Saturday, June 21, 2014

RNT vs. S36 Astro-shack sky comparisons

Today I used the Observer Pro app on my iPhone to plot out the local horizon at the new location for the observatory.  This is a really cool iPhone program that really helps a lot with imaging certain objects in our cloudy skies and helps plan out imaging.  Try it if you have a smartphone!
So I used the software to trace out my new horizon.  I compared it with the old location at Renton, you can really see that I had a crappy northern view since I had a big fir tree blocking that part of the sky.
Renton Astro-Shack horizon
Crest Airpark Astro-Shack horizon
Sure, I could see most things I wanted to view or image, but I would often have to wait until certain parts of the year.  Even with circumpolar objects (M81 and M82 for example) I was limited by this tree in the way.
So, now we move over the the new location at S34 (this is the airport code for Crest Airpark) and I take a plot of the horizon here.   As you can see, I have a LOT more sky to play with here!
Crest Astro-Shack is just on the
border between bad and better.
I have a lot more sky to play with here, a good horizon in all directions.  I'll have a nice shot in the summer months toward all the neat gassy nebula stuff in Sagittarius which will just clear those tall trees to the south with no problem.
Next, we move on to the light pollution improvement.  When in Renton, I had sucky light pollution from the city down the hill as well as light from Seattle about 7 miles to the Northwest.
Amazingly, I was able to still get through this crap with a CLS filter on my camera.
Renton.  Red zone light pollution.
Here at the location for the Crest Astro-shack, we are on the border between the red and the green area.  Location is just to the left side of the runway in this image.  I do notice a big improvem
ent when looking up at night.  I actually see about 103 stars vs. 75 stars at Renton! (yeah, exaggerating - just a little bit).  Milky Way hasn't been seen yet here, but I'll keep searching.  I do see stars between stars here tough, so that is promising.   So far living out here in the sticks surrounded by an occasional redneck isn't too bad.
(click the images for full size as always)

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