My family enjoy summer holidays in the Canary Islands, great food, sun and lots of swimming. I add to that fantastic skies for astronomy and on our most recent trip, I was able to stay two nights in the Teide national park hotel, Parador de las Cañadas del Teide. This hotel is situated at about 2100m Hugh and is the only place to stay in the national park itself so has very good dark skies.
Attached is a daytime photo I took of my observing location.
Given luggage constraints, I decided to take my recently acquired Tak FSQ-85 together with my night vision monoculars and various eyepieces for afocal use. Also attached is a photo of my setup in use at Teide. Apart from a quick test session at home, this was my first chance to try the Tak and I was eager to see what the fast side flat field views would be like with Night Vision under a dark sky. I wasn’t disappointed:)
The Tak worked brilliantly with my skywatcher az gti and once I’d done the initial alignment I didn’t have to update it for the rest of the session.
Lovely clear skies on arrival at the hotel at about 8pm. I had a beer in the hotel for refreshment after a day in the sun and then headed out once it got dark at about 10pm. I took a number of sqm measurements through the night and the best was 21.58. First up I decided to just have a scan of the Milky Way with my night vision monoculars. The centre of the Milky Way was pretty high (certainly compared to the UK!) and the dark rifts were as clear as I’ve seen.
I took a short phone video of the views which gives some indication of what was visible.
Then the Tak was setup. I did a star test and this showed the optics were top notch.
First up with the Tak was some planetary viewing (not with nv!) of Jupiter and Saturn which are much better placed in Tenerife than the UK. I was using my 3.5mm Pentax Xw giving around 130x. The GRS really popped out and around 6 cloud bands were visible. The seeing was very good and I got very sharp views. Saturn showed the Cassini division very clearly plus some cloud handing on the actual planet. A great start!
Next up I used my night vision in afocal mode to get my first proper view of m22. I used an 18mm delite to get 25x mag and got nice mass of stars resolved in the centre. Here is an 8 second exposure phone image.
To be continued...(due to image space constraints, this report will be over a few posts)