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theritz

Stargazing in Germany

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I just got back from a weekend in Germany, near the Elbe river. It looked like the entire weekend would be washed away by the rain but then it happened... The Miracle. We have seen this happen before and it happened again. After a day of rain the skies cleared just when darkness fell and we were excited by an extremely good SQM measurement of 21.83 on average. The highest was 21.98 even!

Got to see loads of stuff: The Needle, Hockestick, Whale, NGC5053, Copeland's Septet... it was amazing.

Highlights abound but one was really cool: we saw our shadow being cast on the wall by Venus' light! We never had seen that before.

M51 gave us her spirals together with the bridge to M51a and the faint halo. M101 had spirals as well just as M81 (in the one 16" on the field it appeared to be 3D .. the spiral came towards you so to speak).

We had a great weekend. Only one night of really good skies unfortunately (it's a 475km drive for us) but just the one night made it all worthwhile.

Still thrilled by the experience!

Two pictures included:

One on which you can see Venus' shadow behind the man standing on the left hand side of the white building and one of the telescopes waiting for dark to come.

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Edited by theritz
added two pictures

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That sounds great. I only once saw Venus cast shadows (in 1979). You need really dark skies, and Venus riding high enough. Having a 16" under those conditions must be awesome

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That sounds amazing, one hell of a night I bet!!

Worth putting the miles in just for a real dark site experience like that. :D

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Looks like a great gathering of scopes there under a first rate sky.

Always worth the journey.:)

Seeing those spiral arms is a sight to see you through all the cloudy nights ahead.:)

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Yes, it was fantastic. We are going there more often to get at least some proper skies twice a year. Back home it's SQM 19.5 if I am lucky, and at 30 minutes from here we have 20.8 but with serious light domes (which also aren't there in Germany).

It's still amazing to me that skies like that don't appeal to everyone. But it's a case of not knowing what is possible. My mates at first sight won't believe me when I say that the sky over there is like it is on the pictures. It's even hard to make out Little Dipper, so many stars are there.

Edited by theritz

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I'm off to Iceland on the 1st for a month. I wish I could take the scope but far too much for baggage allowance. Also I am working Nightshift :) Never mind I will have a look at the skys during tea & ciggy breaks. :)

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