Arunah Hill Excursion

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NGC7000
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Arunah Hill Excursion

Unread post by NGC7000 »

I joined Matt at Arunah Hill Saturday. I found Matt working with several Boy Scouts installing a Ham Radio Sation. I had also found the sky full of clouds after a 2 1/2 hour drive that had just 30 minutes earlier been completely clear.
Matt showed me around. It was my first trip to Arunah, and I was amazed at the wide expanse of cleared land that overlooked Springfield to the South and presented a 360 degree view of the sky above the treetops. It was just getting dak when I started setting up at the top of the hill.

The sky had cleared by late dusk, and a beautiful young moon descended into the west followed by Jupiter. I looked up and saw one continuous trail of Milky way From Cygnus across to Persius and down to where Orion would be rising. I was psyched....

That is, until I realized I had forgotten the red screen to cover my computer, and my Dew Shield for the C8. Undaunted, and still optimistic, I turned on the DSI and started my alignment. The Milky Way was growing in brightness, and you could easily see the Andromeda Galaxy naked eye.

The glare from the computer screen was blinding. But it wasn't too bothersome, initially. My immediate problem was not seeing Capella on my screen.

I... reset my finderscope, I.. reinstalled the Envisage software. I...removed the camera from the telescope and looked to see if the chip was dewed over. Uh oh, I couldn't see the chip at all. I had reassmebled the filter wheel incorrectly the night before while cleaning the sensor, and which was now completely blocking the light train.The filter wheel that had 6 allen wrench bolts.

Of course, I had forgotten my tool kit.

Matt came to the rescue...as Matt often does, producing allen wrenches.

At that point the corrector plate on the C8 was well dewed and very foggy. It took a good 5 minutes to clear it with the little hair dryer.

ANd then, finally I began to image. I started with IC405, the Flaming Star Nebula. After 2 images, I started hearing a strange, high pitched scream. It was my battery tellling me that the computer had robbed most of its power...

And so it went, as the constellations passed overhead, I attended to each succeeding and cyclical problem that was rooted in my forgetfullness....

It went on like that for most of the evening. Luckily, Barry had his dob working after a few problems of his own, and produced some of the most stunning sights this night sky had to offer. M33 was brightly diffuse, and IC434, The Horsehead was nearly discernable. I could make out the nebulosity, but not the head itself.

It was, in spite of the setbacks, an incredible evening. I would suggest to anyone who has not been to Arunah Hill, that tyou take Matt up on the invitation to go. I have every intention of going back as soon as I can...with my Dew Shield and an extra battery. :D

Tom


Image








I did get to shoot this image of the M42 region thru the AT 66.

4 luminancex4 minutes...I can only imagine what it would have looked like if I had any more time. But by now it was 1 am and my batteries were all screaming now like hungry kids, my eyes were washed out from the glaring screen, and the C8 was doomed to dewness.I decided to drive home. :shock: It wasn't too bad. 2hrs 45 min. I was in bed by 4.


The only thing missing from this wonderful night ( besides my equipment), were more Assne members. :wink:
Tom H
Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas.
Bruce D
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Unread post by Bruce D »

I'm glad you decided to go Tom, beautiful skies out there! Kinda makes all the obstacles seem minor. I hope to make the trip out there soon, work should be easing up after a few more days.
Bruce D
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BobSikes
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Energizer Bunny

Unread post by BobSikes »

Nice report Tom

And NOTHING stops Tom from imaging.

BobS
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Dark Helmet
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Unread post by Dark Helmet »

Tom I am glad you had a good time despite the nasty dew fallout. That was one of the worst dew fall outs on the hill I have seen in a long time.

Next time you are up there I will take you home a different way via the Mass Pike exit 3. That way, you can avoid Route 9, Northampton, and Route 91 altogether. That way you should knock off at least 30 minutes from your trip.

I should also mention folks that if you don't want to drive home after a long night of observing, we have a cabin/clubhouse on the hill.

I always extend my offer if you or any ASSNE member wants to go up to Arunah Hill, just let me know.

Great image Tom.

Matt
Matt P.
WHAT? You went over my helmet?.....Ludicrous speed, go!
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NGC7000
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Unread post by NGC7000 »

Hey matt,

I relied on GPS to get me home, and it charted a route that avoided all the above. It was Rte 12 to 20 to 90.....I'm sure you know a couple of ways to take miles off of that as well. Thanks again for an extraordinary Autumnal expedition. :D

Tom
Tom H
Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass
And all the stars that never were
Are parking cars and pumping gas.
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Rotorhead
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Unread post by Rotorhead »

Tom, I'm glad you got to experience Arunah! It is truly a gem of a site, and when it is good, it is as good as any place I have ever observed. Now, if you HAD seen the Horsehead naked eye, though, I would put my house up for sale and head for western Mass! :shock:

You are a real trooper, driving home after a night of observing. That can be a long drive when you are already dead on your feet.
Bob M
15" f5 Starsplitter Dob/80mm Finder
5" Explore Scientific triplet APO on a Vixen Sphinx GEM
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WCGucfa
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Unread post by WCGucfa »

Tom it was worth all your trouble just to show us your true observer die hard ways. What an adventure! Thanks!
I'm still afraid to leave my backyard!! :shock: :cry: :(

Matt, thanks for your invitation! If I ever escape the confine's of Rehoboth, it will be to go to A.H.

B.G.
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