OzSky 2019

March 30 - April 7 2019

OzSky is an amateur astronomer's heaven! This was my second trip and it was as good, or even perhaps better, than the first one. The observing site (Warrumbungles Motel near Coonabarabran, NSW, Australia) features fantastically dark skies and very convenient access to telescopes - just from the room back door. Observing together with a group of fellow astronomy enthusiasts with assistance from friendly and very knowledgeable Australian hosts is an experience so good it is hard to describe. I knew many people from my last trip, so it felt like coming again to a well known star party and meeting old friends. This is probably the only such place in the world ...  I deeply appreciate the work of the volunteers who made the OzSky possible. Thank you very much!

There were 10 telescopes and one set of giant motorized binoculars available to share between participants, and it was enough for plenty of group and personal observing: 2x 25", 1x 20", 4x 18", 1x 14", 1x 10", 1x 14" binocular telescope. Out of 8 nights 8 were clear (two with heavy dew after midnight), which is fantastic statistics! I have used mostly 18" Obsession, some 25" Obsession and occasionally giant motorized binoculars and binocular telescope. Observing was great! As with the previous OzSky I used my custom set of observing lists for southern skies.

This year in addition to visual observing I did some imaging with iOptron Sky Guider Pro on a lightweight mount with my modified Canon T2i, 70-300mm lens and 8mm fisheye lens. My mount was a bit too lightweight since it tended to lose polar align when handled, but majority of the pictures look OK I become an expert in finding sigma Octantis both visually and with polar scope. It is much easier than initially I expected it will be. You can download an OzSky site photorealistic horizon for Sky Safari (or other planetarium programs that support photo horizons) from OzSky 2018 page.

This was a wonderful and unforgettable experience and I am definitively coming back for more!

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