Author Topic: Pinnacles West with SCAC  (Read 427 times)

John Pierce

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Pinnacles West with SCAC
« on: July 23, 2017, 04:59:17 AM »
awesome night tongiht at Pinnacles West.

I had the club's 20" Obsession, and my pelican case of nearly complete set of ES 82 wide eyepieces (I don't have the 11mm).   I was especially interested in evaluating a borrowed DGM NPB 'nebula' filter, and wow, that was some fun stuff...    the veil was WAY brighter and had WAY more detail with my ES 30mm and the NPB than I've ever seen with O-III filters.

I've *never* see the Triffid look so awesome.  Ditto Lagoon/M8.   I tried pulling big power on the Dumbell M27 again like I had at GSSP, but the seeing was pretty sketchy much above 290X, and even at 290X it wasn't as detailed as it was at this year's GSSP.

The north/western quadrant of the sky sucked a bit with light pollution from the salinas valley and/or BA, so I spent more time in the south and northeast.    Saw some cool new things I'd never looked for before... Fireworks Galaxy NGC 6946 (flat on spiral, faint but distinct).   Iris Nebula NGC 7023 (faint bright nebula around a fairly bright star).   Tried various powers on the Catseye planetary near Sadr, again, much over 290X was kind of mushy.  at 290X, the central star was fairly distinct.

I'm forgetting what else I wandered around. 

Peter Natscher

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Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2017, 11:41:22 AM »
Four of us were set up at the Pinnacles NP East side in the Bear Gulch Day Use Area parking lot.  SJAA had a large group back near the park's entrance.  We were a good 5 miles west farther inside the park towards the mountain ridges and trail heads.  The drive there took slightly longer than a drive to Dino for me from Monterey - 1hr25min.  Dave C. from Palo Alto made the drive south on 101 and 25 in 1hr30mins!  Horizons are aren't as good as the West side with Sagittarius barely clearing the east mountain top.  It was my first visit to the East side since 1975.  Jeff Weiss, Al Howard, Dave Cooper and myself were set up in a parking lot surrounded with some trees and mountain ridges blocking 17°-20° of the sky up from the horizon.  I had to change my observing list after seeing that I wasn't going to observe Sagittarius very much as planned as it partially passed behind a few trees in its movement west.  Spent more time with planetaries higher up in Aquila and Cygnus.  We had very dark skies SQL 21.76 and decent seeing in 65° shirt sleeve weather all night. Upon arrival at 6pm the temp. was 95°F.  A NELM 6.5 sky does wonders for a modest 16" telescope.  The tea pot sat on the mountain top still allowing me to grab one stellar planetary in Sagittarius for a sketch - NGC 6567.  I would go to the East side again during cooler and less populated times, perhaps during the late fall through early spring. During summer time, there are lots of all-night hikers with bright head lamps walking by ;(  The park has a 24hr activity policy.

John Pierce

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Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2017, 12:09:17 PM »
oh, one guy told me he counted at least 16 telescopes in the westside visitor center parking area around twilight.  he didn't count people.    several of the old TAC gang were there, as well as a goodly number of SCAC folks.

DDK

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Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2017, 05:46:23 PM »
a) Pierce, that one guy who had counted the 16 telescopes in the lot was me, and there was still daylight when I told you.

b) same Pierce - you got spoiled quick over the sky, buddy. Hardly fair to say the NW quadrant sucked. There was a 5 degree light dome that was maybe 15 degrees long. That's always there from the prison. The other 345 degrees had stars to the horizon. To the south the False Comet in Scorpius was well up and bright. South of Sagittarius there were stars well into Corona Australis.

c) Peter Natscher, tsk. Going on about a modest 16" telescope. You'll have to deal with me in person. Yes good news that people had fun on both sides of our new national park.

Limiting magnitude for Jardine and me was 6.0. Seeing was good 4/5 thru the night. The Milky Way got all the way to impressive by midnight. There were easily 2 dozen people in the lot, cool given that many of them had about a 2-hour one-way drive. Two of the TAC Marks were there, Wagner and McCarthy. Navarrete the Beastmaster is as pretty as ever. A bunch of the SCAC astroids were there having fun, appropriately. Heard Seiler and Gose doing all kinds of useful outreach.

We saw a pass of the ISS that crossed half the sky. And at one point there was a brightly flashing satellite, which turned out to have a paired partner. They traveled together from Ursa Minor thru Cassiopeia all the way into Andromeda. I had never seen such a thing, but it brought out stories of such phenomena as a satellite trio that Richard N had seen.

I just took 10x50 binocs this time, had fun scanning all over the sky. Mooching was also highly successful. Ended with a fun comparison of M33 in binocs and in Bob Kohlenberger's 20 (20?) inch scope.

After very clear dark skies, less than 40 miles to the north, we had marine layer all the way to the ground in Salinas. I am personally all for hilltops.
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>

John Pierce

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Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 01:12:34 PM »
I was going to look for galaxies over in the northwest part of the sky, and started at the Whirlpool (m51) and found the contrast too low to bother trying to find fainter stuff lower down.  this was around 10 pm, it was at least 45 degrees up in the sky.

Yeah, the ISS pass was awesome.  I missed the first one that was south to east, but certainly caught the 2nd that was west to north.

one of these days I want to try and catch the MODIS satellites, either Aqua or Terra, these are polar earth measurement satellites that are each part of a train of a dozen other measurement satellites.   they aren't terribly bright but it would be fun to try and 'catch the train' in a wide field eyepiece.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A-train_(satellite_constellation)

DDK

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Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 01:38:29 PM »
At 10 pm you were ten minutes before astronomical twilight, and aiming to the west. That's hardly fair.

Navarrete talked about seeing a train of satellites, maybe the very same ones you're mentioning. Just those two on Saturday night made my jaw drop.
TAC - astro anarchy at work <*>