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markclaire50

Most satisfying observations?

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1) Many years ago as 16/17 year old I was camping with a mate and woke in the middle of the night and looked out of the tent and saw a star studded sky, something I had never seen before as I lived in town. That memory has stayed with me for longer than I care to admit to.
2) Having looked many times at Mars and seen red blob, one night I looked and started to see detail. amazing.
3) First view of Saturn through my own scope in my backyard.
The thrill of going out with comparatively simple equipment and observing objects which most people have never seen is still an awesome feeling.

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The three I remeber most are.

1) Around 1977 myself and a few other kids were lying on our backs at the local park looking up at the stars, when suddenly a huge bluish/green fireball type meteor flew across the sky... we could almost smell it and this experience is what got me interested in the cosmos. (along with Dr Who and the Daleks) 

2) During a trip to Kenya in 2000, I cannot forget just how dark the skies were and just how many stars there were, there were so many I couldn’t pick out any that I knew. But it was an awesome and memorable night.

3) Observing Saturn through my SCT 9.25 for the first time a few years back...... lovely sight 

Edited by Pig
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It's interesting how many of the most memorable moments are with very modest equipment, or with no equipment at all.

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Only 3 - that will be tough!

So for 'satisfying' - I'd say:

1.   Finding the Auriga clusters manually - they were the first things I learnt to find, and re-find, and that opened up the sky to planned exploring (rather than scanning the sky randomly!)

2.   Seeing solar prominances visually without a filter during the total eclipse in the US in 2017 - and showing others them too

3.  Showing about 150 people (including loads of kids and their parents) Jupiter with a small scope, from Newport city centre, on a freezing night in January 2013 as part of a StargazersLive event.  The forecast was for cloud so I'd just taken a 72mm frac on a vixen porta to show/use indoors, but it cleared up so we took the scope out to the riverside.   What made it so satisfying was that it showed people that atronomoy can be accessible - a small scope and a simple tripod.  (I've done loads of other outreach events and they all are satisftying in their way too - eg the partial eclipse in Hereford...)

And now I'm going to cheat and add my most memorable 3 views:

1.  Like so many other people, my first view of Saturn - you might have thought I'd actually discovered it I was so excited!

2.  The view of the Veil Nebula through Olly's Sir Isaac dob in France.

3.  The total eclipse of 1999 - from France not UK and so we saw it!  or rather we experienced it.... The sight was amazing, but supplemented by changing temperature and most memorably the cheer we heard coming towards us as the eclipse approached.

Helen

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50 minutes ago, Helen said:

Only 3 - that will be tough!

So for 'satisfying' - I'd say:

1.   Finding the Auriga clusters manually - they were the first things I learnt to find, and re-find, and that opened up the sky to planned exploring (rather than scanning the sky randomly!)

2.   Seeing solar prominances visually without a filter during the total eclipse in the US in 2017 - and showing others them too

3.  Showing about 150 people (including loads of kids and their parents) Jupiter with a small scope, from Newport city centre, on a freezing night in January 2013 as part of a StargazersLive event.  The forecast was for cloud so I'd just taken a 72mm frac on a vixen porta to show/use indoors, but it cleared up so we took the scope out to the riverside.   What made it so satisfying was that it showed people that atronomoy can be accessible - a small scope and a simple tripod.  (I've done loads of other outreach events and they all are satisftying in their way too - eg the partial eclipse in Hereford...)

And now I'm going to cheat and add my most memorable 3 views:

1.  Like so many other people, my first view of Saturn - you might have thought I'd actually discovered it I was so excited!

2.  The view of the Veil Nebula through Olly's Sir Isaac dob in France.

3.  The total eclipse of 1999 - from France not UK and so we saw it!  or rather we experienced it.... The sight was amazing, but supplemented by changing temperature and most memorably the cheer we heard coming towards us as the eclipse approached.

Helen

Helen, I am sooooo envious of your total eclipse experiences. I would love to see one. Last year, I was asking my wife if she'd like to go on holiday to Northern Spain in 2026. For some strange reason, she seemed to think there might be a total eclipse! ??

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1 minute ago, markclaire50 said:

Helen, I am sooooo envious of your total eclipse experiences. I would love to see one. Last year, I was asking my wife if she'd like to go on holiday to Northern Spain in 2026. For some strange reason, she seemed to think there might be a total eclipse! ??

You do get addicted to them!!  Saw the 1999 one, were due to go to Turkey for the 2006 but hubby got food poisoning in the airport hotel and spent the day in hospital instead!, went to China in 2009 and it rained a lot (so we got to experience elements of it but not see it), and then the perfect one in US in 2017.  We're thinking perhaps Chile next year too...  Awesome experiences ?

Helen

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1 - Moonless night camping at Llyn Morwynion in the Rhinogau above Harlech with my course-mates between our finals and graduation in 1984. Being able to read the writing on a tin can by starlight alone and seeing stars reflected in the lake.

2 - On Exmoor showing my family the Milky Way living up to its name, and looking through cheap roof prism bins and feeling sucked into the immensity of it all.

3 - Projecting the Solar eclipse of May 1984 using a 400mm lens and a sheet of paper on the village green in Talybont. As the partially eclipsed sun sank behind the hill to the west it went behind the branches and silhouetted a buzzard sat in a tree.

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1 hour ago, Helen said:

You do get addicted to them!!  Saw the 1999 one, were due to go to Turkey for the 2006 but hubby got food poisoning in the airport hotel and spent the day in hospital instead!, went to China in 2009 and it rained a lot (so we got to experience elements of it but not see it), and then the perfect one in US in 2017.  We're thinking perhaps Chile next year too...  Awesome experiences ?

Helen

Chile? Mmmm?. Now there's a thought.... Wonder how long it would take for my wife to work out what I was upto. 

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37 minutes ago, markclaire50 said:

Chile? Mmmm?. Now there's a thought.... Wonder how long it would take for my wife to work out what I was upto. 

I took my wife on a surprise trip to Florida in 2017 and one of the things we saw was a rocket lauch (cunning plan). She thought we were going to Spain !

 

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My top 3 are

Seeing Orion on his head from Australia 

Seeing a meteor over Uluru again in Australia

Discovering  candidate Be stars during an automated spectroscopic search.

I believe the first  I found was also a first for amateur astronomers doing an automated search.

Regards Andrew 

 

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My top three;

1. Seeing Saturn with homemade 6" reflector in 1974/76. Not sure of the exact date but I was only recently married and our first home was a rented flat with a balcony from which I had my first ever view of a planet through a telescope.

2. Seeing Jupiter through my 12" dob (  not the current one ) with binoviewers on a night of very good seeing. I will never forget that image, sharp and complex detail in the Equatorial belt with a majestic GRS , just memorable .

3. Seeing the Southern Hemisphere sky for the first time, from a very dark site in Katoomba, Blue Mountains , Australia, armed with nothing more than a pair of eyeballs and 7 x 50 binoculars.

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2 hours ago, John said:

I took my wife on a surprise trip to Florida in 2017 and one of the things we saw was a rocket lauch (cunning plan). She thought we were going to Spain !

 

Very cunning. I'd love to see a rocket launch! 

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2 hours ago, andrew s said:

My top 3 are

Seeing Orion on his head from Australia 

Seeing a meteor over Uluru again in Australia

Discovering  candidate Be stars during an automated spectroscopic search.

I believe the first  I found was also a first for amateur astronomers doing an automated search.

Regards Andrew 

 

Hi Andrew

Did you go on the Astronomy evening at Ayr's Rock, or Uluru. I went there in 1998. Saw saturn in their 11" sct. Wonderful. 

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1 hour ago, markclaire50 said:

Hi Andrew

Did you go on the Astronomy evening at Ayr's Rock, or Uluru. I went there in 1998. Saw saturn in their 11" sct. Wonderful. 

No it was just a private visit to watch the moon rise over it.

Regards Andrew 

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- Aurora Borealis from Northern Norway.

- First time Saturn from my own backyard

- Double moon / shadow transit Jupiter (at opposition)  March 2016, near Perfect seeing.

- Finding the Auriga clusters first time, first Messiers part from the obvious (naked eye) ones.

- Night sky from  Madagascar  'highlands'. 

ok. that was 5...

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Plenty to choose from but here are three that come to mind, avoiding some of the 'classics' which almost go without saying.

1) 2012 Venus Transit.

I got up early for this one and headed up onto the local heath with Mrs Stu. I just had my PST in those days, and we patiently waited for a stubborn cloud bank to clear. I nearly gave up on a few occasions when it looked hopeless, but my dear lady encouraged me to stay, and finally we were rewarded with about 6 minutes of the transit before it touched the limb. Very satisfying!

2) Supernova SN2014J in M82.

In itself this was not a difficult observation in a reasonable scope under reasonable conditions. However, I chose to observe it with my Televue Genesis 4" scope from my fairly light polluted back garden. In the scope, the galaxy was pretty hard to see, and the SN was at the limit of averted vision, but definitely visible. The following night I observed it easily with my 12" scope, but the achievement of seeing the first SN in the Genesis is what still stays with me.

3) Final one I shall list as the Asteroid pass observed in my C925 and described here.

I have to say, as an overall experience SGL10 is hard to beat. I had a 16" dob and various refractors and Solar kit with me. We had 4 clear nights, 2 of them with decent transparency, and I scooped up a shed load of galaxies, into the 60s I should think. Add to that the partial solar eclipse seen in white light and Ha with a Quark and it was an event I won't forget in a hurry.

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Hi all,

Very difficult one, this. Been mulling it over since I first saw the original post. Gave up several times thinking 'nope, can't do it'. Every time I think of a particular observation, I think 'Ah, yes, but what about this ...', or 'oh yeah, that time' ...

However, here's my current top three:

1. February 2015, the first time I saw a shadow transit on Jupiter, with my 250PX. I remember being amazed at the sight. It was a couple of weeks before the partial solar eclipse a few years ago (UK), and I remember being awestruck about seeing the same phenomenon on another planet.

2. Feb 2018, all four of the Leo quartet (Hickson 44), again with the 250PX, but from my back garden! Still chuffed about this.

3. March 2018, while scanning through the open clusters in Auriga and then down to Gemini, again with the 250PX, I stopped at M35. A lovely sight in itself, and one I'd seen many times before. But then, a small smudge appeared. I initially thought it was a smear of something on the eyepiece, but swapping to the ES 8.8 showed it was another small open cluster (NGC 2158). The experience of having looked at something on so many occasions, and then seeing something completely new blew me away. 

So there you have it, three experiences out of so many possibles (I'm sure I'll change my mind if I don't post this soon, so here goes).

Kev :)

Edited by kev100
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2 hours ago, kev100 said:

Hi all,

Very difficult one, this. Been mulling it over since I first saw the original post. Gave up several times thinking 'nope, can't do it'. Every time I think of a particular observation, I think 'Ah, yes, but what about this ...', or 'oh yeah, that time' ...

However, here's my current top three:

1. February 2015, the first time I saw a shadow transit on Jupiter, with my 250PX. I remember being amazed at the sight. It was a couple of weeks before the partial solar eclipse a few years ago (UK), and I remember being awestruck about seeing the same phenomenon on another planet.

2. Feb 2018, all four of the Leo quartet (Hickson 44), again with the 250PX, but from my back garden! Still chuffed about this.

3. March 2018, while scanning through the open clusters in Auriga and then down to Gemini, again with the 250PX, I stopped at M35. A lovely sight in itself, and one I'd seen many times before. But then, a small smudge appeared. I initially thought it was a smear of something on the eyepiece, but swapping to the ES 8.8 showed it was another small open cluster (NGC 2158). The experience of having looked at something on so many occasions, and then seeing something completely new blew me away. 

So there you have it, three experiences out of so many possibles (I'm sure I'll change my mind if I don't post this soon, so here goes).

Kev :)

Wonderful! How do you get on without tracking? I've had a 8.75" Dob in the past, but couldn't get on with nudging. 

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10 minutes ago, markclaire50 said:

Wonderful! How do you get on without tracking? I've had a 8.75" Dob in the past, but couldn't get on with nudging. 

Hiya. I'm quite happy just nudging. 82 &100 degree EPs help, though ?

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On 10/02/2019 at 22:10, Ags said:

M42 from the mountains of Nepal with an ST80, showing wisps and whorls.

I would imagine that anything in an ST80 would be awesome from the mountains of Nepal ! :) 

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True that, the sky was overwhelming just with the naked eye. I remember seeing a very bright patch of sky, and slowly realizing it was the Beehive cluster, which has always been a binocular target for me!

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The unexpected sightings:

1. I knew Saturn had rings, but never thought I'd see them.  What a thrill that was, and it was in a cheapo 70/700 frac!

2. Jupiter's GRS.  It took me 2.25 years to finally crack it.  I was doubting it was even there!

3. Seeing the shadow of Mons Piton on the Moon and estimating it was over 34 miles long.  Incredible!

You really never know what delights await you when you venture behind the eyepiece!

Doug.

 

Edited by cloudsweeper
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I've accumulated quite a few now, but some that are up there include

Seeing Jupiter and it's 4 big moons for the first time through binoculars. The binoculars were very poor quality but I never realised you could see Juoiter and it's moons and was shocked. This is one of the things that got me into observing.

Projecting a partial solar eclipse onto some paper through one half of the same dodgy binoculars.

1999 solar eclipse, I remember seeing the Cornwall countryside from a hilltop and as it got dark camera flashed started sparkling far into the distance.

 

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My three are:

Total Solar Eclipse in the Faroe Islands 2015. I can’t describe how incredible it was, I’ll never forget it.

Lunar Eclipse in 2015. I’d never seen one before and I was up all night watching and imaging.

Moon rise in Madeira. A strange one but it was so unexpected. We were eating outside facing some distant hills. We thought some sort of stadium lighting had been turned on. Then the dome expanded until eventually we realised what it was. It was an amazing sight. :) 

Edited by Scooot
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my three are:

1) seeing Saturn through 8" newt for first time - rings and colour really stood out and felt unreal

2) seeing Bodes nebula from a darker site (M82) - subtle banding structure in the galaxy was a notable step up from light polluted views

3) seeing a number of meteors burn up , some so fast literally covered the sky in a split second , other slow burning with hints of yellow / blue for couple of seconds. once once broke up where it 'appeared' to be nearby and it was like glitter from a firework falling from the sky

other memorable events include seeing Jupiter through newt for the first time and wondering what all the dots surrounding it were and thinking my scope was broken - not realising they were the moons! Seeing veil though oiii filter from a slightly darker site than home, amazed at the difference it made. Solar flares through lunt60......the list could go on :) 

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