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New Forest showdown with dark skies .

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Back to the edge of the forest and being surrounded by thatched cottages , no fireworks , hurrah. Soon got cold , clear and comfortably chilly. I took the 10" Dob , PSA and a few eps to compare those targets so photographically visually clear on north Skye with what's up here. It's a great shaker and breathtaker to see so many stars against black backgrounds. Coming out at 4 for a look, was like going into a planetarium.

Firstly, living with a Lightbridge. I found it easier to transport the wedged in top section with the top cushioned under the heavy primary section on the base.It's easier to get both bits out of the car. All the rough tracks driving had lost collimation and even the focus tension bolt had come right undone. A little preparation before kick off. Some distant flashes from fireworks displays , after 10 everything settled down.

A fair comparison with darker sites, the Milky Way was bright overhead but distant glow took views away from lower down, still a thrilling sight as Ursa Major made its trip to tail end. Star hopping proved considerably easier than from town. It was quite evident that some account of the sky sphere be taken in large star hops using a flat chart !

NGC 891 is impossible from home. It looks an easy hop from Almach , but it was very much by chance and effort and averted vision that I got this faint streak. Unlike NGC 7331 which stood out brightly as did the splendid NGC 7662, " Blue Snowball", first time I caught it at x30, very blue. Even binaries split down to below 2" , nice seeing. 

M27 glowed very finely and even M1 gave a good view when quite low. M76 showed it's fine little dumbbell shape and was an easy star hop.
A lovely M33 showed up well in x15 bins and gave good detail at x50. 

I was very thrilled to catch the brighter half of the Western Veil, 52 Cygni showed a bit , but not the fine whispers of a darker sky. It's nice to move straight across from the great brighter arc of the eastern veil until you hit it. Both were initially visible without the uhc filter. 

Auriga climbed and as it rises,it's a good Dob trick to get the huge M38, straight down to M36, then down again and nudged left to get the wonder of M37 to fill the ep at x10 .I caught the other clusters here including the easy kite of NGC 1664, NGC 2281, NGC 1582 and NGC 1778. 26 Auriga showed a lovely split at 12.4".

Then over to M34 and NGC 752. Cassiopeia was neck wrenching high, but " Caroline's Rose" was just stunning up to x100. Just after midnight some high humidity approached and that was it . I went out for a look at 4, the very best thrilling sky with Orion and Leo high and full. For some reason Cassiopeia on its side just looked enormous .Sleep versus stamina , will have to try the midnight shift again.

Although not as tempting as pristine sky, star hopping is easy and the sights rewarding away from town glare. Getting out there is very much worthwhile, under clear skies ! No cheers for the forthcoming monster full moon either !
Nick.IMG_4157.JPGIMG_4158.JPGCompared to the malt whisky real stuff !IMG_4131.JPG

Edited by cotterless45
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Very nice Nick...891 is lovely but dark sky is a major factor for this hopefully this sort of thing will be inspirational for other to get further away from that orange glow...

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Great stuff Nick, the reality of the image being based on a visual observation ,all be it from Skye should also provide a good reference for new starters to the hobby on what is possible. 

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That really is a difference. I love the New Forest night sky but it's been so long since I've visited anywhere completely unaffected by light pollution that I'd rather forgotten how much difference there was. A cautiously quiet cheer for the reappearing moon from me - it's a nice one for a school night when a dark sky trip isn't possible :-)

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Enthusiastic report Nick and not a disappointment after the Skye spectacular.

NGC 891 is just stunning from dark skies. One of my personal favourites with the central dust lane being direct vision from Galloway last week. 

Often I find it difficult to come back to a sky that isn't pristine but you have certainly hit it there.

Good read thanks 


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Great report Nick. It was so good to see you again at SGL12 and to look at some of your fantastic sketches in the flesh. I always enjoy viewing NGC891 and although I think my view from home is pretty good I would love to view it from a really dark sky with a nice Dob.

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