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4th of Januari, magic evening at Sandvreten


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Hello SGL

After being alerted on the mailinglist by Gunnar that it was supposed to be clear on the 4th, some guys in the club decided it was time to visit the club observatory again. I threw myself from work and loaded the car since this was the best opportunity to set up my scope in quite a while.

Lars, Mats and Christoffer was already at the site and had begun starting up the 16" RC and the 18" Newton. Unfortunately they spent a large portion of th evening wrestling technical problems with both scopes.

Gunnar also showed up with his MN190 and setup behind the dome of the 18" and started imaging the Pac Man Nebula.

In the meantime I set up my 6" inch and took a few hours of visual observation. Began with a clear view of Jupiter. Didn't spend a lot of time on it, but I saw 2 large bands and a small band. After that I saw hints of detail in M31 and I think I saw the surrounding dwarf galaxies but I'm not sure so I'll wait with ticking those off. Then I finally bagged M33. Not much but faint fuzz, but still. Off to M1 the crab that I have tried for with the bins, this time i saw a nice fuzzy shape without any details however. M45 and the Double Cluster was really something also. Then I moved to M81/M82. Bode's galaxy showed spiral structure and the Cigar Galaxy was pretty well defined in shape. Really a nice pair of firsts for me. I took a brief look at Uranus that showed yellowish color. Albireo was nice too! I also took a brief look at M42 showing clear detailing in the nebulosity aswell as 4 stars in the trapezium. Last visual object I got was the comet C/2012 K5. I starhopped from Elnath and it appeared right away as a really faint patch in my 6".

One of my coworkers who live close to the observatory visited us for the first time and after I showed him some stuff through my scope, Lars gave him and some other guys a nice tour of objects with the 18" while I started snapping subs of M42.

This is the first try at M42 stacked:

First attempt at M42.

After doing M42 I took some test subs of todays objects. While Lars showed the Horsehead that was barely visible visually with the clubs 18" I did my longest sub yet. I took a 2min unguided test of the horse and flame. This image is heavly processed to bring out the visible detail.

Horsehead and Flame 1x2min unguided

I also snapped some material on M1, M81/82 and the Double Cluster. All are 30sec single subs:

M1 Crab Nebula

M81 and M82

Double Cluster In Perseus

After getting encouraged by Lars to image the comet I produced some stills and an animation of C/2012 K5:

Comet C/2012 K5

Comet C/2012 K5 (animation)

After realising I had moved my camera I tried to recreate the position to take some flats for M42 but I probably messed those up on exposure anyway. The clock was well past midnigt and the moon was about to come up so I did some darks and then snapped some widefields, being so tired I barely noticed the lens had fogged up, but here's a picture of the clubs observatory. The red light is the 16" RC while the dome on the right is the 18" newt. Both machines are operated from the house for imaging, while the 18" is good for visual.

Sandvreten 2013 01 04 thru foggy lens

At this point I was very tired so I loaded the car and bid the guys farewell, they were also about to give in. As I was sitting in the car on the 50km drive home the moon had risen and was shining intently so we timed the evening perfectly.

All in all a superb evening with my awesome astronomy club.

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Great photos. Just out of curiosity, what camera did you use? I see you've listed a D5100 in your signature.

Thanks, and correct sir, it's a D5100 for all the pictures, with various degree of post processing.

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thanks for posting a real interesting report and photos. i very good nights work there. strange you got uranus as yellow,i got a green/blue disk. love the m81,82 image,ive only viewed them once before,they are striking.

thanks carl.

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Thank you Rory and David.

It was one of those rare nights where time didn't really feel like it existed. The evening just passed in a haze of stars, nebulae and galaxies.

For all I know Uranus might have been a dust speck ;) It was pretty neutral, but clearly untwinkly and hints of a disc at medium mag. And the GOTO verified the location. Didn't bother with higher mag as it was quite low on the horizon.

(Actually on the EP calculator, Uranus seems a bit smaller so, ill have to revisit and verify it was actually a planet and not something else).

Edited by VigdisVZ
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