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    SGL 2017 SP

Littleguy80

Don't believe what the weather man tells you!

13 posts in this topic

It's been a long time since I've a had a night of observing that wasn't cut short by the clouds rolling in. I check the forecast at least 10 times a day in the hope of clear skies. Yesterday, all signs pointed to their being little hope of getting the scope out. About 22:30, I wandered outside to see what I could see. A few breaks in the cloud but Saturn was visible. I went and grabbed the scope. I didn't want to wait for it to cool in case it was lost behind cloud, my philosophy being that an imperfect view of Saturn is better than no view of Saturn. 45 mins was dedicated to trying different magnifications, from 75x up to 180x, as part of a moon hunt. Titan was an easy spot, as always, and I identified Iapetis too. Rhea was the most exciting spot for me, only visible at 150x and below using averted vision. The seeing wasn't great at this point with only fleeting views of Cassini. 

My wife arrived home from work so I dutifully came in to hear about her day. I move my eyepatch over my observing eye and responded with an "aaaarrr" at the appropriate point in the conservation so she'd know I was listening to her ;) Stepping back outside, around midnight, I lookied up to see beautiful clear dark sky. I could see many faint stars showing the path of the Milky Way. Iota Andromedae was bright enough to target with my Telrad. According to Sky Safari, that star has a visual magnitude of 4.28.

With the sky looking so good, there was only place I was going to go. Looking through the eyepiece as 52 Cyg came into view, my heart started to beat a little faster. I could see nebulosity coming through the star, the western Veil was visible to me for only the second time in my life. I actually said "Yeeeeah!" at this point! The nebula was still quite faint, and it was difficult to pick out any detail. Based on the conversations I've had on SGL regarding the Veil and my setup, I believe this down to having a small exit pupil, less than 4mm, being used with an OIII filter. It didn't matter to me though, seeing the Veil again was a real thrill. I moved across to the Eastern Veil, which was also fab to see. Similarly faint so not a lot of detail on view but still a great sight with the main shape clear to see.

Feeling ambitious, i targeted Deneb with the Telrad and then moved down until 56 and 57 Cyg were showing in the eyepiece. Slowly moving across, the stars of the North American Nebula came into view. I found that it was possible to detect the edges of the nebula by looking for the blackness of space next to the lighter nebula. It was almost like seeing cloud against a blue sky. Like the Veil, the nebulosity was faint and not showing a lot of detail. However, I was thrilled to be seeing as much as I was. By far my most successful viewing of the NAN. I actually removed the OIII and spent some time looking around all the stars of the NAN which was a pretty sight in it's own right.

I really enjoy planetary nebulas and decided to tick a new one off my list. My target was the Blue Snowball Nebula. This was quite challenging to find and I had to use Sky Safari to pick out where it was. Identifying 13 And was the key. I settled on 113x as the best magnification for this target. With the OIII and averted vision, a darkening in the centre was noticeable giving it was appearance of small ring, like a tiny M57. Without the filter was the most enjoyable view. Next to the white stars, the pale blue of the nebula stood out. I felt the little planetary lived up to it's name.

I sensed a slight brightening in the sky, the Moon was well up now and dawn wasn't far away. I decided to go to M31. I got my first view of M31 last month and was very excited to see our galactic neighbour. It was one of the few targets I had in mind when I got my telescope. The bright core of M31 was as pretty as ever with M32 easily seen with averted vision. M110 still eludes me though. I  plan on returning regularly to M31 to see how the view develops as the sky darkens into the depths of winter. 

With the views now looking washed out, I decided to take a look at the Moon itself. With my ES68 24mm, the Moon is visible in it's entirety. It's a great showcase for the eyepiece, with excellent contrast on the terminator and craters looking very sharp. Time to pack up so I brought the scope inside. Looking out the front window a really bright star caught my eye. My brain caught up with my eyes and I realised it was Venus! Venus was the first planet I looked at through my scope. Taking the scope back outside, with a BGO 5mm and polarising filter, I grabbed a quick look at Venus. There was a bit of wind at the front of my house making the views a little shaky but it was still possible to see Venus as a semi circle. I also noticed an orange tint to it. Not sure if this was actually coming from the planet. A nice way to end a brilliant night. I spent 10 minutes making notes of the nights viewing and then crawled into bed at 3:45am.

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Good read successful session Neil, becoming accustomed to locating diffuse nebulae such as North America, 

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I'm keeping track at how many times thay get it wrong this year going by skys weather and thay have 85 black marks so far this year for south wales and a few weather apps on my mac hasn't done much better, i still think the best weather forcast is to look out the window, its 100% right all the time.

great report mate, thanks, charl.

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Last night here at 22:30 it was amazingly light, not a chance of viewing anything. Noticed it simply because it was unexpectedly light. Sort of condition where you check the clock and make sure the time is as late as you expect.

How can Look East have the weather wrong? Their forecasts often run until 16:00 then they jump to 06:00 the next morning. They many times just do not forecast anything at all for between 16:00 and 06:00. I actually complained about it once to the BBC. Asked was it considered irrelevant what weather commuters heading home could expect, and was late afternoon and early evening weather not considered relevant or of use to people. About 3 days afterwards they started showing weather up until 20:00, but occasionally it all stops at 16:00 still.

Most amusing was that at 18:50 they would describe the weather that had already gone up until 16:00 and then still jump to 06:00 the next day, so not even told what the weather now was. Never quite made up my mind what they were doing.

More then once the 07:30 forcast has been bright+warm and at 08:00 it is cloudy+cool. Or vice versa.

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Great report Neil! and VG observing- you will excel on DSO...:thumbsup: there is so much to come.

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Super report  just don't take notice of forecasters !

Nick.

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Looks like you had an amazing night of astronomy... great to read, nice heart felt and deep report... I sensed the excitement in your words which you were feeling as you were taking in the views.

Weather reports need to be taken with a grain of salt, I too find that past about 3 nights they are mostly completely wrong in their forecast... of course that does depend on who's forecast you listen to, because here there are times that each different station reports different weather. Also the forecast is for a general location, not necessarily your particular location. I have had times where I was out observing with great seeing but a friend who is about 20 km away was clouded over... and vice-versa.

Another thing is that the forecasts are for the day time, not usually for night time... but one thing that I found is that the Yahoo Weather app seems to be the most accurate, it gives a hour to hour forecast for a entered location across 24 hours and it is a remarkable amount of time spot on up to a few day into the future... so I naturally go by that one.

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5 hours ago, xtreemchaos said:

I'm keeping track at how many times thay get it wrong this year going by skys weather and thay have 85 black marks so far this year for south wales and a few weather apps on my mac hasn't done much better, i still think the best weather forcast is to look out the window, its 100% right all the time.

great report mate, thanks, charl.

Check out the Yahoo Weather app...

 

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Another very nice report. You are certainly coming on in leaps and bounds. 

Its easy for them to forecast the weather here. If they say cloudy all the time they will get it right about 90% of their forecasts.

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Super job there, a great report that I enjoyed reading! Well done on the Veil! With some darker skies, hopefully you will start to pick out some more detail, get down to mag 5.5 NELM and things get interesting :)

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Nice report :) I use xcweather and the clearskies app for my weather forcasts. The xcweather tends to b the most accurate and it gives the cloud cover as a percentage which i like.  Last night both said there would be about 30% cloud cover but when i was oit it looked to be perfectly clear and it was one of the best nights viewing i have had for this time of year.

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What a nice report Neil. When it comes to weather here I believe they have the same system as I have here in the house and outside. The book tells me it is correct 70% of the time when in truth it is about 7%, not sure the forecasts are that good even. Yesterday 3 forecasts told us no rain what did it do, yes rain.

Alan

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We were promised cloud tonight too. It's as clear as a bell :)

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