So I have been shooting the stars for over a year and always based my Bortles class skies on popular websites
Light Pollution map has me at Bortles 4 and Clear Outside has me at Bortles 2. I even tried the following app on my iPhone SE 2ND Gen and it has me listed at Bortles 2.5
Well, last night was the new Moon and my new Unihedron Sky Quality Meter-L arrived on Saturday from Agena AstroProducts. While I use OPT for most of my orders I do go with Agena based on stock levels. They are both based in California and I have had good success with both of them. So last night my son and I set up the tent and brought out the Celestron StarSense Explorer DX 102AZ telescope. It’s been about a year since we have been out in the backyard as it’s just too hot during the summer and lots of bugs but since it’s September it’s getting cooler and we don’t need to fight with all the mosquitos!
After we got all set up I brought out the new SQM-L meter and ran my first scan of the skies at about 9 PM and it read 20.09 Sky Magnitude. As the night carried we got to look at all kinds of great objects. We started with Jupiter then Saturn around 10:30 PM, and then some random star clusters. By 11 PM we hit the sack and woke up at 2 AM and played our favorite game together Tetris! I was on my GameBoy Color and Andrew on his GameBoy SP. Let’s just say I was rocking out but my little man showed Daddy he doesn’t win at everything haha. By 3 AM I ran another test which was 20.24 Sky Magnitude. We finished up the morning by looking at Orion Nebula, Betelgeuse, Pleiades, Andromeda Galaxy, Bodes Nebula, The North America Nebula, and finally we finished with the Dumbbell Nebula.
Once I woke up at like 7:30 am I took the Sky Magnitude readings and headed over to the SharpCap Tools online and found out I am sitting in roughly 4.6-4.9 Bortles Class skies. While I may not have needed such a detailed Sky Magnitude reading I am happy I purchased the Unihedron Sky Quality Meter-L it’s easy to use and with a press of a button you truly know how dark the skies really are.
Till next time…