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Texas Star Party

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#26 bob71741

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:26 PM

" I have to find a small cargo trailer for it"

Cotts-How do you bring that scope back and forth across the border; that is, what kind of paperwork is required? Have you done this before?

I've always had problems bringing stuff back and forth during my business trips. Of course it was in 1980 to 1989, so maybe things have changed. I remember being detained in the the Toronto airport for four hours one night over a $20 tool kit (small hand tools and soldering iron). I've been carrying this tool kit back and forth for four years already and then they changed the entry questionnaire and asked about small hand tools. I answered that I had small tools and they detained me suggesting that I was bringing the tools in to sell on the black market. The resolve was having the company purchase a permit for $100 to allow me to bring it back and forth.
Coming back into the states was not easy as well; it all depended on the personality of the customs inspector. Leaving Montreal was never a problem, but Toronto was always a bear.

#27 DeanS

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 02:38 PM

Dave, I will be bringing my 18" and may possibly need help looking thru it :winky:

Think I will be on the upper field for the first time as well.

Dean

#28 Cotts

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 04:22 PM

My Astro equipment passes across the border both ways with little fanfare. I have 'Temporary Export' cards* for most of my expensive gear which gets it back into Canada, if challenged. I have never been challenged about my equipment by either side apart from a brief "What's all that stuff in the back?" to which I reply, "My telescopes, cameras and camping gear.". I support myself by having a photocopy of the webpage or invitation letter to the Star Party I am attending (it is this strategy that, I think, is the one which satisfies the customs officer).

Almost invariably the customs folks seem to be more interested in tobacco, alcohol and firearms.

*I obtain these green cards every time I import some gear from abroad by going to customs with the bill of sale, shipping info etc., and pay the Sales Tax on the items.

Also, I believe that when the customs folks enter my license plate into their system at the border there is a detailed record of all my past journeys to the USA and I have a consistent track record of saying that I am attending a Star Party.

Dave

#29 rockethead26

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 07:54 AM

I hope to, Jim. I have to find a small cargo trailer for it. The search is ongoing......

Otherwise, the 8" TEC will be going.....

Dave


Hope you can find a trailer. Since I'm not sleeping in the back of my Jeep Grand Cherokee like last time, I'm planning on going in the Prius that goes 3x as far on a gallon of gas. I haven't tried loading my Teeter into it yet, so I'm not sure if it's a go. The EON 120 ED will be the backup.

#30 LivingNDixie

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:17 AM

FYI. If this is your first year and you have not visited the Radio Telescope that is just east of the Prude Ranch, you should go visit it. It is one of the observatories/facilities that could be slated for closure with the coming budgets that have been proposed via NSF/NOAO/NRAO etc.

You get to it by taking the road on the east side of the ranch... Sproul Rd. I made it up to th dish with my Prius back in 2011. I missed the workers but they have given free tours if you can catch them.

#31 Bill Kocken

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

FYI. If this is your first year and you have not visited the Radio Telescope that is just east of the Prude Ranch, you should go visit it. It is one of the observatories/facilities that could be slated for closure with the coming budgets that have been proposed via NSF/NOAO/NRAO etc.

You get to it by taking the road on the east side of the ranch... Sproul Rd. I made it up to th dish with my Prius back in 2011. I missed the workers but they have given free tours if you can catch them.

I got the free tour one time. The guy working there was installing a car stereo on the golf cart they use, so obviously he wasn't very busy. He took 2 of us through the control room, and since the scope was not in use at the moment, we got to climb up inside and see the receivers and then we got to climb up inside of the dish! Very cool. :D
I'm excited about going to TSP again, my 3rd visit.

#32 Joe F Gafford

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:16 AM

Here's what It looks like on the dish.

Joe

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#33 Doc Willie

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 03:06 PM

I'm going, too!!! Looking forward to my first TSP !!

#34 rockethead26

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 04:53 PM

Looks like we have the makings of a Teeter's Row!

#35 Tom Laskowski

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:11 PM

Just made my TSP registration payment today, requested my vacation time, and am getting busy preparing my observing program for this year. This will be my 22nd TSP. I've missed only one since 1991, that being 1992. How time flies. See y'all there!

#36 DeanS

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:37 PM

I have always done mostly imaging with only some casual viewing. Well this year since I will be bringing my new starmaster I want to try some real observing, with a plan. I will still image, and once they are set up and running I will have a several hours in between objects to work with the dob.

So having never worked with a plan, can someone suggest a good way to start? I do have Sky Commander and ServoCat so I suppose that is sort of cheating but.....love my gadgets :)

I plan to set up in the upper field for the first time so will be around more visual obserers than we normally had in the lower field.

Suggestions welcome.

Thanks
Dean

#37 rockethead26

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 06:45 AM

Dean,

I'll be working on my Herschel 400 list, which I can't do too well from my yard. The TSP always has a list or three offered to attendees, and usually CN member Alvin provides a good one, too.

If you have any of the major observing books like the Night Sky Observer's Guide or any of Steve O'Meara's books, you can pick a prominent constellation and try to bag all the objects within.

A lot of us observers have a planning software like SkyTools 3 which will allow you to put a program together for each night based on very specific requirements.

You can let The Sky Commander take you on a tour or a short list of well known objects the first night or two before you get serious.

See you there!

#38 bicparker

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:26 AM

I have always done mostly imaging with only some casual viewing. Well this year since I will be bringing my new starmaster I want to try some real observing, with a plan. I will still image, and once they are set up and running I will have a several hours in between objects to work with the dob.

So having never worked with a plan, can someone suggest a good way to start? I do have Sky Commander and ServoCat so I suppose that is sort of cheating but.....love my gadgets :)

I plan to set up in the upper field for the first time so will be around more visual obserers than we normally had in the lower field.

Suggestions welcome.

Thanks
Dean


Dean, I would certainly start with John Wagoner's TSP observing lists. You can not only do this year's list, but also previous years. Additionally, if he has pin's available for the prior years, you can earn a pin, too! (it is all about the pins!).

Seriously, he has some great lists that give a good overview of the sky. He usually pulls from the the Herschel I and sometimes the Herschel II lists, though there are also some varietal objects he sometimes throws in.

Here is the observing program archive for TSP that includes many of the previous observing programs going back over 12 years:
https://texasstarpar...observing-pr...

You should be able to get a plan from that somehow.

#39 DeanS

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:58 AM

Thanks Bic, Jim,

I will print out some and give them a try.

Thanks
Dean

#40 LivingNDixie

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 12:17 PM

I am pin addict. I have a cap covered in AL and TSP pins.

#41 Ed Jones

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 10:17 PM

I was thinking of attending the Texas Star Party but I didn't even get a reply to my email. I guess I'll find another star party.

#42 rockethead26

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:19 PM

I just received an email from the Prude Ranch stating that they had mistakenly listed the Prude Ranch deposit deadline on everyone's "Confirmed" emails as April 1st instead of the correct March 1st. Because of their error, they have extended the deadline to March 10th.

I had, indeed, put the payment on my calendar based on the April date, so mine is going in the mail tomorrow.

If you haven't sent in the Prude Ranch portion of your TSP fees, then you need to do so immediately.

#43 Steve Daniel

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:46 PM

Jim, thanks for the heads up!

#44 Bob Moore

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 12:29 AM

Here is the link to the form too mail. https://texasstarpar...rg/tsprncpk.pdf

#45 Bill Kocken

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 03:55 PM

Go into Google maps and look at the overhead image of the Prude Ranch. The current image was taken at last year's event. Try to spot your set-up.
I am trying to figure out when they took the picture. It doesn't look as crowded as I recall it being.

#46 bicparker

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 04:15 PM

Some of us on staff saw that Google image when it first went up and I recall that we determined it was taken late in the week, probably Saturday, based upon a lot of different elements in the image. Very cool image in any case.

#47 Alvin Huey

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Posted 01 March 2013 - 06:50 PM

According to Google Earth it was taken on April 20, 2012. I agree that it was a bit more sparse than I remember it to be. Perhaps some were airbrushed off as in general Google maps does not include people...so they may have been airbrushed off...along with nearby setups. The east upper field is really empty.

#48 bicparker

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 03:04 PM

Alvin,
I didn't think to check Google Earth. April 20th sounds about right, especially if it was going into the afternoon. A couple of reasons Saturday was suspected was because of the empty set ups in the front and where certain cars were parked as we remembered (for instance, you can easily see both Keith Venables's red convertible and my SUV on the upper field. We didn't park in those spaces until the last day or so.)

#49 Alvin Huey

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 02:45 PM

I regret to say that I will not be able to attend TSP this year.

#50 bicparker

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 03:01 PM

Alvin,
I am so very sorry to hear that. You will be missed. I hope things are okay.
David






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