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which astronomical event struck you the most.


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I am going to say a winter obvious. First scope, first week out and unknown to me a new moon. A great friend of mine came over for a week so out the door with the new 130 newt.

The Great Orion Nebula!!! A grey white wing like structure, like a bird in flight. It was so dark I could see the trapezium.

I declared, ‘A Nebula’, my friend looked for a bit and said it looked like a smudge on his expensive kitchen floor tiles!

My other memory is M33 Triangulum. The Pinwheel. I was looking for my first galaxy M31 Andromeda and got M33 by accident. I still have no idea how that happened and why for another year I could not find M33.

Marv

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31st May 2003: Arrived at the Butt of Lewis Lighthouse, the northern most point of the Western Isles (Out Hebrides), at 03:00 to await Sunrise and the only Annual Eclipse I'm going to see in my l

I've not had my telescope very long.  I got it for my wife and I for our 31st wedding anniversary back in July and the first thing we looked at was a star 31 light years away... so the light hitting o

The Moon! I know it is obvious but my first views made me swear out loud. You see it all your life on the way home late from a friend or the pub or what ever. Not seeing it! But Observing it! Throug

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The Moon! I know it is obvious but my first views made me swear out loud. You see it all your life on the way home late from a friend or the pub or what ever.
Not seeing it! But Observing it! Through a scope for the first time it is a game changer to how you see where your feet are planted and on what they stand.

Marv

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1 minute ago, Marvin Jenkins said:

The Moon! I know it is obvious but my first views made me swear out loud. You see it all your life on the way home late from a friend or the pub or what ever.
Not seeing it! But Observing it! Through a scope for the first time it is a game changer to how you see where your feet are planted and on what they stand.

I completely get this.  The first time you see the Moon and have that feeling that you could just reach out and touch it is quite something.

James

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6 minutes ago, JamesF said:

I completely get this.  The first time you see the Moon and have that feeling that you could just reach out and touch it is quite something.

James

I think it is because it is right there all your life. You see it, but you never see it it in detail. It is familiar, part of your childhood stories, you think you know it. Armstrong, you know the man that walked on it.

In truth, without a scope you just a little more than ancient man. When it is revealed under magnification it is breathtaking.

M

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I am quite new to this whole Astro thing with scopes, but have always looked at my environment and asked questions.

Truthfully, I can say although not spectacular in my six inch newt I clearly saw the blue disc of Neptune. 

Because I am new (three years) I am so lucky to have a bunch of Astro events that struck me. Although Neptune was not a poke you in the eye moment, I looked in the books and the realisation about how far away it was and hard it is to find was a goose bump moment.

M

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another memory comes to my mind, many here have talked about it. the aurora borealis.
I remember 1989 in March in the middle of the month.

a magnetic storm hits Quebec in its entirety, its happening overnight so no one knows yet. in the morning no one has electricity.

electricity comes back little by little in the evening.
suddenly I look at the sky and the show begins, shapes of all colors appear, green, blue, mauve, red.

it was by far the most beautiful spectacle of the northern lights that I have seen for life.
I remembered this while re-reading passages from this thread.

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Hard to think of just one event.

The 2004 transit of Venus has always been a highlight.

I remember seeing a Perseid shower sometime in the 80s from a very dark sky and that was pretty amazing.

Again in the 80s I saw the aurora borealis from my back garden in Derby

Comet Hale-Bopp was spectacular

The images from the Voyager probes were really special.

I'll stop there as there are so many.

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I've been in the hobby for around 40 years now so there have been quite a few great events :smiley:

Of all of them though, none is more precious to me than the total eclipse of 1999. We had rented a cottage in Marazion for that week and we were able to be be on the beach there with the BBC film crew as the eclipse unfolded. Yes, it was largely clouded but the atmosphere was fantastic and experiencing the darkness sweeping in and across us as the lights winked on on St Michaels Mount and around Mounts Bay was simply magical. Being there with my family was even more so and my kids still go on about that experience today.

I had read about the 1999 total eclipse in "The Observers Book of Astronomy" when I was around 12 years old. I waited 27 years to see it, and it was largely cloudy. But that's the way sometimes with this hobby and I would not have missed being there for the world :icon_biggrin:

We are somewhere in this photo:

eclipse2.jpg

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Total lunar eclipse Nov 1975. I was 9 and my brother and I were allowed to stay up and watch. I had always been interested in the stars, but this was the first time I was aware of the 'mechanics' of what was happening above us. It made a lasting impression.

Hale-Bopp too. I got so excited seeing it from central Edinburgh (after a night out and a few drinks) I called loads of people I knew to tell them how amazing it was. The next day at work, I was given the nick-name Cosmic.

The image from my profile is a view of the first time I saw an Aurora from the beach at the end of my road. Of course the image is brighter than was was visible to the naked-eye, I could still easily see the green layers, but also movement as well as the vertical patterns.

 

I realise that none of the above were seen using any optics at all.

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13 minutes ago, John said:

I had read about the 1999 total eclipse in "The Observers Book of Astronomy" when I was around 12 years old. I waited 27 years to see it

That's my story too.

There were 3 recurrent events that I longed to see since childhood. In chronological order:

1. Helley's comet returnn. Ok, so it was well documented that it was a very unfavorable return in '86 and it lived up to expectation. But I did get to see it 

2. The 1999 Total Solar Eclipse. Well documented to be at the mercy of the weather gods for UK viewers and in some respects Corwall was less practical than Bulgaria as a destination. So my journey to Bulgaria was formulated maybe 10 years before the event.

3. The 1999 Leonids. I wasn't sure what to expect but I stayed up late (I was working long hours then) and saw nothing. Next morning I was up just before dawn to go to work and went outside to look up and saw a number of persistant but decaying meteor trails. Looks like I'd missed a bit of a show by a few minutes!

There aren't any other events on my list. Maybe I'll get to stand in the Moon's shadow one more time but I have no venue in mind right now. 

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I’ll link to a post I made on another similar thread as it says everything really. Probably five key events that stick in my mind, all listed here.

I would now add this year’s Mars opposition and Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE to the list, and as mentioned elsewhere, potentially the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction if it is clear on 21st December this year.

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1 minute ago, Astroscot2 said:

Comet Hyakutake viewed from the darkest clearest skies I've experienced in Scotland. I was staying in Sourlies bothy at the end of Glem Nevis, the comets tail Stretched across 2 thirds of the sky. 

I saw it from just outside of Alston in a very dark area. Fantastic sight. So clear, just a pity I did not have any Astro gear then.

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On 07/11/2020 at 16:32, Matt61 said:

Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland . Had 3 nights staying in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. 

20201107_213705.jpg

very nice thx .

On 07/11/2020 at 16:51, John said:

I've been in the hobby for around 40 years now so there have been quite a few great events :smiley:

Of all of them though, none is more precious to me than the total eclipse of 1999. We had rented a cottage in Marazion for that week and we were able to be be on the beach there with the BBC film crew as the eclipse unfolded. Yes, it was largely clouded but the atmosphere was fantastic and experiencing the darkness sweeping in and across us as the lights winked on on St Michaels Mount and around Mounts Bay was simply magical. Being there with my family was even more so and my kids still go on about that experience today.

I had read about the 1999 total eclipse in "The Observers Book of Astronomy" when I was around 12 years old. I waited 27 years to see it, and it was largely cloudy. But that's the way sometimes with this hobby and I would not have missed being there for the world :icon_biggrin:

We are somewhere in this photo:

eclipse2.jpg

superb photo thx .

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For me it's the total solar eclipse of 1999 as well. I saw it in eastern Europe on the totality path. It was a sunny day and then it gradually got dark, and for a minute you can look up at the sun without protective glasses and see the corona. Magical! The party atmosphere was great too :)   

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To see what a really dark sky looked like combined with the phenomenal backdrop of the southern sky Milky Way from the deep outback of Australia when I went to see Comet Halley in 1986. Unfortunately Comet Halley wasn't the most impressive object visible.

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Great question and interesting to see the great, varied responses. I think it's fair to say we are passionate about our hobby; frustrating as it may be sometimes, the good moments far outweigh the bad by a country mile.

Like others, it's hard to pin down 1 or 2 moments. For me, I've been interested in the sky for as long as I can remember, and many moments stand out.

I guess the most poignant moment for me though was during a holiday in NZ 20 years ago, middle of nowhere at Fox Glacier where it must have been Bottle 1. Sat on a rope bridge with my now wife and saw the milky way in a detail I'd never seen before. All of a sudden those fairy lights in the sky had depth and a perspective that made it plainly apparently that we're on a little rock in a massive galaxy.

I recall a similar experience during the hurricane of '86 that knocked out power for a few days - no sky glow from neighbouring towns - what a delight, though I was pretty young so the experience was probably a little lost on me.

I'm glad now to be sharing that magic with my kids. Saturn's rings blew my 8 yr old son's mind the other day and it still does the same for me tbh.

My 2 kids also got to look at Andromeda earlier in the week and now my daughter constantly wants to look at Stellarium and see what else can be seen in the skies.

Patronising as it sounds, I pity those that don't care/know/understand about the magic above them.

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Not an event as such but seeing the Milky Way in bortle 1 skies at Undara volcanic national park in Queensland, Australia was breathtaking and so memorable for me.

It’s incredibly sad that most people will probably never experience truly dark skies and for some reason as a species we seem so enamoured with artificial light.

What I would do to be back there with a pair of 15x bins armed with what I know now about the night sky. I do hope I get to see skies like that again one day. 

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Similar to other folks - a truly dark sky in a stunning place. For me this was camping near the foothills of Kilimanjaro on a holiday of a lifetime (nearly free, my wife and I went along as translators). As well as the sky, the sound effects added by some of the wildlife were quite impressive!

Chris

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I’ve had a few by myself - see Saturn for the first time, my first photo - M57, naked eye Neowise, but sharing the TSE in 2017 with my family was by far the stand out event.  Holding one of kids in my arms whilst watching thunder and lightning AND totality at the same time, I’ll never forget it. We were at a large event at a university campus in Charleston, and the whole place was just in awe.

 

 

Edited by tooth_dr
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1st night out with 1st scope, pointed it at the brightest light in the sky and there was saturn in all its splendour, spent hours at the eyepiece that night. Never forget it. 

Watching the various encounters of the voyager probes when I was growing up wowed me for most of my teens. 

The images of Pluto. Still spend lose myself in them. 

What really makes me think though is the fact that I can hop on the Internet and look at photos taken on Mars, thousands of them, I can watch the sunset on another planet...... Mind blown. 

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