Look back at Stellafane 2008

Look back at Stellafane 2008

Postby Paul D » Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:09 pm

Myself being at Stellafane only 5 times have to say that this was in my opinion only the second best Stellafane for me with 2005 being the best. We had two solid nights of observing with Thursday being the better of the two. Though I hunted for 3 comets my first night none of which I observed and wasnt really expecting to because of their magnitudes, there was a lot to observe. To avoid boring anyone I will say that I observed a lot of objects in the southern constellations which would be barely to non visible in this area. I also observed some of the usual Messier objects along with brighter NGC's this first night. Some of the highlights were seeing the North American and Pelican Nebula naked eye. Meteors at a rate of about 60+ an hour with one so bright that I saw it while my head was down looking at my charts because it lit up the ground as it passed. I observed a number of Herschel objects along side Bob M. One of my favorite objects I observed was NGC 891 and a few more dim galaxies in the constellation Andromeda. Another one of my favorite highlights was seeing the nebulosity around M45 along with seeing the Milky Way and following it from one end of the sky to the other. Lots of the Sag. Messiers are naked eye and those doing bino club would find it very easy to fill their checklist.

Night two, Friday played tricks with us and most people packed their scopes away with the looming possibility of thunderstorms as lightening flashed in the distance. Joe B and myself teamed up with his 12" dob and I set him off on a wild goose chase naming off some objects for him to hunt and perfect his starhopping skills. Because I stayed awake for the duration on Friday night by 1:00 am I was beat so I called it a night. Others elected to stay up and some may have made it till morning.

Saturday morning brought the swap tents and initailly it looked as though it was going to be a poor showing because from what we observed the high gas prices put a major damper on Stellafanes attendance. By mid to late morning the swap area was still light but from what I saw a few ASSNE members scored some big deals. with eye pieces, digital cameras and other items. By Saturday late morning the forecast sounded grim and the choice was made to break camp and count our two great days of observing as a huge success.

Final thoughts of the weekend were that first we were the club with the most members and the largest group attending Stellafane this year. I had a great time as always and this years bonus was getting to actually observe. I am proud to be a member of ASSNE and it was a fun weekend being with everyone who attended. So I say thank you to all who attended for making it a great weekend and thank you to Lucifer for his yet another forecast that was right on.

STELLFANE 2009, HERE WE COME!!!!!!!!
Paul...

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Postby Galactus » Sun Aug 03, 2008 6:15 pm

First, let me say that, as usual, Paul D is correct. This was a "stellar" Stellafane for me and probably my second best. Probably because no Stellafane outing can compare to your first, which is my best, not because of the skies, but because one is surprised by the camraderie of all these strangers and also of the grounds and observing.

I would like to personally severely and seriously thank Pete, Brian and Joe B, who literally made it possible for me to attend Stellafane this year. By Brian and Joe taking so much of my gear and Pete asking me to ride with him, I was able to experience my longest observing session away from home, ever, on Thursday--8:45 until 3:00-ish. Tom H, Bob S, and Bob Z and Ron Z (The "Z brothers" I call them) were great observing partners on Thursday and we hopped from scope to scope, often returning to objects as the improved over the course of the night. (The Dumbell actually glowed! It was the brightest I have ever seen it!) I wish I had images to show, but my imaging setup is still giving me trouble and I hope to solve these issues before the next Stellafane! I hope to see some of the treats Tom H was working on soon...

I was up late again on Friday, although my scope gave me some electronics trouble on Friday--a bad switch--and I packed it up in case of the storms Paul mentioned, deciding to listen to Tom H and Bob S and their running observing banter and commentary as I packed it away in my tent and switch to bino observing from around midnight until 4:00 am. Bob S soon joined me along with Bob Z and we began playing, "Whatzup in the Constellation!" Bob would give us star-hopping instructions untill we saw an object he would ask us to report our observations. I added M23, M2, M33, to my Bino Messier List I started at Myles Standish. I actually saw Neptune in 10 by 50 binoculars! Rose and Brian joined us for awhile at the end of the night, too. I was about to go to bed and Bob S. went off to Breezy Hill before going to bed. Coming out of the Porta-John, I almost tried to catch up with Bob S, and in the name of safety--my legs were at their worst--I decided against it as falling in the dark should be avoided :lol: Instead, I enjoyed the silence, alone in the road at ASSNE Base Camp, surveying the beauty of the Milky Way, hearing an occasional snore, knowing I would soon join them and wake poor Brian, whose tent was accross from mine, with my own snoring. Cygnus was in the west with the Northern Milky Way sinuously running to the southwest...beautiful! :P

Paul D Wrote:
Saturday morning brought the swap tents and initailly it looked as though it was going to be a poor showing because from what we observed the high gas prices put a major damper on Stellafanes attendance. By mid to late morning the swap area was still light but from what I saw a few ASSNE members scored some big deals. with eye pieces, digital cameras and other items.


I saw some nice binos, 20X80's that were a tad out of collimation and even more out of my budget (they were $80 and I couldn't justify them at this time), I wanted them, but found an old JMI Moto Focus focuser for $40 instead. When I get my scope from Brian, I am confident that it will fit properly and help allow me to operate the scope and imaging from indoors this winter. I would say I was among those who scored. Paul D did too, and although I know it will not lead to motorized GOTO, I wonder if his new DSLR will lead him closer to the Dark Side, tempting him with imaging... :lol: :roll: :twisted:

Speaking of which, I took several panoramic shots of ASSNE Base Camp as it grew each day (this group is almost outgrowing our secluded and private area of Stellafane) and also of the Telescope Competition on the summit of Breezy Hill at the Pink Clubhouse. However, my cables and reader to download the images from the camera to the laptop are still in Brian's truck. I will post them here some time later in the week. Thanks to Pete and Jim C who helped me pack up and get my stuff in our vehicle that wasn't going with Brian & Joe. Also, thanks to the Great Astronomer for watching our ride home; Pete and I were exhausted and we hit storms and saw several accidents. Pete fought off the dozing much better than I.

Paul D wisely wrote:
Final thoughts of the weekend were that first we were the club with the most members and the largest group attending Stellafane this year. I had a great time as always and this years bonus was getting to actually observe. I am proud to be a member of ASSNE and it was a fun weekend being with everyone who attended. So I say thank you to all who attended for making it a great weekend and thank you to Lucifer for his yet another forecast that was right on.

STELLFANE 2009, HERE WE COME!!!!!!!!


Ditto, Paul, Ditto. Stellafane August 20 to 23, 2009 only 381 Days, 14 hours, 48 minutes and some odd seconds away. Registration opens sometime around May 15, 2009...Save the date now, all of you ASSNE folks who couldn't make it, and join us. :wink: 8)
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Postby Joe B » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:24 am

Wow, pretty much sums it up for my first Stellafane.What a great trip.Im glad i was able to make it.

I have been hearing stories about how dark and awesome it is there.Well id have to agree.Simply amazing, im still in star shock.

Thursday night was probably my best viewing ever.I found the Veil for the first time on my own.I know its not the hardest to find but for some reason i like to use the wrong guide stars.Im sure Bob and Paul are glad i dont have to ask for help with it anymore.My list of things to laugh at me is growing smaller,Not..After taking the Swan tour i found a hazy spot and asked Bob if it could be the N.America nebula.As Bob is good for he comes over and takes a look."Well Joe i think youre off a little and what youre seeing is a dense part of the milky way."He heads back to his scope only to come back a few min later with a filter in his hand.Try this he tells me.I had found it all right.The Tea Pot was next and didnt dissapoint at all.I still have a small blind spot in my eye from looking at Jupiter in Bobs scope.But im not complaining.

Friday night was a toss up.I didnt know if i should break down or just wing it.Im glad i left the Dob up.Paul D and i played the beat the cloud game before we called it a night.I had a good time trying and some times finding objects that Paul would call out.With no Telrad charts to go by my starhopping skills were put to use.I need to spend more time star hopping and less time point and shooting with the telrad.Paul had me find a great globular cluster,if i remember right in Hercules.Nothing there but stars after many attempts.Paul comes over and finds it right away.I was close but not cigar.This great glob was the size of a flee and i had probably seen it and not even noticed it was there .

Thanks go out to everyone for making my first trip just awesome..
Joe

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Postby Paul D » Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:10 pm

Joe B Wrote:

Paul had me find a great globular cluster,if i remember right in Hercules.Nothing there but stars after many attempts.Paul comes over and finds it right away.I was close but not cigar.This great glob was the size of a flee and i had probably seen it and not even noticed it was there .


Joe, the glob was in Hercules and it was NGC 6229. Bob M and I know this glob very well because of a comet hunt for 177P. This little glob had me convinced it was the comet I was looking for. So I found it by accident but at Stellafane I wanted you to find it. You did very well in nailing the targets I called out and will be an avid star-hopper in no time.

By the way if you think that one was small I will have you hunt for G1 which is actually a glob that Dan S had me hunt for. What makes this glob interesting is that its not in our galaxy. Hopefully at Arunah Hill we will observe and you will see some objects that you again will never see from around here. Making a list as I type.
Paul...

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Postby Rotorhead » Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:40 pm

Well, I think I'll live. Wow, talk about sleep-deprivation! Pete was correct that three good nights at Stellafane could easily be fatal...

Yes, this was a Stellafane for the books. Not the equal of my first trip in 2005, but these two nights scored second and third in my book after the Saturday into Sunday all-nighter of 2005. It is hard to add too much to what has been said already, but I did manage to add several Herschel objects to my list, and about six binocular Messier objects. I think that the first view of Jupiter burning its way through the treetops, and a naked-eye view of the nebulosity in the Pleiades have to rate as the most breath-catching moments of the weekend, but roughly eight cloud bands on Jupiter at the eyepiece, a previously unseen companion glob to M22 (NGC 6642), and the tiniest glob I've ever seen (NGC 7006) were also thrilling. This last glob is 160-185,000 LY away, and only a few halo stars were visible at over 200X. Away from Stellafane's skies, I wonder if I could have found it at all? Joe, it was much smaller than NGC 6229 :) .

Paul saw NGC 891, but it still eluded me. I'm starting to think it doesn't exist.... It was so pretty in Paul's scope that I'm wondering if I'm looking in the wrong constellation or something. Frustrating.

As always, the Perseids (and some Delta Aquarids) kept us all oohing and aahing, and occasionally 'holy ...ing'. The bolide of Thursday night will long live in my memory (and on my retina...). Sacrificing your night vision for Jupiter at 250x is also a neat thing. Seeing M8, M20, M24, the Great Rift near Cygnus, and the North America and Pelican Nebulae naked eye without really trying, is what we drive up there for. Really nice when it happens.

Dodging the clouds kept me from hunting the comets that were there, to my great disappointment, but was a small price to pay for the rest of the show.

The size and enthusiasm of all the club members was inspirational, if a bit exhausting :roll: and the camaraderie was rollicking good fun. We definitely were noticed - but positively this time - by the powers that be and by at least one other club. No 'daddy' challenges or government workers pulling rank... :oops:

My head is still thumping with what I call my 'Stellafane Hangover' but the memories are all good, except for the storm that Paul and I pushed through as we drove home. That, in the understated words of a Brit friend of mine, was 'very exciting' and I'm glad that we made it okay. I didn't have the energy to unpack until today, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Thanks to all who helped plan, cheerlead, set up, tear down, and share while there. It was a massive effort, and a lot of fun.
Last edited by Rotorhead on Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Mark G » Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:44 pm

Wel said Bob! :D
Clear skies,

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Postby Galactus » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:00 pm

Wow! Three Stellafane Threads reviewing observing and other adventures! :D Since I said I'd post pictures here, the group photo is first:

Image
L-R Rear Row:Mark G, Matt H, Matt P, Tom H, Joe B, Brian T, Manny M, Bruce D, Paul F, Lou D, Bob M, Paul D, Bob S, Rose A, Rob C,
Ron Z, Trig T, Bob Z; Front Row: Jim C, George H, Jeff H, Pete P, Spence B, Not present: Cathy & Roger F and Commander Cosmos, Dan S!
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