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Thread: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

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    Default Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?



    As a new comer to this forum I thought I would like to ask the following question.

    Since you became involved in astronomy, what are your favorite three astronomical experiences? Not just the ones we all have probably had (first view of the Moon, or Jupiter or Saturn), but the ones that really had you going WOW! Or ones you just remember well even years later.

    I consider myself quite a casual astronomer. I have seen a few more unusual events, like the 2004 transit of Venus, and the occultation of Venus by the Moon in December 2008, both with just my 10x50W binoculars. But for me, its the following...

    1) Following Halley's Comet in 1985.
    No, I didn't get to see it well like the Southern Hemisphere did then, but taking my newly homemade 150mm Newtonian in the car to a dark site and following it thru Taurus and later Aquarius still gives me good memories.

    2) The double whammy of Comet Hyakutake (1996) and then Hale-Bopp (1997)

    These two comets made up for Halley's modest Northern Hemisphere appearance, and were just amazing! The huge difuse glow of Hayautaki virtually overhead from the UK was just mesmerizing, and I got the whole family out into the garden to let them see it.

    And being able to take shots like this...


    Hale-Bopp, Ricoh XR Rikenon 50mm std lens


    Hale-Bopp, Ricoh XR Rikenon 50mm std lens


    Hale-Bopp, Sirius 135mm lens

    ...unguided with my Ricoh KR10 SLR shielded from streetlights at the front of our house was also spectacular! Yet again, the family was dragged out in the dark, because who knew when the next good comet would come along? (For me, it was Comet Panstarrs C/2011 L4 in 2013!)

    3) Total solar eclipse of 1999 in Cornwall.

    This is a strange one, because I didn't actually SEE the eclipse! The evening before, the weather was glorious, with not a cloud in the sky! Morning of the eclipse was overcast, with the Sun hinted as trying to break thru, but it was not to be.

    However, even being able to sense the light getting dimmer as totality approached, and then going dark like a light switch had been hit was amazing. So although I didn't see the eclipse, I definitely EXPERIENCED it!

    So, what are peoples favorite events or experiences?

    Mark
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    Default Re: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

    Hi Mark. I am sure many will have a hard time picking just three, but I will give it a shot.

    1) The first time I saw spiral structure in a galaxy visually. It was M51 with my then new 17.5 inch coulter dob back around 1980. That one moment was what made me a hardcore galaxy chaser.

    2) Seeing Comet West in the pre-dawn skies of early March 1976. It was simply stunning with its immense tail fanned out across the sky.

    3) The first time I ever saw Omega Centauri from a more southern location. It was a mind altering experience!
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    Default Re: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

    Alan

    Yes, it will make you think, I suppose. Especially more experienced astronomers with more luck with good weather than we are having in the UK at present!

    Mark
    Scopes: Celestron C8 Classic (Black - 1990?), Skywatcher Heritage 130P (2014)
    Eps: 24mm, 16mm ES Maxvision 68° Panoptics; 18mm, 12mm, 8mm BST Explorer 60° Plossls; 25mm Celestron Kellner; 40mm, 9mm Japanese Kellners; 25mm, 10mm Skywatchers; Skywatcher 2x Barlow.
    Binocs: Helios Apollo HR 15x70 (2016). CZJ Jenoptem 10x50W (1989?), Manfrotto 679B Monopod (2013), DynaSun WT011H TriggerGrip Ballhead (2013), Vanguard Tripod [T-120223AB] (1989?). Olympus 8x40 DPS I (2015). Halina Discovery 8x30 [2 pairs].

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    Default Re: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

    1. The first time I saw the Crab nebula (M1). I totally lucked into it looking for something else. It was so dim I thought it was a smudge on my eyepiece until I changed eye pieces and it was still there. Something about looking at the remnants of an explosion that happened 8000 years ago 7000 light years away that is still unfolding.

    2. Was the first time I saw the shadow of Europa transit the face of Jupiter. Too see such a tiny detail from so far away really made it feel like I was watching something real.

    3. The Leo Triplet. Seeing three galaxies, each as big or bigger than our Milky Way, in one fov still blows me away.

    Of course I'm a total newb and I've only had a "real" telescope for a couple of months so I'm guessing I've just scratched the surface.
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    Default Re: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

    1) My Dad showing me the Moon for the 1st time in my light polluted alley in Chicago when I was a kid.

    2) Venus Transit, Venus Transit, did I say Venus Transit? I will never forget all the planning and excitement I felt on that day. And to be at the top of Haleakala with my astro friends and a lot of famous people I didnt know. A never to be forgotten day.

    3) My love of art transformed into something I so love to do, observe. I had quit doing anything artistically for many years. Astronomy allowed me to marry the two together again.
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    Default Re: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

    Well, this doesn't really count, but when my parents gave me my first telescope, a Tasco 3 inch reflector, which I used to death for several years before becoming way too busy to think about astronomy.

    My first Wow!, was comet Ikeya-Seki, I believe it was in 1964

    My second was, of course, getting to see comet Halley. I was living up in Sacramento at the time, and we had been fogged in for nearly a month. So I hopped in my car, went east until I got above the fog, and saw what I had been waiting a lifetime for. I saw it with eyes only.

    And the third was Hale-Bopp, which I shared with the workers before they went on their nightly rounds.
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    Default Re: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

    Halley's Comet was my WOW moment.

    There have been many since but not enough to beat Halley's.

    Cheers
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    Default Re: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

    Halley's Comet was my WOW moment.

    There have been many since but not enough to beat Halley's.

    Cheers
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    Default Re: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

    For me It was Voyager 2 and Neptune that really got me into Astronomy, also getting up early to see a conjuction of Jupiter, Venus and Mars was special. But my favourite I reckon was comet Schumacher Levy hitting Jupiter and being able to see it thru my old 8 inch Dob.

    Thanks for the great thread Mark, it got me thinking.
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    Default Re: Your favorite 3 astronomical experiences?

    Hmm let me think...
    Showing Saturn to someone for the first time always gives me a buzz.
    Comet McNaught in 2007
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