Friday, 1 October 2010

Parapher...parerfern...observing stuff

While I like to keep observing simple, none of that fiddly imaging stuff for me(!), I do still end up taking quite a bit of observing paraphernalia with me every observing session. I keep my eyepieces in the house, as well as my notebooks, etc, for security and also so they don't get damp. My Star Atlas 2000.0 stays in a box in the shed, it's already got damp on numerous occasions, is a bit mouldy in places and is eminently un-nickable.

Here are the items - apart from my scope - that I use each time I go observing:

A bag to put everything (excluding eyepieces) in:

A ring-binder for my observing lists and printed MegaStar charts:


Notebook (for those times where I don't do sketches although it comes every session as it's also a logbook for each session):

Sketching/writing stuff. Pens, pencils - mechanical pencils and graphite sticks - chamois for smudging nebulae, etc), tortillon, clip-on red torch, round template for sketches (plastic lid off coffee cup), putty eraser and eraser shield, all stored in a handy artist's case which I got from a local art shop:

The Night Sky Observers Guide; if I do take them out I usually only take one out at a time and I use them for checking observations afterwards, although normally I wait until I get back indoors. Before I had the shed, I would never take them outside, too expensive to ruin!

The all-important dim red torch. This one has adjustable LEDs.

And my case of eyepieces and other scope bits and pieces:

The bits and pieces, except the Night Sky Observer's Guides which stay on my bookshelf, are kept in the bag and it, the case and a flask of tea or coffee, get carried up the garden in one go; I can carry all that lot at once, because the bag has a shoulder strap, so unless I've forgotten something, I don't need to return to the house.

The weather is currently atrocious and I've not been observing for a while. I did get out last week, around full Moon when it was (typically!) clear and looked at Jupiter and Uranus with my 3.5" refractor; with enough magnification I managed to see Uranus as a disk, which was good. That was an interesting diversion but I've done no deep sky since the early morning of September 17th.

This was the dismal view from the kitchen window this afternoon, and there's at least another week of this crap to come, due to deep lows in the Atlantic (sometimes I find myself wishing the damn thing would dry up!). Fortunately my observing shed, in the far distance in the photo, appears to be holding up in the face of the gales and rain. Touch wood!


  1. Very cool Faith. I like to see how others take all their stuff outside. Love the picture through the window as it shows how far off your shed is. Weather, go figure that I've had 2 weeks of outstanding Indian Summer here and now it is changing for the 2 weeks of new moon! Hopefully by the end of next week the storm is gone out of here and I can get some observing time in. I need my fix if you know what I mean.

  2. Thanks Jay. Yes, I know what you mean about a fix. I've not observed since 17th September (deep sky observing that is) and I'm itching to get out there again.


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