BAS at Kelling Heath, September 2012

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BAS at Kelling Heath, September 2012

#1 Post by rwilkinson » Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:30 am

We had a wonderful time down in Norfolk this weekend, with 18 BAS Members enjoying the dark skies and the jovial company.

The trip down on Thursday was marred by the sudden closure of the A17 (for "emergency repairs"), forcing us into a lengthy diversion down through Cambridgeshire, but we were still able to get on site and set up our tents in daylight (and pop over to see Ian at Altair Astro to make a couple of essential purchases too). Then as darkness fell, the sky cleared and we had a wonderfully clear (albeit very windy) night, and I was able to spend some time helping each of our newer members with their 'scopes and imaging kit.

On Friday most of our gang went on a steam-train excursion to Sheringham, where a 1940s-themed event was in full swing. Meanwhile Carl and I were working on connecting his brand-new NEQ6 to his laptop running EQMOD.
Unfortunately it had clouded over by dusk, so we held an impropmtu image-processing clinic whilst waiting for it to clear. Then those who had stayed up till 11pm were rewarded with another fine night for observing and imaging.

Saturday was a fine sunny day and the blustery winds had died right down, so we spent it looking around the trade-stands and car-boot sales, picking up some bargains and "essential" items. We also had time to practice solar imaging with our Coronado 'scopes and weather satellite reception with our radio kits.
Although wispy cloud had appeared in the late afternoon, it all cleared to give yet another fine night, so everyone was able to enjoy the perfect conditions. The chap who bought Gerald & Brian's last pair of giant binoculars had also dropped by, so we were able to have a look through those for the first time too.
After a few fruitless attempts to set up his brand-new NEQ6 GoTo, I showed Callum that we could actually find our targets just as quickly in his 10" 'scope (and 4" eyepiece!) simply by using his finder-scope to "star-hop". And by the time we'd finished admiring the Double Cluster, Andromeda galaxies, the Ring & Dumbell nebulae, M13 cluster and Whirlpool and M81 & 82 galaxies, Jupiter was just rising.

We'll be doing a full presentation at one of our forthcoming meetings, but in the meantime keep an eye on our Gallery as the processed results are posted...


Re: BAS at Kelling Heath, September 2012

#2 Post by cmcdougall » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:05 pm

This was my first tentative foray into the star party scene......and as Ross said, it was a wonderful weekend.

Thank you very much to Ross, Mike, Steve and others that assisted Wilf and I when we arrived, very poorly equipped, late Saturday evening. In my defence, I had just arrived back from my honeymoon in Las Vegas and was just a little sleep deprived....that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

It was the first attempt at using my new Meade 10" tube and NEQ6 Pro mount....oh and the gargantuan Meade 30 mm Ultra Wide View eyepiece, obtained during my trip to the US. So heavy is this eyepiece, that I had to borrow an extra 5 kg weight, to balance it (15 kg in weights all together). Initially, we had trouble correctly aligning the mount but with Ross' assistance, I managed to get some very impressive views of deep sky objects.

On Sunday night, I was assisted by Robert Ince (he recently had a very interesting article published in Astronomy Now, where he imaged his own version of the Hubble Deep Field, with an 8" telescope in Kielder!), who helped me use the goto features on my new mount. Wilf and I were amazed at some of the objects we saw, including, 'coloured' items, such as the Catseye (NGC 6543) and Blue Snowball (NGC 7662) nebulae....I had no idea that I would ever actually see these colours and thought that colour was pretty much the preserve of astrophotographers!

We were hoping to image Jupiter on Monday night, but at midnight, the sky was very cloudy and we decided to disassemble the telescope. Just after I had put the tube in its box, the clouds totally disappeared! Unfortunately, with a long drive in the morning, I didn't have the motivation to set up again but I was impressed with three out of three clear nights....wonderful!

This experience has been of enormous benefit to me in terms of learning to use my new equipment, learning how to better get about the sky by star hopping (thanks Ross) and getting to know the many generous and helpful BAS members, without whom Wilf and I would probably not have survived 3 nights!

Other than Steve, anyone going next year?

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