Saturday, June 27, 2009

Star Party

Photo from 2007 Shingletown Star Party
GSSP Photos later

I returned Tuesday from the GSSP star party held on a cattle ranch in Adin, California. Really dark skies. It was great. Towed Tabacat (my little T@B trailer) to Adin and set up camp on Friday night. 'Te' who shared Tabacat with me towed her since I am not experienced in towing. We slept well. Te is tall but she managed to fit on one of the couch/beds.

Saturday am we awoke to cloudy skies and cool temperatures. Not much to do but wander around a little and read. Saturday night we went to the barbecue held in the Hospitality tent. It was ok. I don't eat beef which of course was part of the meal (being on a cattle ranch), but the salads were good. No observing Saturday night. The weather turned very bad; RAIN and WIND. It was sort of nice, tho sleeping inside Tabacat hearing the rain on the roof, nice and cozy.

Sunday woke to clear and sunny skies. Wandered around and ended up at the vendor booth. Bad idea. T succumbed to desires and purchased an Ethos eyepiece. I succumbed and bought an Astro-Tech AT80LE apochromatic refractor. I told T it was all her fault since she succumbed first; of course I was just kidding. Went to the barbecue; meal was about the same but with excellent apple pie for
dessert. I was anxious to try the my new toy out, but the forecast for Sunday night was for freezing so we decided it would be too cold.

Monday again clear and sunny. Time spent walking around, talking to people, what a great bunch. Amateur astronomers are, as a rule, some of the nicest people one could ever meet. Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and willing to share that knowledge, just very very nice. It is a good hobby to get interested in. One doesn't need a lot of expensive equipment; one can see quite a lot with the "naked" eye (no optical aids). Binoculars are excellent for starting. It is amazing to go out under dark skies, look up and see the Milky Way stretching across the sky. You almost feel like one with the universe. Parents, try to get your kids interested and you get interested also.

Monday night was good for observing and imaging. T does imaging (astrophotography). I set up my new toy with T's help, waited until dark and went out to find Saturn. Not to be, Something weird happened to my vision; I couldn't see anything. Don't know if it was something with my night vision or what but it was scary. I got disoriented and fell (no bad consequences), was helped up and back to Tabacat, my observing not to be this night.

Tuesday, we discovered the battery in Tabacat was dead, tried to charge it with my van but that didn't seem to work. So for that reason, my "accident" Monday night and other reasons, we decided to pack it up and head home. GSSP was over on Wednesday so we just missed one night. It was good to be home.

We had a good time in spite of mishaps. Met some people I had known only through email and others that I had never met. Lots of people came by to admire Tabacat. She is a cute little teardrop trailer red in color.
Now I have to figure out how to and where to go somewhere to actually have first light with my new toy. Her name for now is "astrocat". I may think of a different name later.

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