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Holiday reports


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I was interested in hearing any observing reports from people's summer holidays if you've been somewhere significantly different to home.

Here's mine - using Mk1 eyeballs and a 10x25 monocular (not the greatest bit of kit but it beats most things when it comes to portability!) and having the odd brief session at the end of busy days rock-pooling and making sand castles on the beach.

I live in light polluted central England. I spent a week in Jersey and my main observation was seeing the milky way for the first time. I wasn't looking for it or expecting to see it so when I realised what it was a Wow moment to add to the list. Being in darker skies I found it much easier to spot fuzzy things. Although they don;t look very obvious or impressive in a 25mm monocular I added a few to the list of objects I've at least found, M22 and M8 being the best ones.

I then had a week in Cornwall at what turned out by chance to be in a very dark spot in the middle of nowhere and amazingly I could not only see the milky way but also see light and dark bands/bits of it. The visibility was so much better than what I'm used to that oddly I struggled to recognise things high up in the sky where the seeing and darkness was best - I was fine with finding Vega but even Deneb I could not be certain I was looking at - there were too many stars!

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Sounds like you've enjoyed the very best dark skies.

I had quite a shock the first time just trying to find constellations. Cassiopeia looked like a kite with a tail. I couldn't work out why there was so much darkness in the Milky Way.

Just a bigger shock to return to struggle with light pollution,

Nick.

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Hi Paz

Getting into some truly dark spots really changes your perspective, doesn't it?

I'm currently on holiday at a lovely gite in the rural Charente in France. Nearest small town is about 4 miles away and nearest of any size is 20 or 30. So dark by my usual standards. I'd hoped to bring my ST120 but space constraints meant only my 20x80 bins and tripod came with us. Earlier this week I went out after dark into the big garden and even before dusk ended ai could tell it was going to be a fun couple of hours. It was the 7 or 8 degrees of additional latitude that made the most difference. Antares and Scorpius seemed decently high and for the first time I Really could see the teapot in Sagittarius. As proper darkness came the Milky Way was bright and, like you, the Great Rift was pronounced extending from north of Cygnus down through the body of the swan and through Aquila. Then I glimpsed slightly to the east a clearly separated patch of light - the Scutum star cloud!! And to the west of that, initially with the naked eye, the very clear nebulous mass of the Lagoon nebula, M8, which glowed strongly and which I've never seen before. Through the bins, I spent some time studying the whole Lagoon / Triffid / M21 / M23 complex. Then some old favourites under darker skies (dumbbell nebula always seems so bright!) before heading back in for a final glass of wine and bed.

So I'm a big fan of holiday viewing. Although despite some effort I still couldn't pin down the North America nebula. Cygnus was so high I had to take the bins off the tripod and as Im not Popeye I couldn't hold them steady for long enough..... One day....

Paul

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Ive just returned from a 2 week cruise of Northern Europe and Russia. The weather by day for the whole cruise was fantastic with temps ranging from 25-30C with clear skies all the way. Night time weather was just as good. Clear as a whistle every single night. I had to leave my bins at home because i packed incorrectly and didnt have any room left in any of my luggage. Not to be put out by this i did some general observing each night with my Mk l eyeballs. 

As you can imagine, the night sky while at sea was lovely and dark. Some lights on the ship may have hampered the views but i certainly was not complaining. I had clear views in all directions. Everything was bigger and brighter. The constellations seemed to stretch out across the sky.

On the night of the 12th, i was up on deck after dinner as usual and i spotted about 50 Perseids............and even the ISS. On a couple of nights, i managed to see the moon setting on the horizon and it was spectacular. As it approached the horizon it took on a very vivid amber colour. I thought for a minute that i may have been seeing a lunar eclipse the first time i saw it. I have never seen the moon looking so beautiful.

Sunrise and sunsets from on-board were absolutely stunning. 

I had planned to visit the Royal Observatory in London yesterday, but the weather put a stop to that. 

Edited by LukeSkywatcher
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I've done a fair bit of solar observing and binocular work but no grand sessions this month. To be honest, August hasn't been than great weather wise. Not in Spain where I live, in the UK where I visited family for a good number of weeks, or on holiday in Italy. There was quite a lot of muggy, cloudy weather which has upset this summer a fair bit.

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I've done a fair bit of solar observing and binocular work but no grand sessions this month. To be honest, August hasn't been than great weather wise. Not in Spain where I live, in the UK where I visited family for a good number of weeks, or on holiday in Italy. There was quite a lot of muggy, cloudy weather which has upset this summer a fair bit.

The good thing of astronomy is that if we miss some objects, we can still see them next year! :)

For the short term, let's cross our fingers we get a lovely Autumn Season!  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:

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Yes, as Piero says, fingers crossed for a crisp Autumn. Jupiter is coming back.......!

Nice holiday report, thanks for sharing your experiences with the Milky Way. It looks like white cloud in a way! I got my first decent look at it in years last summer on the Pacific Coast. I was floored! I've become a big fan of taking the scope on holiday and if you get the chance it's really great

Edited by Special K
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It's always amazing to see the Milky Way in truly dark skies. I also agree that it can be confusing trying to pick out familiar constellations when there are so many more stars visible. I usually like to do a bit of bird watching when I am on holiday , so I have at least bins with me and often a spotting scope too. This way I have managed to find the Messier objects which are normally too low to view in the Northern skies of Scotland.

Edited by laudropb
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Here are my holiday reports: 

- TV-60 under dark sky on the Dolomites (North-East Italy)

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/250093-report-from-lorenzago-di-cadore-italy/

- Celestron 114mm F8 under light polluted sky in Venice Area (Italy)

http://stargazerslounge.com/topic/251111-some-sessions-on-holiday-with-retro-equipment/

Although not reported above, I had a few solar observations in white light as well (about 1 per day) under very good seeing. I even managed to barlow my 5mm (144x) a few times, something I never managed to do here in the UK.  :rolleyes:

Cheers, Piero

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This is from Egypt a few years ago,

14/07/10

Site:  Taba, Egypt

Seeing (1-5): 3

Transparency (1-5):  2

Instruments: 10x50 bins

 

Not much light pollution and no clouds but dust or moisture in the air. Could see the whole of scorpius and the ‘teapot’ of Sagittarius clearly for the first time. Looking from the hotel balcony I soon spotted M22, larger and brighter than M13. 

Moved up from M22 and found a very large and bright elongated nebula with a few stars  running through it. Thought it was M17 at first but was actually M8

 

15/07/10/ - 20:00 to 22:45

Site:  Sinai Desert, Egypt

Seeing (1-5): 3

Transparency (1-5):  4

Instruments: 250mm SCT, 10x50 bins

Part of a trip to the desert along with visit to Bedouins. Had a bad case of gastroenteritis and the bus broke down on the way. Didn’t feel like being out at all. Arrived just as the Sun was setting with Venus and the crescent moon bright in the twilight. I had my 10x50’s but no star maps or paper with me so had to try and memorise everything.  Started with a look at the Moon and Saturn through 250mm and 300mm Made LX90. Saturn was low down and the scopes were at a low power so not as good as using my 200mm at home.

M4 was easy to see as a hazy patch close to Antares even in the 10x50 bins (not easy with the scope at home).  M6 and M7 could be seen in the same fov, like a much larger brighter version of the perseus double cluster (M6 by far the largest, quick count of 20+ stars). M8 by far the biggest and brightest nebula I’ve seen – M27 small and faint in comparison. M20 close by much smaller and fainter. M16 and M17 easy to find. M24 filled large part of the fov (large open cluster). Spotted several other DSO’s but being ill and having no paper couldn’t identify. Venus, Saturn and Mars lined up.

 

18/07/2010 - 20:00 to 22:45

Site:  Taba, Egypt

Seeing (1-5): 3

Transparency (1-5):  2

Instruments: 10x50 bins

Used bins to confirm M6, M7 and M8 although not nearly so bright as from the desert. Also found NGC 6231, an open cluster in Scorpius. Similar to M6 but smaller. Still feeling unwell so didn’t make sketches etc.  Atmosphere very dusty.

 

 

 

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