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Terrific Tenerife

From Friday 16th to Monday 19th July it was perfectly clear all night for 4 nights. Saturday 17th was even clearer? A sunset green flash was seen over La Palma. NELM ~7. My observing location was at 2000m on Mt. Tiede.

I used a Borg 101ED f6.4 refractor with 31 and 13 mm Naglers and x2 Televue Barlow. Mounted on a heavy duty Manfrotto photographic tripod I steered using a red dot unit power finder and photocopies of the Milky Way areas from Sky Atlas 2000.

Words cannot express the majesty of the naked eye Milky Way from a dark southern location.

The wide field views possible with the scope provided a porthole into the darkest depths of our galaxy. Dusty, dark nebulae abound. A true sense of the structure and nature of our galactic home became apparent.

Globular clusters provide good targets for small telescopes owing to their high surface brightness. I observed about 45 down to mag 11 scattered around our galactic centre.

Open clusters are ‘stars’ in this scope. Pinpoints of light scattered against velvety black backgrounds.

Normally elusive bright nebulae could be picked up against the contrasting dark (!) background sky.

Galaxies, not the best for small apertures, were detailed! The Whirlpool and M83 both exhibited spiral structure. Amazing in a 4” scope!

The finale at 01:00 on the Monday was an epic journey along and across the southern galactic border of the dark rift splitting the Milky Way. Starting at M7, I travelled past and through the Sagittarius star cloud, around the Lagoon, over M24, through the Scutum star cloud and on and on to the North American in Cygnus. A stupendous voyage!

by Paul

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