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Daz Type-R

SGL X - Mordiford - 19/3/15 - 22/3/15.

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Daz Type-R

Better late than never.



Arrived around lunchtime and had base camp setup and scope out by 14:00, as it was blue sky and sunshine it seemed a shame if I missed out on some solar viewing, so set about a pleasant afternoons solar observations and drinking while nattering away to some of my neighbors.


Not much going off in the way of sunspots, one tiny spot around about the 11 o clock position just about to go round the back, another tiny spot just below and left of the center and then 1 medium sized sun spot in about the 5 o clock position. The catering truck arrived about 17:00 so after a few hours of panic I could settle down into some proper star party relaxation. After dinner, the sky seemed to be staying clear so as darkness fell I started on some trusty old favorites, M42, Jupiter and Venus being amongst them. It became apparent to me at this time that the seeing was good, as no stars were twinkling but the transparency was rubbish, either due to high cloud, fog and mist which had been building as darkness fell of a great cloud of pollution which had made its way across from Europe, either way, it was getting steadily worse so set about trying to find some not seen before targets. So I started off with M64, a +8.5 mag spiral galaxy. I was not 100% sure I had it but thanks to the setting circle / wixey combination, there was definitely something in the EP. Next on the list was M108, another galaxy but this at mag +10, was even harder to see than the last. Again, I thought I had it but could not be 100% sure. It was at this point myself and a lot of others gave up, as the conditions were getting worse.

20/3/15 - eclipse day.

Waking up at 6:30am on a star party weekend is just wrong but with the impending arrival of the eclipse, it spurred me out of my tent to pack the car, as we were off to a satellite relay station owned by BT, which was a 25 minute drive from base camp. With the car packed, my 2 solar cohorts risen and bundled into the car, off we set. Setting up out of the back of the car, away from the majority of the hundreds of school children who had come along also, blue sky and sunshine greeted us so we set about with solar glasses, a DSLR on a tripod, and the trusty old 200P dob with white light filter. Like a Muppet I brought the 13mm Ethos when I should have brought the 35mm Panoptic but never mind, we just got to see the ellipse really close up! Bacon + sausage cobs and some tea later, we had a pleasant few hours there and even showed some passers by the sights as they headed back to their cars. Eclipse over, we packed up and went back to base camp for a second breakfast.





We still had blue skies and sunshine again on the 20th, so more drinking and solar was done, not much change from yesterdays report regarding sun spots but was still nice to be doing some viewing. Keeping an eye on the weather, the reports looked all doom and gloom for that evening but they were wrong, with us getting a few fabulous clear hours, where the seeing was great, the transparency was great, which meant I could check if I bagged those 2 Messier objects from last night. I confirmed I did see them last night, so managed the below list, all of which were new for me......

M64, M108, M99, M85, M88, M49, M60.

While that does not seem like a lot, there was a lot of chatting going off, flicking from one scope to another, drinking, eating, and we also had a IO transit so spent ages watching IO's shadow on the face of Jupiter, fantastic stuff!

Cloud eventually stopped play around midnight time (I think) so more chatting ETC was to be done before bed.


Cloudy for much of today, so no solar, instead I spent the day slobbing around, watching films, chatting, eating, drinking etc, checking out the for sale tent and generally doing nothing.

Again, the weather apps showed cloud, so we were shocked later on that night when it cleared up again and we had yet another few hours of good, clear skies. This time I bagged.....

M89, M104, M93, M78.

Again, cloud stopped play, again around midnight - 1:00am time, so packed away as the next day was time for home.

So to sum it up, a fantastic time, great weather, good friends, an eclipse, 11 new Messier objects, and 2 days of solar, perfect weekend!

Edited by Daz Type-R

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That is a great post Darren, you obviously enjoyed every moment!

The solar eclipse was the icing on a 'very nice cake' of new Messier objects, old favourites, good company, good food and drinks!

What's not to like, you must still be buzzing!

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Thanks for the round up Daz, I am really pleased you got some clear sky to have a go at, both for the eclipse and at night.

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