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Everything posted by Skylook123

  1. It certainly should be a bucket list event at some time in an astronomer's life. The sky is wondrous, but the visitors are so appreciative for the awakening awareness of their night environment. After all Half The Park Is After Dark! Hope to see you there sooner rather than later.
  2. The 28th annual Grand Canyon Star Party (GCSP) will be held June 9 through 16, 2018, in northern Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park. GCSP is an annual collaboration between the National Park Service and astronomers from around North America and often the world to bring astronomy outreach to Park visitors. New Moon will be June 13, mid-week, making giving us dark skies for most of the week while providing a few days of crescent moon for the visitors on the last few nights. Amateur astronomers with a telescope and love of the sky to share, and the interested public of all ages, ar
  3. Very well written and organized, a guided tour of a great night under the stars. For those of us of a more mature age, this will make a fine guide for public outreach three or four months from now. Well done!
  4. I will always be grateful for our special part of the world. We are fortunate, and I wish many more folks could come through and see how the night sky should be. We can't fight weather, but we can sure minimize the human intrusion on the night environment under which we, and the rest of the natural world, evolved.
  5. I do wish our visitor count would have been higher, but there were so many activities going on forty miles away in the town of Willcox, and some guided day hikes within the venue, that we're not surprised. I've been fortunate to be part of several successful IDSP accomplishments, and this location already looks to be on the edge of qualifying. One Park At A Time.
  6. Event: Chiricahua National Monument Star Party Date: Saturday October 21, 2017 Location: Chiricahua National Monument, 37 miles Southeast of Willcox, AZ, about 5400 feet elevation Weather: Clear skies, low 90s at home in Marana, AZ about 140 miles Northwest of the park at 2:00 PM, about 70 at the park at 5:30 PM, dropping to upper 40s around 9:30 PM when we left. Seeing: and Transparency: Seeing very steady, transparency generally good with some high stratus due to merging contrails from late afternoon west-bound Los Angeles air traffic. Equipment: 10” f/10 Meade 2120
  7. Thanks for taking us on your journey. Very nicely related. After reading it, I think you can increase your admirer total to 51.
  8. Location: Biosphere 2, near Oracle, AZ, about 50 miles north of home in Marana, AZ, about 3900 ft. elevation Weather: 96F mid-day, 88F at sunset, 70F when we quit about 9:30 PM MST. Cloud free. Seeing and Transparency: I never got a chance to really evaluate conditions due to the nearly full moon. Equipment: 10" Meade SCT on Celestron AVX mount, Mallincam Xterminator video system on the 10", 19" QFX LCD monitor. First, a bit of background. Several months ago I needed a quick replacement mount for my video scope and bought a Celestron AVX from Starizona: 1/3 the weight of
  9. I've heard that opportunities are always available in the past tense. My wife and I lived on an island in the Pacific at about 8 N latitude. Talk about a new sky. Scorpius overhead, Omega Centaurus naked eye. A few nights ago I was observing the Swan late in the evening as it was setting, and it went from brilliant, crisp red to losing detail as the atmosphere played more of a role in the image. Always more to enjoy, though, now that the humidity is under 17% and the dew point is 60F/35C under the ambient temperature. Unfortunately, when at home in my back yard facing North, I c
  10. Thank you, Alan. I have a bit of wiring problem in the brain box that impairs memory creation (a form of Attention Deficit Disorder), combined with small motor coordination that many artist friends have tried to overcome and teach me to sketch but of no avail, so the only way I have to remember my observing adventures is to produce word pictures. And it's just not real unless it's shared. As far as The Swan, yes, down here at 32 N latitude, it is nicely above the horizon, as is Omega Centaurus at favorable times. While for several decades I've enjoyed the Sagittarius, Scorpius, Ophiuc
  11. Event: Oracle State Park Star Party Date: Saturday September 23, 2017 Location: Oracle State Park, Oracle AZ, about 4400 ft elevation Weather: Clear skies, mid-80s at home in Marana, AZ about 35 miles southwest of the park 5:45 PM, dropping to mid-50s in the park to around 9:00 PM when done. Seeing: and Transparency: Generally good. Equipment: 10" f/10 Meade 2120 SCT operating at f/5 (1270mm) for deep sky, Orion EQ-G Atlas mount, Mallincam Xterminator live video camera, QFX 19" LCD 12V monitor, Werker deep cycle 100 amp-hour power supply with A/C inverter. I usually
  12. My outreach dual outreach setup at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, Nebraska. About 250 of the several thousand visitors hung around my live views.
  13. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument Latitude 42 25 32.30 North Longitude 103 43 58.82 West My story of The Great American Eclipse 2017 goes back well over a year. My form of astronomical adventures are public outreach using live video, four to ten times a month at a school, park, or special event, sometimes accompanied by my retired earth science teacher wife if hands-on demos are requested, through the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association's support for non-profit outreach. This was Susan and my fourth solar eclipse; two totals, one annular, and a partial. Our first total w
  14. I'm on the 8 week road trip that will include the eclipse, and got a call a few days ago that the telescope is completely repaired; the focuser rod had popped out of its restraint on the primary mirror, and it will be waiting for me when I get back home. Only $120 including a full cleaning!
  15. I wish I had the opportunity to post more observations, but where, in the distant past, we could count on an average of 275 clear nights per year, for the last several years the sky is disappearing, which I hope is a cyclical behavior. There was a three or four month period recently when we lost 90% of our scheduled outreaches (we do about a dozen a month). We went two years some time back without losing a single night!
  16. Very nicely presented. It's always uplifting when the feeling of discovery and wonder comes through. If the opportunity presents itself, the opposite end of the Milky Way, in Cassiopeia, has a night full of wonders as well. Not so many nebulae, but many clusters that prod the imagination, and for Northern latitudes they can be a bit more accessible for a longer time on the calendar. Thanks for sharing!
  17. One additional benefit of some sort of hood (my wife took an old pair of black trousers with a torn knee and cut off one leg and most of the other, stitching it into a black tube) is when using filters. In light polluted skies, an Ultrablock or Sky Glow or any number of other broad band filters works to limit the stray light sneaking in, but even in very dark skies the use of narrow band filters (O-III, Swan, H-Beta, UHC, etc.) makes nebulae come alive. In either case, the wavelengths blocked by the filter can sneak in from behind the observer and reflect off of the coating on the filter and
  18. Please come again! Most nights we have 60 or more telescopes, and room for many more. Yes, this was day 1 of our 7 week quest, first from Arizona to Ohio for family adventures, then back through Nebraska near the Wyoming border to Agate Fossil Beds National Monument where my wife Susan and I shall be assisting the National Park Service rangers host several thousand visitors for the Great American Eclipse. I'm tired thinking about it already. In 2012, we supported the annular eclipse at Grand Canyon National Park with 30 other astronomers and 3,500 visitors just in one parking lot.
  19. 44C here on our first day traveling from Tucson AZ to Albuquerque, NM. At over 2,000m altitude, that's just wrong!
  20. Thanks, Graham. Glad you could attend. In the fifteen years since, we've changed location on the Park to an isolated large parking area with no lights nor traffic, and have been in a six year light footprint reduction program across the Park. We are now a Provisional International Dark Sky Park, with two years left to finish the light fixture upgrades for over 5,000 offending lights. All of this is being done by fund raising by the Grand Canyon Association, the non-proifit partner of the park. When finished in 2019 for the 100th anniversary of the founding of Grand Canyon National Park, i
  21. Fantastic that you were able to make it. This was actually not a great sky year; 60 miles east, near Flagstaff, was a tremendous wildfire for several weeks, and to the northeast, in Utah, was another one. We had health warnings for the last three days because of a temperature inversion trapping the fire debris and causing breathing problems at our altitude of 7000 feet. I had to use significantly longer integration times to even detect some objects due to the impaired transparency, but the seeing was the best I can ever recall. In late April is the best of the night visibility. Then the M
  22. Back in the 1970s, my mother-in-law's family started having an annual picnic, renting a park and pavilions for a Saturday in July or August. The largest problem is getting a wide enough field of view to capture everyone for the picture. One year, I recall over 275 made the picture but over 300 did not attend! As far as my small family goes, IF they chose to talk it would be with bottles, generally across each other's forehead. But the events are growing smaller as life takes its toll. My mother-in-law is the last surviving sibling, and most of the cousins and other family have moved on.
  23. In the distant past, some of us had a little activity we'd perform if Saturn was visible. Since each of us would serve over 400 visitors each night, we would informally keep track of two reactions: 1. How many would accuse us of having an artificial image somewhere in the optical chain; and 2. How many could we notice shed a tear or two upon walking away?
  24. Thank you for the good wishes. With luck the shock dislocated the foucuser rod from the primary mirror. We are leaving in several days for a 7 week journey of joining family in Ohio for five weeks of annual renewal and checking on 97 year old mother-in-law who is the last survivor of 17 siblings. My wife has over 60 first cousins and the visits take so much time! The return trip will include a visit to the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument, where my wife and I will assist the park rangers in the eclipse operations for an estimated 2000 visitors. This location is right on the centerline,
  25. Thanks, estwing. Some required much painful learning, and also brings the thought that youth seems wasted on the young! Our journey through life seems more focused on looking in the mirror at where we've been, rather than looking forward to where we are going. Perhaps if we were more thoughtful looking forward, the lessons learned would become lessons anticipated and certainly would be a cheaper life path! My personal lesson most often applied is "Don't Do That Again." But the fact that we have gifts to share with others is profound yet too often unused. Sharing is caring, and I lear
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