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Messages - DDK

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Observing Reports / 24 May Pinnacles, caught that supernova
« on: June 20, 2017, 09:49:37 PM »
Just want to log that I did get to see the supernova in ngc 6946, sn2017eaw.
Partly to thank Steve Gottlieb for the timely prompt. And partly to go about the wonder of seeing a supernova. This one was showing at about 13.0 magnitude, so not hard to see in a medium-sized scope.

This was from the Pinnacles with Johannes, my 13" Albert Highe-built grab and go scope. Was a nice night, limiting magnitude 6.2, seeing good 4/5. Now here's this thing showing as bright in the scope as several of the foreground stars, which would be in our arm of the Milky Way, a few hundred lightyears away. 6946 is 15 million lightyears away, at least 20,000 times more distant. Throw in the inverse-square law, and you get the idea that one of these things really puts out as much energy as its whole host galaxy.

6946 is a mondo face-on galaxy, always worth the trip, along with its neighbor, 6939, a bright spangly open cluster, some 4,000 lightyears away, just for comparison.

That night I got to see Omega Centauri well above the horizon. It was vast, imposing and overwhelming in the 9mm at 165x.
Also took a downtown Virgo tour. And Jupiter was fancy, with 2 brown barges in the NEB, and a sharp fat GRS with round distince edges.
Had the coyotes and the crickets for company. Good sound field.

Observing Intents / Peak SW lot Saturday night
« on: June 20, 2017, 08:55:19 PM »
Had a fine time Sunday night, and Friday is New Moon. Saturday I'll be back at the SW lot, slaverin' for stars.

TAC Visual / Re: Advice needed for Pinnacles East
« on: June 20, 2017, 08:51:35 PM »
Hey Jeff. The one place I've observed at the east side of the Pinnacles is on the far southwestern end of the campground. Tends to be empty, and it sure is as dark there as on the other side of the park.
There are hills to the northern side of that area, but still plenty of sky overhead.
shows the whole national park.
There's a parking lot at the trailhead at Bear Gulch, I dunno how the hills are around it.
You can poke around at the ends of the roads, see what the parking lots look like. What the rangers are saying now, "it's your park, you can set up where you please." Very cool.

Observing Intents / Peak SW lot stargazing!
« on: June 18, 2017, 04:02:26 PM »
Back to the ole well-regarded longtime default spot.

Observing Intents / Re: Pinnacles Sunday the 18th
« on: June 18, 2017, 03:58:35 PM »
Well thanks John for the reminder to post a correction here. Phooey, last time I'd checked the Pinnacles NP site, there was nothing about a road closure, so I was feeling all sanguine. Just did check back (unprompted I swear), and yep according to
right on their front webpage, 146 will be closed 2100-0600 thru June. So stargazing is fine if you want to stay till 6 am.

You said 22 July. That's supposed to be just fine.

I'll head to the Peak this evening! Will be in the SW lot.

We've had a couple dark nights with good stars and a visible Milky Way here in Salinas. Time to head for the dark hills. Will be there well before sunset.

Observing Intents / Re: Pinnacles for supernova hunting
« on: June 01, 2017, 09:37:27 PM »
Yeah John I saw that post. I'll call the rangers to be sure of details. It was last Wednesday that I was there, have an OR to write! It was a nice night, very tissue-restoring.

Observing Reports / Re: Making the most of it from the Peak
« on: May 30, 2017, 11:58:11 PM »
Bob King either dry-labs or fantasizes. Gotten to the point where I'll go get a finderchart and just not deal with his descriptions.
Seriously, one of many things I've long liked about TAC OR's is the honesty in people's observations.

Observing Intents / Pinnacles for supernova hunting
« on: May 23, 2017, 04:49:19 PM »
Will be at that open lot well by sunset. Just spent a pleasant week in Philly and DC, would yes like to see any stars.
This is tomorrow, Wednesday the 24th.

TAC Visual / Re: Montebello OR For Thursday, May 18
« on: May 21, 2017, 11:27:40 AM »
Fun to read from here, Casey. I'm right now doing a Philly to DC trip to hang out with old friends (old in various senses). Haven't seen a star since Tuesday night in Salinas. Am gonna do a Pinnacles jaunt on Thursday night.

Thanks for the reassurance that 4565 and friends are still there. Also to have the image of that jolly gang, yeah perilously close to double figures. Allllloha!

Observing Intents / Re: Observing This Week and Weekend?
« on: May 19, 2017, 06:39:11 PM »
That's a malfunction of those strobe lights, they're supposed to have masks drop at sundown. You can see them from Salinas when this happens. Doesn't usually last long. I'm pretty sure there's nothing we can do about it, though it does suck.

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.

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.

NGC/IC Project / Re: NGC/IC Project
« on: April 24, 2017, 03:04:53 PM »
John, I've been wondering what happened to 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.

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.

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