossing the road would not be questioned in an ideal world
16 years 11 months ago #22961

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Thanks John..i will take that onboard.
Martin Mc Kenna

coruscations attending the whole length of the luminosity, giving to the phenomena the aspect of a wrathful messenger, and not that of a tranquil body pursuing a harmless course..comet of 1680
16 years 11 months ago #22980

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One of the other highlights of the night has to have been a visit from the Local Garda, approaching with headlights on full.... “What are them Yokes there Lads, There not rocket launchers or anything”.


"Nah they are for spotting uboats..."
Albert White MSc FRAS
Chairperson, International Dark Sky Association - Irish Section
www.darksky.ie/
16 years 11 months ago #22981

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