Scotland summer observing?

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Scotland summer observing?

Post by mikeymo »

We're having a holiday on Eriskay, in the Outer Hebrides this year. Latitude 57 degrees. We've been before. Middle two weeks of August.

Was thinking of things to do both for me and the children and thought - stargazing, as there's no light pollution.

Then just realised it's summer. We'll be there between 7th - 20th August. Would I be wasting money going and getting kitted out with scopes and whatnot. Does it get dark enough at that time of the year, that far north.

My children are 16 and 13, so can stay up late. But I'm not sure that I'll want them staying up till 2.00am.

I'll probably be getting an angled spotting scope for birds anyway, and hopefully this will double up. And I've already got 2 pairs of reasonable bins.
Tony Markham
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Re: Scotland summer observing?

Post by Tony Markham »

As a guide, when I lived in Edinburgh (Lat 56 N) and observed Perseid maximum on the night of Aug 11-12, I started my meteor watch at 2130UT (2230GMT) with the sky reasonably dark, although it was still getting darker another 20+ minutes. My meteor watch continued through to 0245UT by which time the brightening morning twilight was becoming an issue.

The extra degree of latitude northward will shorten the night slightly. The more westerly location will also mean that both the start and end of the night are later. Also, bear in mind that constellations such as Scorpius and Sagittarius will be noticeably lower in the sky than they are from England .

Another factor to take into account for 2014 is the Full Moon on Aug 10. In August, the Moon is very slow to move out of the evening sky after Full Moon and so the skies will be moonlit for most of your holiday.
mike a feist
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Re: Scotland summer observing?

Post by mike a feist »

However if you intend to take a spotting scope for birdwatching you may discover just how versatile they can be..........I generally use spotting scopes for astronomy anyway! regards maf
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Re: Scotland summer observing?

Post by M54 »

If you get much then it would be limited and I would guess at about 2 hours worth, which owning to BST being in place at that time of year means something like midnight to 2:00AM.

I would expect it to never get "dark", the sun just wouldn't get too low.

You are about 6 weeks after the Solstice at least.
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Re: Scotland summer observing?

Post by stella »

These are much too pessimistic suggestions.
Last August 16 - which is a good approximation to "the middle two weeks of August" -
I observed for a period of six hours, from 21.00 to 03.00 U.T. I would think that at least
four hours are usable, depending on the type of observing you intend.
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