The Astronomy Connection

San Francisco Bay Area Astronomy => Observing Reports => Topic started by: DDK on September 30, 2017, 09:18:42 PM

Title: CalStar XVIII, last week
Post by: DDK on September 30, 2017, 09:18:42 PM
It’s about time someone documented what a gas CalStar was, all over again. People who know each other way too well, low levels of banter, good food getting passed around. Chez Dan going on once again, with Dan getting lots of skilled help.

Clear night skies, with seeing consistently on the plus side of 4/5, very good, and limiting magnitude at least 6.2 every night. Lots of stars, convincing Milky Way.

The observing highlight thru Johannes, my scope, was Saturn with 6 moons and a clear Cassini Division. Titan was off to the west; Dione, Tethys and Rhea were in a lovely diagonal line just to the NE of Saturn. Enceladus was peeking thru, opposite to Rhea, ca 50% of the time. Then Iapetus was on its bright side, and right where it was supposed to be. I collared several people to make ‘em come look.

S&T has Jupiter and Saturn moons applets that are consistenly accurate.

Over the years I have seen Hyperion and Mimas, not often at all, but never seen 6 moons in the same view. Johannes is an Albert Highe-made 13" f/4.5 grab and go scope. Was using a 24mm Panoptic, 16mm UO Koenig, 9 and 7mm type 6 Naglers. That view of Saturn was with the 7mm, at 212x. It’s still floating around in my head, a week later.

Did mooch some excellent views thru the weekend. Gortatowsky’s 22” was showing off a quasar I’d never heard of, on some KUV list, bright and obvious in that scope and 3.4 billion lightyears from here. Marko showed easily the most spectacular view I’ve ever seen of the Eagle Nebula, M16. Details and clumps for days.

Gottlieb shared a view of a globular cluster orbiting around M31, except it’s 9 degrees in our sky away from the disk of M31. Something like 400,000 lightyears from the main body of the galaxy; that’s 4x the width of the main disk of our galaxy.

This was the 18th year we’ve gathered the tribes on the first New Moon after Labor Day. This year I sat down and counted 28 people I know by sight and name. That said, there was some 100 people there, from all over the state. Big range of scopes and setups. If I mention people I was delighted to see and hang out with, I’ll miss someone important. Gotta say though, it was a delight to see those two astrobabes, Jane Smith and Mars, return to the CalStar fold. Good eggs, experienced observers and heaps of fun to be with. Jane was showing off 7789, the Magnificent Cluster, also Caroline’s Cluster, in her very snazzy and lanky truss-tube 16”.

And it was cool that Jennifer and Larry, who were the camp hosts our first 2 years at Whiisssper Canyon, came back this year just to hang out with their newish astrobuddies.

Big fun all around. Charlie Wicks, our very own Potentate, gets far more credit than he’s letting on for his vast, patient work in continuing to find us a place to throw this binge.
Title: Re: CalStar XVIII, last week
Post by: John Pierce on October 02, 2017, 01:12:55 AM
Charlie posted this video taken with a picture of drone footage and stills from CalStar 2017....

(The music volume is a bit high, so turn it down if that annoys you)
Title: Re: CalStar XVIII, last week
Post by: DDK on October 02, 2017, 04:29:04 PM
S'that was our buddy Tall Paul. Now we know who was circling that drone around and why. Cool shots.
Title: Re: CalStar XVIII, last week
Post by: DDK on October 06, 2017, 04:52:22 PM
Here's the bona fide followup on our very own orbital launch. This is from Jonathan McDowell's Space Report #741. He's the astrophysicist who keeps thorough track of space launches.

"A ULA Atlas 5 placed an NRO satellite in highly elliptical orbit on Sep 24. The satellite is thought to host a signals intelligence payload (possibly codenamed RAVEN) and the HEO-4 missile early warning package. The Centaur stage was deorbited after one revolution."

Reports of the launch failing were exaggerated.