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Star Party Report

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Mark, my son Andrew and I arrived at site around 3ish (after a couple of, ah, scenic detours) and got set up.

This was the first time Andrew and I had been camping, so working out the tent was a task and half!!!! We arrived to slightly dull and overcast skies, which did not bode well, but as the afternoon wore on, it gradually cleared. The tent up and scopes set, I went off the local village for rations for the evening and brekkie in the morning.

James and Caz arrived a little later (they too took some scenic detours) as the skies were really starting to clear.

It finally started to get dark around 9ish, but it took another hour I should think before it came truly dark. And oh! What skies!!!

I have never seen so many stars at once, and it was simply amazing to just stand and look up. Truly, truly wonderous. The double cluster just jumped out of the sky at you, and the beehive was a naked eye sight to behold. Sweeping across the low Eastern skies was the shimmering glow of the milky way - something until then I had not seen with my own eyes - and it was breathtaking! Grabbing the binos, I swept through the silver clouds, just drinking in the view.

Martin arrived shortly after this and after the introductions, he proceeded to set his ED80 up. Been having a spot of bother with the NS8 so that was at the doctors!!

We quickly found out that dew was going to be the bane of the weekend, so cars were set running to try and counter some of it. I then found out that my power lead for my secondary heat was not where it should be - this was a major annoyance to say the least!!

Martin's main target was to be The Pinwheel for the evening and he set about taking the luminance images he needed. The rest of us fought with the dew on the scopes, but I eventually gave up and just used the bino's.

Saturday was bright and clear for most of the day, and after a leisurely breakfast (brunch) Caz and James went off exploring, while Mark, Martin, Andrew and I took a sample or two of the local lemonade, and went to watch the Red Kites being fed at 3pm. Simply amazing to watch their arial acrobatics!!

Dinner was fish and chips in the nearest village and we were back in time to see the high clouds come rolling in. Saturday night took a long time to clear, I think somewhere between 11 and 12 before we got any real views. But again, the views were quite stunning, altough not as good as Friday's.

We had some visitors from other campers so Martin, Mark and I gave them a little tour through the skies and showed them what was visible both naked eye and scope-wise. They enjoyed the tour and were amazed at the fact that until the night before, we were strangers to each other!!

I was able to strip the mount power lead to cobble a dew heater lead together, but of course, I could'nt run both mount and dew heater together!

The clouds started to roll in again just after 1, so I packed up, only to see the skies get even clearer as soon as I finished. So back out with the bino's for a bit, before hitting the sack at around 1:30. Martin, the trooper he was, was out till around 3 before the clouds put paid to any more.

All in all, it was a great weekend - personally, I was annoyed about the lack of dew control, and the fact that my laptop suffered from the damp. I suspect the older laptops are more likely to be a little more robust against this! I have already started work on the improved dew zapping system - I am determined not to suffer from this again!

There are various images dotted around the forum, and am already looking forward to the next one!!!


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Well covered Daz. You didn't mention the excellent chicken korma you rustled up on the Friday night. Or the breakfast fry ups - excellent black pudding. We missed the scrumpy Greg and just had to make do with a bottle of malt (which Daz doesn't like!?!?).

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One of the high points was our couple of visitors from up the field, a delightful lady and her partner. The lady was extremely excited by what we were up to. We found M3 for her although only a little fuzz through the ED80 she seemed genuinely bowled over by what she was acutually looking at, so it was in with the camera and the glob was gradually brought into focus. I think that knocked her socks off.

It was very rewarding to have someone share our enthusiasm in such an open and genuine manner. Maybe we will have a new member soon. Here is the image.


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Great report Daz, Brought it all back to life :D

High lights for me was

1 Spotting my first sundog ( Identified by Daz )

2 Very fine new crescent moon

3 Astronomy lesson from Daz's son :oops: :insects1:

4 Seeing the double cluster though MartinB's Moonfish 2" EP moments before dewing up :x

5 Red Kites / Great Beer Lemonade / Sunshine

6 Daz's great cooking :D:lol:

7 Last but far from least, being in the company of 5 great helpful friendly people

Low points

1 forgetting to bring cup plate knife fork

2 Putting out my sleeping bag when I put my tent up so at 3.00am when I want to bed the dew had got to it. cold night :x

3 Everything dewing up at the wrong times ( just when I hit a target I was looking for ) <- working on this

4 My piece of :lol: mount wobbling <- saving up to replace this

All in all had a great time can't wait for the next time hope to meat some more of you guys :D


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