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Messages - dnsmiley

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Observing Intents / Re: Observing Intent Lake Sonoma December 9
« on: December 09, 2017, 01:07:10 PM »
Decided not to go, too iffy, sorry for any confusion

Observing Intents / Re: Observing Intent Lake Sonoma December 9
« on: December 09, 2017, 12:27:52 PM »
High clouds are not cooperating, still deciding but not looking too good

Observing Intents / Observing Intent Lake Sonoma December 9
« on: December 08, 2017, 12:43:52 PM »
I am planning to observe at Lake Sonoma Lone Rock parking lot Saturday December 9. With early sunset at around 4:50 pm there will be about 5 hours of dark sky before moonrise at around midnight.

Currently there are lots of high clouds so I plan to confirm on Saturday morning.

Observing Sites / Re: Lake Sonoma
« on: December 05, 2017, 05:39:43 AM »
Hi, I am planning to go this Saturday Dec 9 as well, so far weather prospects are good. I will contact some friends and post an observing intent later this week. Although last quarter moon comes up around midnight, with the early sunset there's still five hours of dark sky.

Observing Sites / Re: Lake Sonoma
« on: December 04, 2017, 05:24:21 AM »
Yes, see my observing report 10/21/17.

Observing Reports / Re: Observing in Australia (Part II)
« on: November 23, 2017, 02:15:04 PM »
Thank you for this wonderful Thanksgiving treat. Along with dinner today, it will take a bit of time to digest, at which point I suspect I may be more of a "low-excitation blob".

And again, congratulations.

Observing Reports / Re: Lake Sonoma 10/21/17
« on: October 24, 2017, 06:54:13 AM »
Welcome back and congratulations on your incredible achievement - an inspiration.

Observing Reports / Lake Sonoma 10/21/17
« on: October 22, 2017, 02:24:54 PM »
I observed last night at Lake Sonoma, Lone Rock parking lot. On the drive up through Santa Rosa I smelled smoke and saw the charred, twisted remains of buildings and horse trailers. Hillsides were black and scorched as utility crews worked to restore services. Further north, the golden vineyards glowed in the late afternoon autumn light, as if the terrible fires were a world away. Approaching the lake, low to mid level clouds seemed to be gathering. At the lot, it clouded up more and threatened to make it a short night. An astronomy class from the junior college was setting up in the upper lot, the instructor telling us it was a make up for the previous week which had to be cancelled due to the fires.

I was borrowing a 13" that my friend Ray built as a travelscope. Along with Ray, another friend with a C8 joined. After sunset, the clouds started to dissipate. Since it had recently rained, I was expecting good transparency but poor seeing, but instead we seemed to get the opposite. Saturn, although low in the SW, was quite steady and I enjoyed detailed views at 209x. Iota Cas triple star was an easy split and the Double Double had plenty of black between solid components. But the Milky Way was not as crisp as I've seen before at this site, and the south in particular seemed a bit opaque.

I had a list prepared from Deep Map 600 which has been the perfect resource for me to get restarted after 20+ years out of astronomy. Although I've seen all the M's and a few hundred "best NGCs", revisiting and adding on new objects is just what I need, and I find DM600 wonderfully curated, using it along with the Pocket Sky Atlas. However between dodging the remaining clouds, helping my friend collimate his C8, trying to figure out the new scope I was borrowing, and talking about old observing buddies, I only completed a handful:

NGC 6800, OC in Vul had an interesting shape that reminded me a bit of a small Brocchi's cluster. 6830 I found small but with an intriguing "M" or power line tower shape. I thought I had found Stock 1 and noted I saw something of a circular shape with 3 brighter stars in a line at the center, but I realize now I misidentified it, I was actually looking at 6823. 6910 just NE of Sadr had a nice "y" shape. I had to try the Veil since I had a new DGM NPB (thanks John Pierce for the recommendation!) and was not disappointed - I could trace out both W and E sections much longer and added Pickering's Wedge which I don't remember seeing in my C8. Beautiful mottled detail.

Ray showed us where to find Uranus which I could see intermittently naked eye. In the scopes a nice bluish disk. I never got around to any galaxies, the sky just looked a bit washed out although it could have been some clouds or moisture floating through. Exception was 891, fainter than I remembered but a good dust lane visible.

We got plenty of dew on maps and cars but not on optics and called it a night early. Not the most productive night, but still plenty fun.

Observing Intents / OI: 2017-10-21 Lake Sonoma
« on: October 21, 2017, 09:32:24 AM »
Hi, I'm planning to go to Lake Sonoma tonight, looks like the rain has cleared things up. I will have a borrowed 13", I think my friend is coming with 17" and we might have a C8 too. Hope to have a good group!

TAC Visual / Re: Lake Sonoma or Dino Point or Pinnacles
« on: October 19, 2017, 07:49:02 PM »
Thanks all for the input. Yes, “or” would be better than “vs” so I modified it! The rain is falling now, I shall hope for fires to go away and clear, clean dark skies to arrive.

TAC Visual / Lake Sonoma or Dino Point or Pinnacles
« on: October 19, 2017, 12:42:39 PM »

For those who have been to all three sites how do they compare in terms of darkness and horizons? I've looked at dark sky maps and read ORs on TAC. My impression is Lake Sonoma and Pinnacles might be darker than Dino Point but of course local conditions matter. Trying to decide where to go Saturday the 21st, I've only been to Lake Sonoma which is the closest to me, and hoping the predicted rain will clear it up, but if not will travel south.


Observing Reports / Re: Dinosaur Point rides again
« on: October 16, 2017, 05:33:13 AM »
Nice to read your report, with rain forecast for Thursday I am wondering if it's somehow possible Lake Sonoma might be ok by Saturday, but if not Dinosaur Point is definitely on my list. Thanks for your help.

TAC Visual / Re: Dinosaur Point is on again for the fall and winter
« on: October 11, 2017, 05:15:26 PM »
What do people do when finished observing, given there is no overnight camping, just pack up and leave? Are there any good places to stay overnight not too far? It would be about a 3 hour drive home for me if I come. Thanks.

TAC Visual / Re: Dinosaur Point is on again for the fall and winter
« on: October 10, 2017, 05:47:01 AM »

Any idea how Dinosaur Point, Pinnacles or other sites in the general area are likely to be affected by the fires in the North Bay? I have been observing at Lake Sonoma but right now I imagine that site is likely to be very affected by the terrible fires. Any thoughts about sites in the south? Thanks.

TAC Imaging / Re: Bubble Nebula + M52 @ CalStar 2017
« on: October 04, 2017, 07:08:12 AM »
Great image!

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