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Minotaur

Astronomical Masochism

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Hi all, I just spent the weekend at a wonderful dark sky location: An old hunting lodge in a North - South box valley near Martindale in the lake district. No electricity, not much light pollution (at the cost of a fairly tall horizon) and an observing platform at a reaonable elevation so trees weren't a problem. Saturday was a wash out with a thick blanket of cloud all day and all night. Sunday afternoon was sunny with broken cloud which steadily cleared as sunset approached. You can imagine my excitement as I started ferrying the gear outside and setting up (bearing in mind that this would have been first light for me and my newly acquired C8 (shouldn't it be called 'first dark'?)). Working carefully, I got everything assembled by about 8pm; just waiting for the skies to darken a little more and a stubborn bit of cloud to clear polaris so I could get the mount aligned. I could even see Jupiter standing brightly just over the head of the valley (at least I guess it was Jupiter - bright thing low in the sky a couple of points East of due South?).

I really wish I could go on to tell you all about the wonderful night of observing which I felt was sure to follow. Sadly, the meteorological powers that be decided this was not to be my time and punished me for my hedonistic life by sending an infinitely large, infinitely dense bank of cloud across the valley from the SW which obscured with chilling efficiency all of the wonders I had so recently imagined viewing at greater than eyeball magnification for the very first time.

Had there been any network coverage I would have hit speed dial 1 (Samaritans) for an antidote to the suicidal tendencies the cloud brought with it. In the absence of technology I resorted to an older and more basic therapy. After a couple of pints of gin & tonic and a gossip with my friends around the open fire, the atmosphere had cleared considerably (psychologically that is, the actual atmosphere was about as transparent as a coffin lid). I gave it until about 3am just in case there was a miracle in the wings and then bounced off every doorframe between the sofa and my bedroom, hiccupping quietly as I went.

I'm sure this is a regular scenario for Stargazers everywhere and I apologise for moaning about something I'm sure I will accept with good grace in time, but right now I feel the need to rage against the celestial machine.

Tell me it won't always be this way, or should I just move to Arizona?

Rick

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That sounds about right for a typical 'Darks Skies Trip' but stick at it because when you do hit the jackpot you will be rewarded with an unforgettable scene.

:stars: :hello2:

Regards

Kevin

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Rick

This happen quite a lot in the UK..... but when it comes good it is worth it :hello2::clouds1:

Cheers

Ian

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Martindale? Was that not the village that is now under water after being deliberately flooded to make a reservoir. Some of it reappears when the water level drops, but there should be no fear of that happening for a while.

Anyway, sorry your viewing never got off the ground, a shame really, you would expect the weather gods to look favourably on people who make an effort to try and achieve something that is dependent on clear skies. It seems though, these dieties don't have sympathetic natures.

We just have to persist with fortitude and stickability, and keep hoping for the best.

Better luck next time. Rick.

Ron. :hello2:

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Best laid plans of mice and thingies...eh Rick!

It's frustrating enough when you've just set up in your own back yard and the cloud rolls in, so this trip must have very disappointing for you.

Just stick with it as let's face it, with the cloudy nights we have been having lately, it can only get better.

Roy

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Martindale is just south of Ullsawater. Mardale was flooded to make what is now Haweswater a llittle further to the south. Off on holiday somewhere between the two in a few weeks time. Not taking the scope, but will have the bins handy just in case. Would love to see a clear Milky Way night from the top of a lakeland mountain!

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Never mind Rick, stick at it like the others have said because when it's good it's very very good. :hello2:

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That sounds about right for a typical 'Darks Skies Trip' but stick at it because when you do hit the jackpot you will be rewarded with an unforgettable scene.

:stars: :hello2:

Regards

Kevin

seeing that group of stars would be unforgettable, especially from the lake district lol

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I know how you feel Rick. A while back I persuaded Nette that what she really needed was a week in a caravan at the Lizard (UK's southernmost point, very dark).

Not one clear night!!!!

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I arranged for a weeks camping (my summer holiday) to Kelling Heath - which is fairly dark.

It was arrange for the week of the perseids on purpose...

I set the scope up early evening on 4 of the 6 nights, only to pack it away again about 1 - 3 hours later depending on just how evil the clouds decided to be.

One night I actually got as far as taking some test focusing shots before the clouds struck! They are EVIL I tell you!

Ant

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