Galactic wishes February 8, 2008Posted by dorigo in astronomy, personal.
In a few minutes I will be leaving to Casera Razzo with two buddies, a large dobson telescope, and lots of warm clothes. The weather is clear, and we expect a rich observing session, with UMA and LEO starting to show their bounty of galaxies high in the night sky.
The temperature should not dip below minus ten Celsius – or so I gather from the local forecasts. Instead, wind might turn out to be a problem – despite my dobson has a robust mount, a 10 mph breeze is enough to make high-power observations painful, and leave alone the wind chill effect during the night at 1700 meters above sea level, with only snow around. The gradient in pressure between balcans and alps could make things hard for us.
Nonetheless, I have already put together a list of objects I wish to watch with some detail. Among them, several galaxies of course. M51 (aka the whirlpool), the most photogenic interacting pair of the whole sky; M101, a wonderful spiral which usually cannot be observed well – it requires very dark skies to see its spiral arms; and then M106, M65-M66, … the list is very long and thick with showpieces, but also with less-known galaxies. If wind is a problem for chill and stability of the scope, it will indeed help the sky transparency, and I expect we will have a fair chance of exceeding previous records as far as dim details on deep-sky objects are concerned. Wish us good luck… A night of observations during winter time is not too different from a sport performance: you drive two hours, unload the material, mount everything, observe for four-five hours, and then put back things in the car and leave. Not for the faint hearted.