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leo82

Black country and surrounding areas social group.

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leo82    75

Hi all,

Any fellow locals on here that want to chat and arrange local meets? I would rather go to an unknown dark site in a small group rather than alone!

Do we have any good dark sites around here? Anyone fancy joining in? I'm in Wolverhampton.

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bish    624

Hi,  there are probably several people who would be up for that. I think the difficult part is finding a suitable dark site for a group meeting. I would be up for it.

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leo82    75

I dont know of any to be honest, i've only just started observing from my back garden. Maybe barr beacon or cannock chase. At least they are probably a bit darker?

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bish    624

I believe some people did (or still do) meet up a Cannock. There are organised meetings at Barr beacon for meteor showers (see Walsall looks up on Facebook). It's good for that

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Hi Guys, nice 1.  I used to go up to a farmers field just outside Wolverhampton - I think it was near to the Albrighton/Boningale area - we had the permission of the farmer, it was just the back of a farm shop - a great location being close enough to get there by motorbike for me anyway, just after the last visit I noticed that there had been a gate placed across the track where we used to go to - so this site was a no no - the location was very nice, met up with a couple of guys off here Anweniel (Barry) and Dafman (Pat) - a really great night with them, but cold. 

Barr Beacons nice as well, met up with Barry and also Gartut200 (Gareth) on the Jupiter Watch last year had the scopes set up - not a cloud in the sky all night - just the light pollution to put up with, but the Boningale site was really good only just a little way out from Wolves but you just got a hint of the Milky Way overhead.  I think the Wolves Astro Society have a site at Boningale, they had a meet there last but one Stargazers live (2014) I think, but Walsall usually meet up at Barr Beacon and I think they have a site over Pelsall way I think, but most of us just stay in the back gardens and observe - there's been a shortage of Planets around of late in the early evening - so not a lot to observe lately, only really the Moon and the brighter Messier's from the light polluted Midlands, but would be nice to meet up with a few of us again - its going to get better now Jupiters up earlier and we've got the mighty Mars soon.

 

Paul.

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leo82    75

I was over long mynd way yesterday, went over the Shropshire hills. What a fantastic place that is, would be perfect to get the scopes out there. I am put off there though for 1 reason, the 2 ways you can drive up there are steep roads that have sheer drops at the side of you and no safety barriers. In the daytime it's not a problem but at night could prove lethal.

I've been looking at countryside areas around Wolverhampton on google maps and there seems to be a few decent looking areas, obviously not knowing what the light pollution is like but I think it would be worth investigating.

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leo82    75

Went out to chesterton last night only 15 mile away, wow what a difference! The sky was full of stars, it took me a while to find the constellations that I learnt from my back garden with hardly any stars. Does anybody else go out that way? It's not far off the rabbit run.

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Nice 1 Leo its just that much better when you go out of town a little would be nice to get a farmers field or track where a group of us could meet up. Its just getting permission off the farmer with a good concrete path or similar as the fields can get rather muddy but wonder if you did any observing from there would be nice to go there when the moons out of the way to see how good it is but thanks for posting would be nice to get the farmers permission for a group of us to go.  Thanks again Leo.

Paul.

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leo82    75

I had parked in a layby next to a fence which there was hard ground behind. I can try and find out who owns it.

I took my binoculars and had a scout around my familiar targets.

Pleiades showed many many more background stars than from home.

Orion seemed to show the nebula more visible. Usually I can see the main stars but I could see the basic shaping of the nebula.

Andromeda even though still a grey smudge it seemed bigger and longer. I'm guessing this was the fainter outer edges that is usually washed out with light pollution back at home.

These observations were made just before the moon rose out of the low cloud in the distance.

But when it rose, whoa that moon is massive!

It seemed yellow instead of white, is that because of the light pollution in the atmosphere at that low level?

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Nice 1 Leo, I think the real test is when the Moon is out of the way, and to see if you can see the Milky Way, when we was over at the Boningale area you could just make out the Milk - Way when it was directly overhead - nothing like I would guess if you were at a truly dark site I guess - only I have never observed from a really dark site - just content with observing from my back garden - you can get away with the Moon and Planets - as light pollution doesn't really affect these views, but I bet these very dim Galaxies and Nebulae are a great site for a dark location - even with a small aperture.

The brighter Messiers from the garden are very nice - my limits on sky condition are probably M1 - this is a good test for me, I tried a while back, but not the best viewing because it was quite low down on the sky at this time of the year - so I need to wait when its gets to its highest point in the sky before having another go.

Its hard to use the magnitude scale on each object - some objects are much bigger than others so if these have a certain magnitude which only relates to an objects brightness measured as a single point of light which gets very confusing when you try and compare one object against another - your okay if its a star - here the magnitudes are a good guide to go by - but something as big as the Andromeda Galaxy becomes a poor measurement of magnitude to go by.  I tend to stick to the brighter Planetary Nebulae, as these are a better reference - but again depending on their individual size - so variations with brightness against size can also be a little mis - leading.

I always go by that if you can see the Milky Way very clearly against the night sky your going to have a good chance on the much fainter Galaxies - but as you know our location is far from the best near to large towns and conurbations - so the Moon and Planets it is then!!

Paul.

 

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leo82    75

On the magnitude scale  i'm happy to see anything but i'm still starting out. As with what i've learnt from my back garden to going to a darker site suddenly makes you stand back and see the difference. As with the milky way, that would be a sight to see. I hope my telescope gets delivered tomorrow just lately we seem to be getting a few clear nights. I can then start my more fainter targets than with my bins and i'm sure orions nebula will look great from that site compared to the already great view I had with my bins.

 

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Great Leo - you say your just starting out but you seem to know your way around the sky and enjoy using your binoculars - I find that when I've got a few minutes or so its nice just to go out with the Bino's and have a quick look around the sky - wonder which scope you've opted for - as soon as you put a scope on the sky things become totally different - but one compliments the other - you have such a narrow field of view with the scopes, the Bin's are just great on the open clusters and the star fields in the Milky Way - the brighter Messier Nebulae - like the Dumbell Nebula are visible in Binoculars, for me, just a smudge of light - but as soon as you put the scope on it, it breaks out into so much structure - its a lovely sight.  The star clusters in Auriga M36, M37, M38 - in Bino's, are just  patches of light, but as soon as you put the scope on them and add a little magnification, they become structured star cities, with their own shape and density, again, M2 and M15 are small faint patches of light in the Bino's, but train the scope on them, add a little magnification, they become very bright, compact star clusters with star after star becoming resolved into pin point jewels in a very large jewellery box.

Keep us informed when the scope arrives (wonder which one you've plumped for) and best of all, just enjoy the night sky from any location - I know I do !!

Paul.

Edited by Northern Soul man
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leo82    75

Telescope i've finally decided on is the sw 200p dob. I also decided to get a red dot finder to use aswell as the suplied finderscope. I imagine i'll never use the finderscope the idea of the rdf seems a genius idea. Along with these a light pollution filter, my estate is full of the old orange/yellow lamposts and finally a barlow for experimenting with different magnifications. I opted for 1 with the t adaptor for basic afocal pictures of the moon. I find the moon interesting even if it does fade the sky out at times.

I love my bins and have learnt alot with them like where different objects are, but like you say the star clusterslook like a smudge of light. At least with the scope I now can go straight to these and see what awaits me in the eyepiece. I've learnt the simple constellations that were visible in my garden before I bought my bins by using a planisphere just to see if I would stick to this hobby or if it were just a fad. I've only been doing it since october but I aint bored of it yet theres just too much out there.  It was an eyeopener last night going out into the dark sky and only knowing the odd constellation out of all those stars. On a plus note I did pick out draco for the first time!

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Hi Leo, fantastic scope mate great choice.  Looks like you've got everything sorted - a great first scope - your going to see a lot with that.  Wonder if you have any star charts yet, they all look a little daunting when you first start using them, try and have a look for the brightest objects visible when you go out, try and make a log of what you want to observe, stick to it and spend a long time on each object - some you will be able to find quite quickly - others may need a little sweeping around for - but remember we're under very light polluted skies - so some objects just won't be visible - nothing wrong with you or the scope - its just how it is, people find the art of star hopping very frustrating to begin with, as the view in the scope is going to be upside down and back to front, so have the Bino's handy and just check from the charts for distinctive star patterns near to the object, get the red dot finder close in relationship of where you want to point the scope, then have a look, if its not there, just use a very low power EP (the longest focal length) for sweeping around the immediate area - as time goes by it gets a little easier, I first started out with a Dob, but moved to an SCT with GOTO - you will soon get used to the objects that are visible and the others that are just too faint for our skies - all of my observing is done from my garden, night after night you get used to re - visiting old friends around the sky.

Don't get frustrated if you can't see much to start with - I think this is the most IMPORTANT point to make and to keep telling this to ourselves when we're outside - there are tips we can use to make the most out of the light pollution, use a dark cloak to cover your head whilst looking at different objects - it really does look stupid - but makes a hell of a difference in giving the best contrast.

The light pollution filter will help - but only on certain objects which emit at certain wavelengths - much better on the emission Nebulae - M42,M27,M97,M76 for starters - as said - spend a while on each object try different mags to give the best contrast, especially whilst under the cover, especially make sure your eyes are dark adapted, spend the start of the session allowing your eyes to get dark adapted, this takes a while, maybe 30 - 60 mins - so start off with the brighter objects and work your way to the fainter objects as time goes by - any light here will ruin your dark adaptation.

Most of all just enjoy your time under the stars, not getting too frustrated - but this happens to us all at the beginning - so take your time, work your way through your objects, spending long periods on each - it amazes me just how long the light has been travelling to get to our mirror/lenses and just being able to see what we can see from our back gardens.

Paul.

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leo82    75

I know what you mean about frustration. I dont give in though. Andromeda and the double cluster in perseus took me a few continuous nights to find them. I knew where they were and I made a pact not to move on to the next target until I found them. I did think maybe the light pollution was fading them out but they fell into the right magnitude brightness level to be able to find them.

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Andyb90    203

Hi, I've been to Carding Mill Valley several times. It's much easier to access than the Long Mynd.

Being in the valley you have restricted views, but the skies overhead are excellent. The Milky Way is easily visible.

Also there are people living in the valley, which I think makes it feel safer. I've not seen any boy racers or signs of other 'activity'.

I think Shropshire on the whole is excellent for dark skies.

Andy.

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leo82    75

Hi Andy, I know what you mean about the restricted view in the valley, that's what put me off especially travelling that far for that little amount of sky. However, it has to be worth the trip just to see the milky way!

 

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Andyb90    203

I've also been further west, past the Long Mynd to this location called the Bog car park:

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.5748753,-2.9495897,3a,75y,206.5h,89.07t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sfF86JMeuhEukGaZ0OWGKcg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

Apart from a few small trees you get panoramic views here. The Milky Way is highly visible.

This is the best dark site location I've visited so far. There is very little sky glow to the east, as the Long Mynd area shields the site.

In fact the sky is so full of stars it takes some time to find familiar objects at first. Not that I'm complaining though as its a great situation to be in :icon_biggrin:

Andy.

 

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leo82    75

How much further west is the bog car park?

 

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Andyb90    203

Looking at Google maps it's about 20 minutes further out than Carding Mill. It took me about 1hr 15 to get there. I find the distance okay as the difference between my back garden and the site is huge.

Carding Mill was my backup plan in case I didn't feel comfortable at the site.

Andy.

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Beulah    2,648

The locals at The Bog are passionate about their skies, too. A number of years back one of them told me that they had successfully fought off plans for street lighting installation!

Fabulous area for walking, too. Fantastic part of the county I know well.   :)

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leo82    75

Is it an easy place to get to? I really didn't fancy the roads going up and down on the long mynd in the dark.

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Beulah    2,648

You don't have to go over the Mynd - you can avoid it. Assuming you are heading down on the A5 from Shrewsbury, you can hit the A488 and pootle around the lanes via Shelve:

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@52.5834142,-2.9678148,13.25z

Long Mynd and Stipertones uplands is a no-go in icy, snowy weather but the lanes should be relatively OK - they aren't gritted, so it's a case of checking the weather forecast...

Going by Bridges/Rattlinghope is a bit of a tedious faff, but nice scenery...

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Andyb90    203

That's the route I took, via the A488. The lanes leading to the site were fine.

The skies just got better and better throughout the evening when I was there, but I had to leave early as it was a weekday evening.

It was quite windy on that evening but the site isn't as exposed as other locations so it wasn't really a problem.

Andy.

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SteveWolves    25

Hi Leo

THe wolves AS do use a field in Bonningale sometimes. I have tried the Chase and the areas arround the long mynd but the problems are finding somewhere with little or no direct light that is far enough from a road with a good surface and reduced overall light pollution that is within a distance for an evenings observing. It is always usefull to have a mate or two with you to make you feel safe .

As well as being a member of Wolverhampton AS I run a beginners astro club at Perton Library on the 3 rd Thursday each month.

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