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Thread: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

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    Default Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights



    So, the last couple of nights were clear and transparent, but bright from the light of the moon. But considering the record warmth we have been having around here (50s and 60s during the day) I could not pass on taking the refractor (Dr. Seuss) out for a spin. My typical mag 6.5 skies were now brightened to about 5.2, so galaxy-hunting was out of the question. Instead, knocking off numerous open clusters from the H400 list was about the most productive thing I could do. Those objects in Cygnus, Cassiopeia, Lacerta, Perseus, and Andromeda are now all checked off. I won't bother with individual details, but the clusters varied from large and poor; to tiny and mostly unresolved; from fairly uninteresting to gorgeous.

    In the bright landscape I don't even think my eyes were every fully dark adapted, but none of the clusters were much fainter than about mag 10.5 (most were a lot brighter) and were easy to see at magnifications of 35x to 76x. Some aurora borealis last night, competing with the moon.

    All-in-all, with telescope, dog, beer, and howling wolves--- a pleasant way to spend a couple of evenings.
    Gordon
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    Default Re: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

    Gordon, enjoy the weather while you have it. Good choice to move on to the more pinpoint objects when the Moon is looking over your shoulder. Thanks for the report.

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    Default Re: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

    I wish I had 5.2 skies, my visual mag is 2.4-2.5 and that is when there is NO MOON, can only see two of the stars in the Great Square without averted vision. But still try to hunt stuff down. No wonder I do mostly solar
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    Default Re: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

    5.2 is s pretty good. I envy your dark skies. It sounds like a great time out there with the OC's. Hope you continue to have good luck with the weather..
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    Default Re: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

    I feel your pain.

    Making this has certainly helped my viewing during moonlit nights.
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    Default Re: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

    Cool way to get out there! Yea you can 'get by' with that moon as long as the transparency is pretty good.

    Worth a try !

    Well done
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    Default Re: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

    Nice session, Gordon. Lot's of OC's on that list. I was rather thankful to get them all in the bag.

    And wolves howling too! With the moon that bright, you are lucky you didn't get chomped by a werewolf.
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    Default Re: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

    Wow! 6.5 sky's! I'm envious...Like Ben, my home sky's are about 3.0. Glad you were able to resolve some objects with that moon.
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    Default Re: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

    Change out 'howling wolves' for 'classical music' and you've got my ideal evening.

    Where do you observe from that has mag 6.5 skies?
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    Default Re: Observing DSOs on Moonlit Nights

    Well done Gordon. Normally at home, I can see into the lower end of the 5th mag range. At our dark site I can easily see into the 6th mag range though I've not done a formal estimation. Typically the SQM-L readings are in the 21.2 to 21.5 range, though I did peak a couple times at 21.7. As expected the impact of the moon is most noticeable at the dark site because at home the sky is brighter already. At the dark site if I indeed go out while the moon is present, I typically will drape a dark cloth over my head to try and shut out some of the bright surroundings that I pick up in my periphery while at the eyepiece.

    Sounds like you made the right choices for the conditions and scooped up some new stuff for your log. Excellent!
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