Monday, June 18, 2007

Australia Report #2: Stargazing Those Southern Skies!

The heavens opened up for us last night, and we took Dad's Dob out into the back yard. First issue - mirrors. He was way out of alignment and explained he thought it was his poor eyesight. I showed him how to do a very rough alignment/collimation, and in five minutes we had some nice images of various objects. He was a little stunned but glad nonetheless!

The seeing conditions were about 3.5-4/5, very nice. Again, I was amazed that in the middle of suburbia (city of 4 million) you could clearly see the Milky Way and a few brighter deep sky objects. A few clouds visited us for a while here and there, but otherwise a nice night.

First target was Jupiter, which is amazing. Very nice cloud detail, and the four main moons were extremely bright and we could see a bit of shape to them at high power. We then moved onto Omega Centauri. Dad had some issues locating it so I gave him some starhopping directions. Just stunning! On Dad's new 19mm Panoptic, the FOV was full of millions of tiny pinhead stars, purely beautiful. We kept going back to it all through the night, as it was right over our heads and was really the best object we viewed. Other items included the Jewel Box, Alpha Centauri, M17, M22 and a few other blobs I couldn't identify.

The 22mm Panoptic my folks gave me played out very well too. The field was amazing flat compared with my 21mm Stratus (which I guess I will sell now). The EP presented some amazing views of the heavens.

Okay, off to Sydney in an hour or so. Next report when I get back!

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