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Galactic wishes February 8, 2008

Posted by dorigo in astronomy, personal.
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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. 

Comments

1. Stefan Scherer - February 8, 2008

Good luck, and great views🙂

2. Myke - February 9, 2008

Envy, but have you seen the wonderful book by Leo Marriott? “The Universe – Images from the Hubble Telescope” (Chartwell,New Jersey, 2005) ISNB-13: 978-0-7858-2044-4. Your mention of Leo reminded me of the book…

3. Fred - February 9, 2008

What do you guys bring to eat and drink up there? Do your wife and two children just shake their heads and yet feel relieved that they don’t need to go with you? Ditto what Stefan wrote.

4. dorigo - February 9, 2008

Hi all,

Stefan, Fred, thanks – it was indeed a very lucky night. I will write about it later.

Myke, no, I haven’t come across that book. I will give it a look if I find a copy.

Fred, when the sky is all star-studded like yesterday night, we are not much in a mood for food and drink🙂 We had a simple pizza on our way up at dinner, and then no more food until this morning. My wife complains a lot about my trips to the mountains, mainly because she worries about me driving into a cliff falling asleep at the wheel, or something of that kind.

Cheers,
T.

5. nige cook - February 9, 2008

Tommaso, if feeling tired you can always turn the radio on and play some rap music to ensure you don’t fall asleep while driving. It’s impossible to fall asleep with that racket playing.


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