Monday, January 31, 2005

30-August-2003: Shui Hau, Lantau Island

Shui Hau has become my favorite observation location. But my two good stargazing friends did not visit there until this session. One of them lives in the Hong Kong Island and the other one is living in Tuen Mun, making a major hurdle to them to think Shui Hau is a very far away place.

We went there after the fellowshop on Saturday, we belonged to the same fellowship in the church. I took my new C8 Anywhere setup to the church in the afternoon, finished two fellowships and then go there together from Cheung Sha Wan at around 7:15p. The setup is light and I distributed the mount and the eyepiece box to one friend and the tripod to the other, so I can even run a very long distance with the setup! Super good!

We were all rather tired at the beginning of the trip, but I found I owed them for not giving them a peep on the Mars which attracted a lot of people from a very wide spectrum. I owed them before that I who got them attracted by the night sky but without giving them a view through my telescope.

We arrive Tung Chung well before 7:45p, and we bought some easy (cheap!) food and eat them on the way. We waited at the Taxi station and waited for nearly 10 minutes for a taxi, and it is the longest record ever. We arrived Shui Hau at 8:10p, with less than $90 taxi fee, i.e. $30 each, not bad. Personally, I used those fee complimentary ticket (10 trip 1 free) for both MTR journey, that alone saved me
$30+ dollars. You know what, the single trip time is less than one hour, and we are talking about going from the urban center to a dark place!

On the taxi, I can see the whole scorpius hanging outside, it is way better than the urban center. Getting off from the taxi, we immediately saw the milky way extended from the horizon to far above the sky near zenith! This was definitely the best view we had of the milky way!

Setting up the scope takes less than 3 minutes. Extend the tripod, screw the Unistar Lighter mount head in, put the C8 OTA on the dovetail, remove the caps, insert the 40mm XL eyepiece, snap on the Rigel Quick Finder. That's all! I found the Rigel Quick Finder remained aligned with the OTA after nearly two months since the last

M4 was our first target, without good dark adaptation, we didn't get a great view. I switched to M8, and we got a great view! M7 was even more stunning to the non dark adapted eyes. I pulled out the self printed star charts to dig into the milky way and the wonder summer sky!

The Unistar Lighter mount is so easy to use, it is not as smooth as the Giro, but it is not as heavy either. It moves and it stops as desired, which is good enough.

I learnt a new local friend locally with ICQ on the morning. We of course never meet before and we will meet on the same night. Mobile phone reception is not good and I found a family nearby when we're observing, I should aware of that.

Somehow my mobile phone began to roam using mainland network, and I received the call, and confirmed that the family is what I talked with ICQ on the morning.

I offered them some stunning objects and the children were very excited and happy to see the views. The adults are less motivated, but still they enjoyed the view.

I hunted for more objects, including those must-see show pieces like M22/M23, M13 and M11. Hunting couldn't be easier. No single object took me more than 1 minute to hunt. It is easy, and it is enjoyable!

I occassionally switch to my 20mm widescan for double magnification, globulars are better resolved but the view is also dimmer. I found I love larger exit pupil. I found some "noise" in my eyes. Maybe binoviewer can solve the problem? haha...

The list of observed was too long and it was not logged on site. I told my friend that the quality of observation time is much higher than our previous observing location, they all agreed. We hunted, observed more objects that what even ten session of other observation location could offer.

Saying all these, we stayed there for only less than 2 hours since we will want to keep more energy to go to the church on the next morning. Anyway, we hunted for over 20 objects, fully enjoyed.

We left at around 10:00p, walked outside to the bus station, waited for around 15 minutes and then I arrived home at 11:30p. Not bad indeed!

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