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Hello From The American Soutwest


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Greetings, All,

Just a brief introduction. I'm now in my seventh decade of looking upward, twenty years of this using telescopes of a variety of apertures and technologies. I am greatly blessed to be living in Arizona, with normally gorgeous skies except for the July-September Mexican Monsoon season.

My personal observing, several times per lunar cycle, is with an 18" Teeter's Telescopes truss dob, while I also do six or more nights per month using a 10" Meade SCT on an Orion Atlas EQ-G for public outreaches at local schools and parks, and occasional satellite tracking.

I am also the South Rim Coordinator for the Grand Canyon Star Party.

Grand Canyon Star Party

GCSP is a shared event between astronomers from around the world and the National Park Service for eight nights each June. There are two parts to the GCSP; one on the South Rim, one on the North Rim, both at the same time. The Saguaro Astronomy Club in Phoenix coordinates the North Rim activities, and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association coordinates the South Rim activities. Each night on the South Rim, from 50 to over 70 astronomers set up their telescopes as a public outreach, to show the night sky to as many as 1000 park visitors each night. The astronomers act as interpretive rangers, explaining the night sky around the Grand Canyon to the visitors just as the daytime Park Rangers explain the geology of the park. When the visitors leave, around 11 PM each night, we are free to enjoy the 7000 foot elevation and dark, dry mountain desert skies. Each of us astronomers are volunteers who pay our own way, and arrange our own lodging for the event; the level of public interest and involvement, and the opportunity to make major contributions to public education and environmental awareness, is profound.

I am looking forward to enjoying to company of this gathering of kindred spirits!

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Hello Jim and welcome to SGL.

My son and his family are about to move to San Francisco with his new job. Clearly as parents and grandparents we will be visiting so I might like some advice on suitable venues to do some observing.

I quite fancy a visit next year for the Annular eclipse followed by the Venus transit.



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An intermediate thanks for all the hospitality; I'm sure there will be more I'll need to acknowledge.

Yes, I never forget I am blessed to live in such a special location for astronomy. We once went four years at the Grand Canyon Star Party without a weather interruption during our 8 night weeks. Last year we lost three nights, so karma caught up to us a bit. I would gladly share these skies with all of you, it it were possible. My club, the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association, has almost 400 members and many of us take our public service and education responsibilities seriously, so these skies will not by sitting by unused. Seeing the skies again through other's eyes is like seeing it anew.

Yes, Mark, I am eagerly anticipating the annular eclipse in 2012. The path will extend from California across Nevad and Arizona into New Mexico. One advantage we have in Arizona is that much of the property is owned by the US Bureau of Land Management and is thus free for any and all to set up a telescope or even camp if they wish. The eclipse will be crossing many of the national and state parks, so we are in the beginnings of trying to see how we astronomers can help guide the public to appreciate the event.

When it comes time to visit San Francisco, consider a trip over to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. This is a park with astronomers in residence, headed by a Dark Ranger, and daily and nightly astronomical events. Astronomers are quite welcome, with incredibly dark skies at nearly 8000 feet altitude. This is one, there are many, many other places where one can stop for a few hours to a few weeks of enjoying the night sky. July through September are not good for weather, but the rest of the year is always in play. And don't forget the San Francisco Sidewalk Astronomers, who will drop down a telescope at a moments notice no matter what street corner is available.

Thanks Again!

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