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Really struggled with conditions tonight


Cate
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I'm not sure whether it was my eyes that were the problem of the conditions tonight. I have to admit my eyes feel tired but naybe that's just after a couple of hours straining at the eyepiece this evening. The night was very clear tonight, no moon, however there was a bit of light polution around, more than normal I think. Also when I went out it was still quite warm but then a southerly wind cut in as predicted (that's a really cold wind down here) - will this changing of pressure have made a huge difference?

With the DSOs my problem was focusing. I really struggled to get anything properly in focus. I had this problem with both 47 Tucanae and Omega Centauri - objects I've managed to get well before. Also I think I found the Tarantula Nebula for the first time ever, this was really exciting but again I really struggled to focus it properly. However when I tried Eta Carina I got a fantastic view of that.

Finally I went to Saturn which I was so disappointed with. I couldn't even see the definition/shadow of the rings. Looking on Stellarium Dione is currently in front of the planet and Titan is just disappearing behind it. I'm hoping it was for this reason that I had bad definition??

Any ideas? I don't know why my seeing was so bad tonight given that the conditions seemed to be so good.

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well if it helps I had a bad night last night too. A clear spell was forecast for 9-12pm so I set up the kit. Just had it all aligned, pointing at M51, guiding calibrated, clicked go on the camera remote and the clouds rolled in. But only a narrow continuous band where I was imaging. North and south were clear! Waited a hour until the cloud cleared, then Guidemaster had locked up. Restarted that and redid the calibration, then the odd cloud kept rolling in just where I was imaging. Gave up at 11pm. In the end I got 3 3mins subs for 2 hours of effort!.......some nights are like that. :D

ps. I notice you are in New Zealand. I'm looking forward to the Southern skies too, when I emmigrate to Oz in September!! All the astro kit is coming!

Edited by sgazer
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yeah I guess some nights just are like that! Must have been so frustrating when the guidemaster locked up :D.

Although I grew up in the UK and was always interested in astronomy it wasn't until I came here that I got a telescope and could seriously look at the stars. I've got to say they are just fantastic down here. I feel a bit lost on the forum sometimes when people are talking about things I can't see, but there are loads of things to look for out here and the skies are certainly darker (at least than where I lived in Britain). Whereabouts are you going in Oz? Hopefully you'll have a dark site nearby?

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Any ideas? I don't know why my seeing was so bad tonight given that the conditions seemed to be so good.

Jet stream? I've know the conditions to be so "smeared" that it was hard to focus an 80mm scope at only x24.

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yeah I guess some nights just are like that! Must have been so frustrating when the guidemaster locked up :D.

Although I grew up in the UK and was always interested in astronomy it wasn't until I came here that I got a telescope and could seriously look at the stars. I've got to say they are just fantastic down here. I feel a bit lost on the forum sometimes when people are talking about things I can't see, but there are loads of things to look for out here and the skies are certainly darker (at least than where I lived in Britain). Whereabouts are you going in Oz? Hopefully you'll have a dark site nearby?

Off to Melbourne, there seems to be a few Astro clubs there including one which goes out to a dark site North of Geelong once a month. Can't wait!

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Hi Cate, the bad seeing you experienced is what i call 'jigglymush'. :D Drives ya nutz, doesn't it? No matter how much you try to focus, nothing comes in right. I've had it happen when a slight warm or cool breeze kicks up on a calm night, and also when the jet stream stalls out right overhead (aviation sites sometimes have jet stream predictions).

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Cate,

The jetstream is not really an issue for us here as we are too far North, head down to Campbell Island and then it might be an issue.:D I guess you've had the wind we've had a little further north so that's probably messing things up a little.

I can't remember what sort of telescope you mentioned you had a while back but if you're getting a difference between different parts of the sky then it might be because your primary mirror is not secure enough (assuming you've got a reflector). If it's a reflector and you've collimated it just check you've done up the mirror locking screws. It might also be the focusing slopping around a bit.

There has been some big fronts coming through in recent days so that might just be stirring things up.:)

Sam

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