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Star party slimdown

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#1 Binojunky

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 12:10 PM

After many years of dragging everything bar the kitchen sink to a annual Star party I attend I have decided to slim thing down, equipment wise anyway.

   The reason is this, after dragging myself around a scorching hot camp site all day, sitting in a hot tent listening to talks I,m to coin a phrase " Kn#####d" ,ready to hit the sleeping bag by about 11pm.

This year it will be a pair of binoculars and either a 70mm refractor or a small rich field Newtonian, with a few eyepieces and a barlow,plus a folding star map, makes sense to me, anyone out there feels the same way?, Dave. :gramps:


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#2 Rick Woods

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 12:19 PM

Sounds good; but it sort of depends on what " Kn#####d" means. (I really tried to figure it out!)



#3 kfiscus

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 12:40 PM

After many years of dragging everything bar the kitchen sink to a annual Star party I attend I have decided to slim thing down, equipment wise anyway.

   The reason is this, after dragging myself around a scorching hot camp site all day, sitting in a hot tent listening to talks I,m to coin a phrase " Kn#####d" ,ready to hit the sleeping bag by about 11pm.

This year it will be a pair of binoculars and either a 70mm refractor or a small rich field Newtonian, with a few eyepieces and a barlow,plus a folding star map, makes sense to me, anyone out there feels the same way?, Dave. :gramps:

To me slimming down would be one scope (Z12), one atlas (PSA), one EP case.


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#4 Bill Weir

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 12:54 PM

Sounds good; but it sort of depends on what " Kn#####d" means. (I really tried to figure it out!)

 

Knackered?

 

Dave I agree with you about the simplicity idea but it's my 20" I drag out. I'm guessing you are planning on mooching views off of other's big scopes. That works for many and is a reasonably good plan.

 

That being said if the star party is at a good dark site I'll sleep duing the day and miss talks so I can take advantage of the location.

 

Bill


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#5 Mike B

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Posted 13 August 2014 - 04:12 PM

Traveling "light" can be a great plan! :waytogo:

 

Packin' modest + larger binocs, a medium-size richfield scope, a comfy "zer0-grav" chair... moochin' peeks off other's BIG scopes, takin' a mid-nite-snooze, enjoyin' the w-i-d-e screen version of the sky.

 

Too easy to forget the cheap-thrills that hooked so many of us long ago.

Yeah, they're still up there. :grin:



#6 Fuzzyguy

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 12:35 AM

The last star party I went to, I just took binoculars and a tripod. I did get some great views through bigger scopes, but their owners mooched views through my binoculars too. :lol: A lot of folks just brought their eyes and a planisphere. I wish a member of our club had a 20" scope for me to look through, but 11" is about the largest anyone brings to our star parties. 



#7 Feidb

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 08:58 AM

Binojunky, to me, the whole point of going to annual star parties is to take the only scope I use (though I have many) and do some serious observing. Star parties aren't social events to me. The social part is just a side issue (bonus). I'm not about to waste my vacation time and dark sky nights just to sit around and look through other people's scopes when I have a perfectly good one of my own.

 

I can't even relate to your statement.



#8 DeanS

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 09:27 AM

I am about to go to my first star party without my imaging gear so this will be new to me.  Usually I take 2 imaging rigs, and at least 1 visual scope.  That is a lot of stuff, and too much like hard work.

 

So I plan to have my 18" Starmaster, and TEC140.  No cameras, if I can help it.  Still debating on mounts for the TEC, either the DM6 or 900.  Would like tracking but then I might feel the need for the CCD too ;)

 

This is the Almost Heaven Star Party and they do not have scope power in the fields so it will save dealing with several larger batteries and generator for charging them.

 

Dean


Edited by DeanS, 14 August 2014 - 02:40 PM.


#9 jrbarnett

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:00 AM

After many years of dragging everything bar the kitchen sink to a annual Star party I attend I have decided to slim thing down, equipment wise anyway.

   The reason is this, after dragging myself around a scorching hot camp site all day, sitting in a hot tent listening to talks I,m to coin a phrase " Kn#####d" ,ready to hit the sleeping bag by about 11pm.

This year it will be a pair of binoculars and either a 70mm refractor or a small rich field Newtonian, with a few eyepieces and a barlow,plus a folding star map, makes sense to me, anyone out there feels the same way?, Dave. :gramps:

Hi Dave.

 

I'm kind of in the same boat.  I'm a chronic over-preparer.  I bring roughly 2x as much stuff as I actually use and 4x as much stuff as I really need.  :lol:

 

I am tempted to keep my next dark sky camping trip, set for the October New Moon, minimalistic, hence the other thread I started in this forum about stuff to bring.  For example, instead of taking both a stove and a charcoal grill, leave the grill (and related utensils, starter gear and charcoal) behind and take only food that can be reheated in a stove top pot or pan, or instead of a tent for me and a warehouse tent for gear and coolers, take just a small tent for sleeping and leave gear in the bed of the truck when not in use (it has a tonneau).

 

I find I spend way too much time setting up and taking down equipment otherwise.

 

Regards,

 

Jim


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#10 Mike B

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 02:20 PM

 

I find I spend way too much time setting up and taking down equipment otherwise.

We have a guy in our group fitting this description... after the REST of us are all done packin' up, we call him "entertainment".



#11 Adam Taylor

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 04:26 PM

... a warehouse tent ...

 

:lol:



#12 jrbarnett

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 09:51 PM

 

... a warehouse tent ...

 

:lol:

 

I seriously wasn't kidding!  I use a 3 person two pole Mountain Hardwear Drifter tent to store all of the cases, covers, OTAs, etc, when not in use.

 

- Jim



#13 George N

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Posted 14 August 2014 - 10:04 PM

Alas, it's looking like the only equipment I'll need for the upcoming Black Forest Star Party is an umbrella. :mad:

 

For the last four years I've been bringing: 20-inch Dob, 127mm APO, PST, and have tried to do both daytime and nighttime imaging! I usually go to star parties with an observing buddy who doesn't own a scope, and there are always other members of my astro club, so my thoughts are that 2 scopes will help keep everyone observing, and at least one of the them *has* to work!

 

At one non-star party dark sky trip I did sleep under the cap of my pickup truck - which worked out well, and another time my buddy brought his RV (which was nice with below freezing late-night temps).

 

However, like the first poster mentioned, I'm starting to get tired from doing all of this packing and set up, plus the un-packing when returning home. At times the refractor just sits there, tracking on M-31 or something, while I have lines of people who want to look thru the 20. I have to drag them over to the 5", unless the rare refractor lover shows up.

 

I'm starting to think I'll cut back to just one scope and do either visual with the Dob, or a combo of imaging or visual with the refractor. I can also bring 20x80 binocs and a parallelogram mount, or a small tracking mount for wide-field imaging and use with the PST.  I'm also going to sleep in the truck bed except perhaps at the biggest star parties.



#14 SpaceConqueror3

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 12:25 AM

I went light to a Star party 2-3 weeks ago. I just had my Orion ST80, Coronado PST,  a camera tripod and my little 76mm Celestron Firstscope Mini-Dob and had a wonderful time. I spent a lot of time finding and comparing faint objects in my two night time scopes. But I did take some time to look through some others bigger scopes.



#15 kozmik frakture

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 07:13 AM

The Boy Scout saw is "Think ounces, save pounds".  The Ranger adage is "Travel light, freeze by night" (as if you ever get a chance to sleep at night).



#16 LoveChina61

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 08:17 AM

If my wife and two six year old girls are with me, I just take binoculars and call it quits at midnight.

 

But when going to a star party all alone, I like to bring the 10" LX200, camera, laptop, battery and all the right gear.

 

Not sure which scenario I like better yet as I have only been to a handful of star parties so far. Each of the above two situations has its advantages and disadvantages. If I don't bring my gear then I really enjoy looking through other's large scopes like the nice fellow who was sharing his 32" DOB views with others at TSP 2012. How cool to see several Abell objects! But if I have all of my gear with me then I usually won't do that cause I am still a little paranoid to leave it all sitting out in the open while I take off for an hour or two chatting with others and enjoying their scope views as well.

 

Mike



#17 jrbarnett

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 10:03 AM

The Boy Scout saw is "Think ounces, save pounds".  The Ranger adage is "Travel light, freeze by night" (as if you ever get a chance to sleep at night).

The other Boy Scout saw (motto status, in fact) is:  "Be prepared."  And I am.  Oh yes, I am indeed prepared.  I have collapsible Lexan martini glasses, Lexan flasks for adult goodies, a Lexan cocktail shaker, folding chopsticks for asian fusion meals, titanium sporks, nesting pots and pans, a main stove and a back-up stove, a main sleeping bag and a back-up, and a third lighter weight one in case its warmer at night than predicted, main sleeping pad and a backup and a patch kit for same, camp chair, and backup low slung camp chair and low side table for said low slung chair, three 6-day coolers (a big one laced with dry ice on top for the daily meals that need to remain as cold as possible until thawed for prep, a medium one for more frequently accessed items like water bottles, beer, etc., and a tall, narrow one for tall bottles like Bollinger Reserve, New Zealand Marlborough Sauv Blancs, Central California white Rhone blends, etc.), etc.  I have gadgets for managing my gadgets, and backups for the management gadgets.   :lol:

 

Tom (Americal) gave some interesting advice - "now you have a truck; use it".  And I did.  When we were in Chaco Canyon last year I had two warehouse tents, a main tent (4 man just for me) and camp kitchen, two tables and a shade structure.  The year before in the White Mountains I packed 10 or 11 different scopes and mounts.  But this trip is shorter (just two nights), and I'd like to spend about an hour unpacking and setting up and another hour taking down and repacking.  It'd be great to have room for 4 buddies in the truck to drive to the trailheads or to local attractions further afield after unpacking and setting up.  

 

I think there's a happy medium.  If my 12-incher is ready for the trip, I'll take that and a PST on an alt az mount.  If not I may do the 16-incher plus an EQ mounted 6" RFT achromat, or a C9.25 Edge HD on a secodn EQ mount in lieu of the 16-incher.  Oh, and no backups or backups to the backups on the camping stuff.

 

- Jim


Edited by jrbarnett, 15 August 2014 - 10:04 AM.


#18 Bill Weir

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 12:49 PM

For the last few years something I've done to pare down the hassel when going on remote observing is prepare and cook all of my food ahead of time. That way there is no need for a stove and fuel. It also cuts down on the amount of water I need to drag along because there is very little needed for cleanup. It would alway seem that I would eat better than most who were around me fussing with cooking. Often I would throw them scraps of roast, chicken, veggies, noodle salad or nice bread to augment their bland meals. When I had the little truck with canopy I would also sleep in the back so I wouldn't need to use a tent. Now that the truck is dead and gone and I have a Forester I bought a teenie-tiny trailer.

 

Bill

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Edited by Bill Weir, 15 August 2014 - 12:50 PM.


#19 csrlice12

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 01:41 PM

I'm down to taking one eyepiece case now........heavy bugger.... :lol:



#20 Mike B

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 02:02 PM

I'm down to taking one eyepiece case now........heavy bugger.... :lol:

 

"Heavy Bugger"- meet "Stress Fracture".

 

Bill, that is a gorgeous li'l rig ya got there! You're makin' my wheels turn.... :idea:

And i applaud yer food-prep MO, as well.

 

Mind if i borrow 'em?

 



#21 Michael Rapp

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 02:20 PM

The Boy Scout saw is "Think ounces, save pounds".  The Ranger adage is "Travel light, freeze by night" (as if you ever get a chance to sleep at night).

 

This post has me in an infinite loop.....help!  



#22 csrlice12

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 02:29 PM

 

The Boy Scout saw is "Think ounces, save pounds".  The Ranger adage is "Travel light, freeze by night" (as if you ever get a chance to sleep at night).

 

This post has me in an infinite loop.....help!  

 

I've found a good clear night of observing calms the nerves....doesn't matter if you got no equipment or a ton of it......



#23 Tom Clark

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 04:26 PM

Back in '91 we went to an eclipse in Hawaii. Took 35mm camera, video camera, 4" Televue refractor, prominence filter, tripods, and binos. The next eclipse we went to was '94 in Bolivia. We took a duffel bag full of warm clothes and a tarp to lay down on. We just lay on the ground with the duffel for a pillow and watched the eclipse naked eye. Which eclipse do you think we enjoyed the most?

 

However, star parties under great skies deserve more. We take our 24" travel scope. Dark sky events are worth the hassle. If you are going to a lousy site it may be different. But we are going to the Oregon Star Party for 8 nights starting tomorow. Go the extra step. You only live once…


Edited by Tom Clark, 15 August 2014 - 04:29 PM.


#24 Bill Weir

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 04:40 PM

 

I'm down to taking one eyepiece case now........heavy bugger.... :lol:

 

"Heavy Bugger"- meet "Stress Fracture".

 

Bill, that is a gorgeous li'l rig ya got there! You're makin' my wheels turn.... :idea:

And i applaud yer food-prep MO, as well.

 

Mind if i borrow 'em?

 

 

This is an example of my idea of a star party tailgate party.

5947411-2012-09-13 001 028 - Copy.JPG

 

Bill



#25 The Ardent

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 05:07 PM

Star parties are about people, who all have different approaches, perspectives, experience, and agendas. 

I intend to do serious observing, but that falls by the wayside.

I try to say hello to everyone at least once, take interest in what others are doing, and take peeks thru interesting scopes. It's good form, and good manners, to act in such manner at a star party. I freely dispense advice, and receive the same with an open mind. 

 

When I have done "serious" observing, it's been after midnight when most of the other other attendees are asleep. 

 

(Its not even easy for me to claim "serious observing". The longer I'm I this hobby, the more I realize nothing I've done is really serious (Robert Burnham Jr serious)  Most of it is enjoyable however. )

Binojunky, to me, the whole point of going to annual star parties is to take the only scope I use (though I have many) and do some serious observing. Star parties aren't social events to me. The social part is just a side issue (bonus). I'm not about to waste my vacation time and dark sky nights just to sit around and look through other people's scopes when I have a perfectly good one of my own.

 

I can't even relate to your statement.

 


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