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Salisbury Star Party 2010
Written by Richie Jarvis   
Monday, 16 August 2010 19:52

This year saw another wonderful Salisbury Star Party in Sixpenny Handley in Wiltshire.  Wednesday was a great start.  It took about 2 hours to get there from East Sussex, so I was there just before dark.  Many thanks to Iain, Neil and Stephen for putting the tent up whilst I got the imaging kit up and running :)

The first target was Messier 8 - the Lagoon Nebula in Sagittarius.  I was able to spend an hour on this in the end, and am very happy with the results so far. I wish I had more data to be honest, but I think it passed muster!  Its not a target I can shoot from my observatory though, so Salisbury is my best option.

I had a bit more time on Messier 16, the Eagle Nebula - I managed to grab subs on both Wednesday and Thursday night.  I wish these targets were not quite so low down!  This is only 4 x 10 minute Ha subs and 9 x 600 Oiii subs with the SXVR-H18 and the Televue.  Its definitely not up to last years standard though.

The night sky at Salisbury was absolutely stunning - the Milky Way stretched horizon to horizon.  The Perseids were amazing as well - so many Meteors!  We saw several fireballs as well.  It was incredibly relaxing in my Meteorwatching chair on Thursday, watching the peak of the shower.  I left the DSLR running, and managed to capture one (just)

Its not a good pic, but its a start.  These Meteors are tricky to capture!  We also did part 1 of the Under British Skies show live from the star party, but had to share a laptop as the internet connection was too expensive for one each!  Made it a bit tricky.

Friday was clouded out, and it rained during the day.  Spirits flowed freely, and we enjoyed ourselves.  The second part of the Under British Skies Meteorwatch special went out.  Thanks to Iain Melville, Emily Baldwin, Nick Howes, Paul Harper, Michael Forester and Rob Keown for making it possible!  I hope it sounded good too!  Just as we were finishing up, we did see a glimpse of clear sky, shortly followed by more clouds.  It didn't matter ;)

Saturday was the day of the talks and the hogroast.  Nick Howes gave an excellent talk about imaging with small refractors.  Rob Hodgkinson went through LRGB processing, and I spoke about Deconvolution and image sharpening.  The hogroast was very welcomely received - although standing in the rain in the queue wasn't!

Just as we thought we would have to get outrageously drunk again, the clouds started to clear and we set off imaging again.  I fancied a nice widefield of the Bubble Nebula with the H18 - to my surprise (and delight) Messier 52 was just alongside as well.  Bonus!

Whilst that data continued to capture, Nick Howes was playing with the GoTo Dob - I don't want to tread on Nick's toes here, all I'll say is read the review in Astronomy Now in a couple of months :)  We had a good time with it though!

All-in-all, a great holiday - good fun, good people and a great atmosphere.

Clear skies and Roll-on Salisbury Star Party 2011!


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