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Analysis Paralysis

Most memorable observing moment?

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1 minute ago, Analysis Paralysis said:

What is your most memorable observing moment - the one memory that you will never forget? 

First time I ever laid eyes on Saturn...it would bring tears to a glass eye ?

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I've been observing for 30+ years so I have a few !

- Total eclipse from Marazion beach in Cornwall

- Total lunar eclipse when the full moon went blood red and all the stars suddenly leapt into view

- Transit of Venus

- Transit of Mercury

- My 1st supernova

- Saturn with my old 60mm refractor at 3:00 am about 35 years ago

Quite a few more too - theres a lot of wonders out there ! :icon_biggrin:

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So far, it has to be the moment of 2nd Contact during the Great American Eclipse last August.

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The sharpest pencil dot sized shadow cast by Io as it transited the face of Jupiter, not only that, but on this occasion quite a bit of planetary detail too, more than I normally encounter, due to the perfect position of Jupiter and the seeing conditions.

Edited by Charic
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For me, its probably the solar eclipse in Wyoming on Aug. 21st, 2017. Either that, or the time I saw the Orion nebula for the first time. I was so surprised!

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I've many but perhaps the one I will not forget was when I was lifting my youngest son up to the eyepiece of the vx14 to look at the moon. I was about to put him down and he suddenly lunged back for another look, saying "... wait! let me see if there are any footsteps!".

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Must have been about four or five years old in the early 1950s. Partial eclipse of the Sun. Looking down at the concrete path in our back garden, I saw hundreds of little crescent suns. I guess the leaves on a neighbour's tree acted  as multiple pinhole cameras. That remains one of a very few pre-school  memories and my earliest astro-observation.

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Lyrids meteor shower observed late night after moon set, completely empty beach on small island with no power due to generator breaking down.  Sat on beach viewing stars & meteors to sounds of ocean in background. 

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1998 Leonids observed from high up in the hills behind Nice in the South of France.

You could see them in daylight as we drove up into the hills. And you could still see them at dawn as we drove back down.

A constant barrage of fireballs, so bright that they cast shadows on the ground.

Wisps of green smoke in the upper atmosphere, twisting.

Seeing the fireballs detonate - and seeing a glowing ember shooting onwards from the point of detonation.

Glorious.

These days when people ask me if I'm going to be watching whichever meteor shower is up next I just say "Nah!". I know I will never beat that night. Or even come close.

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3 minutes ago, ian_bird said:

1998 Leonids observed from high up in the hills behind Nice in the South of France.

Interestingly (or not), I had done a bit of research - which indicated that really big Leonid showers always came a day earlier than predicted.

So I took a gamble and went up a day early.

The highest recorded rate worldwide for the 1998 Leonids was measured at the Nice Observatory that night.

Lucky or what!

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One of:

1999 solar eclipse in Munich - rain 20 min before, gloriously clear for totality!

A fireball during the 1998 leonids viewed from rooftop in Cambridge that left a visible green smoke trail for 5+ min. Guessing mag -12-14?

My best view of Jupiter - resolving Galilean moons into clear discs through the Thorrowgood telescope at Cambridge at 1am. Not sure I moved for about half an hour...sat completely alone.

Edited by coatesg
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It was summer in 1994 and watching the dark impact spots on Jupiter’s surface left by comet Shoemaker Levy turn into view - live at the eyepiece. This was absolutely mindblowing. I was observing with my c8 sct and an old orange c11 from our school obs. with some friends. It was a beautiful evening...

Edited by Froeng
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First time I saw a dark sky. North Skye, no light pollution.

First thing was the shape, tears and dark nebulae to the huge arch of the Milky Way.

Next thing was trying to find constellations. That was before I looked through my 10" Dob and got the spiral arms and knots of M33. Dark sky beats everything !

Nick.

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The first planet I had ever seen through a telescope was in 1975, through a home made 6" reflector, and it was Saturn.

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First live view of Saturn through an 80etx and the transit of Venus in 2004 - perfect conditions spent 6 hours in Poole Park with a group from Wessex Astronomy Soc showing people views through an 8" scope.

The '99 solar eclipse would almost certainly have made the list had we not been clouded out.

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First view of Saturn with my old explorer 130p. M13 as the first object I saw with my 250px dob. And the first time I saw the veil, no filter just very dark skies during a visit to Scotland. And, last one, the flame neb at the last kelling heath.

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The first time seeing the Orion Nebula and Pleiades with my 7 years old daughter two weeks ago. 

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First time seeing Saturn, Jupiter, and the Veil Nebulas come to mind.  All spectacular sights.  Recently, Caroline's Rose really left a big impression on me.

Edited by Hayduke27
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Like many others, Saturn!  I was amazed I could see those rings with just a 70mm frac, and stood there making "cooing" noises.

Same 'scope - the Galilean moons lined up with Jupiter.  Fabulous.

But maybe the most memorable sighting - because I had been trying for well over two years - was Jupiter's Great Red Spot, or rather Small Grey Sausage as it appeared in the 8" SCT.

Doug.

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Saturn for me too, through a friends 70mm refractor, a very close second was Jupiter after Shoemaker Levy 9 at Toothil observatory near Southampton

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So many fantastic moments but the two that stand out are Saturn and 6 moons through the 16" dob, and finding G1 (Mayall11) a globular cluster within M31 and outside of our galaxy.

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1. Northern lights over Lofoten Islands, Norway. Stunning view, spectacular landscape.

2. Through an eyepiece : Saturn

 

Rune.

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Comet Hyakutake in spring 1996; glorious sight under 6.0 mag skies; green-blue hue, with a tail spanning 40 degrees from almost zenith downward south. Better than Hale-Bopp later.

Eclipse 1999 through cloud gaps - downpour ten minutes later.

Stephan

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