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
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!
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...
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.