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Ally8446

The Tropics of Scotland

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A few weeks ago I discovered that @peter shah lived ridiculously close to me, roughly 15 minutes drive. After contacting him he kindly offered to have a look at my dob to attempt to diagnose my ongoing secondary collimation issue. This was solved in quick time and I put the issue squarely down to the fact that I'm an imbecile. I didn't actually have any opportunity to test it out for a few weeks. So thank you Peter for your time and patience, you are a gentleman.

My wife and I have only just got back yesterday from NW Scotland (Bortle 2 skies). It being Scotland it rained for the most part and when it wasn't raining it was cloudy. Until last Thursday evening around 23:00 when I popped my head out of our lodge to investigate a strange noise (it was an owl btw), looked up and could not distinguish the location of ANY constellation. I've never seen so many stars, even without dark adapted eyes the MW was like BANG - HERE I AM. Amazing to say the least.

As my scope had been set up since the Sunday all that was required was a quick collimation check (spot on) and in went my ES 24mm. Straight to the Western Veil aka Witches Broom. Popped in a UHC filter and peered into the Ep........ IT'S HUGE (the nebula not the ep). I moved a little to get 52 CYG out of the view so was mainly looking at the broom as opposed to the stick. I'm still 'learning' to see what I'm actually looking at, if that makes sense, moving between averted and direct vision. It was mesmerizing and beautifully wispy. I then switched to the Eastern side. After spending roughly 5 minutes I swear I could make out some structure, especially the thicker end. I'm open to correction cause it may have been my mind playing tricks.

Next I wanted to try out M1. Although I've 'seen' it before in a previous scope, and i do use that term very loosely, I reckoned my 1/14th mirror might prove itself. I wasn't wrong. 1st thing that struck me was it was bigger than I expected it to be. After 5 or so minutes, again I think I was beginning to make out very slight filaments right on the edges, but could be wrong.

At this point (approaching 01:00) I realized I was ill prepared for the cold. It was bitter. But something was looming above the trees in the east. A couple of firs separated M1 from my final quarry but The Hunter was now visible. This was also a first for me and my DL scope. I've looked at M42 more times than I can count but HOLY COW this was incredible, It was like looking at a butterfly with it's wings up as viewed from the side. There was a tinge of colour, maybe bluey green I thought. The Trapezium......well...you couldn't miss it. Four perfect pinpoints. One couldn't ask for more.

Now when i said my final quarry.....at the time I meant it, dithering about in the dark. But Andromeda has always held a special place in my heart. I'VE NEVER SEEN DUST LANES IN M31 BEFORE.....they were dim dust lanes but they were definitely there. Obviously M32 & M110 were very hard to miss.

All in all I had 2.5 hours before the cold and clouds rolling in (I was actually secretly grateful for the clouds as I was able to blame them for coming in early to a bemused Wife rather than whining.....it's too cold)

BORTLE 2 SKIES......yes please, same time next year. 

ASTRONOMY ROCKS :headbang2:

 

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What an excellent report. I really enjoyed reading. I'm also secretly grateful to the clouds on occasion (don't tell anyone)

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That sounds great! Really got your excitement.

Those nights when you discover or rediscover things under a really dark sky are amazing.

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Lovely report Al and really happy that the clear skies turned up for you. They cannot be beaten...

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1 minute ago, PhotoGav said:

Lovely report Al and really happy that the clear skies turned up for you. They cannot be beaten...

Cheers Gav, it was absolutely stunning. The perfect place for our hobby.

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Brilliant report.

And I share your pain with collimation... It makes an incredible difference to do it once with someone who knows what they're doing.

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Fantastic report Al, really great that you got to see those skies finally. I'm sure you saw the features you described; such a lovely scope and those skies will certainly deliver those sorts of views. 

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2 hours ago, Ally8446 said:

 I've never seen so many stars, even without dark adapted eyes the MW was like BANG - HERE I AM. Amazing to say the least.

Ain’t it just!

Glad you enjoyed West Scotland skies ... To paraphrase: ‘when they’re good they’re very, very good, and when they’re bad they’re horrid’.

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Gordon, don't praise him, he was just lucky to have a good night, let's just stick to how bad it really is up here ?
If anyone else finds out how good it can get up here, there'll be an influx and we'll have no-where to park!

 

Seriously Ally8446. Scotland does have its merits sometimes, but when it's bad, it's miserable especially when the jet stream is overhead. But  just like your experience, it can get awe inspiring.  I only need about a miles drive( as the crow flies) with good seeing, to have the same effect, whereby the 'normal' constellations you readily see, have disappeared in a sea of Stars.

Edited by Charic
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12 minutes ago, Charic said:

Gordon, don't praise him, he was just lucky to have a good night, let's just stick to how bad it really is up here ?

Thing is I'm actually a Glaswegian. I left when I was 18 to join up and travel the world. ...1st posting ? Lossiemouth 😕

Really left Scotland when I was 23 and have never lived there since. I'm now 47 and live in Mid Wales. Basically same weather, different location. 

However, given the chance, I'd relocate to where we've just been on holiday in a heartbeat. 

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Small World, I started from Wales and ended up here? (Lossiemouth is  bigger, new architecture, new planes ) but I don't work there! 
On my next visit, just 14 Miles North of you, would a beer give me access to  a 14" scope?

Edited by Charic
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9 hours ago, Ally8446 said:

Thing is I'm actually a Glaswegian. I left when I was 18 to join up and travel the world. ...1st posting ? Lossiemouth 😕

Really left Scotland when I was 23 and have never lived there since. I'm now 47 and live in Mid Wales. Basically same weather, different location. 

However, given the chance, I'd relocate to where we've just been on holiday in a heartbeat. 

Great report - I really enjoyed reading it. M42 is jaw-dropping when observed in an area with low light pollution. You don't have to drive far from Welshpool to find similar quality skies...    :)

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Fantastic read....this is one of the reasons why the Dob Mob travel to the Isle of Skye, stunning location, stunning skies.

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22 minutes ago, estwing said:

Fantastic read....this is one of the reasons why the Dob Mob travel to the Isle of Skye, stunning location, stunning skies.

I may have a dob but it falls way short of 'The Dob Mob' size me thinks. 

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9 hours ago, Charic said:

Small World, I started from Wales and ended up here? (Lossiemouth is  bigger, new architecture, new planes ) but I don't work there! 
On my next visit, just 14 Miles North of you, would a beer give me access to  a 14" scope?

You live in Lossie.....small world indeed. 

You'd be more than welcome to give me a shout next time you're down this way, beer or not. 

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2 hours ago, Ally8446 said:

I may have a dob but it falls way short of 'The Dob Mob' size me thinks. 

No..you have a dob, you're in.!

We also go to Elan valley a lot and enjoy the wonderful weather there..

 

IMG_1198.JPG

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1 hour ago, estwing said:
3 hours ago, Ally8446 said:

I may have a dob but it falls way short of 'The Dob Mob' size me thinks. 

No..you have a dob, you're in.!

I often think the same - given that you can even get these dinky sit on a table Dobs I often wonder how large a Dob Mob Dob needs to be to gain membership of this elite group. 

Another thing I've been wondering is also prompted by this thread.  I am certainly not under these Bortle 2 skies, but I do wonder how much you need to see before you can say you can see the Milky Way (i.e. this obvious high density belt of stars).  The trouble is to ask for it to be shown as a photo (with the often long exposures that are used) doesn't really show what the eye might see.  Perhaps what I need to find is someone who has made a sketch of it done without magnification or long exposures!  I faced East the other night and took some amateur multiple exposures of Auriga, the resulting picture had loads and loads of stars in it, but I still don't know if I look up and see the 'official' Milky Way from where I stand in the back garden with my naked eye.

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1 hour ago, JOC said:

how large a Dob Mob Dob needs to be to gain membership of this elite group. 

If you met us the last thing on your mind as you walked away would be elitist..😂

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6 hours ago, estwing said:

No..you have a dob, you're in.!

We also go to Elan valley a lot and enjoy the wonderful weather there..

 

IMG_1198.JPG

I'd be absolutely delighted if I were to join you in Elan or Skye. Perhaps Elan 1st. I'll leave it up to you guys. 

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6 hours ago, JOC said:

I often think the same - given that you can even get these dinky sit on a table Dobs I often wonder how large a Dob Mob Dob needs to be to gain membership of this elite group. 

Another thing I've been wondering is also prompted by this thread.  I am certainly not under these Bortle 2 skies, but I do wonder how much you need to see before you can say you can see the Milky Way (i.e. this obvious high density belt of stars).  The trouble is to ask for it to be shown as a photo (with the often long exposures that are used) doesn't really show what the eye might see.  Perhaps what I need to find is someone who has made a sketch of it done without magnification or long exposures!  I faced East the other night and took some amateur multiple exposures of Auriga, the resulting picture had loads and loads of stars in it, but I still don't know if I look up and see the 'official' Milky Way from where I stand in the back garden with my naked eye.

When you see it, there really is no doubt, it is a lovely sight and quite clear. You can see dark rifts in Cygnus when it is overhead. 

I guess you need a naked eye limiting magnitude of 5.5 or better to see it.

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On 19/11/2018 at 16:55, Ally8446 said:

... could not distinguish the location of ANY constellation. I've never seen so many stars, even without dark adapted eyes the MW was like BANG - HERE I AM. Amazing to say the least. ...

I've had exactly that experience. The SHEER BEAUTY, and impossible adequately to describe

i.  to people who've never experienced it before and

ii. to many people who live under such skies and simply take it for granted, not realizing they live in a privileged and increasingly rare setting

Magnus

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@JOC If you are at a suitably dark site there is absolutely no mistaking the MW. You do not need to decipher it, it is just there in all it’s glory. Depending on location it runs from one horizon to the other. Such a beautiful sight.

Edited by Uplooker
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At Galloway, this year, I could  read my observing list by the light of the Milky Way.

John

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Mods - can you lock this thread please - or else everyone will be charging up the M6/M74 to share our Bortle 2/3 skies !!!!  😉 

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