Europe 2017 Trip – Intro

..and it is the favorite time of year for us: vacation! Mrs. Duman lived in London close to a year in past, and she always wanted Mr. Duman to see the city as well. So her wish came true this year. We planned the whole trip around a budget, here is how:

We were given vacation option between September 25 and November 10. Since Europe gets colder than Florida and we lost our cold resistance after living in a warm climate for 8 years; we decided to take the vacation as soon as in that period.

We used Google Flights to find cheap flights to Europe. Our favorite part is seeing the calendar of lowest prices for a trip.
For example, we set ‘where from’ and ‘where to’ fields (i.e., Orlando to London), and when you click the calendar it shows you the lowest price on each day. We also did this for other potential cities to visit in Europe. Our candidates were; Paris, Rome, Venice, Prag, Amsterdam, etc.
After going through this process, we found a one way Norwegian Airlines direct flight between Orlando & London for $275 per person on September 28th Thursday. The departure time was 9:35 pm, arrival to London was 10:50 am. It was perfect, away from rush hour but not too late in the day.

With same method we found our return flight, Rome to Orlando through Copenhagen Denmark with 7 hours wait, a small window to see another city for free. Departure on October 9th Monday at 7:10 am from Rome, 9:40 am arrival to Copenhagen and then leaving at 4:55 pm for Orlando to arrive at 8:50 pm. The cost was $345 per person with Norwegian Airlines. We found these tickets around Aug 25th, so little over a month ahead. Total of transatlantic flights were $1240 for two people, slightly expensive than getting a round-trip ticket to a specific city but we didn’t want to spend time with going back to the same town again.

The rest was filling in between, which we will keep a surprise. Stay tuned for Day 1…

Messier 82 – Cigar Galaxy

Messier 82 (also known as NGC 3034, Cigar Galaxy or M82) is a starburst galaxy about 12 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. A member of the M81 Group, it is about five times more luminous than the whole Milky Way and has a center one hundred times more luminous than our galaxy’s center.[6] The starburst activity is thought to have been triggered by interaction with neighboring galaxy M81. As the closest starburst galaxy to Earth, M82 is the prototypical example of this galaxy type.SN 2014J, a type Ia supernova, was discovered in the galaxy on 21 January 2014.In 2014, in studying M82, scientists discovered the brightest pulsar yet known, designated M82 X-2.

Mar 20, 2017 – Orlando, FL – USA
Red zone backyard

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Crescent Venus

Goddes of the beauty, Venus

From our highly light polluted back yard. Feb 24th 2017

Telescope: Explore Scientific AR127 127mm f/6.5 Achromatic Refractor Telescope
Camera: Full Spectrum modified Canon SL1
3x Barlow tube
ISO: 1600, 1/160 second
Single shot, no stacking.

Wide View for Testing a Telescope

We were having trouble with our Celestron CS5 f/10 telescope, it is not fast and collecting a decent amount of data takes hours.

We have an Orion 80mm f/5.0 Refractor that came with the guiding kit. We decided to give it a try as imaging telescope.

We started with 30 seconds at 1600 ISO and 17 light frames. Since this is just for testing purposes, we didn’t use any flat, dark or bias frames.

Considering this is just a $130 telescope, it works much better than we expected. We are planning to get a better refractor telescope to replace our slow Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.

Technical Details

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Messier 5 – Globular Cluster

Messier 5 or M5 (also designated NGC 5904) is a globular cluster in the constellation Serpens. It was discovered by Gottfried Kirch in 1702. Spanning 165 light-years in diameter, M5 is one of the largest known globular clusters.

At 13 billion years old, M5 is also one of the eldest globular clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. Its distance is about 24,500 light-years from Earth, and it contains more than 100,000 stars, as many as 500,000 according to some estimates.

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Technical Details

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Surprise Visitor

We have several fruit trees in the backyard, and we were losing fruit flowers due to lack of pollination. We were doing it manually on lemon trees with a small painting brush.

So we are so happy to see this visitor in our garden 🙂