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Messages - DDK

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TAC Visual / Re: Moon and Aldebaran
« on: March 04, 2017, 08:41:42 PM »
So there I was trustingly staring at the first quarter Moon in crappy seeing. Sure enough, this gem-like gleam shows along the edge of the Moon, a second later it had separation, with black in between. Showed right away in the 9x50 finder. Aldebaran is a very bright star.
That was fun.

TAC Visual / Re: Moon and Aldebaran
« on: March 04, 2017, 07:29:01 PM »
Man, that was cool. Do hope some of the good little TACos and TAQueritas caught that. You really get the idea that the Moon has no atmosphere. The very bright star goes from hanging right on the dark edge of the Moon, to poof it's gone.

Plus here there were clouds going right overhead, so thru the eyepiece, tendrils of cloud were flowing thru the view, while the Moon's edge was closing in on Aldebaran. It was like Buffy doing patrol in the cemetery.

Emergence will be soon after 8:20, I'm gonna be glued to the eyepiece.

TAC Visual / Moon and Aldebaran
« on: March 04, 2017, 06:30:03 PM »
Right now the Moon is in the clear overhead. That occultation is due not long after 7, far as I can discern. I do remember how very cool this looked last time we saw the Moon occult a bright star, both on disappearance and on coming back out.

Observing Reports / Re: Dinosaur Point what a night, 23 February
« on: March 01, 2017, 08:48:15 PM »
Simultaneity, Steve. That New Year's Night '08 was when you and I met up at Ranger Row on the Peak. Comet 17P Holmes was going thru, and Ranger Sheryl knew right where it was, smart woman altogether. We saw Comet Tuttle as well, in Aries. You showed off a serious view of ngc 1535 at 700x (!), planetary with intricate filigree structure between two shells. Also that night I was running down Deepmap galaxies in Eridanus.

Now the night in January '06, Joe Bob and I did a renegade Friday night run to Dinosaur Point. 19 January is the date I have in my paper logbook. Do know we were not inundated by moonlight that night. Just looked at a Jan '06 calendar, might well have been the 27th. I'll never know! Too late to drylab in any case.

Next time out, I am heading straight to CMa and Puppis. Revisiting M46 and 47, checking out the sweep to those bright opens, 2374 and 2360, restudy Thor's Helmet and sit and gaze at 2467. Improve the ole aesthetic sense. Yes with a telescope this time.

Observing Reports / Re: Dinosaur Point what a night, 23 February
« on: March 01, 2017, 01:40:19 PM »
NGC 2467, is a mondo emission nebula, complex, rich. Jeff Blanchard got me onto it first. And what a field of stars. I've spent a lot of time camped out there. Best views I've had have been with an Ultrablock. There's this triangular wedge of stars, just east of the main gout of nebulosity, that I got to call the Baby Hyades. Here are some notes from the Peak, Dino, Peak in that order, all in Felix the 11" -

"Fave of Jeff’s. Superior EN. One main gout of nebulosity full of veins. Darklane to N, another smaller lane to E. Bright triangular wedge to E with neb, brighter in OIII. Cassiopeia shape to S, also with imbedded neb, brighter in OIII.
"19 Jan ‘06, great in Ultrablock. Baby Hyades filled with nebula, just E of main gout.
"1 Jan ‘08, also beautiful and complex in Ultrablock UB. Like the baby Hyades."

Observing Reports / Dinosaur Point what a night, 23 February
« on: February 28, 2017, 08:11:46 PM »
Thursday night, 23 February, looked like our best weather window for observing this new moon cycle, 3 of us showed up at Dinosaur Point. Boy were we right. Somehow there was no dew, all the clouds dropped by 8 pm, transparency was at 6.3 limiting magnitude for me, and the seeing was sharp, 5/5, which is rare for Dino.

Peter Natscher brought his snazzy 16”, to which he continues to remain true. Mark McCarthy had his 10” Springsonian comet hunter, just an amazing telescope mechanically and visually. As usual he left his Terminagler in the focuser most of the time, for an actual field of view around 2.5 degrees. For fun, I drove my two-seater del Sol and brought the trusty Orion Ultraview 10x50s with a parallelogram mount. You shoulda seen Peter’s moon eyes when I drove up - “How’d you fit Johannes (my 13) in there?” No packing magic, just brought the 2”.

We swapped views back and forth, along with all manner of banter. Highlights included Peter sketching a little blue planetary, which showed bright color in his scope. If I were a better person I’d remember its name. The picture in McCarthy’s scope that sticks in memory was a sharp view of the Leo Triplet, all in the same eyepiece field and all distinct. M65, M66 and ngc 3628, always interesting.

I spent most of the night scanning around in Monoceros and Canis Major. The winter Milky Way there is endlessly fascinating in any aperture. This time I kept coming back to this big fancy dense open cluster, with other bright ones ranging off to the west. Matching the field on the chart, surprise it was M46, with of course no planetary (2438) superimposed to cinch the ID. M47 right next to it, then 2374 and 2360 looking fancy, within 6’ marching due west.

Jupiter was up high enough by midnight for some oohing and aahing, with all 4 big moons in close, along with the GRS. Here comes Jupiter.
And by 1 am we were packed and rolling. We wore enough layers to stay warm with the temps in the mid-30s.

Here’s to Dinosaur Point, with one more winter season in the bin. And good company.
And here's to TAC. There's reason people call us the hardcore observers. And we're here for the fun!

TAC Visual / Re: Moon and Venus right now!
« on: February 28, 2017, 07:20:15 PM »
Oh no kidding. How beautiful. Plus lots of earthlight on the Moon, and Mars making a long triangle. Thanks Wags.

It pays to check early and often.

Got this reply from Ranger Nathan, who was welcoming as ever -

    FYI there was a mudslide on Dino road.  We got it clear today but more might come down later.
     Drive safe on the way down and on way out.

Rants and Off Topic / Re: Happy Birthday Jamie Dillon
« on: February 22, 2017, 06:58:58 PM »
Wow that's lovely, thanks so much. I blush, virtual hugs from Wags and McCarthy, two severally illustrious observers. You're both fun in the dark.

Looks like Thursday night might be our best weather window this new moon. There are 3 gatekeepers rarin' to go, talk about wretched excess. There's a good chance of fancy starfields, with the sky freshly washed and all. I'll definitely be there before dark.

Observing Reports / Re: OR: Dino Sat Jan 28 - A grouping of fellow TACOs
« on: February 08, 2017, 07:52:35 PM »
a) Happy Birthday Boxing Day, Marko. Cool that you posted your evocative OR right on your birthday. Your observing buddies adore you.

b) We had 4 Gatekeepers at Dino that night! George Feliz has been a Dinosaur Point gatekeeper for years, and Peter Natscher just got sworn in two nights earlier. We thankfully have an active crew for keeping Dino going. Oh and there were 8 people there, including Tony Hurtado's nice official gun moll, Lynn.

c) 2371-2, yesss the Peanut. Those wings are known as a challenge. Valentine's Night two years ago, I was up on the Peak with Uncle Albert, the mondo 16" Albertscope that is now Dan Wright's telescope. Went to catch 2371 on the prompt of a Steve Gottlieb article that month in S&T. Saw lots of detail there but wrote, "Didn’t catch the ethereal halo."

d) George gets credit for naming the Jamaican Triple, beta Mon. Still is a gorgeous triple, checked it this last New Moon.

Observing Reports / Re: Frosti
« on: February 05, 2017, 12:01:24 AM »
Glad you had fun and held down the Pinnacles, McCarthy. Your buddies were saying good things about you behind your back at Dinosaur Point. Delighted to report we had no freezing dew. Big boy work you did with all those relatively faint galaxy groups.

Here's to the coyotes!

Observing Reports / Re: OR: Dino - Sat 28Jan2017
« on: January 30, 2017, 11:07:46 PM »
There were 7 scopes there Saturday night, and 8 people. Tony got everyone but Dave Cooper who was on the far end of the row that night.

Thursday night there were 3 of us having a good time: George, Peter and myself. Good conditions that night as well. Peter Natscher got duly sworn in as a Dino Gatekeeper. George and I had a fun stereo shootout with our 13" Albert Highe design scopes, one George Feliz-made and one Albert Highe-made. George and Albert have spent a bunch of nights at that same spot with those same two telescopes. We compared views of the Flame Nebula; 2903, mondo galaxy in Leo; Hickson 44, the brightest Hickson cluster, also in Leo, on and on.

Saturday night I caught the Horsehead for the first time in my own scope. This again was with Johannes, 13" f/4.5 Albert Highe scope. Used a 24 Pan on the HH with an Ultrablock, for the sake of science. It was subtle. George loaned me his H-beta filter, which was already attached to his 24 ES eyepiece. The Horsehead jumped out, had the snout heading in the right direction too.

Tony's view of the Horsehead was as sharp as I've even seen it. Beautiful. And later, Peter was showing off Sirius B, the elusive Pup, in his 16. 100% direct vision. George and I had been looking earlier at 40 Eridani, with the only other white dwarf we see in our amateur scopes (endlessly fascinating triple, with a main sequence K-type star, a red dwarf and a white dwarf).

So yeah Dinosaur Point was good for serious fun this New Moon. Really good to see our old buddy Tony Hurtado. Figuring on inhabiting the place, if the weather is good, for February New Moon. By late March the winds will very likely have picked up in Pacheco Pass again.

TAC Visual / Re: Blast from the Past
« on: January 30, 2017, 03:32:50 PM »
Joe Bob, the Beastmaster, Wags and the Astro Animal. I suppose Kevin is represented by his scope.

continuing adventures at Lassen -

TACos still inhabit Lassen National Park every summer. A set of Montebellistas stay in Mineral every year and observe at Bumpass Lot - Wright, Turley, Kingsley, Larson, Cichanski, Fukuda. And another TACo gang stay at Summit Lake pretty much every year, including Natscher, Cooper and Cooper, Johnston, Scholz and me sometimes. One year, on 6 August, 2013, with no advanced planning, there were 10 TACos observing at Bumpass Lot, plus two buddies of mine from Salinas.

The night after that, all the Summit Lake gang had run off for various reasons. I went to Devastated Area that night, got to see their cool astro ranger do an interpretive talk (for the 2nd time, over years!). The lot got quiet and empty fast. That night will stick in memory because I got to see Cas A, a supernova remnant that had always been regarded as a radio source, not to be seen in visible light. Gottlieb had passed out dares for that object, and Carter Scholz handed me his excellent finderchart. Our hobby really does advance over years.

Lassen is amazing for many reasons, beautiful day and night.

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