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    Default What a difference un-polluted skies make!



    My wife and I just completed our annual week of camping on the edge of the Sawtooth Wilderness Area in central Idaho. We invited my mother this year, and took advantage of her bringing her motor home by having her bring my telescopic gear up. I had her haul Black Beauty up on the queen bed in said motor home, to avoid any damaging vibration and dust.

    Now I'm used to observing from my very light polluted and moderately smog polluted skies in the Treasure Valley, SW Idaho. (700,000+ people in 30 mile radius of my house). What a difference the clear skies near the Wilderness area made! Even with a full moon so brilliant that you could easily read by it and define the entire terrain of the surrounding mountains, I was amazed at the difference in planetary detail those pristine skies provided.

    Viewing Jupiter from my campsite, I was amazed at the level of detail I observed in the cloud bands, vs what I get at home. Same instrument, same eyepieces, same approximate distance from Earth to Jupiter (1 week since observing from home) but definitely not the same skies! Viewing from home I'm lucky to discern 2 major cloud bands on Jupiter and maybe make out a spot in one of them that could possibly be the Giant Red Spot. Color differences on the planet's surface are also vague and on the edge of perception.

    Viewing from our campsite however, I could clearly see all of the bands, from the Polar zones, through the equatorial and tropical zones, and their varied color differences. I could even see a lot of detail on the edges of the south tropical zone, and very clearly and plainly see the red spot. I spent probably an hour in amazement, just surveying the detail I never get to see through the polluted skies back home.

    Uranus was another treat. From home it's simply a small, dim, fuzzy greenish point of light. From the campsite, I was able to resolve the actual disk (perceived as approx 3-4mm across) and clearly see it for the planet it is rather than just a fuzzy dot.

    Initially I was very disappointed by the full moon, as I really wanted to take advantage of the clear skies to go after the DSO's that are a lost cause in the light/smog pollution back home. Catching the full moon rising through the trees over Southridge was stunning and helped make up for it though. While I'm still bummed I didn't get to go after those DSO's, the detail offered by those clear pristine skies on the planets despite the full moon, was still breath taking and well worth packing the heavy gear up there!

    That said, I'm still planning next years trip around the lunar phases! Those DSO's will be mine!

    Last edited by Ghostryderflyby; 08-29-2010 at 08:00 PM.
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    Default

    And since I wasn't quick enough downloading my shots from the Canon to edit my original post, here is one I took of said full moon.



    And a very over exposed one of the moon cresting through the trees over Southridge.

    -C6-RGT refractor w/JMI EV-1r focuser & Orion 80mm guide scope on CGEM mount. Orion 10" Dob
    -Canon 1000D, StarShoot Autoguider & Blue Fireball Elim-T 2" prime focus adapter
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    Yes, nothing beats dark skies for excellent telescope observing.

    Clear Skies!
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    TelescopeMan Web Site

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    search for W1XWX to see my amateur radio web site

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    Default

    Great to hear you saw some dark skies! Beautiful shots also by the way thanks for sharing,

    thanks for a wonderful report,
    clear skies!
    Name: Gus OTAs: ED 100 PRO refractor, Orion ST80 (not the CF), 8" Dob stuck in Canada Mounts:HEQ5PRO Synscan mount, Manfrotto Tripod CAMS: Guidecam Philips SPC900 webcams (4), Canon unmodded-450D DSLR

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    Default

    I hope you had a wonderful time! I always plan camping trips or any vacations to a cabin of some sort around the time of when there is a new moon, specifically so I can use my telescope!
    Visit my topic on Uranus and Neptune Orbiter Probes: http://www.astronomyforum.net/space-forums/104537-uranus-neptune-orbiters.html

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    It is amazing how much of a difference dark skies make. Glad you had a good time.
    name: Derek

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