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July 17th N Australia


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A great night was held at our viewing spot west of town, with a multitude of objects found. :icon_eek:

The skies stayed pretty clear, with only occasional cloud coming through, but a stiff wind blew it all away, nearly taking a viewing tarp with it, and my flimsy dewshield went aflying too. Quite a few short fast meteors were seen, but not many by me. :(

We checked out a few objects, but mainly socialised until 1030pm when the Moon finally sunk behind the trees, and it got DARK!!

4 planets were aligned in the west, which made for a very interesting and pretty sight. I did snaggle a few pics, but was hard to fit them all in the image.

While the Moon was up, we had checked a few sights in Saggitarius - lots of globs, and a few nebula. All got very confused with M20 and M8, and I'm still confused. One looked great, and the other a small blob. Much discussion was held, and Dave skewed his big Celestron to the right targets, and looks like we had it back to front. :eek:

Checked a few of the usual suspects while waiting for the slow moving Moon to disappear.

Once it was dark, we settled down for some serious observing. Checked out a few doubles, clusters, and various nebula. The Dumbbell was astonishing as usual, always a wow, the Helix was better than last week with the help of a nebula filter, and the beautiful Ring Nebula of course.

The target for me for the night was the Veil Nebula in Cygnus. Settled scope on the area of 52 Cygni, and scanning general area... changed EPs ...nothing. Couple of other members found it, so had a look through theirs, and back to mine and there it was. Has been waiting for it to JUMP out at me, but was delicately there in the background. Popped in a UHC with some improvemnet, then a 0-111 which was better again. Took my time looking around, and more and more of the Veil came into view!! Beautiful, large wisps of twirling nebula, over a large area. Very nice indeed. Also checked out the North American Nebula which was also large, but seemed a lot fainter.

Also checked out Uranus and Neptune, and all had a look at a very shimmery Jupiter. 7 planets for the night ... not bad. ;)

Other targets were conquered while waiting for Sculptor to rise, and then we were into it in the blink of an eye. What a treasure trove of galaxies!!!! We found about 6 in a matter of 30 minutes, which also included NGC 247 in nearby Cetus, which was discovered accidently. NGC 253, and NGC were absolutely stunning (and huge) as usual!!! We hadnt seen them for a long time, so were much appreciated!!

It was 2am by this stage, and a few of us were getting weary, so a quick pack up (for me anyway as I just chuck everything in the car), and down the runway, swerving to avoid the wallabies ..... then back to Townsville. :D


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Sounds like a good session. Was Neptune easy to find? It's on my list and now that the weather has died down after the typhoon, I want to give it a try.

Being a tad busy at work doesn't help, but hopefully I'll get a shot at it before heading back to UK on the 27th.

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Great report - I know what you mean when you say it got DARK! The Moon makes such a large difference to the lighting conditions (and photographs - a 15-second exposure towards the Moon makes it look like daytime). What was the exposure on your image?


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