Stargazing & Bikepacking

Not-so expensive astronomy and some bikepacking stories

Unnoticed Magic Carpet ride on August 24th

Yesterday I tried out something different. Or weird even, for me. Observing from home.

To paint a picture: my garden on one side has houses. In The Netherlands most of us live in terraced houses. So, from that side there’s lights shining out. Luckily in summer some trees block those lights almost entirely. On the other side is the street with dozens of streetlights. By setting up behind the shed I can manage to eliminate most of them save for two. To shield myself from those two I made a McGuyver light shield.

One ugly looking’ thing

Sky is always around SQM 19.3. Depending on moisture in the air it’s even less good or a bit better. Transparency yesterday was maybe a 4 on the Astroleague scale.

I managed to bag the Ring Nebula and Dumbell Nebula. These of course are easy. To my surprise I could even see the bright parts of the Veil Nebula, using an NBP filter. Then I tried NGC 7008 (the Fetus Nebula) but that one failed. The Magic Carpet Nebula was a dud too. Or so I thought because I just found out that the fuzzy bright star I was looking at for minutes thinking if *that* could be the nebula in fact was! It was might bright, so I forgive myself for my mistake.

NCG 7027 (image by NASA)

The light shield works fine enough and I will go ahead and replace the plastic sheet with some proper light blocking cloth. Then I will make another one or two for winter because the trees won’t block the light any more and I need to surround myself with these shields. But by doing so I think I can squeeze out a couple of more fun observing nights a year as opposed to just sitting mindless before the telly again.

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