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Messages - MattT

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Observing Intents / Re: New Moon weekend
« on: April 21, 2017, 10:05:43 AM »
The weekend is here. My casual read of the weather reports is that tonight - Friday - might be the best. What do those of you with more developed weather-reading skills make of the prospects for tonight, tomorrow, and perhaps Sunday?

Annual Star Parties / Re: A thought about Calstar and GSSP
« on: October 07, 2016, 06:47:08 AM »
Moonrise on Thursday, 4.20.2017, is about 3am. Based on moon times I'd vote for that weekend, though local chance for Spring rain should also be factored in.

In 2017 Memorial Day is also a new moon weekend, so RTMC.

I'd like to help with any new event, if there's a committee forming up.

Matt T

Annual Star Parties / Re: A thought about Calstar and GSSP
« on: October 04, 2016, 07:28:42 AM »
I'd love to see a big star party in our region in the Spring. Little chance of fire smoke, and galaxies!

Observing Sites / Re: Del Valle Reservoir
« on: October 04, 2016, 07:21:06 AM »
Thanks Rich! I hope to check the site out soon.

Observing Sites / Re: Del Valle Reservoir
« on: October 03, 2016, 04:58:42 PM »
Thanks. I saw the earlier post about getting added on the permit but am wondering if anyone active here still uses the site?


Observing Sites / Re: Del Valle Reservoir
« on: October 03, 2016, 06:22:03 AM »
Does anybody use this site anymore? I've been curious about it since I moved to Walnut Creek, but figured for my first visit I'd wait until I could tag along with somebody who was familiar with it. But I haven't seen an OI for Del Valle in a long, long time.

Annual Star Parties / THANK YOU!
« on: October 03, 2016, 06:17:53 AM »
I had a wonderful time at Calstar 2016. The Whisper Canyon camp is great - hosts Larry and Jennifer are such nice people - the viewing conditions very fine, and the fellowship excellent. Thanks to everyone here who was involved in putting it together!

TAC Astro Classifieds / Re: 17.5" Truss Dob for sale
« on: September 26, 2016, 02:37:52 PM »
Here are a few images.

TAC Astro Classifieds / 17.5" Truss Dob for sale
« on: September 24, 2016, 10:19:25 AM »
I'm selling my 17.5" Discovery truss dob. It's f/4.9 with a focal length of 86". I bought it used at RTMC in 2015 and have only used it a few times - only twice at a dark site. My knees have started giving me trouble and the scope is a little too big to be fun for me.

The scope is used but in nice condition. I've upgraded it a bit in the 1.5 years I've owned it: replaced the teflon pads, touched up the varnish, added some flocking and etc. The focuser is a JMI EV Crayford, originally an EV-3 that I upgraded to their top of the line EV-1 spec (a $369 value) using the JMI conversion kit, so it can lift heavy eyepieces and has fine gear reduction. I have only ever blown the dust off the mirror, never wet-cleaned it, and the coatings look to be in good shape.

Includes a shroud, foam sleeves for the truss tubes and case for truss tubes, a heavy duty water resistant nylon "coat" from Astrosystems that fits over the entire scope fully assembled. No GOTO, DSCs, or finder included - though there is a Telrad mount and a Synta-style finder shoe.

I'll be going live with an ad on one of the major sites probably tomorrow, but thought I'd give TACos first shot. I'll be asking $2800 on the big classified sites. Pass it on to anyone you know who'd be interested. The scope is located in Walnut Creek, or for Socal buyers I could deliver at Calstar.

Observing Intents / Re: Pinnacles Sunday night
« on: August 31, 2016, 03:54:40 PM »
I would be there.....if I wasn't scheduled to work.
Hope you have clear skies. And thanks for continuing to post OIs - I'm looking forward to joining you sometime.


TAC Visual / Re: Venus/Jupiter conjunction
« on: August 30, 2016, 08:38:00 PM »
Ha! I thought the same thing while looking at it live.

TAC Visual / Re: Venus/Jupiter conjunction
« on: August 29, 2016, 04:40:54 PM »
Here's an image I captured about a half hour after the moment the two planets appeared closest together (is that called the "appulse?"), Taken through the 8" refractor at Chabot Space & Science center with my Samsung Note 7.

You can see Jupiter's apparent size is much larger. At the eyepiece we glimpsed banding at times on Jupiter, but sky conditions were not great and I didn't capture any detail with the phone. You can just make out the gibbous phase of Venus, though!


Observing Intents / Re: CalStar XVII
« on: July 29, 2016, 09:32:32 AM »
I'm in! Trying the yurt this time.


Observing Reports / Coe 6/30/16
« on: July 01, 2016, 12:25:15 PM »
It had been a long time since I'd observed from the overflow lot at Coe, and I was pleased to find that it's still a nice site. Access was no problem with a call ahead to the ranger. Though she didn't mention it, I did pay the Day Use fee via the Iron Ranger at the park entrance, about a 1/2 mile up the road past the overflow lot. Gotta support the parks!

I arrived around 8 and it was breezy. For an hour after dusk the wind was strong enough at times to buffet the scope; it settled down a bit as the evening progressed but there was still a light breeze at midnight. T shirt weather until I packed up at 12.30.

The lower western sky was all blown out by Morgan Hill, Gilroy, and the San Jose suburbs. Some city lights are directly visible to the W, so I was glad I set up at the eastern edge of the lot which screened most of the lights and minimized the wind. 3 cars drove by after dark, the last around 12.30.

To the E there was a little glow through the trees from lights at the park HQ, but no lights were directly visible and the sky in that direction did not look much affected. The eastern sky, from about N down to SSE, was quite dark almost to the horizon. Near the zenith, M13 was easy naked eye, which is one of my informal tests for whether a site is worth a little drive. Speaking of time down from Walnut Creek was 2.30, taking it easy in frequent heavy traffic, and the late night ride home was only 1.40.

Observing was mostly just gawking at eye candy in the 17.5". I did see the Bug Nebula (NGC6302 IIRC) in Scorpius, and the Box Nebula. And lots of globs. I spent some time comparing the Messier globs in Ophiuchus, with their variety of visual textures. M12 reminded me of a crab, with its right claw much larger than the left.

So, a fun night, and I achieved most of the testing that I'd hoped for. It was good to be back at Coe, where I have happy memories of Messier marathoning and Hale-Bopp.

Observing Reports / Re: Dinosaur Point this past fall and winter
« on: June 30, 2016, 05:22:22 PM »
Great, hope to join you there sometime!

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