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Trip to a bark site 14/4/18


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Galaxies are definitely in season at the moment and I had time, brownie points and a wonderful transparent forecast (thanks @vlaiv) so I took a short drive somewhere a bit darker. It was a beautifully transparent night but a huge white dome stretched south-east up higher than Spica. Higher than that was fine, though, with K Leo naked eye so that's where I started. After that I went to the triplet. The Hamburger was clear (averted vision) and it really whet my appetite for the Virgo galaxies to come.

My goal was to go from M60 all the way to M85 including the faint and new to me M88 and M91. It was wonderful. I saw all the Messiers plus the Eyes and a couple more in that field (of Makarian's chain?). 

The northern sky was much better and I'd never seen so many stars there before. M51 was wonderful, M101 positively stood out, M81 had grown since last time I looked and M82 looked on the verge of revealing detail. So that's what darkness can do for a telescope.

Throughout the session there weren't three seconds without the furious barking of a nearby dog echoing off the hill and it got to me a bit. When it did calm down for a few seconds, I heard a more guttural sound coming from the woods. These two things added to the unease I felt when cars drove past occasionally so I thought I'd pack up. It was a wonderful night (28 galaxies) but I wanted to go home. 

Thanks for reading (and I won't be drinking caffeine in the evening again :happy11:)

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Nice report Dom, did you get to see the Dog Star ?... it has been a few weeks since we have had any decent observing conditions in the UK. However, the forecast looks promising in the coming week ?

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