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Dreaming of dark skies

Hello from Portugal...

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I'm suffering a little under Bortle 7 skies but can escape every now and again to 3/4 in the center of the country - and there's always Dark Sky Alqueva not too long a drive away... hence the "dreaming of" as a screen name.

I have a Skywatcher Exp 200 on a manual EQ5, mostly visual, some lucky imaging of the planets with an old Lumenera Skynyx 2-2c and a Televue Barlow.  Nothing which compares to some of the images on the forums here though.

I'd like to thank the members here for their input in the time I have been lurking, (and had the Exp 200), which has seen a Panaview 38mm, a William Optics 28mm UWAN, Exp Scientific Maxvision 16mm and a BST Starguider 8mm added to my eyepiece collection, and the electronic focuser purchased from FLO: all of which have contributed to the quality of my observing.

Thoughts for the future? With an expansive view to the NE/E/SE/S, (despite the light pollution) I'd like to get more into planetary imaging. (Highlight this year was one morning a few months back of the sunrise, with Venus, Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and the moon all lined up), and thus would like to think about getting a dedicated scope and mount for that. C 9.25? Or a nice 10" F 6 something or other reflector maybe, with suitable mount? (And a ZWO ADC) Continuing to use the old Lumenera...

And carry on lugging the Exp 200 to dark(er) sky sites to camp and just  enjoy the visual show...  Or perhaps fork out for some lightweight truss dob with a wider ap, that I can pack up and take with me in the estate car for a couple of days with tent etc.

The best starscape I ever saw was whilst climbing Kilimanjaro, (as well as night skies whilst on safari in various African countries) - and I recall as a kid what seemed to be endless dark skies that I thought could never end. Until more and more street lighting was put in.  Imagination fueled by a next door neighbour who had seen the glow of the fires of London during the blitz, and how she'd told me of the blackout times when the skies over SE England surely had matched those of medieval times.

I'll probably read more than I'll write, but again, wish to thank those who have influenced my purchases and the many members with their obvious enthusiasm for the night sky.

Best regards.

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