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Messages - DDK

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1
Observing Intents / Re: New Moon weekend
« on: April 28, 2017, 09:13:31 PM »
Crilly! As you will have seen, I was at the Pinnacles Wednesday. I dunno what our buddy Peter is up to, figuring on waiting till midnight for a biggish Moon to set. But that's just me.

2
Observing Reports / New Moon April, Peak and Pinnacles
« on: April 27, 2017, 06:08:03 PM »
Saturday night the 22nd I hit the SW lot at the Peak for observing. Between the Pinnacles and Dinosaur Point, I’d gotten distracted and away from the Peak; last time I was up there was June. This past weekend it was amazingly green everywhere, with lupines blooming across the park.

Got to visit with Derek the cool ranger, with his wife Hali and their two kids, Logan and Penelope. Lovely happy family. Also while hanging out around the Observatory, got to see Ron Dammann and Rob Hawley who are both flourishing to all appearances.

There were campers and astro visitors all over the park, but back at the SW lot it stayed quiet. High clouds played tag with the low fog that comes out of the little valley there around Carmen’s Trail. Did get more than a couple hours of decent skies though, with 5.8 limiting magnitude for a stretch.

Did an eye candy tour, featuring Jupiter with some fancy equatorial bands. The seeing was good enough to let the 4 Galilean moons show little disks. Saw M5 for the first time this year. Stared and gawked at M51, the Leo Trio, caught Cor Caroli and 24 Com for color.

Some time around 11, I had two excellent visitors, this little 6-year old Jack and his mom. Jack got to see Jupiter and M3, and showed off to his mama where the North Star is. Sharp kid.

Then last night, Wednesday, I headed to the Pinnacles for precisely New Moon. There were dense low dark curdly clouds over the whole sky at sunset, stayed that way till 8:50. Looked very skunking-like. A couple stars peeped thru after 9, then the whole sky opened up. For about an hour. Swear it was fun watching those stars come out in the quiet, with crickets and peepers and a low bass wind. Far as I could tell, I had the western half of that entire national park to myself.

Had serious detail on Jupiter, best in a long while. Great Red Spot, all kinds of festoons and curlicues along the main bands.
Still have all kinds of spring galaxies to hunt down. More of this.

3
NGC/IC Project / Re: NGC/IC Project
« on: April 24, 2017, 03:04:53 PM »
John, I've been wondering what happened to ngcicproject.org. Irreplaceable resource. Had written Gottlieb to ask about it, but he's been off in the Big Bend climbing ladders. What was weird, even the main google links dropped away.

Thanks for the update. Phew.
I'd certainly be able to pitch in with any scut work to put it back and keep the project online.

4
Observing Intents / Pinnacles Wednesday night the 26th
« on: April 18, 2017, 05:27:46 PM »
Will be set up by the visitors center. Sure like our new national park.

5
Observing Intents / SW lot for Saturday fun, yes the 22nd
« on: April 18, 2017, 05:26:02 PM »
Haven't been to the Peak in way too long. Time to hit the old default spot.

6
TAC Visual / Re: Question about observing at Pinnacles
« on: April 13, 2017, 04:18:11 PM »
I wouldn't figure on waking up in the morning there. The rangers are friendly, but like at Dinosaur Point, they don't want to find people in the morning.

Marko will tell you I almost always catch a nap under the stars before heading out. The Rich Neuschafer signature model canvas chair is perfect for that.

7
Annual Star Parties / Re: Lake San Antonio reopens!
« on: April 04, 2017, 07:07:15 PM »
>Maybe such person will just jump in here....

You should be so fortunate.

8
Annual Star Parties / Re: Lake San Antonio reopens!
« on: April 04, 2017, 06:04:50 PM »
Wags, set yourself up in a seance with the Potentate, he can tell you all about the planning and dates.

And yes come on along, close to 100% chance you have a real good time. And there's lots of music in the daytime, from such stars as Casey, Marko, Chez Dan Dan and DDK. All known by first names.

9
Annual Star Parties / Re: Lake San Antonio reopens!
« on: April 01, 2017, 12:13:12 AM »
4 nights, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Last year a small set of folks stayed Sunday night, that might be an option this year. Might. Maybe. New Moon is on the Tuesday night.

10
Observing Reports / Re: Planetaries In Puppis
« on: March 30, 2017, 12:03:01 AM »
2818 and 2818a, where the cluster is diffuse enough it's smarter to hunt for the planetary.
For a longish time as I know you know, astronomers scratched their heads over that pair of objects, as it appeared that the PN really was imbedded in the cluster. Serious problem, stars still in an open cluster are way too young to form planetary nebulae. Took years of careful astrometry to show that 2818a is in the foreground.

11
Annual Star Parties / Re: Lake San Antonio reopens!
« on: March 29, 2017, 11:54:07 PM »
We're already booked for Whiisssper Canyon, 20-24 September. We needed to book weeks ago. At that time Lake San Antonio was still dithering about whether they'd open at all, much less when.

Beth Winters and I did a chunk of work to see if we could have a spring gathering at LSA, got nowhere with them.

12
TAC Visual / Re: Nice binocular double star
« on: March 29, 2017, 05:10:09 PM »
61 Cygni was the very first star to have its distance measured by humans. Friedrich Bessel used parallax and a lot of work to find the distance of that pair, in 1838. Very cool science. And Bessel way opened up our idea of how big space is; >100 trillion kilometers is a hike.

And it is a beautiful double, I've looked at it a bunch of times, partly to think about it being just about 11 lightyears away (11.4 - Bessel was close at 10.3). Shows up pretty in a 9x50 finder.

Had no idea there were 18 stars bunched up there.

13
Annual Star Parties / Re: Monday Morning Memory....
« on: March 27, 2017, 03:20:40 PM »
I recognize that air strip. We had fun our one time there, in '03. I got way into the Coma Cluster. Always regarded it as a great blessing that Liam and I missed the year with the Clamper chili.

14
TAC Visual / Re: Moon and Aldebaran
« on: March 04, 2017, 08:41:42 PM »
So there I was trustingly staring at the first quarter Moon in crappy seeing. Sure enough, this gem-like gleam shows along the edge of the Moon, a second later it had separation, with black in between. Showed right away in the 9x50 finder. Aldebaran is a very bright star.
That was fun.

15
TAC Visual / Re: Moon and Aldebaran
« on: March 04, 2017, 07:29:01 PM »
Man, that was cool. Do hope some of the good little TACos and TAQueritas caught that. You really get the idea that the Moon has no atmosphere. The very bright star goes from hanging right on the dark edge of the Moon, to poof it's gone.

Plus here there were clouds going right overhead, so thru the eyepiece, tendrils of cloud were flowing thru the view, while the Moon's edge was closing in on Aldebaran. It was like Buffy doing patrol in the cemetery.

Emergence will be soon after 8:20, I'm gonna be glued to the eyepiece.

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