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Andyb90

Shropshire, the Rosette and a Cat on the Dob!

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I posted a thread back in November about dark sky sites in Shropshire and wanted to try one of the suggested sites, the Bog Car Park:




On Thursday night clear skies were forecast into the early hours of Friday morning so I decided to go for it. After I got home early from work the anticipation really started to build as I loaded the 250px into the Car.


My main new target of choice would be the Rosette Nebula, which SGL membeers confirmed would be possible in the 10 inch scope under dark sites.


An hour and 15 minutes later I arrived at the car park at around 7pm. Initial impressions of the site were very good with largely uninterrupted views except for a few smaller trees. The sky was completely clear and the milky way was immediately visible with an impressive amount of structure.Even at this time there was only a very small amount of sky glow visible on the horizon.


Being a new site a waited for a while to see if there were any signs of 'activity' before setting up. After a while with no sign of anything I setup the Dob.


I was just grabbing the 25mm xcel from the car boot when I heard meowing from in front of the car. Before I knew it a black and white cat was sat right beside me. Next thing I know he's jumped into the boot and managed to get over onto the back seats! 10 minutes later I finally persuaded him to come out of the car and he seemed happy to sit near the scope.


I got the 25mm xcel into the eyepiece holder and aimed the Telrad target at Betelgeuse. From there is was easy enough to locate the central cluster of the Rosette in the finder scope. A quick look in the eyepiece revealed some very faint signs of nebulosity. So on with the OIII filter and what a transformation! The nebulosity was clearly visible, with smoky light and darker areas around the cluster. Really pleased with the view, it was beyond what I'd expected.


Then it was on to M42, a spectacular site under the darker sky with its large wispy wings and twisting cloud like formations. It was a bit unexpected, but I actually preferred the view through the 25mm EP without the UHC filter.


It was getting a bit colder so I went to the car to get my thicker beanie, with no sign of the cat this time. I got back to the scope and turned the base to look for M33, but it felt heavier. Then I realised the cat was sat on the base underneath the tube! Another 5 minutes later and I persuaded him to come out :-)


Next up M33, which I've only seen as a faint smudge in my back garden, barely distinguishable from the background sky. I knew it would be well positioned, but will admit I had some trouble finding it. I think the sheer number of stars visible, compared with at home, took a bit of getting used to. When I did find M33 the core was distinguishable and hints of the spiral structure too.


I had to have a look at the Andromeda galaxy, which was an easy spot in the Telrad. As always it was a very impressive sight, but this time I was able to make out the sharp edge created by the dust lanes. Again really pleased with that.


I haven't seem M81 and M82 for some time so went looking for them. M81 had a nice bright core, but I didn't see any hint of spiral structure. Perhaps it may be possible when the galaxy is higher in the sky. M82 seemed to show slight mottling with the 25mm EP. Also whilst looking at M81 I spotted the galaxies ngc 3077 and 2976 for the first time. I couldn't make out any detail in them, but both were easily visible against the background sky.


Finally I think I also viewed part of the North American Nebula, I could definitely see what looked like a patch of nebulosity to the left of Deneb, but it was fairly low in the sky at this point. I'd really have liked to stay longer, but with work in the morning and the drive home I had to pack up.


I gave the cat a fuss, stroking him under the ear which seemed to go down very well as he was purring away again.


All in all a fantastic evening under the darker sky. I'll definitely be doing more trips to this site and will be looking to venture further into Wales too.


Andy.

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Very enjoyable reading! Glad that you had a great night out! 

Piero

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Nice report Andy - dark skies can transform the view of DSO's such as M33 from "is that it ?" to "oh, yep, THAT is it !" :icon_biggrin:

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Super report, can't beat dark sky and a bit of aperture. M33 is a lovely sight with deep sky background.

Got to watch these cats. We ended up with one, until we found out it was sharing itself out with several other houses,

Nick.

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A superb report Andy. I feel it takes some doing getting in the car and driving for over an hour, not sure that I would. I had a look at the Rosette the night before last though I did not put it in my report , too obsessed with the horse's head.

Alan 

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Great stuff Andy...Wales is so worth the drive well done...so many stars at dark sky sites certainly take some getting used to!

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Thanks for the comments.

If I'd not had work the next day I'd have definitely stayed into the early hours.

Leo was just rising when I left. I'd loved to have done some Galaxy hunting in this area too.

In fact I need to learn more about this part of the sky.

However I'm thankful of any clear skies at the moment!

Andy.

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This should motivate more of us to make the effort to find dark skies.

Regarding cats I'm thinking about getting an ultra light dobsonian but I am wondering how I would stop my cats from walking on the mirror when I'm not looking!

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