Author Topic: Epic Montebello Wednesday  (Read 426 times)

Casey Fukuda

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Epic Montebello Wednesday
« on: July 20, 2017, 10:28:10 PM »
Reminiscent of The Golden Age of Bay Area Astronomy, an Epic Wednesday night lives again at Montebello.

Whoa, what a night at Montebello.  Not only did we hit double digits in attendance, we smashed that population barrier by 50%.  By night fall, the parking lot was full of cars and scopes.  On the east side of the lot I saw Marek C, David K, Jeff C, Marko J, Puneek K, Philip M, Peter M and James T.  On the west side of the lot was Mark W, Dan W, Rich O, Stephen M, Bob J and Joe L.  We had a couple of Stanford students stick around after their hike and one other person that drove an SUV parked near the bathroom.  I am sorry, but I don't recall her name, but we were introduced at Peter McCone's scope just after night fall.  Ranger Francis joined in on some early twilight observations.  Unfortunately the seeing was really soft at that time and her Jupiter and Saturn views were not great.  She was really taken aback at the site of all the scopes and astronomers.  During a tour of the scopes, a couple of non astronomy cars pulled into the lot (it was well after sunset).  Ranger Francis stopped her viewing and took off to roust the neerdowells and basically kick them out of the lot.

The food was awesome, with pizza, fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, chicken, candy, nuts and other munchies.  I don't know about the rest of you, but hands down the stars of the night were Peter M and Philip M's fresh tree ripened plums, peaches and nectarines.  They tasted like candy. 

Early in the evening, the seeing was extremely soft, but as the night wore on, things got better.  By 10 or so, the double double could be split and we were off to the races hunting down old summer eye candy,  The summer Milky Way was easily visible as were great views in Sag and Scorp.

The best part of the evening were the discussions of TAC lore and current events.  It was like Montebello of old.  Many thanks to Richard Ozer for trekking across the bay to observe on the west side.  Also, long time Montebello regulars, but rarely seen these days, Peter McCone, Bob Jardine, Jeff Crilly and Mark Wagner showed up and made the population for Wednesday at Montebello an epic evening.  I had a complete deja vu moment walking amongst the telescopes as well as the captains and pillars of Bay Area Amateur Astronomy.   

It was a night to remember, not because of "black cloud" darkness and contrast or great seeing or interesting events in the sky.  It was a night to remember, because Montebello rang it's noble bell and welcomed all kinds of astronomers, both new and old.  It was a night to remember, because it reminded many of us of the good old days, the Golden Age when Bay Area Astronomy was in it's heyday.  I'm glad to say I was there when it was happening back in the early 2000's and again last night. 

Wouldn't be great to use Wednesday as a launching pad to resurrect the days of old and bring back amateur astronomy to the bay area. 

I can dream.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Casey Fukuda


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Re: Epic Montebello Wednesday
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 12:38:41 PM »

Thanks for getting the gang up there.  So many faces from the past.  We should try it again.

I spent the observing part of my evening there, looking in the darkest part of the sky, low in the curve of Scorpius' tail.  Lots of gems in the area, including of course the two big opens M7 and M6.  I thought The Bug Nebula was the most interesting, and teasing out a bit of The Lobster (NGC 6357) was fun too - love the nice hooked chain of stars it sits on.  Think I'll bring the 18 the next time, but did enjoy getting my 10" out too.

I'm certainly up for more of this!