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It finally happened!

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stolenfeather

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April 1st, 2011

After watching one of my favourite science fiction movies of all time "Alien", I decided to take out my telescope. It was around 10:00pm and since the night sky doesn't become dark till later, this was the perfect time.

Orion was already very low to the horizon. It was with ultimate respect that I gave it a wave goodnight. The final curtain was falling for my dearest constellation since the center stage will soon be ready for the spring / summer night sky.

I sat in my astro-chair watching the stars as my eyes became accustomed to the darkness. I can't do this comfortably during the winter months because of the cold which made this particular moment that much more divine! I knew where my next deep sky challenge would be: M44, the Beehive cluster. I told myself that my eyesight was NOT going to be a barrier this time and since the moon was nowhere to be found, neither would there be any celestial interference. With my back facing west, I decided to take a small detour to knock on Saturn's door. It was bright and very welcoming but the meeting wasn't as exciting as I had hoped. As I looked through my eyepiece, the fact that my telescope needed collimation (the mirrors need to be realigned) screamed under my skin. Soon my collimator would arrive. Soon, very soon,...

My thirst for something a little father tugged once more and I set my viewfinder to the north. My target resided in the constellation of Cancer. For some reason, I had trouble distinguishing it's stars. This baffled me since my area is usually relatively free of light pollution. A little push here and a couple of quick glimpses there, and,.. Oh there goes a satellite! Oh yeah back to the cluster,...

I had found it!

Once again, the light bothered me. Turning around I looked to the west and,..

:eek: HOLY ---- !! :eek:

(Mind you if it really had been blessed fecal matter, Steven's pictures of the event would have surely never come out this good!)

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All winter, the news announced solar activity, and many nights I made my way outside to be welcomed by clouds. After sometime, I pretty much told myself that "I would see it when I see it". The fact that I had my back to them. completely unaware all this time doesn't show me in my best light. I call myself a backyard astronomer and don't even take the time to look at ALL the regions of my backyard? I guess I became too involved in my quest to locate my little Messier Object that I neglected the (ahem) big picture of things to the west!

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A very entertainig blog, I'm pleased you managed to view such an awesome spectacle. Amazing images aswell.

Congrats.

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Thanks Tibbs! I'm happy that you enjoyed it, as for the view,... it doesn't get better than this. Being in the isolated north does have it's ups and downs but this is definitely sky high!

Isabelle

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i bet you were gob smacked when you saw the Aurora.

I simply couldn't believe that it was there all along and I was facing the other way!

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I'm getting really jealous.

I know someone at work who booked a three day boat trip to see the northern lights for his wedding anniversary.

I think I'm going to have a chat with him. It would be a once in a lifetime event for me to see them.

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I hope your friend does have a chance to see them. I'm in an area where they can be seen and for the whole winter there were many chances and each time,.. there was cloud cover. I actually stopped looking (or even caring) after awhile since this was always happening until,.. they surprised me!

Seeing them does indeed make you see the world around you differently. In some native cultures, they believe that the lights are their ancestors returning to see them. It's a nice thought.

For my part,.. they just make me realize how complex our world really is.

Isabelle

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i would have swapped a night for the green lights the behive is a fav of mine ,saturn was playing me last night so was the dob the web cam is more like a 6mm ep people keep tell in me its acts like a 15m a tried both a 15/6mm in the ep and settled that the phillips acts like a 6 mm but still i got a few bands on saturn last some of the vids are great will post ya the link for photobucket latter if ya interested,by the way a got a gem red but me dads busy with work till thursday but said he will sort the bolt and base out

pat

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isabelle heres the link

not that great but a had a brill night if ya read my last blog a got some pics run a few a the vids in registax they came out ok`ish

cheers pat

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