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Observing Reports / Pinnacles West with SCAC
« Last post by John Pierce on Today at 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. 
Observing Intents / Re: 2017-07-22 - Santa Cruz Astronomy Club at Pinnacles West
« Last post by DDK on Yesterday at 01:47:23 AM »
No such light. There's a light in the bathroom that's motion-sensitive but goes out after a few minutes. Better to stay away from the bathroom anyway.
As I recall the visitor's center has an outside light on all night, and it shines into the parking lot.  Suggest one of the club people ask the ranger if it can be turned off, or bring something to shield it.
Observing Intents / Re: 2017-07-22 - Santa Cruz Astronomy Club at Pinnacles West
« Last post by Mark on July 21, 2017, 03:28:08 PM »
See you there.  Navarrete coming too.
Again, anyone is welcome to join us SCAC goobers on the wild west side, and bring a scope if they want, there's plenty of room.
TAC Visual / Re: Epic Montebello Wednesday
« Last post by Mark on July 21, 2017, 12:38:41 PM »

Thanks for getting the gang up there.  So many faces from the past.  We should try it again.

I spent the observing part of my evening there, looking in the darkest part of the sky, low in the curve of Scorpius' tail.  Lots of gems in the area, including of course the two big opens M7 and M6.  I thought The Bug Nebula was the most interesting, and teasing out a bit of The Lobster (NGC 6357) was fun too - love the nice hooked chain of stars it sits on.  Think I'll bring the 18 the next time, but did enjoy getting my 10" out too.

I'm certainly up for more of this!

TAC Visual / Epic Montebello Wednesday
« Last post by Casey Fukuda on July 20, 2017, 10:28:10 PM »
Reminiscent of The Golden Age of Bay Area Astronomy, an Epic Wednesday night lives again at Montebello.

Whoa, what a night at Montebello.  Not only did we hit double digits in attendance, we smashed that population barrier by 50%.  By night fall, the parking lot was full of cars and scopes.  On the east side of the lot I saw Marek C, David K, Jeff C, Marko J, Puneek K, Philip M, Peter M and James T.  On the west side of the lot was Mark W, Dan W, Rich O, Stephen M, Bob J and Joe L.  We had a couple of Stanford students stick around after their hike and one other person that drove an SUV parked near the bathroom.  I am sorry, but I don't recall her name, but we were introduced at Peter McCone's scope just after night fall.  Ranger Francis joined in on some early twilight observations.  Unfortunately the seeing was really soft at that time and her Jupiter and Saturn views were not great.  She was really taken aback at the site of all the scopes and astronomers.  During a tour of the scopes, a couple of non astronomy cars pulled into the lot (it was well after sunset).  Ranger Francis stopped her viewing and took off to roust the neerdowells and basically kick them out of the lot.

The food was awesome, with pizza, fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, chicken, candy, nuts and other munchies.  I don't know about the rest of you, but hands down the stars of the night were Peter M and Philip M's fresh tree ripened plums, peaches and nectarines.  They tasted like candy. 

Early in the evening, the seeing was extremely soft, but as the night wore on, things got better.  By 10 or so, the double double could be split and we were off to the races hunting down old summer eye candy,  The summer Milky Way was easily visible as were great views in Sag and Scorp.

The best part of the evening were the discussions of TAC lore and current events.  It was like Montebello of old.  Many thanks to Richard Ozer for trekking across the bay to observe on the west side.  Also, long time Montebello regulars, but rarely seen these days, Peter McCone, Bob Jardine, Jeff Crilly and Mark Wagner showed up and made the population for Wednesday at Montebello an epic evening.  I had a complete deja vu moment walking amongst the telescopes as well as the captains and pillars of Bay Area Amateur Astronomy.   

It was a night to remember, not because of "black cloud" darkness and contrast or great seeing or interesting events in the sky.  It was a night to remember, because Montebello rang it's noble bell and welcomed all kinds of astronomers, both new and old.  It was a night to remember, because it reminded many of us of the good old days, the Golden Age when Bay Area Astronomy was in it's heyday.  I'm glad to say I was there when it was happening back in the early 2000's and again last night. 

Wouldn't be great to use Wednesday as a launching pad to resurrect the days of old and bring back amateur astronomy to the bay area. 

I can dream.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Casey Fukuda
Observing Reports / Re: Peak 18 June, outreach night, good and dark
« Last post by DDK on July 19, 2017, 05:37:55 PM »
Rumors of the demise of Fremont Peak as a quality observing site continue to be greatly exaggerated. Yes I'm stealing Twain's line. Seeing is often startingly good. A middling night like this one last June new moon shows up a 6.0 limiting magnitude, heaps of stars, excellent detail on all kinds of objects. It's from the Peak that I've caught 4 of the highly valued little dim dwarfs in our Local Group - the Fornax Dwarf, Leo I, IC 10 and the famously elusive WLM.

Too fine a local resource to miss. As Joe Bob would say, DDK sez check it out.
Observing Intents / Re: Observing at Montebello on Wed July 19
« Last post by Mark on July 19, 2017, 02:14:32 PM »
All packed up and ready to go.

Forecast looks great.  There's about a 3% chance of precip in Palo Alto at 9 tonight, which I take to be low cloud/fog moving in low... so we may get some light extinction help.

My 10" CPT Dob is the choice for a close-to-home trip.  Hunting targets using the Tirion Sky Atlas 2000.  A few hours of fun mid-week is perfect.

See you there - noobs, come have a look, no need to bring a scope.  Or if you have one, join the party.

Observing Intents / Re: Lake Sonoma Monday July 24?
« Last post by Stardust Dave on July 19, 2017, 12:42:46 PM »
Hey there Dnsmiley .
 Id consider coming down to lake Sonoma on 24th. 
On the no "overnights" , I heard of people staying till 2-3 am

 - there may be a protocol where u notify the rangers you will be there.  Just what Ive picked up browsing on this board.

Only strong coffee will get me home safe, :)   let me know by PM,
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