I'm enjoying my 17th holiday / astro trip to the southern hemisphere. I flew from Sweden three weeks ago. I'm staying in Geraldton, a city by the Indian Ocean in Western Australia. Since 3rd quarter moon (last Monday), I have rented a car that I drive and bring my 10-inch Sky-Watcher Dobsonian telescope outside the city lights every night. I'm observing from a site some 50 kms due east. The darkness of the skies are SQM-L 21.8-ish. It was 21.90 the other night. If I drive another 50-100 kms, the skies are SQM-L >22.0. 21.8 is good enough for me. . The temperature is around +25 C in the evenings and drops to about +20 C in the morning. One morning it was +31 C (and +43 during the day)!
Some highlights so far after four nights. I'm going to see all the Herschel-400 II-objects. I have now viewed them all (that is visible from here) except three galaxies in Aquarius that set at dusk. I have to catch them another season.
I found Sirius naked eye just before sunset. It was hard to locate against the blue sky.
Horsehead nebula without nebula filters. With H-beta the HH was a pitch black indentation against IC434.
Last night I believe I had seen all the NGC/IC-objects in the Small Magellanic Cloud. Now, I logged the fainter ones NGC422, IC1655, IC1612, IC1641, IC1660, IC1665, IC1662 and IC1626. There is a nice globular near 47 Tuc, Kron 3. Lindsay 1 was another surprise. I have observed 53 Deep Sky objects so far in the SMC.
LMC possesses 318 NGC-objects. Less than a dozen is left for me. I surfed around the NGC1737 complex and found at least eight nebulae in the same area not plotted in the Uranometria atlas. Some of them were really bright and it surprises me that John Herschel missed them. Even if I have logged close to 400 DS-objects in the LMC, there is plenty left to observe!
I have tested how many Messier objects I can perceive naked eye. This night I found M67 in Cnc and it made my 38th naked eye Messier (more than a third of the entire catalog)! Has anyone seen more? Close to M67 I noticed a V=7.4 star.
The Gegenschein was very obvious situated between M44 in Cnc and Leo. It was elliptical and 15-20 degrees in height. I could discern the zodiacal band stretching out in both directions from the counterglow. The zodiacal band to the right (east) was harder to follow because the bright planets Jupiter, Mars and Saturn spoiled the view.
The "infamous" LMC-bridge of light that stretches toward Triangulum Australe. Since I know how this feature looks like, it was not that difficult to spot. The 40 degree long light was best seen when LMC was at the same altitude as the south celestial pole. The contributions to the background light due south is then: To the up/left is the black sky, below/to the right is the bright Milky Way, black sky, "LMC-bridge", black sky and below it the air-glow. The best contrast is the black sky between the LMC band of light and the Milky Way and then it gets darker again on the other side. Dana de Zoysa, have you any more information on this "LMC-feature"?
The weather forecasts promise cloudfree skies at least one more week so let's see how I much observing I manage to do.
Edited by timokarhula, 05 February 2016 - 12:53 AM.