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Stuart Jackson 2004

  
Deepsky Observing
 

Leaving the light pollution of the city and suburbs for the dark skies of the country is a real treat for me. The Dark Skies not only open up an opportunity to chase down faint objects, but also to lie back in a reclining chair and just appreciate the beauty of the dark sky and dust clouds of the Milky Way. Below I have listed some times that I have mananged to enjoy some Deepsky Observing in dark skies:

  • Kalannie - September 1997
    My first real trip into dark skies was taken when a partial was to occur. The weather is September was cold and windy and I only mananged to observe for a couple of hours each night.
  • Nallan Station, Carnegie Homestead, Gibson Desert and surrounds - September 1997
    An expedition with CALM and the Perth Observatory gave me a chance to mix with some professionals and it also allowed me to travel to what is probably the darkest skies in Australia.
  • Wellington Mill - January 1998
    An excellent long weekend star party with the Murdoch Astronomical Society and the Astronomical Group of the South West. The weather during the day was hot, but the nights viewing was glorious at this location 30 mins east of Bunbury near the Wellington Dam.
  • Kalannie - March 1998
    Pretty much a waste of time with only about 30 minutes of observing in the week I was there. The weather in the wheatbelt in March is awful... 45 degrees for several days in a row, with thunderstorms at night. I did manage to do some rocket launches in the late afternoon.
  • Dryandra - April 1998
    Another star party with the Murdoch and South West Astronomy Groups. Dryandra is a forest location to the south east of Perth near Narrogin. The weather around April gets a bit chilly which gave some good viewing on the first night, with the second night was clouded out.
  • Northern Territory - August 1998
    I went with my Mum and brother on a trip to Uluru for five days. We saw sunrise and sunset around Uluru and the Olga's and even travelled out to Ulura at 4am one morning to see the stars. This trip was also my first attempt at astrophotography.
  • Kalannie - October 1998
    Much better weather this time allowed me stay and observe for around six nights. I observed many deepsky objects, the Orionid meteor shower, Comet 88P Howell, which was about ninth magnitude in the constellation of Sagittarius, some satellites (including Superbird A), and I did some astrophotography.
  • Kalannie - November 1998
    A quick one night dash up into the wheatbelt to escape the storms of Perth and view the Leonid Meteor Shower.
  • Wellington Mill - January 1999
    Another star party with the Murdoch and South West Astronomy Groups. The meteor activity on this long weekend was quite exceptional. I also took some excellent astrophotos.
  • Greenough - Febuary 1999
    I went up to Greenough near Geraldton for two nights with some of my family to observe the Annular Solar Eclipse. A viewing night was held the night before by many of the astronomers who were in the area.
  • Muchea - November 1999
    For two nights I observed the Leonid Meteor Shower from Muchea just off the Great Northern Highway near a dark housing estate.
  • Kalannie - October 2000
    Another excellent trip up to Kalannie, this was the first time I took my 80mm refractor out to dark skies. I also did a bit of astrophotography hoping to catch the Orionid meteor shower on film.
  • Kalannie - April 2001
    A quick break from work allowed me to go up to the farm again for three nights. Unfortunately 2 and a half nights were clouded out, but I got half a night to observe and take a few photos. I also wanted to see what the weather was like up there in late April.
  • Kalannie - November 2001
    Another quick one night dash up into the wheatbelt to escape the storms of Perth and view the Leonid Meteor Shower.
  • Halls Creek - August 2003
    A night camped about 50kms north of Halls Creek in the middle of absolute nowhere. The full moon rising was a magnificent sight, however no real astronomy done except for enjoying the location.
  • Nullabor - September 2003
    A night camped out somewhere near Cocklebiddy on the Nullabor. This was around the time Mars was near conjunction so it was out with the 80mm refractor that I had packed for the trip.


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