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Observing 2019

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Number of useful sessions this year ...73. Not too shabby compared to previous years, but some long gaps due to inclement weather. It's not be an easy year , especially for seeing . Just a very few beautiful nights with great transparency and superb seeing. February 25th gave 21 degrees C. some crazy weather out there .

The end of May into July gave some great views of Jupiter, maxing out at 46". June gave two weeks of constant rain here. Saturn kept along the low ecliptic , with Neptune and Uranus on view. 

The cancelling on the SGL star party was a low for this year. So much work and anticipation.

The good feature here ,was the change to small led streetlights. On a good night , the galaxies and nebulae returned. Looking forward to continuing this season , under clear skies !

Seasons greetings ,


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Nice to see what you've been upto over the year Nick. I haven't logged the number of sessions I've had for a few years now, but its a nice habit to get into as it can be surprising to see just how many opportunities we have to observe. An imaging friend once grumbled that here in the UK we hardly ever get an observing opportunity.  So I began logging my hours and did so for a number of years. I surprised myself at the time I spent at the eyepiece and was able to prove the uk wasnt as bad for clear skies as some might believe. As an imager, my friend undoubtedly has chosen a more difficult and somewhat more stressful aspect of our hobby to follow, and I recognise things must be more difficult for him. As for me, I'm just grateful I'm happy to look through an eyepiece at anything that's on view.

This year I had a good start but it fizzled out a bit as summer came along, and I became distracted with other things. As a consequence I've only made sixteen sketches, which for me is a bit shameful. 2020 is almost certainly going to be a better year for me as Mars will be high and large. Also, when the spring Moon arrives on the scene, I know my get up and go will return with vigour. 


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My instinct was that you’d had more sessions than I, Nick. Just counted up and got a total of 98 sessions for the year. That doesn’t include solar sessions which was a new experience for me this year. I got a little 80mm Frac earlier this year which gave me more opportunities for quickly grabbing a few minutes observing when breaks in the cloud appeared. 

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed 2019. I’ve seen my first Quasars, 3 new Comets, a Supernova and the transit of Mercury. That’s without mentioning observing old favourites and all the other new objects I’ve seen. The weather hasn’t always played ball but, for me at least, that only heightens the excitement when the skies clear and I can go exploring again. 

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Good stuff chaps, just shows what can be done. The opportunities are there, it's just being able to make the most of them that counts. For instance there was a lovely break in the cloud on Friday night for an hour or so, but other jobs got in the way.

I've had far fewer sessions that you chaps, but have still had some memorable times. Best was probably my Pembrokeshire holiday and using the 14" and little refractor under some mag 21 skies, whilst the Mercury transit and partial lunar eclipse made for excellent group meets.

Fingers crossed for 2020 being a little drier!

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It's nice to read what people have been up to this year.. I always read the many observing reports that pop up here and always manage to grab some inspiration from them as sometimes it's too easy to pretend it's not clear outside.  I managed 45 sessions this year - mostly out with my binoculars working my way through some of the Astro League challenges.  The binocular double star challenge has been good fun so far.  I might try picking up some bigger bins to have a go at some of the more advanced challenges..

Wishing you all a great 2020 


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It feels like this year has been one of very limited opportunities but I write down every session, what scope and what targets, and when I tot it up every year it so far has always turned out I did a lot more that it seemed.

I'll add things up at the end of December and see what the numbers say.

In the last quarter of the year I did more sessions with small scopes, just fitting in with the opportunities and I think that will have rallied my observing activity quite a bit.

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Here is my summary of 2019...

Here's the count of sessions with the scopes I've owned all year...







The ST120 won out as it is super simple and easy to use, good for solar as well as night time, and is a lot of unobstructed aperture in a short tube. The highlight with this scope was an epic galaxy marathon whilst on holiday in Devon in springtime.

The ST80 also did well throughout the year as I did a lot of short opportunistic observing when real life was getting in the way of doing proper sessions.

The MC127 I used more than I realised. From my notes this was brought out for lunar, planets, and doubles and always got a good write up for giving good quality views. However I no longer do solar with this since I got a Herschel Wedge for use with the ST120.

The C8 only got used for trips away from home as it's the most aperture I can fit in my car.

It's a shame the VX14 was so little used. It's by far my best and favourite scope, but when life generally is stressful it's hard to have the willpower to set it up hence the smaller scopes have seen a lot more use this year.

In addition I got two ed refractors in November a 102mm and 72mm. They got a bit of use...

102mm ed...5

72mm ed...8

That's about 83 sessions with scopes.

In 2018 I did 103 sessions so it has dropped a bit. I did record an additional 33 sessions with monoculars or naked eye but I don't count these as proper sessions.

Most of the time Ive used my Porta 2 mount to save time with 54 sessions compared to only 15 with an EQ5.

In the last few months of the year I've had a Neewer carbon fibre tripod and that has seen as much action as the Porta 2 since it arrived.

The most common targets to have a go at were...

Moon...38 sessions


Open clusters...29



Then darker targets are much less observed as I observe mostly from light polluted skies.

A large proportion of these sessions have been short ones in less than perfect conditions but I'm just happy getting out there and appreciate any opportunity.

I think next year the ed refractors will see the most action and I will make a note to fire up the VX14 more often.

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