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Night vision + TV85 in Menorca and Norfolk


Highburymark
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Back from a couple of weeks in Menorca and a weekend on the Norfolk Coast (Cley) with TV85 and PVS-14/Photonis 4G night vision tube. Nice to get out of London and a reminder that you really don’t need a large telescope to get stunning results with night vision. 
Altogether in Spain I saw 14 globular clusters (mostly with Baader zoom and Baader 685nm filter), only one of which remained fuzzy (M107). All the others presented as resolved balls of individual stars. M4 was a glittering highlight. Having a zoom for the first time with night vision was great for finding best magnification, however then swapping over to fixed f/l Delites did improve views further. Summer nebulae in Sagittarius were also beautiful - M8 in particular. Eagle/Omega/Trifid etc. But the whole area is alive with nebulosity up to Aquila and Cygnus. Similarly with star fields. Familiar constellations and star hopping routes go out of the window - you end up ignoring star charts and just take in the views. 
Despite relatively dark conditions in Spain, skies on the Norfolk coast are on a different level. Cley is close to Kelling, and provides a perfect location for astronomy, overlooking a mile of protected marshland out to the North Sea. The Milky Way is a grey stripe across the sky, even in August. Dust lanes were observable on M31 and M82. M51 was distinct. But best of all was the North American nebula, which I’ve never seen in such detail (with TV67mm plossl, Baader 7nm Ha filter). Filling the fov, it was full of detail, remarkable for such a normally faint object. 
Altogether a great couple of weeks. If only I were my brother in law, and lived in Norfolk, night vision astronomy with a larger scope must be absolutely spectacular.

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Great report Mark, sounds like an excellent couple of weeks. How were the skies in Menorca in terms of transparency? I often find that the skies in the Med can be hazy and perhaps not as good as you hope for. Sounds like the NV made up for any of that you found anyway. The NAN is amazing isn’t it? I know from looking through Gavin’s NV that globs resolve very well so I’m sure you had a treat with them.

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Thanks Stu. Transparency was good in Menorca - better than some previous years as we’ve been visiting the island for 25 years, and better than I was expecting as it was very hot. Last time we went during a hot summer (when Mars was covered with a dust cloud, maybe 3 years ago), I remember the transparency was poor. The worst year for transparency and humidity, I also remember regularly seeing EOFB with a couple of eyepieces - particularly Leica zoom - but there was none this year. For a small (80/85mm) ED scope, I find Cassini is a good test of atmospheric conditions, and it was very clear this year. However, one interesting thing I noticed was that the Tak TOEs didn’t offer any improvement over Delites on the planets - so certainly not prime planet-viewing conditions. 

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24 minutes ago, Highburymark said:

Thanks Stu. Transparency was good in Menorca - better than some previous years as we’ve been visiting the island for 25 years, and better than I was expecting as it was very hot. Last time we went during a hot summer (when Mars was covered with a dust cloud, maybe 3 years ago), I remember the transparency was poor. The worst year for transparency and humidity, I also remember regularly seeing EOFB with a couple of eyepieces - particularly Leica zoom - but there was none this year. For a small (80/85mm) ED scope, I find Cassini is a good test of atmospheric conditions, and it was very clear this year. However, one interesting thing I noticed was that the Tak TOEs didn’t offer any improvement over Delites on the planets - so certainly not prime planet-viewing conditions. 

Sounds great! 👍

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1 hour ago, JeremyS said:

Great report @Highburymark

Do you have any observing recommendations in Menorca? I’m going there later this year. 

We were based just outside San Lluis Jeremy, fairly close to Mahon - with mostly clear views to the east and south over dark countryside. However there is some local light pollution, so for viewing galaxies and faint DSOs, I drove down further south - close to Torret, and found a quiet place to park and viewed next to the car. Best of all is to find a site along the southern coast away from any signs of life. A few years ago I found a place near Punta Prima which was great - but didn’t go back this year. Whereabouts are you staying?

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12 minutes ago, Highburymark said:

We were based just outside San Lluis Jeremy, fairly close to Mahon - with mostly clear views to the east and south over dark countryside. However there is some local light pollution, so for viewing galaxies and faint DSOs, I drove down further south - close to Torret, and found a quiet place to park and viewed next to the car. Best of all is to find a site along the southern coast away from any signs of life. A few years ago I found a place near Punta Prima which was great - but didn’t go back this year. Whereabouts are you staying?

Thanks Mark. Staying at Binisafua, so not far from San Lluis. We were there 3 years ago and skies were not too bad.

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11 hours ago, JeremyS said:

Thanks Mark. Staying at Binisafua, so not far from San Lluis. We were there 3 years ago and skies were not too bad.

I think anywhere along that coast away from the main developments will be great Jeremy. Beyond Binidali looks good if you can get there. Or even inland a bit to the south of the airport. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I stayed in Norfolk this summer, just south of Plumstead. 

Although clouded out, there was a brief hole in the cloud and the numbers of stars you could see, wow.

The jump from SQM 20.89 to 21.69 is significant.

 

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