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A rich observing session October 16, 2006

Posted by dorigo in astronomy, internet, personal, science, travel.

Yesterday all weather forecasts I know were predicting a clear night on the Alps. I had waited a long time now for an occasion to drive to Padola to retrieve my telescope -which had been stored there two months ago when we left at the end of our vacations- and observe some deep sky objects. So I decided to go. No moon, clear weather, not too cold – and a new observing site to check.

I left Venice at 5pm, arrived in Padola, grabbed the scope (well, it really means I had to load the trunk of my car with a lot of stuff: eyepiece case, base of scope, truss tubes, mirror box, upper cell, binoculars, computer, etcetera), and headed to Casera Razzo, a place in the middle of nowhere, close to Sella di Ciampigotto, a pass between Veneto and Friuli at 5800 ft of elevation.

At 9pm I was operational, in a parking lot close to the road – where a mere three cars passed during the five full hours I spent there. It took me a while to collimate the instrument, but then I started to enjoy the views. The sky was not perfectly dark, but quite good overall – the milky way was very bright.

I had a lot of fun on M33, of which I could see very bright spiral arms and at least three condensation regions in the arms. Then I moved to more challenging targets… A list would not fit here: I observed a total of 46 galaxies, 7 open clusters, 6 emission nebulas, 4 planetaries (M27, M57, NGC7662, M1), and 5 globular clusters.

A nice view was the cluster of galaxies in Andromeda, just south of beta and above M33. The brightest member is just an elliptical uncospicuous galaxy, M507. But it was very nice to see nine galaxies all in the field of my 13mm Hyperion eyepiece (25 arcminutes). Here is the star field I am talking about, courtesy of the digital sky survey  (http://archive.stsci.edu/cgi-bin/dss_plate_finder):

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