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pointsofdata
Apr 25, 2011



pointsofdata posted:

Theres a guy in the Netherlands (!) who's does it with some fairly cheap gear, I don't think it's quite that quality though.

It's this guy:
https://twitter.com/chrfrde/status/...2827482116?s=19

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Luneshot
Mar 10, 2014




Oh, I was thinking of a totally different "guy from the Netherlands".
https://twitter.com/ralfvandebergh

Ralf's done some amazing stuff- catching astronauts on EVA, imaging spy satellites, that sort of thing.

hannibal
Jul 27, 2001

[img-planes]


Huh, interesting of that guy to shoot in Ha. I've seen people talk about manually tracking their Dob to shoot the ISS. I would think you could pre-point on the path and go high frame rate on your camera and get enough frames. I have yet to try it though.

Also - Venus/Pleiades conjunction in a few days!

A Proper Uppercut
Sep 30, 2008



Any opinion on an Apertura AD8 for babies' first telescope?

Will all this poo poo going on, and a $500 gift card from a work bonus burning a hole in my wallet, it sounds like a good idea.

Luneshot
Mar 10, 2014



A Proper Uppercut posted:

Any opinion on an Apertura AD8 for babies' first telescope?

Will all this poo poo going on, and a $500 gift card from a work bonus burning a hole in my wallet, it sounds like a good idea.

The telescope you picked out is an excellent choice: if you can afford it and don't mind its size and weight, an 8" Dob is basically the best beginner telescope you can get. It forces you to learn the sky without computer aid, it has enough aperture to look at the fainter deep-sky-objects and give pretty decent views, and it's still small enough you can fit it in the back seat of a car. It gives you plenty to work with, and if you get really engaged in the hobby you won't have the urge to upgrade immediately, like often happens with smaller telescopes. In terms of pure aperture/mirror size/light-collecting ability, a Dobsonian is by far the best bang for your buck.

The downsides are that it's big and cumbersome, like any solid-tube Dob, although obviously not as much as a 10" or 12". It's manually tracked- you'll have to point the telescope by hand, and nudge it to keep things in the field of view as the sky moves. Learning the sky yourself without built-in computerization is a drawback for some folks (I personally consider it a plus). As with literally any telescope, it's better if you can haul it to a dark-sky site- where the bigger mirror will really shine.

I believe the Apertura is another of the many "makes" that all actually come from the same manufacturer (GSO?) in...Taiwan, I think? It is effectively identical to Zhumell, Orion, GSO, and most of the other mass-market solid-tube Dobsonians. This is not to say it's bad- they're quite good. IIRC the Apertura brand typically has a few extra quality of life features/accessories over the more basic ones- in this case, I note the 2" dual-speed focuser with extension tube, the 2" 30mm eyepiece (my main EP for a long time), a right-angle finderscope, the eyepiece tray...I barely ever bother with the laser collimators, but this is a pretty nice package.

I would make two recommendations:
1. Buy a Telrad (~$35) or other unmagnified "red-dot" finderscope. Seriously, those things are worth their weight in gold when it comes to pointing a Dob.
2. Not crucial, but I might buy a medium-power eyepiece, so you have a magnification choice between 30mm and 9mm.

Aside from that, you've basically nailed what I would recommend for a first-timer.

Disclaimer: I primarily do visual observing of dim deep-sky objects, so I'm pretty biased.

A Proper Uppercut
Sep 30, 2008



Thanks for all the info! I went ahead and bought the thing.

You mentioned a few accessories so I did a little research, and this Amazon cart is what I came up with. I feel like this will give me a decent range of magnifications? Or am I getting ahead of myself?




Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.


Luneshot posted:

The downsides are that it's big and cumbersome, like any solid-tube Dob, although obviously not as much as a 10" or 12".

Precisely why my 10" Dob got very little use. It still gathers dust since I got my 120mm refractor.

Luneshot
Mar 10, 2014



A Proper Uppercut posted:

Thanks for all the info! I went ahead and bought the thing.

You mentioned a few accessories so I did a little research, and this Amazon cart is what I came up with. I feel like this will give me a decent range of magnifications? Or am I getting ahead of myself?






That looks good to me! Personally I tend not to use barlows much anymore since I have a decent set of premium eyepieces in varying focal lengths, but there's nothing wrong with them and they're an excellent way to expand your range of magnifications on the cheap- perfect for a beginner/intermediate setup.

With those accessories plus the stuff that comes with the telescope, you've put together a quite capable kit that should serve you well for a long time. By the time you want to upgrade, you'll have much more experience and know what your next step is going to be.


Hasselblad posted:

Precisely why my 10" Dob got very little use. It still gathers dust since I got my 120mm refractor.

Yup. This is the major downside to big Dobs. While I love my 12" solid-tube dearly, it's heavy as gently caress and a huge pain in the rear end to move around if you're a twig like me. There's a reason truss-tube/collapsible Dobs are so popular, after all.

It doesn't matter how great the view is- if you never bring it outside because it's not worth the hassle, then it's no better than having no telescope at all. An 8", maybe a 10" at most, is the real sweet spot between price, performance, and weight/size- it's a little big, but still relatively easy to move around.

A Proper Uppercut
Sep 30, 2008



Another thing I meant to ask, what I should getting for how to actually find stuff in the sky? Star charts, books, phone/tablet apps, etc?

Luneshot
Mar 10, 2014



A Proper Uppercut posted:

Another thing I meant to ask, what I should getting for how to actually find stuff in the sky? Star charts, books, phone/tablet apps, etc?


For a hardcopy, any generic "planisphere" should work for basic constellations. There's also "Turn Left at Orion", a classic book, and a couple amateur astronomy magazines- "Sky and Telescope" is the most famous.

For software,
Stellarium is your friend. Cartes du Ciel/SkyChart is also good.
Run time forward at high speed to get a feel for how the constellations rise and set throughout the night and change throughout the year.

I'll have to defer to others on phone apps- never used most of them.

I'm not sure of your level of experience, so I'm taking this at a base level- feel free to skip some of this info if you already know it.

Generally, you'll start to learn the brightest constellations that are up in the evening at a given time of year. Like the Sun and Moon, the constellations also rise and set over the course of the Earth's rotational period of ~24 hours.
Which constellations are visible during the night changes throughout the year as the Earth orbits the Sun.

Constellations are usually learned by either being an obvious pattern (Orion, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, Corona Borealis, etc.) or having one or multiple bright stars.
It'll be very helpful to know the names of the brightest stars too, and it doesn't really matter whether you learn the star or the constellation first as long as you associate them together.
Polaris isn't particularly bright, but it's the North Star and you should definitely learn how to find it.

There's a ton of overlap between "seasons" of constellations- It's early spring, so if you go outside tonight, you'll still see a bunch of the winter constellations at the beginning of the night, and you'll start to see the summer constellations rising in the early hours of the morning. The more northern the constellation is (if you're in the northern hemisphere), the longer it spends above the horizon, so for example Cassiopeia is visible during most of the summer and fall- or if you're far enough north, it's circumpolar and never sets at all.

The Moon should be an obvious target whenever it's above the horizon. The planets change position relative to the stars, but at varying speeds. Venus and Jupiter are stupidly bright and easy to identify. Saturn and Mars are fairly bright and easy to pick out if you know where to look. Uranus is barely visible with the naked eye at a dark sky site, Mercury is fairly bright, but always stays pretty close to the Sun so it's always in twilight, and Neptune is too dim to see without binoculars or a telescope.

Now, as for finding dimmer objects, basically all amateur astronomers start with the Messier objects (denoted with an M, e.g. M13), which are generally the brightest "deep-sky" objects. Deep sky objects, or DSOs, basically include anything that isn't a planet, a star, or the Moon- so DSOs are things like star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. Start by observing the brightest Messier objects- look for their positions relative to a star or constellation you already know- and then pursue whatever your heart fancies. There's enough objects for a lifetime up there.

Binary Badger
Oct 11, 2005

Trolling Link for a decade



if you have an iPhone or other iOS device, Sky Guide is a great app for doing naked eye observing. In its AR/compass mode you can point the phone to a region of the sky and see what's visible; I use it to tell me when to get my rear end out to the fields to catch the ISS.

Sky Guide will show me where the ISS (or any of the objects it knows) is in the sky even if it's not visible at the moment, and it tells me what time it will peak/be visible.

Also, here are some observations about the ISS from my weeks-old hobby/habit of catching it:

- The later it is after the sunset, the better the apparition; if it happens to rise less than an hour or two after sunset, it'll likely be occluded by any glare or clouds near the horizon; you won't be able to see it very well until its orbit takes it into a darker part of the sky.

- The same holds true if there's a full or mostly full moon that's up at the same time, the glare from the moon may light up enough of the rest of the sky to make the ISS appear less distinct.

- Some nights it will be brighter than others; I guess it depends on its attitude facing you on that part of the orbit where it's visible. I've seen it as very bright sometimes, I bet that's when all the solar panels happen to be facing in my direction.

- You can tell it apart from a passing plane because it will never have blinkers or flashers accompanying it.

- Feel free to yell 'go, go, go!' as it heads for the horizon.

hannibal
Jul 27, 2001

[img-planes]

Sharing some recent photos... (I post these to Instagram too but I'll link the full quality ones here)

2/3 or so Moon

Venus and the Pleiades

Orion Nebula (about an hour of data I think? nothing fancy)

(those were all taken with my ProED 80 and Canon 7D Mk II)

Venus

nearly full Moon, saturated to bring out colors - some problems with alignment of the subframes there, but I went with it

C/2019 Y4 (ATLAS) from last night - this comet is apparently breaking up now. Roughly 2 hrs of data capture there.

Video of the comet: comet-centered, star-centered

(and those were all taken with my 8" SCT and ZWO ASI1600MM-S)

Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.


Took the pup out for her poop early this AM before dawn. Viewed the half moon and planets. Was nice.

Then I noticed a satellite, then another. Brighter than the brightest visible stars. Then I watched as dozens more crawled across the sky. Holy poo poo this starlink space junk infuriates me. Came back inside and read the comment sections of a few recent news reports and became even more pissed, reading people who legitimately think their ability to get high speed internet in the deepest parts of africa is more important than a persons ability to see an uncluttered sky. The worst part is that they think it is just “astronomers” that are bothered by this. What of us simple folks who stargaze and want to teach our kids about the night sky

How in the everliving gently caress has this not been stopped yet?

Hasselblad fucked around with this message at 13:14 on Apr 14, 2020

KnifeWrench
May 25, 2007

Practical and safe.



Bleak Gremlin

Hasselblad posted:

Took the pup out for her poop early this AM before dawn. Viewed the half moon and planets. Was nice.

Then I noticed a satellite, then another. Brighter than the brightest visible stars. Then I watched as dozens more crawled across the sky. Holy poo poo this starlink space junk infuriates me. Came back inside and read the comment sections of a few recent news reports and became even more pissed, reading people who legitimately think their ability to get high speed internet in the deepest parts of africa is more important than a persons ability to see an uncluttered sky. The worst part is that they think it is just “astronomers” that are bothered by this. What of us simple folks who stargaze and want to teach our kids about the night sky

How in the everliving gently caress has this not been stopped yet?

Not to deny you your righteous indignation, but posting this via your conveniently accessible first-world internet connection is kinda "let them eat cake".

It's a complex issue, and I appreciate that the cost of cluttering the sky may be downplayed by many, but that's no reason to act like it should be obvious that it's a net loss for the world. Personally, I agree with your conclusion, but I think there is enough nuance here to understand why others wouldn't.

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



The waning gibbous Moon leading the planets was indeed cool.

Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.


KnifeWrench posted:

Not to deny you your righteous indignation, but posting this via your conveniently accessible first-world internet connection is kinda "let them eat cake".

It's a complex issue, and I appreciate that the cost of cluttering the sky may be downplayed by many, but that's no reason to act like it should be obvious that it's a net loss for the world. Personally, I agree with your conclusion, but I think there is enough nuance here to understand why others wouldn't.

Humans existed for quite a while without high speed internet. Literally ruining the entire night sky for every person on the planet and those who are yet to be born is in a word “obscene”. Righteous indignation? People should be livid at this, and livid at Musk, who truly comes off a a cartoon villain. This is some Dr Evil level stuff.

Just imagine our kids and their kids looking up at night, not even being able to make out major constellations due to this. It was distracting enough with a few hundred up there this AM. Imagine literally tens of thousands of them.

Van Dis
Jun 19, 2004


KnifeWrench posted:

Not to deny you your righteous indignation, but posting this via your conveniently accessible first-world internet connection is kinda "let them eat cake".

Actually it's a good illustration of the fact that everyone's right to a night sky free of pollutants is being violated.

ShadeofBlue
Mar 17, 2011



Hasselblad posted:

Humans existed for quite a while without high speed internet. Literally ruining the entire night sky for every person on the planet and those who are yet to be born is in a word “obscene”. Righteous indignation? People should be livid at this, and livid at Musk, who truly comes off a a cartoon villain. This is some Dr Evil level stuff.

Just imagine our kids and their kids looking up at night, not even being able to make out major constellations due to this. It was distracting enough with a few hundred up there this AM. Imagine literally tens of thousands of them.

I agree that thousands of mini-satellites is not the right way to go about it, but gently caress you for downplaying the importance of bringing high speed internet to the entire world. Humans having existed without it is not a meaningful argument. Access to the internet is extremely important for all sorts of reasons including human rights and education.

Luneshot
Mar 10, 2014



Bringing high speed internet to the entire world can be accomplished without loving up the night sky, but it requires investment in infrastructure.

This is not only an amateur astronomy and cultural thing, as a professional astronomer I am looking at the prospect of our entire field of study being significantly impacted by this poo poo, and I’m not exactly reassured by Mr. Elon “you can see the ISS because it has lights on it” Musk’s claims that they’re actually going to sufficiently address the problems.

Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.


ShadeofBlue posted:

I agree that thousands of mini-satellites is not the right way to go about it, but gently caress you for downplaying the importance of bringing high speed internet to the entire world. Humans having existed without it is not a meaningful argument. Access to the internet is extremely important for all sorts of reasons including human rights and education.

Saying that it is not worth destroying what we've known and the night sky since we crawled out of the slime is downplaying it? Having 42 THOUSAND of these objects, bright as planets, with technology likely making them obsolete in a blink of an eye, constantly crawling across the night sky around the entire planet earth is "downplaying it" too much?

Sorry, no. The internet is not worth that. Especially the sorry state of poo poo propaganda clickbait the internet is at this point.

Luneshot posted:

Bringing high speed internet to the entire world can be accomplished without loving up the night sky, but it requires investment in infrastructure.

That too. There are was to get every goat herder the ability to browse something awful dot com from the furthest reaches of east jabib without utterly profaning our night sky as if we were living in Blade Runner times.

Rolabi Wizenard
Sep 18, 2005

Make the Lakers Great Again


Stack short(er) exposures with a sigma clipping algorithm.

Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.


Rolabi Wizenard posted:

Stack short(er) exposures with a sigma clipping algorithm.

Some of us just like the ability to walk outside and stargaze without human-caused clutter. This is literally an affront to anyone looking up at night.

Tyrgle
Apr 3, 2009


Nap Ghost

Hasselblad posted:

Some of us just like the ability to walk outside and stargaze without human-caused clutter. This is literally an affront to anyone looking up at night.

As I walk outside in my Bortle 9 light polluted skies half an hour after sunset, the blazing sky glow is so bright that I can easily read even in full darkness. As I have been my entire life, I am confident I can see without a flashlight, safe from any danger.

I look up, and quickly spot Rigel, Betelgeuse, Sirius, and can just barely make out Orion's belt. These are the only stars I've ever seen in the Spring sky, even with a new moon. To the west, Venus shines far brighter than any of them, a glaring pinpoint almost painful to look at.

Looking back to the few stars I can see, suddenly a brief twinkle catches my eye. A satellite, glinting briefly in the setting sun before it goes dark in Earth's shadow. Those bastards, those repugnant fools, utterly ruining the night sky that is my birthright! I raise my fist and scream incoherently at the affront. A moment later, one of the six airplanes visible above the horizon goes overhead and the roar of its engines distracts me. I simmer down, and enjoy the blinking colored lights, so calming and soothing.

Then I set up my camera and take some photographs of M31, easily filtering out any airplanes or satellites by clicking one button for sigma clipping and using the defaults.





Even with hours of exposure time, the result still looks like rear end due to sky glow but hey what can you do.

(Note: Actually I live in Bortle 8 skies and can see literally dozens of stars!)

hannibal
Jul 27, 2001

[img-planes]

Platystemon posted:

The waning gibbous Moon leading the planets was indeed cool.

I missed this but my aversion to early mornings has kept me from doing a lot of photography in the dawn hours.

Luneshot
Mar 10, 2014



Rolabi Wizenard posted:

Stack short(er) exposures with a sigma clipping algorithm.


edit: took out the lovely sarcasm
Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

  • We are talking about potentially hundreds of naked-eye satellites visible at once in the night sky- far more than airplanes. They are magnitude 1-3 shortly after launch, down to magnitude 4-5 in operational orbits. And these are only in the original 12,000 satellite constellation, while SpaceX is now planning for adding 30,000 to that number.

  • This is a huge problem for large surveys, especially the upcoming LSST, which will only spend two exposures on a target field before moving on for the night. Speed is key, and if you have to throw out a third of your exposures- the current estimate for LSST- because they have a satellite in them, the cost and duration of the survey goes up significantly and any science cases that rely on regular cadence may be significantly affected. In a worst-case scenario, you're looking at every single exposure from one of these state-of-the-art survey telescopes having multiple satellite trails.

  • Image statistics and analysis for scientific purposes also need the affected pixels. We're trying to do quantitative studies, not just make pretty pictures. Scattered light will additionally affect the entire image.

  • The Starlink satellites at even operational orbits are so bright as to saturate CCDs for large telescopes like LSST, which makes that information unrecoverable, and CCD bleed + electronic crosstalk affects the entire rest of the image.


  • You may have a few hours of darkness at equatorial latitudes, but astronomers also make significant use of twilight time. Sky flats are always much better than dome flats, and this impacts surveying for potentially-hazardous NEOs, which are often close to the Sun in the sky. Infrared observations often use twilight time because the sky in the infrared doesn't change nearly as much between day and night (although the sky background is admittedly much brighter, so satellites aren't as likely to be a problem in the near-infrared.) If you're farther from the equator, you might not get any satellite-free time at all, even in the middle of the night.


The "Darksat" prototype only reduced the brightness by about 1 magnitude, which is nice but not good enough. We'll need significant reductions beyond that- telescopes can obviously see fainter than the naked eye can.
A paper discussing the impacts on observations, including radio astronomy.
Another paper on observatory impacts.
Another paper discussing general numbers of visible satellites.
A page using Stellarium to simulate what it may look like to the naked eye.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JerRCSw-As


Did I mention that there's a couple dozen other companies/nations looking to launch their own constellations?

Like it or not, this is a serious problem for ground-based astronomy, and sigma-clipping and Photoshop won't fix it. Neither will the other genius idea of "just build more space telescopes".

Luneshot fucked around with this message at 03:56 on Apr 15, 2020

Rolabi Wizenard
Sep 18, 2005

Make the Lakers Great Again


Luneshot posted:

oh no poo poo? wow you're a genius, literally nobody ever thought of this before you!

Excuse the gently caress out of me.

Luneshot
Mar 10, 2014



Rolabi Wizenard posted:

Excuse the gently caress out of me.

Sorry. Bad day.

This issue pisses me off because it's my livelihood and something that I care very dearly about, and this is the thousandth time I've seen that "simple solution" suggested as if the people who do this for a living had never thought of it. It was once too many and I took it out on you, and that was a lovely thing for me to do.

I'm going to post something constructive instead of rude jabs. Here's some astrophotography.

NGC 6946


Pickering's Triangle


M33

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



Betelgeuse looks healthier now.

Pick
Jul 19, 2009



Nap Ghost

Hasselblad posted:

That too. There are was to get every goat herder the ability to browse something awful dot com from the furthest reaches of east jabib without utterly profaning our night sky as if we were living in Blade Runner times.

Koishi Komeiji posted:

I've seen things the best things and media doesn't believe me. But look the attack ships very big ships huge, bigger than most ships but they're on fire the people of Orion are very nasty people by the way. Very nasty. And the C-beams, big beautiful C-beams, the best C-beams anyone has ever seen and a lot of people are now saying they should change the name to the trump gate. We're looking into that. All those moments the most moments the best moments and they're saying they are bad moments but we know they really are good moments, but they lost them, and the loser democrats are crying there little tears in the rain *does weird hand motion pantomiming crying* and now it's time for me to never die. *slowly dies while ignoring journalists questions*

A Proper Uppercut
Sep 30, 2008



I picked up a new eyepiece for planet and deep sky stuff. From my research it's a decent one for that, would be 136x on my 8" dob, I think? Did I buy the right one?

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



You did good.

The eleven millimetre model in that series is my most used eyepiece.

Hasselblad
Dec 13, 2017
NRA shill who thinks homeless people would love to live in migrant border camps. Help me realize I am a bigoted piece of shit.


Finally sold my Orion XT10. Feels good man.
Was a good tube but was just taking ip space and gathering dust the last few years.

Those ES lenses are nice glass. I have the 2” 34mm and 1.25” 6.7mm.

Hasselblad fucked around with this message at 18:56 on Apr 16, 2020

A Proper Uppercut
Sep 30, 2008



Well that's good to hear, thanks!

hannibal
Jul 27, 2001

[img-planes]

Pff, eyepieces. So... 19th century.

AstroZamboni
Mar 8, 2007

Smoothing the Ice on Europa since 1997!

Well I guess I'm a 19th Century astronomer because I have no interest in sitting behind a computer screen when I'm out under the night sky. I'm all about seeing that poo poo with my own eyeballs.

Platystemon
Feb 13, 2012



Back in my day, we stood in the observing cage with a loupe.

Rolabi Wizenard
Sep 18, 2005

Make the Lakers Great Again



I came back in here because I thought I might have skim-misread someone’s concern and came off as a flippant idiot by just suggesting something in a short phone post and not realizing I was coming off as condescending, mocking, or just stupid. Looks like I could come off as any of those three, and I’m sorry for laying a turd and causing a problem. <3

Luneshot
Mar 10, 2014



Rolabi Wizenard posted:

I came back in here because I thought I might have skim-misread someone’s concern and came off as a flippant idiot by just suggesting something in a short phone post and not realizing I was coming off as condescending, mocking, or just stupid. Looks like I could come off as any of those three, and I’m sorry for laying a turd and causing a problem. <3

You're all good- to be honest I was much more in the wrong to react so shittily, and you didn't deserve that.

https://skyandtelescope.org/astrono...race-our-skies/
Anyway, even though C/2019 Y4 ATLAS isn't doing so hot, there's still a few other comets to observe!

Golden-i
Sep 17, 2006

One big, stumpy family


The weather is finally clearing, and I can get out this weekend. I'd like to re-shoot the Whirlpool Galaxy, but am caught up on which scope to use.

-8" Newtonian, @1000mm focal length. Kinda crappy optics, more zoom
-Esprit80, @400mm focal length. Much better optics, but will lose some detail with the shorter focal length

Both scopes have focal flatteners. Which is the better scope to shoot with? I'm hoping someone ITT can give me a bit of help.

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AstroZamboni
Mar 8, 2007

Smoothing the Ice on Europa since 1997!

Today I finally acquired all the tarps and framework I need to turn my backyard cement patio into a pretty kick-rear end makeshift observatory for blocking neighbor's porch and window lights. Some key adapters came in so I can deploy both of my Dobsonians at once now, and got a Thermacell for keeping mosquitos at bay. And it's somehow clear tonight, even with all of that.

Probably going to pull my first all-nighter in the "observatory" tonight.

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