Astronomy Benalla
Reports - 2014
Astronomy Benalla Viewing Report - 23rd August 2014 I ventured out after collecting three telescopes and eyepieces from our store at 5:00 pm.  Present was our secretary Gary myself then Patrick arrived shortly followed by Bev Morton.   The sky wasn’t very co‐operative providing very close to 100% cloud cover. Not prepared to waist our time we set up  five telescopes and took photos of all, very busy using there telescopes.   We then decided to run a few dry setups of our goto mounts as well as aligning the telescopes at were we thought  Acrux should be. This followed a bit of a protest dance, behold the clouds parted giving us a horizon to horizon view. An excellent sky  present over head we very quickly aligned a Newtonian telescope on a goto mount and after splitting Acrux for our  new astronomers and admiring the view for the very first time. Then our abstemious Secretary Gary made a  discovery that had us wondering for the rest of the night as he had found that by turning the eyepiece zoomed in from  25mm to 8mm separating Acrux from its pup by many times. Following this little bit of discovery Gary had us guessing just what we were looking at as we couldn’t realise just what power we were looking through as he was now in charge  of this eyepiece magic. We took an excellent tour of the sky, stopping first in Centaurus the Centaur, at NGC 5139 Omega Centauri for a look  at this wonder zooming in and out wondering at this majesty a grand globula cluster of many millions of stars (suns)  packed so tightly together the overall diameter being equal to our very own Moon. Following this wonder we next  stoped for a gaze at another wonder NGC 5128 a radio emission site this is also known as Centaurius A we gazed  again seeing this for the first time a real wonder this first real life galaxy we had seen again zoomed and un‐zoomed  to see the wonder of wonders with its dust lane running through it seemingly to cut the galaxy in two. This followed  quite a long visit to Scorpius the scorpion. We went first to Antares the orange heart of the scorpion we just gazed  and then gazed again at this almighty wonder not seen by our eyes before. I have to admit this being one of my  favourite constellations then they all are I suppose.   At Antares after admiring the image Antares presented to us we ventured to very uncharted territory for our new  astronomers and took a search for Messier 4 this taught our new astronomers Gary mainly as he was unwilling to  relinquish the hand controller some star popping techniques as at this time we hadn’t carried out a proper two star,  star alignment of the mount, after much back and forth between Antares and Al Niyat we finally located Messier 4. I  have to admit it would have been easier had we had a wider field of view but then all of that fun would have been  taken out of the exercise. Messier 4 was admired for some time looking at it with a zoomed then un‐zoomed  eyepiece. At this time we received a very welcome visit from Darren and his companion, Kim. From (Shepparton)?  This upped our number from three to five. Following some shaking of hands and introductions Daren told us Not  Shepparton but from Mansfield. Our leader for the night had been doing too much electric fencing for his own good.  And had got it all ballsed up yet again. It was at this point our new astronomers were introduced to averted vision it took a little time to practice but all found  that they were able to use this new method of looking at these objects with a great advancement. They each could  use it to a great advantage getting so much better view of each object. We moved on with a visit to Messier 7 the first  time our astronomers had viewed in real life a real open cluster. At this time it was decided to stop and carry out a  star alignment of our goto mount. So off we went back to Acrux and then on to our second of our two star alignment  these by the way are really suns but then being astronomers we really know this. And away we went, no more  searching of the sky and star hoping we were able to enter our subject. Press enter and the telescope was turned by  our mount to point exactly to our object. Now Gary thought this a marvellous gadget. From then on we just entered  what we wanted to look at and bingo it was there to see. Now more of this time using star hopping.   We now slewed directly onto Messier 7 for a confirmation look to check that Gary now had it all under control. So we  ventured this time into Sagittarius The archer. Stopping this time at the Trifid Nebula now we were really getting into  uncharted territory. At this point after much gazing with our zoom in then out we decided it was some time for some  real fair dinkum viewing so out came the filters. First we had a Hydrogen alpha filter with this and after looking for  some time we were able to see a very faint red glow produced by the nearby suns heating the hydrogen gas in the  nebula to a temperature that it glowed red. But because our eye receptors were not powerful enough the full red glow  was unable to be seen. So not to be put off we fitted a nebula filter and WAMM there before our eyes were channels  and branches of nebulosity all through the object that was completely invisible without the nebula filter. We were able  to see the complete structure of the triple channels running through the nebula. If that wasn’t enough Gary wanted to  know what about planets so away we went in search of our favourite Planet Saturn. We zoomed and zoomed looking  at the fantastic rings Daren was in awe by what he was able to see with his own eyes then we found one of Saturn’s  moons shining away just behind the big planet. Not enough yet, we had to go and find Mars and I was dumfounded  myself as we were able to make out the poles and hemispheres. (Remember how close to us it has come at present  it still gets a bit closer yet.) John Whitehead.  
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