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Messages - John Pierce

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Rants and Off Topic / Re: Juno GRS images?
« on: July 11, 2017, 08:54:26 AM »
NASA site says around July 14th.  But of course, now I can't find the page with that date on it :-/

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 Intents / Re: Santa Cruz Astronomy Club at Pinnacles West
« on: June 30, 2017, 04:37:08 PM »
note those permanent senior passes go up to like $80 on august 1st.   my wife turns 63 on July 23rd, so we've got to figure out how to get somewhere where we can buy it within the next week.

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.

minor nit.... 'single track' refers to hiking/motorcycle trails, too narrow for a car/truck/jeep..    south coast ridge and prewitt ridge road are 'double track' roads, one lane with pullouts for passing.

the condition of these roads varies wildly with the season and weather...   at times they can be serious 4x4 only, at other times, you could take a subcompact car over them.   they are considered completely impassable when wet (even if the weather has cleared, the roads can stay muddy for weeks)

TAC Visual / Re: Advice needed for Pinnacles East
« on: June 27, 2017, 05:01:02 AM »
its been quite a long time since I've been  to the Pinnacles East campground, but I'm remembering the bulk of the camping area is deep river sand, and it gets really dusty if its windy.

Observing Intents / Re: Pinnacles Sunday the 18th
« on: June 17, 2017, 07:02:11 PM »
do let us know how the road and sign situation has worked out, because SCAC wants to visit Pinnacles West on July 22nd...

TAC Visual / Re: Yosemite club weekends this year...
« on: June 13, 2017, 11:06:37 AM »
and in fact, after spending 2 days trying to find a group site or any campsite  within 2 hours drive of Glacier Point, the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club is canceling our appearance there.  I suspect we won't be the only ones this summer.

TAC Imaging / Re: M101 Pinwheel Galaxy
« on: June 13, 2017, 11:05:00 AM »

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!)

TAC Visual / Re: Look at Moon and Jupiter now!
« on: June 03, 2017, 11:34:48 PM »
yeah, got a good naked-eyeball on it for a few mins, but didn't feel like dragging out a scope.   my grab-n-go 10" needs mirror cleaning badly, my Discovery 17" requires too much setup time, and the Obsession 20" f/5 I just picked up, also needs a through dusting and optic cleaning before I can assemble it for the first time.   plus it too is a monster to setup (likely WILL be at GSSP this year, however!!)

TAC Imaging / Re: Using Astro Cameras on the Eclipse?
« on: June 02, 2017, 01:28:34 AM »
I'm fairly convinced I'm going to forgo any complicated photography attempts in favor of just watching and enjoying the eclipse.    I've rigged a white light solar filter for some 40x100 binoculars that have a 2 degree field of view, I figure I can remove the filter for the 2 minutes of totality then replace it

Observing Intents / Re: Pinnacles for supernova hunting
« on: May 31, 2017, 09:04:01 PM »
did you see,767.0.html  ?

apparently the west road will be closed all night all june, with incredibly bright flashing signs facing the visitors center area. 

NGC/IC Project / Re: Corrected NGC v0 online
« on: April 28, 2017, 11:59:04 AM »
I think trying to implement Astrometry on the web server is a bit ambitious for now.   The current graphics are all static JPG files, and I think our initial goal should be to get back to the level of content that the old site had, all the background material and such.

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