Jump to content
  • Join the online East Midlands astronomy club today!

    With active forums, two dark sites and a knowledgeable membership, East Midlands Stargazers has something for everyone.

Middle of nowhere 4th May


Recommended Posts

Following my trek to Wymeswold for the first time last weekend, I wasn't too pleased at the thought of another one hour drive each way, and Belper is now out of action on Saturdays, so I searched out a more local dark site for this weekend.

Using the Needless light pollution map from the EMS sidebar in conjunction with detailed OS maps and the following excellent zoomable pollution map, I plotted a suitable place...


I reckon I have found the least light polluted place in Nottinghamshire, at a small picnic area at the side of a narrow country lane in the middle of nowhere. It is less than 20 minutes from my house. So last night I took all my kit and set up there at dusk. I don't recommend that anyone else does this on their own, unless like me you are a big fella with a setup looking like a rocket launcher and wearing a black balaclava covering your head  :ph34r:  That would probably deter most people from approaching  :o  Anyway, I did not have any visitors in the six hours or more I was out there, and only five cars had me shielding my eyes in all that time.



I lined up all my kit on a floodlit spire of Lincoln cathedral, on the distant horizon.

It seemed to take forever to get dark, but when it finally did I was pleasantly surprised to see the milky way showing itself so low down in the north.

The sky was superb and I could definitely see a mag 5.7 star in Ursa Minor with direct vision, so I knew I was in the right place.

I'm too tired to go into great detail since I rolled home at 3.30am and got up for work at 8am but was buzzing so much with excitement at the views that I probably only slept properly for 2 or 3 hours. So, I'm just going to mention a few of the wonderful things I saw. I shall definitely go back there again, since the sky rivalled the best I had seen from Belper and, at this time of year, it does not get as dark as it did deeper into winter.

Most of my observing was done with the 10" Schmidt Newt, with 82 degree and 100 degree eps giving 44x or 73x respectively, but I enjoyed comparing the views with the even wider fields of the 6" and 5" refractors mounted and aligned on the same Skytee. I never even bothered using the barlow for higher powers since I was seeing so much without it and enjoy the wider fields.

Altogether I bagged 22 open clusters, 21 galaxies, 5 asterisms, 5 globular clusters, 4 planetary nebulae, 4 diffuse nebulae and a slow moving mag minus 1 fireball leaving a short trail in Ursa Major for several seconds from near Alkaid and passing Mizar.

The highlights were as follows...
Seeing some good detail in M82 next to M81 and the other two galaxies N3077 and N2976 which are almost in the same field. Saw N3184 in UMa for the first time and found some spiral stucture in M101. Had the best view ever of M97 the Owl Nebula and galaxy M108 side by side.

The Leo triplet looked bigger and brighter than I had seen it before.

The globulars M13, M92, M3 and M71 showed a degree of resolution except for M4 in Scorpius which was perhaps a bit too low to the horizon obscured by a lot of atmosphere.

After some study with 10x50s propped up steady on the roof of the car, the North American Nebula came to the limits of visibility, but only if Deneb was out of the field and I had not looked at its brightness for several minutes. N6960 the western part of the Veil nebula also showed itself faintly in the 10" at 44x.

With the naked eye and averted vision I was aware of some darker variations in milky way in the areas of the Northern Coalsack and the main milky way rift through Cygnus. Slightly easier to see was the area called Le Gentil 3 in the S&T Pocket Atlas.

Stephenson 1 around delta lyrae showed a couple of nice orange stars.

Had a great time flushing out a few of the fainter clusters in Cygnus and Cassiopiea some of which I had not seen before. N7789 and N7790 in Cassiopiea showed up beautifully as fine sprinklings of faint stars.

Galaxies N4449 and N4490 in Canes Venatici had interesting shapes.

So the session was absolutely brilliant, if a little lonely, and was only ended after a concerned phone call from my wife at about 3am. I'd told her earlier that I didn't expect to be back late :facepalm:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Ely Ellis

Sounds great Pete,


Can you let me know the location, wouldn't mind trying it when I get home.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Martin,

I will PM you the details tomorrow.

It would be good to do some observing out there with you one night. It is a very remote and lonely place on your own.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone.


If anyone wants the location of this site please PM me.


There is only room for several cars to park up.


This is not an EMS site and is not covered by any insurance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.