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    Default Summer Astronomy & other stuff



    Well, I was hoping to at least complete my Messier 70 award before the end of the week... It may still be possible with a fair wind and bit of luck - the forecast at least is looking OK for tomorrow night and this weekend a possibility... Also looking at the forecast is the depressing fact and there's no getting away from it is that the night is soon not going to exist and Astronomical twilight will the best it's ever going to get and not for that long either but hopefully i'll be able bag some more galaxies before that occurs! Normal resumption of service will most likely begin again in August with June and July being a complete write-off for DSOs i'd imagine. I wonder what other forumites in similar latitudinally challenged places during these light evening? Of course I could become a Lunatic but it just won't feel quite the same though without a dose of galaxies now and again.

    Rather soon (ETA 21st May but who really knows?) we will hopefully be welcoming our 2nd child to the world and along with the joy will surely be a considerable amount of sleepless nights for a few months at least until she's found a rhythm and sleeping soundly during the night (from previous experience this took rather too long!). It is at least, fortunate that it's going to be summer (not for astronomical reasons alone) but we can take advantage more of the long sun filled evenings to go to the park or wherever until it's dark(ish) at 11pm - perhaps then they are ready to sleep and I can take a sneaky look at whatever planet is available at the time to feed the astronomical beast. I won't mind if I can't as I'll be more than happy to spend the extra time that summer allows with my family.

    My (nearly 2 year) old daughter at least seems to be taking an interest already in all things astronomical as long at it's Moon shaped. Whenever we're out and the Moon is visible she points at the Moon and cries out "The Moooon"... I'm not sure what this really means if she'd a Lunatic in practice or she has werewolf tendencies. Only time will tell. Venus, so prominent she also points at that and calls it a star... I haven't had the heart to tell her that in fact it's a planet as she she tells me with so much verve and enthusiasm.
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    Default Re: Summer Astronomy & other stuff

    Thanks for this post. It really highlights the difficulties you folks above 50 deg Latitude have at times.

    Congratulations on the upcoming new addition to your family. Your narrative about your daughter is simply precious.

    Clear, Dark Skies
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    Default Re: Summer Astronomy & other stuff

    Hi Dave! Wow, it just seems wierd to me that folks at higher latitudes have a long period of time where full darkness is not experienced. While I understand the reason behind it, it's just not something I've experienced (or paid attention to in my younger days as a world traveler) and it seems odd to me.

    At any rate, not knowing just how your skies will be on a darkness scale, perhaps, family obligations permitting, you will be able to not only get some nice views of available planets, but can delve into the world of open clusters. Plenty of these on the Herschel 400 list. Double stars? You gotta get your astro fix somehow. How did William and Caroline Herschel manage? Did they just hang it up during this time of not-very-dark? Of course, they probably didn't have the light pollution to contend with, and were likely a wee bit further south, though maybe not enough to make a difference.

    Also, a big hearty congratulations on the impending arrival of your second child. I suppose the second time around will be absent from the fear of the unknown and wondering "what do we do now!?!"

    I'll be looking for my cigar in the post.
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    Default Re: Summer Astronomy & other stuff

    I can't imagine the Herschels were that productive during the summer months - only 2 hours of more or less darkness is going to be achieved. No mention is made of this however but it must have been rather restrictive whatever the light pollution. I can imagine that at least William was probably more productive in other activities during this time such as mirror grinding and planning/building his dream telescope as internet shopping hadn't been invented back then or to while away his hours posting on a forum.
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    Default Re: Summer Astronomy & other stuff

    Congratulations on the upcoming new family member !!
    Im looking forward to winter season again lol.
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    Default Re: Summer Astronomy & other stuff

    Congratulations on your anticipated new addition, and on your anticipated Messier 70 award. I hope you get the last few targets soon, despite the shorter hours of darkness Clear skies!
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    Default Re: Summer Astronomy & other stuff

    Thanks guys for the nice comments! Yes, the wait is almost over and the nervousness begins...

    I think I may like to have a go at some night-scape photography with the camera lens. See if I can capture the Milky Way at least and very little setup time! Also I've got my little grab and go setup with the 80mm for some ultra quick sessions for a fix. Plus I've got a decent amount of reading material for the summer to catch up on in the evenings I've just ordered Brian Greene's book "The Fabric of The Cosmos" as wanted to get a bit more into astrophysics and seemed like a good introductory read.

    I've got a list of Messiers as long as my arm for (hopefully) tonight. The forecast while it says it's nice and sunny at the moment is rather disconcertingly wrong and in fact it's rather cloudy with a few sunny gaps... I'm hoping it's true to word for tonight at least which gives pretty clear all night! I've only 8 more to bag I think but they are pretty much all low down now with the exception of a few... It may be a late one as long as the cloud gods give me half a chance!
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    Default Re: Summer Astronomy & other stuff

    Good luck buddy! I really hope this works out for you and you get bag the targets on your list. Hopefully your arms aren't overly long.
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    Default Re: Summer Astronomy & other stuff

    Good luck on 70 list.,,and congratulations on the new little one that's on the way.,keep the G+G handy.,,a quick peek at one nice cluster can make the night.,O+O
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    Default Re: Summer Astronomy & other stuff

    Congratulations Dave, another bundle of joy on the way! I am sure the Herschels had to busy themselves with other things during the summer hiatus, though William was known to observe during less than ideal conditions as well. So perhaps he did try to take advantage of the few precious minutes of darkness summer would provide. Their "sweeps" were over the course of 1783 to 1802, during which they catalogued about 2,500 separate objects, almost all of which were original discoveries. During their most productive evening, they catalogued 74 objects. I find that an amazing feat.

    I remember being in Goteborg, Sweden (over 57° N) in June many years ago and it never got fully dark. A light dome from the sun moved along the northern horizon throughout the night. A very interesting experience.

    Good luck with your Messier pursuits and with the new girl. Enjoy the truly special times showing them the sky.
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