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Topics - John Pierce

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Observing Intents / Santa Cruz Astronomy Club at Pinnacles West
« on: October 15, 2017, 11:03:53 PM »
Some SCAC members will be going to Pinnacles West, in the parking lot by the visitors center, on Saturday the 21st.     

day use fees (or national park pass) apply, and you must arrive before sunset as the gate auto locks, although it allows exiting all night long.

If anyone wants to join us, feel free, there's lots of room.    it might rain wed/thur but by saturday should be dry.

TAC Visual / Mt Unhumhum
« on: September 20, 2017, 09:13:52 AM »
I note that Mt Unumhum is finally open to the public as of Sunday, although it closes 30 minutes after sunset.     I wonder if anyone here has any contacts with the Midpeninsula Open Space District, and could approach them about doing occasional star parties up there?   Sure, its very exposed to the lights of San Jose, but it might be an interesting place to check out at night, anyways.

Equipment Discussions / interesting albeit expensive tent for GSSP etc?
« on: September 13, 2017, 06:18:30 PM »
Stumbled onto this...

was originally designed for burning man, camping in the desert in summer, withstanding high winds, intense sun, even dust storms.   Might be overkill for GSSP but its an interesting concept.

Observing Reports / 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. 

Annual Star Parties / CalStar 2017
« on: July 03, 2017, 11:22:08 PM »
Looks like the dates have been set for CalStar 2017, its September 20-24, at Whisper Canyon again, in South Monterey County...

Full details:

Observing Sites / Pinnacles
« on: June 28, 2017, 02:55:13 PM »
dunno why this wasn't listed before!

Pinnacles is a National Park.    visitors, including astronomers, must pay day use fees (unless you have a national park pass).   West side entrance has an automatic gate that closes to incoming traffic at 8pm, but allows leaving at any time.  is a handy map for the whole park.

setup areas on west side include the parking lot near the Visitors Center, as well as the Chaparral Trailhead at the end of the road.

GPS Coordinates of Visitor Center Parking:  36.478425,-121.2276078    access is from Soledad on highway 101, take state route 146 to the park.

East Side has steep ridges on both sides of entrance, there is, however, a campground (privately operated park concession), which requires reservations.  Campground itself is rather sandy, but there's a few places to setup telescopes in the parking lots farther up, specifically the Bear Gulch parking lot and trailhead.

SCAC is planning on going to Pinnacles West on July 22 for a star party...   As usual, anyone else who wants to show up is welcome.   I believe the entrance gate auto-locks at 8pm, so be sure to arrive well before that... the gate will allow exiting at any time.    I'm not quite sure where we're going to setup, probably in the main parking lot near the Visitors Center.

TAC Visual / Yosemite club weekends this year...
« on: June 12, 2017, 05:52:45 PM »
heads up, all you folks who join various astronomy clubs Glacier Point weekends.   The Bridalveil Creek Campground where they normally bunk 'us' won't open until August ....  and they aren't doing what they did in 2005, which was to put us at Badger Pass in an overflow parking lot, so my club, who has next weekend, is scrambling to find alternatives... EVERYTHING is booked solid except some $$$$ B&B kinda places in Oakhurst or Coarsegold (2 hours+ from Glacier Pt, ugh!)

NGC/IC Project / Corrected NGC v0 online
« on: April 26, 2017, 12:56:03 PM »
I've crudely organized the raw NGC html files I got from Akarsh in folders per 100, and put them up here,  so at least there's SOMETHING here.

So who has the IC data?

NGC/IC Project / NGC/IC Project
« on: April 24, 2017, 02:48:22 PM »
The long running website almost was lost forever when the original website owner passed away.  We are in the process of pulling together the pieces and recreating it.

This forum section is for discussions related to the process of resurrecting and restoring this valuable astronomy resource, and ongoing maintenance once its back in place.

Equipment Discussions / new toys
« on: April 19, 2017, 11:50:40 AM »

(new ones being the 18 and 24)

now I guess we get bad weather inspite of the forecast?

TAC Imaging / A question for you DSLR imagers...
« on: April 07, 2017, 05:28:22 PM »
About to dive back into DSLR astrophotography, initially using my 80 f/11 on a losmandy made CI-700 (yeah, overkill!)...    will be using my Windows laptop to handle autoguiding via phd2, yada yada.    Wondering whats the SW of choice for Canon DSLR management, is it still BackyardEOS ?

Annual Star Parties / Lake San Antonio reopens!
« on: March 29, 2017, 09:14:12 PM »
heard on the teevee news (KSBW) last night that LSA has reopened, weekends for now, and 7 days/week in may.

does this mean CalStar might move back to LSA, or is it likely to stay at Whisper Canyon?

Equipment Discussions / acquired a celestron ci700 (losmandy g11)
« on: March 23, 2017, 02:04:02 PM »
so I just acquired a rather nice CI700 equatorial mount, this was a celestron branded 'cheapened' version of the Losmandy G11...   its a beast.  has alt and dec slo-mo motors but no goto.

I initially was thinking of using it for unguided piggyback as I don't really have a suitable scope for it, but now I'm wondering if I couldn't rebuild my Coulter 10" F/4.5 ... use one of Mark's Astrogoods alloy tubes, a better focuser than I now have, shorten up the tube enough that I can achieve focus with my DSLR (the secondary on the coulter is huge).  I have already replaced the coulter's primary mirror cell with one of Mark's creations, and the secondary spider with a curved vane spider from 1800destiny.

am I nuts for thinking this is a good idea?   the mount is rated for 60 lbs of instruments, 100 lbs total.   Celestron sold it with  C11 and C14 telescopes on it :-O

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