Seeing Albeireo for the first time stunned me. I was just starting out and randomly scanning when this beautiful object suddenly appeared in my field of view. That's when I decided that yes, this hobby is for me.
Ever since then, it's always been my first target if in view. Puts me in a good mood for the rest of the night!
Can you give the specifics of that image? Telescope, camera, exposure, etc? I have read about how beautiful Albeireo was, but always forget to look. No more.
What's the one moment while observing that you'll always cherish? Give me the whole story, I'd love to hear it!
Mine would have to be seeing Saturn for the first time or seeing the veil nebula.
I remember seeing Saturn when I was about 12-13, through my department-store Tasco refractor. Nobody told me that the strongest (smallest) EP also gave the dimmest view, and adding the Barlow made it even dimmer. Once I got a focus, the best thing I could see was a tiny (maybe 200X) dim oval that you could barely detect a break between the center circle and two bulges. Bad as it was, I was hooked. Even though I didn't continue pursuing astronomy throughout my adult life, I've never been able to walk outside on a clear night without looking up..
As for the one moment of observing that I'll always cherish: All of them.
Probably seeing Saturn for the first time with my 50mm as a kid. It looked like a yellowish star and didn't know what it was until I looked at it through my little scope. I was pretty amazed.
My recent telescope purchase(s) were originally driven by a common purpose: a good spotting scope for shooting that I could also use to sky-watch. Well, the spotting scope scenario is lost by the wayside, and I'm all in, renewing my childhood fascination with what's in the sky. Every observing event has been better than the one before it, in that I know a little more each time that I can apply to the next time.
The recent solar eclipse has to be a real high point; it's the 8th eclipse to occur somewhere I was living, but the first one I actively had any interest in. I honestly can't remember any of the others: Partial in '63, total in '70; partials in '72 and '79 and '81, and two annulars, '84 and '94. Where the heck was I? For this last one, I drove two hours to get to totality, and actually got great pictures through my C6 with my DSLR. First attempt at AP, and beginner's luck got me Bailey's beads and a Diamond Ring, and video of the approaching ground shadow.
Every night viewing has been great, and the best one so far has to be last night's. Our local club had a dark sight public viewing, and I'd been looking forward to it for several weeks. The three nights before it had been perfect viewing from my back yard, absolutely clear skies from dusk to sunrise. I went out two nights ago after midnight and stayed up until 5am, when Orion rose I got to view the Nebula under magnification for the first time ever; couldn't wait to get to a really dark area (I am in the midst of three towns, the horizons are bright). The forecast was saying clear for last night. Packed up my stuff and left for the hour's drive, slightly concerned that the sky was about 7/10 cloud. No matter, I thought, it's been sort of like that, but always cleared by dusk.
Not so last evening, it rained a couple of times on the drive to the viewing site, and the skies looked like they had no plans to clear; when I got to the dark site, it had recently rained a short shower, there were few breaks in the clouds, and it looked like more rain. Maybe a half-dozen guys already there (7 pm, just starting to darken a little), and we stood around, debating on giving up or waiting to see what would happen. I went ahead, as did a couple of others, and set up my tripod and mount, but waiting on the OTA and electronics. I had a big trash bag I could throw over things should it rain again.
Dusk came, clouds remained, except for an area to the southwest, and out popped the Moon, all 6% of her. I figured on a quick look, threw the OTA on and popped in an EP, and manually skewed the mount. By the time I did all that, clouds had obscured Miss Luna (and I missed her). Everything else was socked in. we waited. Full dark, and we waited more, cussing the local TV weatherman, who'd said it would be clear. We all agreed, we'd wait until 9pm if nothing improved, we'd quit. Several of the others said they'd been clouded out the past three dark site nights.
About 8:30, a hole opened up between Polaris and Cassiopeia. It moved a bit, and Polaris was available for polar alignment; I'd done a basic one with a compass, so I verified it and was only a couple of degrees off. Then more holes started opening and soon enough it cleared enough to find enough stars to align the Go-To. More clearing, and a collective cheer went up from the visitors and enthusiasts alike. By 9:15pm, about 2/3 of the sky had cleared, with just a couple of hazy places, and they soon disappeared. We were all aiming at different stuff, the public moving from scope to scope, looking at the Double-Double, Andromeda, Ring Nebula, various double stars and clusters. The Milky Way was clearly visible. I was set up next to a guy, I got a bad case of aperture and mount envy. I have an Edge HD 8" and AVX mount, and am entirely happy with it, his was an Edge HD 11" and CGX/L. Wow. I'd seen them on websites, the CGX mount, but in person, it was like a country one-lane bridge (mine) compared to the Golden Gate (his). But I also saw how much more you need to support moving one of those beasts around, he had the trolley, and a trailer behind his pickup. I can get all my stuff in an old Honda Civic.
We stayed out until midnight, at least three of us. I was ready to stay all night, but when they started packing up, I did the same. We were in a state park, and I couldn't see making the ranger (who was also a sky-watcher) stay there until I was ready to go, which wouldn't have been until 4 or 5 am.
Can't wait for the next time.
Edited by Luna-tic, 24 September 2017 - 12:25 PM.