Jump to content

Narrowband

Stargazing holiday in the southern hemisphere


kev100

Recommended Posts

Hi, 

I'm set to inherit some money in the near future, and thought I might spend it on a holiday in the southern hemisphere, ideally at a dedicated stargazing venue, with scopes etc. I'm thinking southern Africa, rather than Oz, purely because of the cost of flights...

Has anyone been on such a holiday, or know of anywhere they'd recommend?

It's early days, and I'm just starting to think about it...

Cheers,

Kev

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only place I know is canary island which is supposed to be quite popular and has tours etc though I’m not sure if it has their own scopes. I will keep an eye on this as I also want to do something similar. I know @ollypenrice has a place in France that is sometimes available .though Africa sounds nice!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Try Sutherland, South Africa. About 3 hours drive from Cape Town and in the middle of the Karoo. There are some b & b's  that have telescopes for guests and the South African Astronomical Observatory is a short drive away. There are many telescopes there including SALT ( Southern African Large Telescope) 11M of Hexagonal mirrors. They also do guided tours and observation evenings if you choose the right times ( although I don't know how Covid has interrupted these arrangements).

Nigel

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the suggestions. I’d imagined that there would be packages available, all-in deals for flights, accommodation, gear to use, etc. anyone know of such a thing?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Astrobits said:

Try Sutherland, South Africa. About 3 hours drive from Cape Town and in the middle of the Karoo. There are some b & b's  that have telescopes for guests and the South African Astronomical Observatory is a short drive away. There are many telescopes there including SALT ( Southern African Large Telescope) 11M of Hexagonal mirrors. They also do guided tours and observation evenings if you choose the right times ( although I don't know how Covid has interrupted these arrangements).

Nigel

Just had a look at Sutherland. Mixed reviews, but interesting 🧐 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Update: Myself and a friend have booked a 9-day stay at Tivoli Astrofarm in Namibia from the 22nd of August! Including the use of a 25in Obsession dob! Excitement levels are off the scale.

Anyone been there? Got any advice? Going to be putting together a target list over the next few months, if anyone's got any suggestions (LMC and SMC already on it).

Kev

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, teoria_del_big_bang said:

Wow, looks great I bet you cannot wait, please keep us all updated when you are there sounds like a trip of a lifetime 🙂 

Enjoy.

Steve

Definitely a trip of a lifetime. Can't wait. 🙂

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

52 minutes ago, kev100 said:

Update: Myself and a friend have booked a 9-day stay at Tivoli Astrofarm in Namibia from the 22nd of August! Including the use of a 25in Obsession dob! Excitement levels are off the scale.

Anyone been there? Got any advice? Going to be putting together a target list over the next few months, if anyone's got any suggestions (LMC and SMC already on it).

Kev

Wow - sounds great. We will be expecting full reports!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Hi all, as promised, here’s a brief update/overview of what was the most amazing stargazing experience ever!

Of the nine nights spent at Tivoli Astro Farm, about 120km south of the capital Windhoek, seven were fully clear, one involved peeking though gaps in the cloud, and one was fully cloudy (the last night). We were so lucky with the weather!

As for the equipment, I’d brought my Celestron 20x80 bins (which survived the journey, plus several trips in the back of bumpy pick-up rides, and were great for scanning the Milky Way and the SMC and LMC), and we hired an amazing 25in Obsession dob, plus a case of TV Naglers and a 35mm Panoptic (lovely eyepiece that), paracor and laser collimator, and an Argo-Navis and various finders.

The scope, though big, was a dream to use, and, needless to say, gave stunning views. We ticked off over 100 objects, and saw countless more (when scanning through the LMC and SMC, for example, there were so many NGCs that is was impossible to confirm sightings).

The Milky Way was gobsmacking, with the Emu and Coal sack dark nebulae clearly visible to the naked eye. Omega Centauri and 47 Tucanae were ‘stop you in your tracks’ stunning with the 20mm Nagler, as were the Lagoon and Trifid nebulae, the Jewel Box and Southern pleiades clusters, and so many more. We ran out of superlatives after a couple of nights and just accepted that the views were amazing.

Watching the Pleiades, Hyades and Orion rising (in that order and upside down) was very disorienting, and the total darkness (akin to being at sea with the lights out and seeing stars right to the black horizon) saw us getting lost walking to and from our chalet on several occasions (a short distance).

Our hosts bent over backwards to see that we had a great time, the food was excellent, the sunsets unforgettable, the wildlife and terrestrial sights and sounds beautiful, and the astronomy utterly unforgettable.

I’ve had to keep this brief because to do the experience justice would require more words and time than I can manage. If you have any specific questions I’ll do my best to answer. I only hope that I’ve given a sense of how utterly fantastic stargazing in a truly dark southern hemisphere location is - with a big dob, big bins or just naked eye. They say a picture paints a thousand words, so here goes (all mobile phone shots, apart for the one with the Oryx).

Kev

 

PXL_20220828_234932579.NIGHT.jpg

PXL_20220829_172654982.jpg

PXL_20220823_213416488.NIGHT.jpg

PXL_20220823_165639878.NIGHT.jpg

PXL_20220826_212018450.NIGHT.jpg

received_1055279555131816.jpg

PXL_20220830_005858700.NIGHT.jpg

IMG_1968.JPG

Edited by kev100
minor edit & typo
  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Chefgage said:

Sounds like a fantastic place.

Gotta say 'yes, it is'. Something I forgot to mention, though, is that I'm a purely visual observer. There's a whole other tale to be told from an astrophotography point of view that I'm not qualified to tell. Some of the images here go some way towards that ...

Kev

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I first encountered southern skies near Cape Town and I was totally thrown by an upside down Canis Major being overhead and a somewhat familiar (because of its symmetry) Orion.

The second visit was to the dark skies of Uluru and the two Megellanic  clouds really impressed me.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, CraigT82 said:

the moon really is weird to look at

I hadn't actually noticed how weird it was (lit from underneath at the time) until my mate pointed it out. 🙃

  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.