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After a 4hr trip to the Dob mobs dark sky spot in Elan...me & Steve (swampthing) set up the awning at 4pm Friday as rain was on its way so we just got on with setting up before the kettle went on. Faulksy arrived for a few hours and the giggles and banter ensued! Rain,wind, sleet are the norm here so we settled in for the wait and chance of clear skies. We have done this so many times here because we know when its good there's nowhere south of Scotland to compete. But by 3am with no sign of a star Mike left, and took the cloud with him! in a matter of 15 mins of him leaving, the sky cleared but without the scopes collimated,finders and telrad set up would it be worth chancing it when better skies were forecast for following night?....then Steve spotted ngc 7000 and a chance of bagging it naked eye! out with the OIII filter and held it up to my eye and you could just make it out...I'd heard of this before but had doubted it but now was a believer! .....I awoke around 8:30am to a winter wonderland! snow in April....last year we had sunburn!...the day brought more wind,rain,sleet,sun,snow...honestly was there any weather left?...by 7pm it was calming down and the cloud was breaking up so time for some fuel for the night ahead. Staggs dynamite chilli is one of the mobs faves for a nights observing...the heat keeps the dew away...sometimes!?..and so we began(as always I would be using the 21E all night) firstly a wave good-bye to M42...a must from any dark sky site when you get chance! so on with a thick coat as the temp was dropping fast and on with the dew heaters also!...next the cone nebula,a little slither of moon and low postion made this a challenge....after looking for sometime we realised we were looking in the wrong place,so checked charts and set the telrad up in the right place and set off again,yes that's deffo the xmas tree...with hints and wisps of gas everywhere we starred at the spot waiting,wanting something to appear....and slowly bits were reaveled to the right side of the cone. We spent an age on this but the cone shape didn't show itself only bits. To late in the year?,maybe, I think this will become my next winter target. So next was ngc 2903 in Leo a mixed barred spiral and a really nice one to bag. Ngc 3344 the sliced onion in Leo minor promised a lot in the hidden treasures book but was lacking tonight....somethings not quiet right?...steve swung to M51... it wasn't showing a great amount of detail..drat, the transparency wasn't that good....Damn. Ngc 5746 the blade and pearl galaxy in virgo is a real show piece...better than 891, its massive and wonderful!.Ngc 5084 finished my swoop around virgo. Steve was galaxy hunting in Hercules and was finding it tough in the conditions hunting down 14-15 mag fuzzies...and my was it getting cold!...the ice on our light shrouds was easily 3mm thick!...I'd thought I would bag a few globs so hooked up with M68 in Hydra and these were much easier to spot!..lovely things aren't they?..M5 another sparkler,fantastic! I also ticked off the antennae galaxies in Corvus and moved back towards Libra and ngc 5897 another glob!...M107 had been one I'd overlooked so I ticked off yet another glob in Ophiuchus. Scorpius was next to hoover up M80 & M4 but the cloud was eeking in. Saturn and mars zipped across the ep but just as the teapot was on its was approaching so was the cloud was on the increase.."must be getting on is it 2:30am yet?"..." 3:40 more like!" I said we had been at the eyepiece for 6 1/2 hrs!...it had gone so quick..the sky was brightening in the east and the ice had frozen my vans doors shut!...at 5am we turned in...happy content and cold. thanks to steve for the giggles and company...clear skies, Calv.

Edited by estwing
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After a 4hr trip to the Dob mobs dark sky spot in Elan...me & Steve (swampthing) set up the awning at 4pm Friday as rain was on its way so we just got on with setting up before the kettle went on.

Nice report Calv. Almost like you wrote it twice    

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Awesome report!  In addition to fine work on galaxies, well done on those globs. M107 is playing hard to get from my LP skies and I won't even attempt M4.  They are fine gems, I concur heartily ;)  M5 must have been the stunner being much higher for you guys.  

6 1/2 hours at the EP.......take a lot of Staggs to fortify for those temperatures!!!


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Lovely report on your visit to Elan, looks very remote. NGC 3344, with sliced onion, bet Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver together could not cook that up.

British weather, I flew from here on April 8th 2005 it was 24 degrees, next day in Hull I got up at 6.30am, cold but sunny, then we had snow, after sun melting the cover of snow, rain and hail, alot of wind (could be the onions) more snow and finally sun to set the end of the day.


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Nice observing spot. Yes, it's very easy to forget the time when you are hunting DSOs.

Nice and practical to combine a camping trip with observing, at least that's what I presume you are doing. I have done that as well, but not with the car.

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51 minutes ago, estwing said:

3 times Scott...I penned it before I typed it again!...

Look at the bright side mate, it gives you a chance to relive the experience 3 times :)

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Wonderful Calv.

Well written nights exploits and pics give a great view of the idyllic surroundings.

Snow the next day must've been a proper shocker good job there wasn't much of the stuff.

Hope to get down that way soon myself, my car doesn't like rough roads though so I'll get in touch before venturing out that way.

Keep up the great reports :icon_biggrin: 

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6 hours ago, estwing said:

The roads are good except for the last 1/2 a mile ...Steve's van is no off roader!

Oh I dunno, it spends most of its life off road (in the repair shop) :D 

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