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Messages - Peter Natscher

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Observing Intents / Re: Saturday night, Dinosaur Point, c'mon out
« on: November 10, 2017, 07:07:35 AM »
Right now Friday am, the NOAA forecasts Sunday to be better for clear skies than Saturday with Saturday being partly cloudy all day and into the night.  By Sunday it is forecast to be totally clear, the only clear day for the week.  I might decide to get out on Sunday night up at the Peak for a few hours.  I'll decide on Dino by Saturday noon.

TAC Visual / Re: Lake Sonoma vs Dino Point vs Pinnacles
« on: October 19, 2017, 03:55:57 PM »
I was observing from Pinnacles West last December 21st.  Had clear skies with a SQM of 21.45.  Another evening at Pinnacles East parked way west into the park towards the mountain ridges near end of road at last parking lot was definitely darker overhead vs. Pinnacles Westr but has poor horizons.  The light domes of the West parking area are not visible at the East location – the surrounding mountains block the light domes and possibly darkening the area. At Pinnacles East, Sagittarius at the meridian was not completely clearing the south mountain tops.  At Dino Pint, I get SQM 21.1-21.3 on different nights.   CalStar gave readings of 21.38-21.57 last month, darker after midnight.  GSSP gave 21.6-21.9 but my SQM device is the narrow angle model and could be reading a bit high.  At GSSP, it gave me a 22.09 reading while pointing overhead into the dark Pegasus square one early morning hour at GSSP after most people had gone to bed!

Observing Intents / Re: OI: CalStar 2017
« on: September 19, 2017, 02:16:55 PM »
Read my posting at Equipment Discussions / "Cell Phone Supplier Choices."

Equipment Discussions / Re: Cell Phone Supplier Choices
« on: September 13, 2017, 06:58:55 AM »
It's funny that both Verizon and AT&T on their cell coverage maps show voice & text coverage at both CalStar sites and GSSP in Adin.

Equipment Discussions / Cell Phone Supplier Choices
« on: September 12, 2017, 02:54:45 PM »
It's time for me to review my cell phone supplier choice as I'm shopping for a new cell phone.  I've been using AT&Tas a supplier the past five years with poor results (no voice connection) from our more remote observing sites.  Could some of you chime in regarding how well your cell phone voice connections are working from locations such as: GSSP (Adin, CA), CalStar (Lake San Antonio, CA), Panoche (Mercy Hot Springs, CA)?

TAC Visual / Re: Congrats Mark McCarthy!
« on: August 28, 2017, 05:41:23 PM »
The PN list is the same, AL says.  I'll continue unperturbed.  I didn't realize the newer planetary nebula "Alternative List" on the AL website which has added challenge objects.  I'll try those after I finish the standard 120 objects + 4 challenge objects from the 2006 manual I have.

TAC Visual / Re: Congrats Mark McCarthy!
« on: August 28, 2017, 07:58:02 AM »
I now see that the four challenge objects in my 2006 publication: CRL 2688 "Cygnus Egg" in Cygnus, IRAS 18059-3211 "Gomez Hamburger" in Sagittarius, IRAS 09371+1212 "Frosty Leo" in Leo, and M1-92 Minkowski's Footprint" in Cygnus have been replaced with a longer list of objects in the Alternative List at the AL/Planetary Objects link.  I'll attempt those with my 16" Dob after I complete the 110 object standard list + the four challenge objects from my 2006 book.  The book I have, the same one currently selling at AL, is from 2006 and has only these four challenge objects outside of the 110.  You might be interested in doing these four also.  Try "Gomez" with your 20" Dob before Sagittarius disappears later this fall!

TAC Visual / Re: Congrats Mark McCarthy!
« on: August 27, 2017, 02:17:26 PM »
I am 3/4's through the Astronomical League's Planetary Nebula list observing all, objects in the advanced visual mode and manually detected.  I will observe all 110 PN's with narrow-band filter use notes and fine drawings of each. Maybe I can complete this list by the end of this winter.

Last Thursday night from the FPOA pads one PN target from the list was the challenge object: IRAS 180-3211 in Sagittarius.  Its common name is "Gomez's Hamburger", a proto-planetary of 5 arc-sec diameter and magnitude 14.4.  It's was a tiny adverted fuzzy spot through my 16" Dob after knowing exactly where to look from a printed DSS image and staying with it for 5-10 minutes.  I was using 480X. It appeared intermittant to my eyes (50%).  The PN was on the meridian and the sky was at NELM 6.3 with below 1 arc-sec seeing, a very good condition for the object in low lying Sagittarius. What were your observational results of this planetary?

TAC Visual / Congrats Mark McCarthy!
« on: August 26, 2017, 07:07:20 PM »
In the September Astronomical League "Reflector", Mark McCarthy is awarded two achievements. One for completing the Herschel II Observing Program as the No. 101 award AND for completing the Planetary Nebula Observing Program and as No. 70.  Congrats Mark!

Observing Reports / Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« 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.

Rants and Off Topic / Re: Welcome Back Brad Franzella!
« on: July 12, 2017, 07:02:24 PM »
I found a photo of Brad (at center with green shirt) and the TAC group attending the 2003 Alan Nelms Star Party in the Summit Lakes South camping grounds at Lassen Volcanic National Park.  Didn't we get rained out that trip?
Double click on photo to enlarge.

Observing Reports / Re: Old Time Fun At Montebello.
« on: July 05, 2017, 07:26:03 AM »
Hard to believe anyone looks like me.  We all have doubles, though.

Flash back to the 90's at Montebello: Where was Mike Shade and his fabulous potato gun?

TAC Imaging / Re: Jupiter stereo pair
« on: May 24, 2017, 06:48:51 AM »
Way Cool bringing the two images together with my eyes.  What telescope setup did you use for these images?

TAC Visual / Jupiter Double Shadow Transit, May 25, 2017
« on: May 23, 2017, 06:25:21 PM »
There will be another Jupiter double shadow transit from Europa and Io between 10:50pm and 12:10AM, with Europa leading.

Observing Intents / Re: Observing This Week and Weekend?
« on: May 19, 2017, 02:24:26 PM »
Thursday night At FP was enjoyable -- sketched galaxy groups and Hicksons of magnitude 14-15 in a NELM 6.2 clear sky, calm, 50% RH, 48-50°F, 1.2 arc-sec seeing.  I'm observing and sketching the Astronomical League's Galaxy Groups & Cluster list.  It's sure taking me longer to see and sketch these fainter objects with my 16" Dob. than it was with my past 24".  I'm getting aperture fever again   ;)  Higher power (350X) does help a lot if the seeing is good!

A new issue has cropped up -- there were bright flashing strobes (3 strobes) all night long from the KSBW transmitter tower high above, even casting a shadow around me.   >:(  I wonder how long this has been --  this wasn't happening a couple of months ago.

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