Jump to content

Stargazers Lounge Uses Cookies

Like most websites, SGL uses cookies in order to deliver a secure, personalised service, to provide social media functions and to analyse our traffic. Continued use of SGL indicates your acceptance of our cookie policy.

sgl_2019_sp_banner.thumb.jpg.a0ff260c05b90dead5c594e9b4ee9fd0.jpg

dick_dangerous

On This Night Of A Thousand Stars...

Recommended Posts

Hi All,

When I first moved out of the New Forest I was advised not to bother taking telescope. I'd always taken it for granted that there wasn't any point pursuing astronomy as a hobby from London because of the light pollution. People will tell you that you can't see faint messier objects, you can't see stuff near the horizon and you certainly can't see the Milky Way. In fact ordinarily this is what I'd tell but sometimes a night comes along that defies common experience, and last night changed every assumption I had about what can be seen from an urban park...

Of course I do have certain natural advantages - I have exceptional peripheral vision and I don't quite live in London. Teddington is pretty dark by London standards and Bushy Park is a huge asset for an astronomer because you can get out from all the sodium lamps. The Northern horizon is always a write-off but the rest of the sky can be surprisingly good. Coupled with recent thunderstorms that have washed the sky clean of its usual load of dirt, I did have it particularly easy.

Even when I was walking down, ST80 slung over the shoulder, I was surprised by just how clear it was. Even from street level I could make out all the priniciple stars of the summer triangle constellations, even faint little Sagitta showing up. Once in the park I was truly astounded because the Southern horizon, normally an impenetrable glow of pollutants, was as sharp as I could hope with the teapot clearly visible. With this in mind, I immediately set up and went hunting for something I'd always wanted to see, the Lagoon Nebula. I never expected to see it from London with such a small scope but within minutes I had it clear in the viewfinder. Another astronomical lifelong ambition achieved. The stars of the cluster sparkled on their pool of glowing nebulosity, shockingly easy to see. This, I could tell, was going to be an epic one.

I followed the advice of another user, andrew63, and swept the area with my trusty Nikon bins too, so I was able to check and double check that I'd seen all these things. I went through Sagittarius and found the following:

M8 (Lagoon Nebula) - Beautful, surpassed all expectations

M17 (Omega Nebula) - Found this one harder with just a faint glow of nebulosity and no real structure. Better view with bins

M18 - Maybe not the most visually spectacular cluster I found

M20 (Trifid Nebula) - Best view was with the bins, although clearly visible nebulosity in the ST80

M21, M23, M25 - Again, best views with the bins, although I found M25 especially lovely in the scope

M22 - Astounding sight, nice large glow of globular cluster. A superlative object and a new favourite along with M8

M24 - Ah, the advantages of widefield telescope... Countless stars to sweep through.

M28 - A little disappointing. Maybe I misread but TL@O seems to confuse the position of this one and M22.

After that I moved on up the sky towards Scutum. M11 is now a permanent fixture on any night, but tonight I saw structure in it, and it held up well to a little more magnification. Having never seen M26 I thought I'd "tick off" Scutum, and indeed I did find it, a faint sparkling patch next to delta. The Wild Ducks were still the main highlight.

The next bit was something of a shock though, and feel free to be as disbelieving as you like. I wouldn't believe me either, except I grew up in the New Forest. I've always been slightly confused that seeing the Milky Way is such a big deal for people - where I grew up it was just... there. In August it was this ever-present glow down the middle of the sky, and out on the Forest it would start to resolve into its countless stars. Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful sight, but I never appreciated how wonderful it is until I moved to London and couldn't see it. That is until I looked up, resting my eyes from the eyepiece, stared into the transparent sky above me and saw a faint, diffuse glow arching through Cygnus and on into Aquila. I had to blink, but I wasn't imagining it because it had a big dark rift in the middle but I was actually looking at the Milky Way while inside the M25. I don't think nights like that come along too often. I should be clear about this though, it was exceptionally faint, but it's something I've grown up with and can recognise a mile off (Or a few hundred parsecs anyway) so I knew exactly what it was. I also had to let the wife know I might be a little late home...

I then went ever higher and had another crack at M27 which was a revelation - with averted vision and a bit of magnification it started to reveal some of its structure wonderfully. Am I really still within the GLA I wondered? Next logical step was the Ring Nebula, and with the stability of the sky I was able to power it right up to 80x (Pushing it with my scope) and had the best view of it I have managed, with the hole clear with averted vision - better even than when we were n Pembrokeshire. I took out my bins again and searched out M39 in Cygnus, a lovely little haze of stars. And on a galactic note I finished off by looking for Andromeda as it creeps ever higher in the sky. Although not brilliant, I could make out the shape of the galaxy clearly, and the core was nice and crisp. I was satisfied too to find M32 lurking beneath it. M110 will have to wait until our autumn trip to the West country though.

So that wraps it up. My messier count is up to about 34, I managed to find an awful lot I'd never seen before, and I am now perfectly satisfied that, at least from the periphery, astronomy is a worthwhile hobby here in London. I doubt the Milky Way is a regular sight even in Bushy Park though...

DD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting, thanks for posting. Can you give an estimate for your naked-eye limiting magnitude for stars on that night?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Eek. No idea - It was, at a push, down to mag +5, certainly +4.5. Constellations such as Delphinius, Sagitta and Scutum were clearly visible, M31 was just about visible although lost in the hazier portion of the sky. There's a big difference in the park between North and East (i.e. into Richmond and London), West (Towards Hampton) and South (The best view - over the park and out of London). The Milky Way was extremely hard to pick out, just a faintly glowing band at the zenith. It was brightest in Cygnus, with the rift clearly visible, and I could follow it towards the South maybe as far as Aquila. Going north towards the glow of London it petered out and wasn't visible at all in Cassiopeia. I've heard that it's easier to see stuff like the Milky Way when you know what you're looking for, and it's a very familiar sight for me. I wish my wife had been there to confirm it, but then her peripheral vision is awful.

I think the main thing last night was the transparency which was just unreal for London. Quite apart from the Milky Way, I didn't expect to see anything as low in the sky as M22 or the Lagoon Nebula. I deeply regret not having tried to seek out the lower globulars like M54 and M55, it was such a rare night. I'd have tried M6 and M7 but they were behind the trees... I wonder if others had similar experiences?

DD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like a wonderful night - will stay with you for a long time. I think, perhaps for the last week there must be less dust around along the horizon which is helping with transparency ?

Some of the best reports I've read recently involved the area of Sagittarius, I feel despite the short window and low location it's the richest part of the sky to observe - with telescope or binoculars. Hugely rewarding.

andrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read a few reports where people have got confused about what they're looking at down there - this was certainly the case for me. I'm not familiar with that part of the sky because it lurked behind my parent's alder trees (Along with most of the Southern Sky). My Dad was somewhat jealous that I'd been observing M8. I used my old Phillips guide to the Night Sky and followed your recommendation of using the binoculars. A lot of the nebulae were better in the bins I felt - especially M17 and M20. TL@O was also of use but one of their diagrams mixes up M22 and M28. The text is correct though, as is the view through the eyepiece, it was the finderscope diagram that was messing with my head. I couldn't understand why the famously bright and huge M22 looked so small, while little faint M28 was half the size of the full moon. Tsk!

Thanks again for the binocular tip though - worked a treat!

DD

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By JackCooke
      A quick sketch from the 1st September (sorry - date is wrong on the image). 
      M15 was still fairly low in the east but the central condensation of stars really stood out, even in a 5.5inch scope. The bright field star intruding on the edge of the image was distracting. If I had a tracking mount I'd have banished it permanently!
      A lot of the extended GC was on the threshold of vision and the resolved stars faded in and out. 
      M15 will always have a special place for me as it was the first GC i ever saw 😍 
      Thanks for looking. 
      Jack

    • By Greg_1920
      Hello, this is my first attempt on NGC 7635 with my skywatcher 250pds on an NEQ6 synscan mount. These are 7min subs stacked to a total exposure of 5 hours taken with my unmodified canon 700d and a skytech cls filter. No coma corrector was used as I haven't gotten one yet. I'm just wondering how I could make my images look clearer when zoomed in and improve them overall as I can see the image gets more blurry when I zoom in onto the bubble, should I use a higher magnification? Do I need to take more darks to get rid of the redness around the image ? Or perhaps I stretched the image too much in Photoshop? I used 10 darks, 60 bias and 60 flat frames. 
      Update: I have now further processed my image with greater care and got a much better result. 
      Thanks 
      Greg
       
       


    • By Joaquim Q
      Hi, i..m on Stargazers Lounge for long time ago, but now i have a new scope at last!!! The scope is a Skywatcher classic200p dobsonian, and i received it just one month ago. I.m really happy with it. For now, i.m using the stock eyepieces that come with the scope, a 25mm and 10mm super plossl 52. Yesterday i was received a Celestron Omni barlow, and that expands my magnification range. I posted some pics with my set. 
      Congratulations to Stargazers lounge team, this is one of the best sites to learn about astronomy and equipment. 
      Besf regards to everybody 




    • By Kronos831
      I currently am on holiday in my father's hometown, a small island near rhodes called symi.Symj, is a pretty small town,with only about 2000 residents.That means that the light pollution levels must be low. Acknowledging that, i called my friends, grabbed my 10x50 bins(that i got for 20€ from Turkey),and went on my way to find a dark site.About after 20 mins of walking (from the city),i stumbled upon a beach, it was dark, so i went in.There i decided to lay on a sunbed that was there.After looking up(not being dark adapted, my friends just kept turning their flashlights on for some reason), i saw the haze of the milky way stretching from Cassiopeia to cygnus and beyond!I was amazed as i ve never seen the milky way before and smudged it off as clouds until i confirmed it was the milky way from an app! The weird part was that at just straight overhead, was the port ,which had many lights, and as a result the sky appeared half bright and half dark. I turned over at Sagittarius and headed over the lagoon nebula. Brilliant! 3-4 stars in a line surrounded by bright nebulosity.(while still being in the haze!) Afterwards i headed to cygnus,it was a real light show! I saw the milky way layering on top of Cygnus while catching a glimpse of m23 and yet again, failing to see NGC7000 . Then, with the corner of my eye, i detected something moving, then turned over to Cassiopeia to see a shooting stsr!(it was my first time seeing one!!!) Was very brief, yet enjoyable. Right afterwards i turned over at the Perseus double cluster.Magnificent! Appeared as 2 small balls of light , almost connected yo eachother. Finally, i realised that finally, the target i was seeking to observe all year long, M31 was into the area with the light pollution! What a shame! While also being low on the Horizon, I couldnt see it with the naked eye. I observed it with ny binoculars for 10 minutes or so . The core was resolved nicely with some hints of outer nebulosity. Overall a great night and now, i wished i had my 8" dob with me....
      (Sorry for any granmar mistakes, im currently typing this at 2 am xD)
    • By Matty_C
      Hello all,
      I have just joined and have been looking around, and putting in various searches to find the answer to my question(s).
      I have already found some valuable information, but i can't find a specific answer to a question i have relating to exposure times.
      I have shot the milky way several times before, from a tripod and a wide angle lens. I am aware of and understand the "500 rule" and that worked fine for me at first when i was shooting with my Canon 6D Mark II. When i moved over to the Sony A7III i noticed significant trailing using the same rule and that led me to the NPF rule (Via the photopills app incase people dot know).
      I am heading back to Tenerife once again in about 6 weeks time and want to buy a star tracker so i can get some really detailed images.
      I have done a fair bit of research and in principle, the whole thing doesn't seem to be too daunting or difficult.
      I have purchased the Polar Scope Align Pro app so i can align Polaris as accurately as possible, i will practise putting the unit together and familiarising myself with the different parts etc, but it is the exposure times that i do not understand.
      My best glass is the Carl Ziess 50mm F/1.4 Planar, the 18mm F/2.8 Batis, the Sigma 35mm F/1.4 Art & the IRIX 15mm F/2.4 Blackstone.
      I currently do not own, nor have i ever used a tracker, and I cannot find any information relating to which aperture, ISO and Shutter length any of these focal lengths should or could be shot at.
      Is there anything similar to the 500 rule or NPF rule that relates to using a tracker with varied focal lengths? or is it just a case of stepping the lens down for sharpness and then trial and error?
      Thanks in advance,
       
      Matt.
       
       
       
       
       
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.