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Messages - John Pierce

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TAC Visual / Mt Unhumhum
« on: September 20, 2017, 09:13:52 AM »
I note that Mt Unumhum is finally open to the public as of Sunday, although it closes 30 minutes after sunset.     I wonder if anyone here has any contacts with the Midpeninsula Open Space District, and could approach them about doing occasional star parties up there?   Sure, its very exposed to the lights of San Jose, but it might be an interesting place to check out at night, anyways.

Observing Reports / Re: Lake Sonoma 9/16/17
« on: September 17, 2017, 01:55:42 PM »
I've gotten my best view ever of the veil using a DGM NPB filter, on a 18mm in a 20" f/5 Obsession...  this filter passes deep red in addition to o-III and hbeta, so the parts of the veil that photograph as red/pink show up too, while a pure narrowband O-III filter only shows you the parts that photograph as blue-green.

Equipment Discussions / interesting albeit expensive tent for GSSP etc?
« on: September 13, 2017, 06:18:30 PM »
Stumbled onto this...

was originally designed for burning man, camping in the desert in summer, withstanding high winds, intense sun, even dust storms.   Might be overkill for GSSP but its an interesting concept.

Equipment Discussions / Re: Cell Phone Supplier Choices
« on: September 12, 2017, 03:22:35 PM »
Verizon works fairly well at GSSP.  I've not been to Whisper Canyon yet, or to Panoche, but in general, I've found Verizon provides about the best fringe reception in rural areas of any provider in that my phone often is getting a usable signal when everyone else is dead.

Sadly, rural connections in general took a turn for the worst when they shut down AMPS (analog) service a few years back.  I used to carry a 3-mode flip phone (also on Verizon) which would work from wilderness hilltops as long as they had a view of a tower many miles away.

that was prearranged, deal was my wife Ruth got the first minute at the big binos, I got the 2nd minute so I could be there to replace the solar filter as totallity ended.  worked out great.

with the 14mm 82deg wide ES eyepieces, those binos are 42x with a 2 degree FOV.  and the 100mm f/6 binos are ED/APO, and give really good sharp fields edge to edge, without any noticable chromatic abberation.   the corona and prominences were stunning, as was the re-appearance of the eedge of the chromosphere just as totality ends.   when the 'diamond ring' first started to flare up, I scrambled for the filter and popped it back on, and boom.

fastest 2 minutes of my life :-o

oh, for those interested, here's said video of me making a fool of myself with my half minute too fast eclipse timer :-/

there may have been 20K people at the SolarFest, but where we were at the RV park in the corner of the fairgrounds, there was at most a few 100 people scattered about a large lawn, it wasn't bad at all.   a whole bunch of them closest to me were fellow SCAC members, so even better.    Some wag in the back corner of the lawn broke out a trumpet and played the opening lines of "Thus Spake Zarathustra" just as totality was beginning, thankfully he was a skillful trumpet player.

We arrived there Thursday, well before any traffic, and left Tuesday... the worst traffic was going into Portland to drop someone off at the train station, AFAIK, this was typical Tuesday mid day traffic.

Annual Star Parties / Re: CalStar is 6 weeks away!
« on: September 09, 2017, 11:12:41 AM »
I did a little reading about RV charging of Telsas.  you can program the tesla on its charge screen as to how many amps it will draw.    Do note, that RV "50A" circuits, using a NEMA 14-50 plug, are 2 legs of 120 == 240V total, and often ARENT actually 50A, more like 30 + 30 A... so you can safely pull 30A of 240V off them.    the 30A circuits, using an RV trailer specific "TT-30" plug, are 30A at 120V single phase.    The one picture I saw on the old whisper canyon site via the wayback machine showed what looked like a standard RV 'pedestal', this generally provides 3 outlets, a '50A', a 30A, and a standard dual 15A, each typically on its own breaker.   I would NOT expect to be able to pull full power from both the 50A and 30A simulataneously, so if the 50A is plugged into a big RV, and you're using the 30A to charge a tesla, make sure the RV is NOT running its air conditioner.    if the Telsa will show the voltage input on its screen, then I'd ramp up the current til the voltage starts to drop, then back it down a few ticks.

RV park wiring is frequently very funky and should be treated with suspicion.   For my little camp trailer, I'm getting a 30A surge protector/monitor that will warn me if the outlet is mis wired, show me the actual voltage, AND the actual current usage.

TAC Visual / Re: An observation about observation.
« on: July 26, 2017, 02:29:56 PM »
I was chalking the incredible views of the Veil up to the 30mm 82 deg. eyepiece (6mm exit pupil, 85X, ~1 deg. actual FOV) and NPB filter, neither of which I'd used before ... but yeah, the seeing and transparency in that part of the sky was stunning.

Observing Reports / Re: The Pinnacle of Dark Skies
« on: July 25, 2017, 04:32:51 PM »
yeah, a bunch of us noticed that really warm air current around midnight or 1am, and I do think things deteriorated after that ....  I reverted to lower power things after that, and  about 1:30 or 2 I'd had enough and packed it in as Sunday was my wife's birthday and she wanted to go somewhere like SF for the day and if I'd come home at dawn, that wasn't going to happen.  as it was, getting home at 3am was bad enough.

Observing Reports / Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« on: July 24, 2017, 01:12:34 PM »
I was going to look for galaxies over in the northwest part of the sky, and started at the Whirlpool (m51) and found the contrast too low to bother trying to find fainter stuff lower down.  this was around 10 pm, it was at least 45 degrees up in the sky.

Yeah, the ISS pass was awesome.  I missed the first one that was south to east, but certainly caught the 2nd that was west to north.

one of these days I want to try and catch the MODIS satellites, either Aqua or Terra, these are polar earth measurement satellites that are each part of a train of a dozen other measurement satellites.   they aren't terribly bright but it would be fun to try and 'catch the train' in a wide field eyepiece.

Observing Reports / Re: Pinnacles West with SCAC
« on: July 23, 2017, 12:09:17 PM »
oh, one guy told me he counted at least 16 telescopes in the westside visitor center parking area around twilight.  he didn't count people.    several of the old TAC gang were there, as well as a goodly number of SCAC folks.

Observing Reports / Pinnacles West with SCAC
« on: July 23, 2017, 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. 

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.

Observing Intents / Re: TAC members in my area
« on: July 13, 2017, 04:05:51 PM »
A former President of the SCAC (Santa Cruz) now lives just east of Sacatomatoes, and is active with the SVAS (I think that's their name?), and yes, goes to Blue Canyon regularly.

TAC Visual / Re: Mark Loves The Moon
« on: July 13, 2017, 04:00:47 PM »
I've got a 2" moon filter on order to go with my 18mm 82* wide ... does that answer your question?  :-p

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