Blog August 11th to 18th 2012 inclusive
A fantastic week with the family as paying guests at our friends idyllic organic hazelnut farm in the hills of the Piedmont region in NW Italy.
Astronomy was the order of the week, friendship, relaxation and unwinding was but a little astronomy was enjoyed over the 7 days. For starters it was peak Perseid time, so wine, lights off and dark skies saw many beautiful shared meteors, you can’t get better than that.
I noted that the locals were aware of the shower taking place and youngsters were making a point of getting out watching the shooting stars, a combination of their darker skies than ours add to the Italian romanticism perhaps?
When we visited in 2012, I took over a small 105mm Edmund Scientific reflector, which I left behind so that Darren and their 15 year old son Mathew might enjoy some observing together, this was complimented with a Meade ETX 90mm Mak Cass OTA that I took with me on this occasion, the idea being to leave that over there as well so that it could be used for day time viewing of the stunning scenery and birds and then turned to the Moon & planets at night for sharp high power views.
Mainly with Darren and on one night in particular where my Sky Quality meter was reading 21.5, the Milky Way was prominent and striking, we swept up a number of deep sky objects all noticeably higher than from the UK, namely, M8 (lagoon nebula) M11( Wild duck cluster), M13 (Great Hercules cluster), M22, M25, M27 (Dumbbell nebula),M31 (Andromeda galaxy with M32 & M110), M57 (Ring Nebula), coloured double star marvel, Alberio, the stunning Perseus double cluster, The enigmatic Owl cluster NGC 457 in Cass….and likely a number of other objects that I have since forgotten.
I think they were appreciated the views, I know that I enjoyed them, it was good to be back to basics, locating bright objects through a small scope requiring skills, left rusty by computers and motorised slewing. Having said I would certainly like to have a driven 20” reflector at that location with its dark skies, high 600 meter altitude and more numerous clear nights that my home location…hmmm perhaps for the future ;¬)
When the 18th came we were very sad to leave, but not before agreeing to go back in 2013.
You can visit their excellent website here you might even fancy a trip there for a spot of R&R and observing yourself!