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4 clear nights not worth the effort


russ
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Well i should be in astro heaven. 4 clear nights on the trot.....can't say better than that! Well other than the fact they have been completely pants......may as well tipped it down with gale force winds, thunder, lightning and hail. All they have done is tempt me out each night, so i spend 30mins setting everything up, only to find two hours later that the seeing and transparency are both 1/10. I can't recall a time when the seeing was this bad. Unable to push more than 100x. Both Saturn and Mars have been a wobbly mess.

I can't even give the planets a miss and move onto DSO's because there's so much moisture in the air it plays havoc with the light pollution. Tonight was marginally better in that the LP only extended 30-40deg up but the previous 3 nights the LP was all the way to the zenith.

Despite all the rubbish i did clock a few DSO's tonight:

Had a bit of a galaxy fest, especially around Ursa Major but also Leo:

M51, M63, M101, M108, M97, M81, M82, M65, M66, M95, M96, M109. Unable to make the triplet in Leo.

Plus a few odd messiers:

M97 (framed with M108), M3 (beautiful with the 12mm, picking off a few loose stars), Double Cluster, Eskimo, M45, M1.

I did quickly peak at Mars around 8pm with both the SCT and dob. The sky was pretty steady then and Mars was still showing some lovely detail at 250x plus, especially in the SCT at 332x. Which made especially disappointing that the sky was so poor 2 hours later. I was really looking forward to following up the promising earlier session.

Still worth while but could have been a lot better.

Russ

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Same thing here. Spent 15 or so minutes setting up Nikon D3000 to do some moon shots the past several nights and just as it rises above the tree tops along comes these nice clouds for it to hide behind.

Wait an hour then another then another.... finally I just had to say enough and go to bed.

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I shouldn't complain really, i did get to use the scopes four days on the trot. The nights broke down as follows:

Thursday - high cloud, dew and chronic LP. Mars good at 7.30 but i packed up straight away at 10pm.

Friday - more high cloud than Thursday, LP even worse but the best of the four nights for planets. Mars very good at 8pm, showing plenty of detail. Things not so good at 11pm-midnight, both Mars and Saturn unable to push past 166x (and even that was dubious). DSO a non starter again.

Saturday - seeing the worst of all the nights. Unable to get a steady view at any power. Not sure i've ever seen the seeing that bad. LP was truly as bad as bad can be. How can a night start with so much promise and end up so bad?

Sunday - seeing a re-run of Saturday night. A half decent view of Mars around 7pm but downhill rapidly from there. Transparency best of the four nights but still only poor. LP also the most retrained of the four nights but again not brilliant.

When the railway keep their lights off i have quite a good sky to the east and north. This is good news for Ursa Major, which is especially good for me as Ursa Major is my fav constellation. Just crammed full of really good galaxies. I picked off all the main ones and was amazed to see M101, normally such a tricky customer when conditions are below par. Strangely i was unable to see NGC 3077, normally i can see it easier than M101. Also unable to make the Leo triplet but this was no real surprise as Leo was moving into LP hell.

Higlights of the night were M101 and the beautiful M3 Globular cluster. And also the pairing of M97 and M108.

Billy, good to hear you are having better skies.

Ian, sounds like you are having a similar time. Lets hope for some proper good skies soon.

Mick, it was a good haul, fortunately nearly all those targets were in the best part of the sky.

Russ

Edited by russ
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My sky's have been identical. Clear for two out of three nights but really pants.

Very hazy and unsettled. Last night Mars was OK at 8.30 but useless by 10.30.

Saturn had a few moments around 11 but not worth hanging around in the frost for.

I'll not complain too much though as just seeing stars is becoming a rare thing at the moment.

I moved to my current location in 2002 and had 3 years of really good weather. Ever since it's been cloud, cloud and more cloud!

Doesn't look like its going to stop either.

Edited by part timer
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The skies up here have been brilliant - not brilliant enough to see the E and F stars in the Trapezium, but beggars can't be choosers...:headbang:

I understand those odd nights, and there were a few sessions a couple of months ago that were so bad in terms of seeing & transparency, I felt like converting my telescope into a Smartie dispenser for my kids.

Bear in mind that a lot of people have their heating on, which is sending a lot of atmospheric disturbance into the sky. Last night was no exception - I had a small patch of sky where there wasn't fire smoke from people's houses disturbing the air.

Edited by Beulah
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I'm no stranger to Rubbish seeing. There have been times when even 60x was basically useless. But atleast you got some good views!

ps. here it's actually been thunder and lightning and hail all weekend!

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Oops!..er, sorry guys, but I had fabulous seeing last night here in North West Leicestershire:hello2:! Best for ages..if you're interested I posted a report (s) on the Classic and Vintage scopes forum as I was using my old, fabulous Pentax J80 and a new Celestron ED100 Apo.

Hope you guys get some good seeing soon, wherever you are;)..

Dave

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Oops!..er, sorry guys, but I had fabulous seeing last night here in North West Leicestershire:hello2:! Best for ages..if you're interested I posted a report (s) on the Classic and Vintage scopes forum as I was using my old, fabulous Pentax J80 and a new Celestron ED100 Apo.

Hope you guys get some good seeing soon, wherever you are;)..

Well that explains it then!

You must have boxed up all your pants weather and sent it with that eyepiece you sent me.

Still, I've had some really sharp views of the rain clouds with it!

Edited by part timer
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to a newbie like me this is all great info. I had always assumed that the 'seeing' was set for the night when it was clear. I appreciated that it might look OK but that the seeing could be better or worse depending on certain factors and that objects drift in and out of focus almost constantly. what I did not know was how it can change. maybe I have yet to see a really steady night - looking forward to that!

this is a real answer to my questions in my own mind when I am sometimes seeing a lot more detail than others on the same night. I sometimes assumed it was slight fogging of my eyepieces but when I went inside to check they were fine.

are E&F on Trapezium good indicators of seeing quality? I saw them the weekend before last (last time I was out) but still slightly soft in the 12" dob. first time though so delighted especially with direct vision.

I know there's a scale for seeing and transparency (being lazy here) but how do you gauge the scale when observing? does anyone have the best scales to use please?

cheers

Shane

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