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Thread: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

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    Default Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob



    I finally got a chance to bring a big mirror scope to a dark site. I had 4 great nights of observing. Here's a report...

    Location: Lake Nacimiento, CA - north shore area (Oak Shores). My viewing was mostly limited to the Elliptic from SE up to Jupiter (SW) - but we had plenty to look at! I've been wanting to dig into Sagittarius and finally got a chance. Wow! I only got to star gaze from about 9pm to 11:30pm each night, but we saw plenty!

    Scope: My new Explore Scientific 12" truss dob (I wrote up a product review in a previous post, if you are interested in the scope.) I purchased it last week, and only had two night to get used to it before our trip. BTW - I think a collapsible truss dob is super amazing for transport. What a great idea!

    I accidentally left the red-dot finder behind, so I had to do some dead reckoning to get my bearings. The finder scope isn't very good anyway - so it probably wouldn't have helped much.

    The scope performed very well. It is a fantastic upgrade from my 8" dob. I love the two-speed focuser. I only used my ES 16mm 68-deg, my 2.5x Barlow, and my new ES 28mm 68-deg. The eyepieces handled the f5 scope just fine. No complaints. I did have to re-collimate the scope once each night, but I guess this is reasonable for a truss dob with a 12" mirror. It was quick and easy to dial back in.

    Viewing: This was a bit surprising to me: it was a very dark sky, though there were a few porch lights around. The Milky Way was very bright and all the stars in the Little Dipper were clearly visible: I can see neither see from my house, ever. BUT - the daytime temperatures were well over 100F - and because we were near the lake, the air wasn't very clear! How strange to see dim nebulae and galaxies - but Jupiter and Saturn weren't as clear as my own front yard in my terribly light polluted So. Cal skies. I can only image how much greater viewing would be when all the factors come together.

    Outreach: This was a church youth group trip (I'm a pastor) - so I was stoked to be able to introduce some suburban kids to astronomy. Many had never looked through a telescope. I think about 15 of the kids wandered up the hill to look through the scope one night or another. One girl was so amazed, I think she got hooked. She wants to take an astronomy class or get a telescope when she's in college. She getting back in line for another view! I LOVE the oohs, ahs, and other exclamations when kids see Saturns rings or Jupiter's clouds and moons for the first time.

    Targets:

    Jupiter & Saturn (a bit mushy from the thick skies)

    Milky Way (browsing the rich star field of Sagittarius was breath taking)

    Whirlpool Galaxy (I've been trying to find this at home for months. No luck. Here, it popped right out. Now I know why y'all stress getting to a dark sky location.)
    Southern Pinwheel Galaxy (I just stumbled on it and had to look it up!)

    All in a vertical row - Lagoon Nebula, Trifid Nebula, Eagle Nebula, Omega Nebula

    M18 - etc.


    What a trip! I have two or three more trips planned this summer to other possible dark skies, so I'm hopeful!
    Looking up! ~Jeff // Currently using: Explore Scientific 12" truss Dob // ES 16mm 68-deg // ES 28mm 68-deg // 9mm Kellner // 2.5x Barlow

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    Default Re: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

    Good to hear you had a great time and the kids enjoyed the show
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    Default Re: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

    Nice report. Glad that everyone had a good time and were amazed by what they saw. Clear skies.
    Peter.


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    Default Re: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

    That's great sounds like a fine instrument and a good time had by all!
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    Default Re: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

    Awesome! Congrats on the trip and the amazing views!

    Yeah, when you are at a dark site and well dark adapted, those bright planets can appear washed out, or too bright in other words. After you star at them long enough, your eyes tend to adjust. Of course, steady seeing conditions are very helpful with the planets, and not a terribly important factor for most DSO's.

    Anyway, well done! Good to hear the scope is working well. Hope you can get back out there soon!
    Bryan

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    Default Re: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

    Very cool - outreach is always fun - and dark skies even better!

    Thanks for sharing!
    -- Brett

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    Default Re: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

    Great report!
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    Default Re: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

    Excellent report and well done on treating the kids to the sights. Agreed, there is nothing like standing under the sky at a truly dark location. While I can sometimes see all seven stars of the the Little Dipper asterism at home in my suburban skies, they are all clearly visible at our dark site. Many Messier objects are naked eye visible and there is enough starlight that I can walk around with no difficulty. As for the planets, I recall one evening there before Venus had set I found it particularly bothersome as it was so bright in the west that when my glance happened to go that direction it momentarily impacted my dark adaptation. I was happy when it set!
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    Default Re: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

    Nice report! It's always great to get out to a dark sky site...and even better to be able to cruise through the Milky Way with a large aperture scope! Glad you enjoyed yourselves

    Dave
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    Default Re: Glorious! Dark Sky trip & my new 12" ES Truss Dob

    Great report, hope you enjoy your new scope. I have the same scope but ditch that red dot for a Telerad and a real right angle finder, it will make finding stuff a lot easier. Also I'm assuming you used the light baffle but made no mention of a shroud which is a must on this scope. Any stray light will impact your seeing.

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