Planned to go on Friday but the weather forecast was unfavorable, so we switched immediately to go out last night (2011 July 27). Since we're committed to eat our dinner with our own families, we went only until after 8:30pm.
This is the group which I used to observe, they're my hiking friends, my wild camping friends and they're my great brothers in the church. We didn't go out observing together for many years since we have kids at home. After selling most of my equipments recently, I am now using around the same set of equipments like when we first went out observing! So it's a memorial moment indeed.
I didn't bring my camera and tracking mount since I wanted a lighter load despite one of the observing buddies will drive us there. I hurt my foot a little bit when traveling to Sweden so I needed to avoid further injury.
Observing is always fun with friends. We hunted so many deep sky objects under an exceptionally good sky (in Hong Kong standard) when the Milky Way stretched over 90 degrees! It's very rare in Hong Kong these days. It's one of the best skies which I've seen in Hong Kong.
We found all our good old "friends" (observing targets) and we enjoyed sharing the view and of course, the way of finding them. Describing a target is a good way to observe more. Ten years ago, we were using star charts but these days, we have our Android phone and IPad for immediate reference and confirming the targets with the help of various detectors inside these modern mobile phones.
About the equipments:
We have a set of 15x70 and also my Canon 10x30 IS, frankly speaking, I prefer the view of my 10x30 IS for it's just much sharper but not much dimmer. IS is very helpful indeed and I felt in love with it especially with it's huge portability.
The Ranger is still in great shape! In such a dark sky, we could resolve quite many clusters and we could detect any Messier objects that could be found in our charts. Upgrading it by adapting it to a 2" focuser is a great move and now I know why the Pronto was so popular! My NGF-CM works well with the heavy Pentax 40mm XL, and the Pentax is very comfortable with eye glasses or without. It yields over 5.4 degrees of view and it's even wider than all binoculars that we had.
This was the first time that I was really using my 13mm Nagler on deep sky objects and it's again exceptional. I won't sell it without a great reason. Pushing the power from 40mm (12x) to 13mm (37x) is pretty dramatic! The sky was darkened further and the stars were better resolved, some brighter faint fuzzy was rendered with detail to our eyes.
We spent most of the time with the Messier objects around Scorpius and Sagittarius... we visited the Coat Hanger and also we waited for M31 just because we visited it years before.
Visual observation is nice for it's just so simple and fast to pack up all the stuff after around 3 hours of observation.
Some further remarks in Chinese (Cantonese):
今次行程超滿足, 也帶來許多舊回憶和舊感覺，我們大概已經十年沒有再特地出去觀星。沿路走入石澳山仔 (大頭洲)，海浪聲和那條山路都很不錯，有一點行夜山的感覺呢！
今時今日我只剩下一支 70mm 望遠鏡，和一支 Canon 10x30 IS 雙筒，這正好跟十年前差不多。不過，現在我那支 70mm 卻可以上 2" 目鏡，這叫它比雙筒更廣闊更好用，我亦多了一只 13mm Nagler，中低倍的表現實在驚人！這目鏡配合 Ranger 實在最好不過。
石澳昨晚的天色很好，銀河清淅可見，應該有超過 90 度，是我有史以來在香港看過最好的銀河！如果進行拍攝，效果應該不錯呢！但因為我上星期扭傷了腳，所以不宜帶太重的儀器，結果還是打消了念頭。後來發現這倒算不錯，因為我們可以花更多時間來觀測，不然只是短短三數小時，恐怕我也只能拍幾張相片而已！