Observing Report – 05 October 2013

Location: Tilshead

Time: 1900 – 2300

Attendees: Mark Radice

Equipment: 14″ f4.5 skywatcher auto dob

Weather: The night started with lovely clear skies that, unfortunately, slowly misted over as the evening wore on.  The secondary kept on misted over leading to frequent use of the hairdryer.


First up was the low Messier objects while I waited for the optics to cool and my eyes to adjust to the dark.  M8 was pretty washed out.  The star cluster was visible but there was little sign of the nebulosity.  The large globular M22 was similarly affected and nothing like its normal majesty.

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Observing Report – 07 Apr 2013

Location: Tilshead

Time: 2030 – 0010

Attendees: Garry Keenor, Nick Smith, Mark Radice, Mike and Carolyn White

Equipment: 4″ binos on p-mount (Mark), 10×50 binos on tripod (Garry), small binos (Mike & Carolyn), Skywatcher 10″ dob (Garry), Skywatcher 8″ newt on EQ6 with DSLR (Nick)

Weather: perfectly clear apart from the odd contrail, no wind, dropping to about -2°C by midnight

Darkness/Seeing: darkness marred by the onset of summer (solar glow evident at midnight to north, west and east) but otherwise good – it is Tilshead after all! Seeing not great, some doubt about transparency – no milky way evident even at midnight, views of Saturn at low elevation particularly poor


Mark had put the call out after a good session with Nick the previous night – two concurrent clear nights being a rarity round here! The stated aims were to catch comet PANSTARRS as it passes by the Andromeda galaxy, take a look at the many many galaxies in the Virgo cluster, and get an early view of Saturn.

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Observing Report – 15 Feb 2013

Location, time: Everleigh, 1900 – 2130

Attendees: Mark Radice, Garry Keenor, Will Petty, Frank Bryant, Neil Burton, Kevin Morgan, others (apologies, didn’t get all the names!)

Equipment: 10″ dob, 11″ dob, large binos, others

Weather: cold and clear to start, clouding over later

Darkness/Seeing: darkness marred somewhat  by first quarter moon, several apache gunships on exercise, flares and plenty of vehicles passing by! Seeing not great; Jupiter at 125x mag was wobbling in and out of focus. Dewing also a major problem!

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Observing Log Alton Hill November 10th 2012

Equipment: Skywatcher 150PL 150mm (6″) Parabolic Newtonian Reflector with 25mm Skywatcher eyepiece

What joy! Finally after 7 months of rubbish skies, at least when I was free, a chance to go out observing.  A small group of us from SPOG had arranged to meet at Alton Hill car park for an observing session and wonder of wonders the skies were clear as I packed Sidney (my telescope now 2 years old) into the car.  Having dressed for the cold and with a thermos of hot chocolate I set off for our rendezvous at 7pm. On arriving I found Jon and Owen already there and looking at cloud on the horizon. We decided to set up in the hopes the forecast for clear skies would prove correct.  As we were doing so Mark, Hilary and Robin also arrived and we began the nights viewing.

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Observing Report – 21 April 2012

Location: Tilshead

Time: 2130 – 0130

Saturday brought a hat trick of clear SPOG observing sessions with wonderfully transparent skies. It didn’t start that way as, to our surprise, it was raining when we met at the pub. Thankfully it was only a passing shower and it soon left a crystal clear sky. Venus was shining like a beacon in the western sky while fiery Mars hung high overhead. It was one of those brilliantly clear skies that allow a myriad of fainter stars to shine through making the constellations almost hard to recognise.

We had a fantastic time exploring the spring sky. Particular highlights include:

  • The interacting Siamese galaxies NGC5426 and NGC5427 clearly visible as two elongated features touching at one end
  • Getting lost around the Virgo galaxy cluster while having multiple galaxies in the field of view (I counted 9 around the M84, 86, 87 “core” through Dave’s 10” scope)
  • M104 Sombrero Galaxy
  • Saturn with the dark Cassini division and several moons
  • Surface features on Mars
  • Numerous bright Lyrid meteors
  • A low level ISS pass

All in all a fun night enjoyed by new and old members alike. It seems a different world with the current driving rain and howling rain.