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Not getting enough astro fixes in the UK so have come to Arizona. This week near Phoenix and next week going to Sedona. We contacted the Phoenix Astronomical Society and they recommended some good observing sites. The first is known as the Antennas site about 110 miles West of Phoenix way out in the Sonora Desert. Some of their members came along with their big, and I mean BIG, Dobsonians. We could only manage to take an 80 mm refractor and iOptron Smart EQ mount plus 15 x 70 binoculars from the U.K.. The sky at this site was jaw dropping - 2 on the Bortle Scale. The Zodiacal Light was clearly visible and the Milky Way cast shadows in the otherwise pitch black location (don't think about stepping on a rattle snake or picking up a Bark Scorpion instead of a dropped EP cap). 

Heaven surely can hold no greater delights than being under this sky with a 22 inch Obsession Dob. Galaxies in the eyepiece looked like astro photos and I have never seen such detail on Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. Unfortunately it was too windy for any serious photography but we almost did an 'all-sky' survey with the DSLR.

Another tremendous highlight was being able to see the globular cluster Omega Centauri. In the binos it looked as big as M13 does in my C11 back home. Through the telescopes it was stunning, although it was quite low at about 9 degrees above the horizon.

Another night we went out to the Picket Post trail head site about 60 miles east of Phoenix. This was not quite as dark but still stunningly beautiful. Here we could take some better pictures and I've included a quick one of Omega Centauri taken through the 80 mm refractor. I think it looks reddish because it was very low in the sky, but the stars did go down to the horizon in all direction. It's such a delight to be able to pan with binoculars the whole of southern constellations such as Scorpio and Sagitarius which I can barely see in the U.K.

Anyway here are a few random pictures;

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22" scope under Arizona skies is on my bucket list. Very jealous!

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Nice to have you here in our own backyard!

When you go to Sedona, Check out the Sedona airport and the mile high town of Jerome (just outside Cottonwood) for possible viewing sites.

You'll have a ball!  :grin:

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To say I'm jealous would be possibly the biggest understatement imaginable! A giant dob and crystal clear skies. Can't get much better than that!

Sent from my GTi9300 using random spelling mistake generator!!!!

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Hello SunBear

What do you think about a house-swap for a few years. I'm loving Arizona. Thanks for the information about Sedona observing sites. I have been in touch with the SiriusLookers and the Coconino astronomy Society. I really like the look of Dave Frisk's observing site   http://coconinoastro.org/observing_sites.htm

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Hi Mike,

Just saw your post now. Glad you're enjoying Arizona, especially Sedona. It really has a lot to offer, astronomy wise.

As to the house swap, I think I'll pass....Lol! I was born and raised in upper New York State so I'm well aware of your famous "British weather".

Keep in touch!  -- Dave

PS: If you get a chance, have a meal at the Coffee Pot Restaurant on 89A in the middle of town. Excellent!

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I have family near Phoenix. My husband and I are actually planning a trip there sometime in the future. Iove the sky there a lot.

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