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Walking on the Moon

Fingers crossed


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Now my Skywatcher Skymax 90 has arrived, setup and ready to go, i've decided to venture out on Sunday night to test it out, my first night. :hello2: Just hope the weathers ok :thumbright:

Equipment check

Car - I'll need that to get to my destination - check

Telescope - Most important item - check

Planisphere - My map of the sky, i'll need that - check

Turn left at Orion book - my newbie guide - check

Coat - It is december, better take that - check

Flask of Bovril - Tasty drink to keep me warm - check

Scooby snacks - Got to have them, energy for astronomy :D - check

Torch - The Peak District is dark at night, better take one of them - check

Camera - Forget the stars and planets, i'm far more important to look at :) - check

mmm...i think that's about everything, or have i forgot something?

Clear sky's please!


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If you have any binoculars handy (e.g. 10x50), take those too. You will want to give yourself a break from looking through the telescope at whiles. Believe me!

Woolly hat, and gloves. You'll definitely need those.

To avoid messing up your night-vision, take a red torch or similar. As a makeshift, a rear cycle lamp will do, if it's not too bright.

Mobile phone. Discovering the car won't start, in some god-forsaken hilltop car park at 4am, is no joke!

Good luck with the weather!

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Good luck for your trip! I second what's been said about warm gear - make sure you can do all the fiddly stuff with gloves on. When I started out I had loose-fitting fleece gloves and had to take them off to tighten screws etc - my hands soon froze. Now when I'm buying gloves I always make sure I can tie my laces with them on - if I can do that then I'll manage everything.

Clear skies!

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Don't forget a full tank of petrol and spare batteries for that torch!

Any screwdrivers or tools you might need to make last minute adjustments.

Mobile phone - fully charged - for emergencies.

Leave the planisphere at home - you will get back ache trying to us it. Can't rememer if Turn Left at Orion has full-sky maps, if not, take another book as well rather than the planisphere.

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planisphere's are great - just for identifying constellations - that;s a sense of achievement in it's self.

I cannot stress the importance of a hat a gloves though - it's going to be damn cold tonight and tomorrow.

Good Luck


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But of course the Moon would be a good subject for first light observing! Also I'd recommend the Pleiades which will be well away from the Moon and prominent later in the evening. Unfortunately none of the planets are well placed (both Jupiter and Venus set early, Saturn rises after midnight).

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Well Sunday looked promising, sunny with clear skys, all going to plan. When i arrived at my destination about 20:15 things didn't look good, the moon was there, but not many stars about. :) So first i directed the scope at the moon, which i was impressed with, the amount of detail i could see especially the southern highlands were excellent. Then i decided to use the Planisphere to see what stars should be there, even though there wasn't many about, and picked out what looked like Pleiades directly above me, i did see a faint red dot near it also, not quite sure what that was, well i am a noob. :D I packed up about 10ish, because apart from the moon being too bright, the clouds decided to spoil the fun, had a good night though. :hello2:

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Glad you got something positive out of your trip - hopefully you've now been well 'bitten' and we can expect more reports! :thumbright:

Instead of relying on the planisphere all the time, try to commit to memory the more significant constellations and other objects you saw, the direction you saw them in and what they looked like. It can be done. This will greatly enhance your enjoyment, believe me! Of course the Moon and planets won't stay put...

Can't help you with your 'red dot' I'm afraid, possibly might be an artifact due to your optics (these things do happen) or perhaps an aircraft or satellite (but you would have seen it moving).

I was up on the South Downs late afternoon, it was gloriously clear and we had a splendid naked-eye view of Venus and Jupiter (Venus has moved a long way since the recent conjunction). But it became very foggy down here as it got dark.

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There are a number of faint red dwarf variables in the Pleiades they are erratic objects, and are often called Flash Stars, and appear to belong to the same general class as the rapidly flickering faint variables in the Orion Nebula. In 1963, G Haro reported on the presence of seven of these stars in the Pleiades. The Spectra ranged from dK2 down to dM3; the amplitudes of the sudden

"flashes" varied from 0.8 to 3.7 magnitudes, and the duration of the outbursts, varied from several minutes, to to about 3 hours. These stars are all faint objects; their magnitudes at normal light ranged from 13.3 to 16.9. It is believed such stars are still in the process of gravitational contraction, and have not yet reached a stable state. Haro suggests that the "flash" stars are objects of the well known T Tauri type in a somewhat later stage of evolution The presence of these stars adds support to other evidence that the Pleiades cluster is relatively young, and that new stars may have formed in the group fairly recently.

This Information was taken from Burnhams Celestial Handbook Volume 3 So, the red object you saw, may well have been one of these flash stars. Only further observations will determine if it is a possibility. This is what makes astronomy so interesting.

Ron. :D

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I bought a book today, according to that, Aldebaran overpowers Hyades, so that couldn't of been it. The red dot was right next to the cluster, alot more distant, but could be seen with the naked eye. I'll now next time to take a pen and paper and draw what i see.

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