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kev100

It's often the unexpected things that make a great night ...

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Hiya ... despite being knackered yesterday (after a long day out in Weymouth hanging around while my eldest son did two shows in the chorus of the musical Joseph), I really needed a night out under the stars ...

Got home at about 11.15, and was set up with the dob at around 11.30 (still twilight!). I started off with Mars and Saturn. Had a good look at Mars, but couldn't detect any detail. Saturn was fantastically crisp at x136 in the ES/82 8.8mm: clear Cassini division, surface banding ...

The Milky Way soon appeared as a soft cloud overhead, lacking the fizzy sparkliness of other nights, but nice nonetheless. The Veil neb in my ES/62 24mm plus OIII filter was okay, not great. In fact, although seemingly clear, fainter objects and nebulosity was underwhelming (M31, 51, 81, 82, M16), and lacking in detail.

Star clusters, though, were amazing. M11, M3 & lots of other 'couldn't be bothered to identify' clusters in the Milky Way were all fantastic! M3 (I know, not in the MW!) in the ES 8.8 in particular, was lovely; really dense, like fine salt grains ...

The night was looking like it might be spoiled by a local 'party' that seemed to go wrong, with arguments and shouting emanating from a local farm, storming's off, more shouting, a girl crying, a shotgun blast (!), more crying, then drunken laughter, recriminations, then more storming's off, a pickup truck screeching off, then back ... honestly!

Anyway, I was thinking of packing up around 1.00 anyway, as the waning moon was due to clear the hills, whereupon the 'party' seemed to calm down for a bit, so I thought I'd take a look at the moon before heading for bed. By this point I'd kind of resorted to scanning around with my 10x50s, and pointed them at the moon as it rose ...

Then ... hang on, what's that? That doesn't look like a background star ... out with Stellarium on the phone and, 'Wow!' That's Neptune (in the same FOV as the moon!). What an amazing sight. I quickly switched to the scope, and tried a variety of EPs. The planet remained a shimmery orb, but a truly magical one at that.

I hung around for another 20 minutes or so, entranced by the combination of our planet's satellite and the distant ice giant, before finally packing up. Amazing.

As it turned out, I might as well have stayed out. Didn't get to sleep for ages, as I was buzzing from such a fantastic experience.

Cheers,

Kev 

 

Edited by kev100
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Congrats!  Sounds like you had a great night despite the party goings-on.  I've not bagged Neptune yet, so must have a look sometime.  

John

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Congrats on a great session!

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nice one. Sounds like it turned into a good session ?

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What a great experience with Neptune.

Yes, parties with too much booze are very annoying. One of the nice things with observing at night is the serene silience, apart from an occasional owl or so.

Edited by Linda
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That was really uplifting and inspiring, Kev. Thank you!!

Waldemar

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That sounds like a beautiful session, party going-ons or not. Well done on bagging Neptune. Thought I had it once, but alas not?

Have not had the opportunity to get scopes out, whether at night or during the day, too busy doing jobs about a new house.

hope you have another couple of sessions like that one in the not too distant future

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Cheers everyone. Party shenanigans aside, it was a cracking session, and the moon and Neptune being so close together was amazing. Well worth the effort.

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That's what I love about this hobby Kev, with so much against us (especially in the UK!!) when you do get an opportunity for some viewing, there's just as much chance some magic will happen as that it won't. Glad you had a good night. 

I myself am hoping for my first viewing for about 3 weeks thanks to the weather, work commitments etc, hopefully it'll be solar viewing as my solar filter arrives tomorrow, lots of opportunity for some magic there. :)

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Very nice report. I really enjoyed the read and I can sympathise with you regarding the show. My daughter appeared in the chorus  many times, so I have seen the show too many times too.

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