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General Astronomy >> Outreach

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Skylook123
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Reged: 04/30/05

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: skyward_eyes]
      #5290962 - 06/27/12 12:39 AM

Thanks, Kevin. I'll start next year's thread this weekend.

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skyward_eyes
Vendor - Sky-Watcher USA
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Reged: 12/12/06

Loc: California
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5291313 - 06/27/12 10:02 AM

Jim, looking forward to next year. I have already made my reservations.

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Lightbucket12
super member


Reged: 10/01/10

Loc: Bullhead City, AZ
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: skyward_eyes]
      #5292598 - 06/28/12 01:19 AM

Thanks for putting on a great star party. We, 4 members of the High Desert Astronomy Club from Kingman AZ, were there - most from the 21st through the 23rd. We had a great time and met a lot of wonderful folks from many parts of the globe. The last night, 23rd, was just pure magic. By 11:00 the crowds had thinned out. I took a sky quality reading in the lower parking lot at 21.65 with great seeing and transparency.

Dennis Young was set up in front of me and he allowed me to spend some quality time viewing M-51 through is 23" Dob. Thanks Dennis.

Early Sunday morning Dave and I wondered over to the big scope row where 2 of our club members were set up. The viewing conditions had really popped. Craig had the Veil in using an oxygen filter on his 20". Neither Dave or I had ever seen the Veil in such detail, contrast and clarity. We kept going over it bumping the scope back and forth in utter disbelief. Meanwhile Doug had his Obsession on M-11 and had cranked up the power and we spent an extended period of time viewing the interior stars which form box like geometric patterns. The stars were brilliant and sharp against a black backdrop. The viewing was just pure magic.

"Thanks for the memories"

Bert


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Skylook123
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Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Lightbucket12]
      #5294025 - 06/28/12 10:02 PM Attachment (130 downloads)

Thanks for the comments, Bert. Some added words: Dennis Young's dob is a 28"! I stuck a picture from last year of Dennis' instrument below, taken by Rich Russin from Florida



No wonder M51 was a treat. He used to have a mirror cover on it that claimed it was a 36" Yard of Telescope to amuse folks. Some years ago, Roy Ang brought a pre-release version of an image intensifier, and Dennis used it in the wee hours along with a bino viewer (he can adjust the secondary-primary distance pretty easily to cover a variety of focuser travel needs) and he and Kevin LeGore (skyward_eyes above) were claiming they could see condos being built in Andromeda. And Paul Lorenz, with his 14" tube dob near where Craig Averell and I were for most of the week, used an Explore Scientific widefield eyepiece at about 85X and a UHC filter on the Veil many nights. WOW. My 18" was doing magic things on Markarian's chain and a couple of other objects that my grandkids were showing, so it certainly was a great couple of nights at the end.


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Skylook123
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Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: James Ling]
      #5294178 - 06/28/12 11:52 PM Attachment (130 downloads)

Quote:

Hi Jim.....

Have followed through both your 8 days of report , as well as other, and really surprised that the wind is so strong that even your 18" cannot be used at times of this big event.....

Just wonder any foreigners like myself, traveled all the way to this special event, of course not for the 8 days....????? Coz if we do not know about all the logistics involved to travel up there....

REgards

James Ling




Hi James,

This is one of the rare years when we have not had other nationalities as astronomer volunteers. We've had Canadians, French, Australian, South American, and a decade or more ago, several Russian observers with their families. For two years recently I tried to get a Turkish engineering student with an 8" Meade LX-200 to be allowed to attend, but the first year he was a student and the second year he had just graduated as an electrical engineer, and without a job in Turkey he could not get a visa. We've had foreign astronomer volunteers actually spend a few nights each at several of the US National Parks like Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon. In most of the parks you can set up your telescope anywhere that does not cause a traffic problem.

The logistics depends on affordability and time. By air, get to Las Vegas, Nevada or Phoenix, Arizona and rent a vehicle and drive to the Grand Canyon. We have rough camping sites a mile from the setup point for around US$20 a night, or free if you stay at least six nights with us. Or there is the Trailer Village for full RV hookups for around US$30 a night, or one of the park lodges for anywhere from $90 to over $300 per night.

So, any year you are able to join us, we will always have a place for you. But be careful -- One night we might ask you to be the guest speaker for the public and tell us about public outreach the way you do it!

First night sunset.


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Lightbucket12
super member


Reged: 10/01/10

Loc: Bullhead City, AZ
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5295669 - 06/29/12 11:27 PM

"mea culpa mea culpa mea maxima culpa", your right Dennis has a 28" dob not a 23".

Sorry Dennis for butting your scope on such an intense photon diet

On the night of the 23rd I think Paul Lorenz was set up near Craig and probably heard Dave and my oohs and awes as we were having visual orgasms while viewing the Veil.

Condos on Andromeda. Wonder if they've experienced a real estate bubble burst recently, say in the last 35 million years. Maybe they can tell us how bests to handle the Collateralised Debt Obligations and the Securitised Investment Vehicles and what to do with the 600 trillion dollars worth of Synthetic Derivatives - both the Government and Wall Street are clueless. But then again we may have to wait a while to hear from them. Oh well!

Thanks again for throwing a wonderful party.

Bert


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Skylook123
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Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Lightbucket12]
      #5295725 - 06/30/12 12:54 AM

Oh, it's all a cyclic thing. One year Andromeda is hot, next thing you know ya gotta buy in The Sombrero.

Last year, one night Craig and my granddaughter got into dueling nebulae in Sagittarius (with me consulting, of course). He had her on aperture with the 20" f/5, she had him on FOV with 18" f/5. Then he snuck in an O-III, so I slipped Karina a UHC. Then the rascal tossed an Explore Scientific wide field into the arsenal, and it was game over. Made my 19mm Panoptic look like a soda straw. I think I had her quit that battle and we went over to the supernova in M51,


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Lightbucket12
super member


Reged: 10/01/10

Loc: Bullhead City, AZ
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5296167 - 06/30/12 10:44 AM

Yeah, I know what you mean about large aperture scopes and wide FOV eyepieces. After viewing through Dennis's dob I went back to my 12" and somehow the view was "inadequate" or as the character Captain Jack Sparrow would say, "itsy bitsy teenie weenie".

I don't want to take this thread off topic so if you have the time, could you PM me as to your thoughts on the Teeter 18", why you choose that scope and how it compares with a 20" - viewing and dollar wise in your opinion.

thanks,

Bert


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edwincjones
Close Enough
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Reged: 04/10/04

Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Lightbucket12]
      #5296189 - 06/30/12 11:01 AM

while I support the outreach concept
60,000 contacts over 8 days seems overwhelming
how did the North Rim star party go?

edj


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skyward_eyes
Vendor - Sky-Watcher USA
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Reged: 12/12/06

Loc: California
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: edwincjones]
      #5296217 - 06/30/12 11:22 AM

My friends on the North Rim said they had a great time, they had about 200 people per scope during each evening. But they had no where near the amount of scopes we have at the South.

Jim, this year will be the beginning of the 24" f/3.6 build! Getting the primary blank by the end of this year. So hopefully within the next few years Ill finally have a 24" up there.


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Skylook123
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Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: skyward_eyes]
      #5297194 - 07/01/12 12:33 AM

Kevin, I remember when you were a dedicated astroimager with moderate refractors. I think setting up next to my old 18" Tectron gave you the fever...

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Skylook123
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Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: skyward_eyes]
      #5297206 - 07/01/12 12:47 AM

Based on a couple of posts on the AZ Observing list server, they might have had a bit better weather the first couple of nights on the North Rim. The veranda offers the shielding from the wind that we just don't have on the South Rim. Since they are limited by the veranda space for instruments, somewhere around 11-13 telescopes is all they can support on that side, so the visitor experience would seem to be a more cozy, intimate journey than our busy street fair for telescopes. And their 8000+ feet altitude has us by 1000 feet or so. I believe they set some sort of total aperture record one early night with 180" of telescopes set up.

Both sides had an unusual week in that the visitors generally did not just stop around 10 PM or so. Although they tapered off, I was seeing clusters of visitors until after midnight most nights.


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skyward_eyes
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Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5297676 - 07/01/12 10:55 AM

Jim,

Yes, imaging is all well and good but nothing is as good as a big dob.


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janehoustonjones
professor emeritus


Reged: 10/21/07

Loc: 34 N 118 W, 652.0 feet
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: skyward_eyes]
      #5299493 - 07/02/12 05:26 PM

I think we'll try for North Rim next year! Jane

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Skylook123
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Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: janehoustonjones]
      #5300020 - 07/02/12 11:36 PM

Jane, are you modifying the old Aperture Rules for Altitude Rules?

There were a couple of nights this year when the Milky Way was virtually three dimensional, and the Summer Triangle seemed like it wanted a hug. The North Rim had to be spectacular. We had zodiacal light for almost an hour after sunset. The North Rim had better weather the first two nights, so I would imagine that some folks still haven't broken away.

Because of the scheduling constraints, we get a New Moon on the first night next year, so the Lunaphiles will be happy the last weekend. The Milky Way will still beckon.


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Dave97402
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Reged: 12/16/11

Loc: Eugene, Or
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5300548 - 07/03/12 12:00 PM

We camped just outside the north rim about a month ago. Freakishly dark and beautiful there! wow

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desertstars

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Reged: 11/05/03

Loc: Tucson, AZ
Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Dave97402]
      #5305045 - 07/06/12 09:22 AM

Another GCSP and another set of entertaining reports! Thanks for sharing this with those of us who weren't able to attend.

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michaelgc
newbie


Reged: 08/11/12

Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: Skylook123]
      #5363042 - 08/11/12 09:22 AM

If any of you guys would like to share stories or photos of your Grand Canyon Star Parties, we at www.grandcanyon-nationalpark.org are going to feature any one of them on our website. Please let me know with a PM. Thanks!

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Skylook123
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Re: Grand Canyon Star Party, June 16 - 23, 2012 new [Re: michaelgc]
      #5536282 - 11/23/12 09:20 PM

Before starting a thread for next year's GCSP, I thought I would wrap up the current year's event with thanks and stats.

First of all, we ended up with 105 astronomers who registered for all or part of the week with the National Park Service. As in
previous years, I've been getting emails from visitors who took the effort to look up the contact information for the event and thank us
all for the experience. We made a whole lot of people happy, and once again touched a lot of people's lives.

We must extend a tremendous thanks to our veteran member Ginger Applegarth for coming up with the concept to encourage more interaction among the astronomers to make the newer participants, and non-astronomers accompanying the volunteers, fit in. In early spring, Ginger's suggestion of more information sharing and communication grew into an activity center campsite, #38, in Mather campground which was a pretty effective way of having a friendly operations center and photo board. At the same time, our Interpretive Ranger Marker Marshall teamed up with the idea of the Otter Pop gathering for the astronomers and park support each evening about an hour before sunset. Great team building and information sharing. One of our long time participants Erich Karkoshka from the UofA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, got some unfortunate medical news the week before GCSP; he tried to join us anyway on the first Saturday, but was unable to make the trip. Thanks to Dr. Alan Delman's idea for a get well "card", and Joe Bergeron, creator of all of our GCSP logos who made up a special drawing for Erich, and many of the astronomers dropped in at Space 38 and signed the presentation, Erich was quite moved upon receiveng the contribution. We TAAA members were quite relieved at the next monthly meeting to see Erich up and around, and he has never missed his monthly planet predictions report at the club meeting.

I need to thank our speakers at the night talks: Laura Jevtich, Bill Wren, Marker Marshall, Marilyn Unruh, Joe Bergeron, and Dennis Young,
for providing insights into the night sky and the happenings therein. Several of the talks were firsts - Bill Wren's talk on taking back the
night sky in Texas around McDonald Observatory, and Laura Jevtich's role of supernovae in the development of life were great additions to
the usual list, and Joe Bergeron's return to the agenda was highly appreciated. For next year, we will be starting the talks ten minutes or so earlier in order to give some of the speakers more time to explore their subjects.

As far as visitor support is concerned, We had from 35 to 55 telescopes set up each night. Even with some astronomers forgetting to turn in their visitor contact forms, we accounted for over 62,000 visitor contacts (up to 1400 visitors each night looking through an average of 5.6 telescopes each) including over 8,000 daytime solar and planetary show and tell. Wow. We've added three constellation tours each night that proved pretty popular as well.

We all owe a huge ovation to Interpretive Ranger Marker Marshall, our contact for the NPS and GCNP, and all that she did to help us grow
into the larger audience, considering the Annular Eclipse and Venus Transit preparations as well. And also right up there is the ever increasing support from the National Park Service and Grand Canyon National Park, with a significant increase in attention to highlighting GCSP as a Must Do event. Much behind the scenes effort by Marker, Ranger Mike Weaver and the team of Park Aids that helped with setup, traffic management, and visitor assistance made it possible for us to drive up and set up.

During preparations for the Annular Solar Eclipse, someone came up to Alan Delman while he was finishing constructing a Baader filter for his scope. During the conversation, Alan recommended the person join us for a star party after the eclipse. He told the person, "Half the Park is after dark." It turned out, the stranger was the new Park Superintendant. Note that the latest Grand Canyon Association Bulletin has a poster in it with catchy phrase "Half the park is after dark"!

I'll end with some comments we heard during the nights:

• Ginger Applegarth heard a kid saying “This is awesome! It’s better than TV! Mommy, why don’t we watch THIS instead of TV?”
• A mom our Interpretive Ranger Marker Marshall heard leaving the event with her family: “What a privilege to see Saturn like that!”
• A woman on the telescope lot: “Wow! That was the first shooting star I ever saw!”
• So many people either talking about how great this was or just discussing astronomical subjects like how big the universe must be as they walked past Marker on departure.

Now, time to get ready for GCSP 2013, June 8-15 2013. It can only get better.


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