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jerry10137
sage
*****

Reged: 01/26/13

Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Erix]
      #5818918 - 04/23/13 11:24 PM

Erix PM sent

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Cotts
Just Wondering
*****

Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Steph]
      #5819398 - 04/24/13 09:49 AM

Oh, dear! Who will lead us on the Ice Cream Road Trip?

Dave


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Steve Daniel
super member


Reged: 06/03/12

Loc: Austin, TX
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Cotts]
      #5820271 - 04/24/13 05:08 PM

I'm heading out to TSP for my first time this year. I'll be tent camping, and will have my C8. Do any of you old timers have any advice about Upper vs Central vs Lower field?

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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Steve Daniel]
      #5820353 - 04/24/13 05:51 PM

Set your tent up under a tree

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RGWOOD
member


Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: Lake Jackson, Tx
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Steve Daniel]
      #5820761 - 04/24/13 08:31 PM

Quote:

I'm heading out to TSP for my first time this year. I'll be tent camping, and will have my C8. Do any of you old timers have any advice about Upper vs Central vs Lower field?



The Upper Field is by far the most popular and the largest. The largest scopes are usually there as well as a lot of AP set ups. The central and lower fields will have a lot lower density of scopes. The lower field is next to the highway and though I have never set up there, I would worry about car headlights.
My preference is the upper field, but it does have the drawback of being a little less protected from the wind. For me the middle field is a good compromise if the conditions are going to be really windy.
There's my $0.02.


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Dr Benway
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 03/27/08

Loc: Abilene, TX
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: RGWOOD]
      #5820865 - 04/24/13 09:19 PM

I have always set up in the lower field. The fear of headlights is exaggerated. There is a little traffic when the McDonald crowd leaves, then hardly any vehicles the rest of the night. The restrooms, RV area and snackbar are very convenient from the lower field. Contrary to popular opinion, Omega Centauri is easily visible from the lower field. I image it from there each year.

John


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RGWOOD
member


Reged: 05/17/10

Loc: Lake Jackson, Tx
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Dr Benway]
      #5820929 - 04/24/13 09:58 PM

Quote:

I have always set up in the lower field. The fear of headlights is exaggerated. There is a little traffic when the McDonald crowd leaves, then hardly any vehicles the rest of the night. The restrooms, RV area and snackbar are very convenient from the lower field. Contrary to popular opinion, Omega Centauri is easily visible from the lower field. I image it from there each year.

John



Ahhh yes those brisket burritos....could be reason enough to set up close to the snack bar.....
Good thing to know about the headlights not being an issue though.


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Unknownastron
professor emeritus
*****

Reged: 04/06/05

Loc: CatsEye Observatory,Rural Sout...
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: RGWOOD]
      #5820946 - 04/24/13 10:07 PM

Set up your tent in the shade and not right by any road. Dust can become a real problem. Watch out for sunburn if you burn easily, one can forget we are at the same altitude as Denver and more ultraviolet. Watch out for dehydration, no matter the temperature. I will sit up on the upper field in the NE corner and be one of the people making all the noise. I am proud to say this will be TSP number 25 for me!
Clear skies and clean glass,
Mike


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: RGWOOD]
      #5820950 - 04/24/13 10:07 PM

I have set up with John for all my TSP's so far, however this year a couple of us have RV sites next to the upper field so we will give it a try. Again the lights are gone after midnight and even the few that come by can be seen with enough time to cover your scope if you are imaging, or just look away.

I have visited the upper field before but it will be nice to try it for the entire week.

Dean


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Cotts
Just Wondering
*****

Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Steve Daniel]
      #5821135 - 04/25/13 12:20 AM

Prepare for wind. Stake and rope your mount/scope so that it cannot blow over. There can be serious wind and prodigious thunderstorms at the TSP.
i use the middle field because it is closer to my bunkhouse...

dave


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Cotts]
      #5821562 - 04/25/13 09:20 AM

Hi Dave,

Rob told me you are keeping your scope, will you bring it to TSP?


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ErixAdministrator
Toad Lily
*****

Reged: 12/25/04

Loc: Texas, USA
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: DeanS]
      #5821574 - 04/25/13 09:22 AM

Would someone mind posting a picture of roping/staking their Dob so I can get a better idea of how to do it and what to bring?

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Steve Daniel
super member


Reged: 06/03/12

Loc: Austin, TX
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Erix]
      #5821702 - 04/25/13 10:04 AM

Wow, very nice advice from all of you, I appreciate it! I'll be bringing more guy lines/stakes for the tent and scope now

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Tom Laskowski
super member


Reged: 04/28/08

Loc: South Bend, Indiana, USA
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Steve Daniel]
      #5821846 - 04/25/13 11:32 AM

It's really not so much the wind as it is the dust devils that can and will knock over scopes. Every year I have seen at least one scope knocked over by a dust devil, and damage will occur. I don't have any pictures to post regarding how to stake the scope down, but hopefully someone will post. There is a nice hardware store in town in case you forget to bring stakes and or rope.

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bicparker
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 02/07/05

Loc: Texas Hill Country
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Tom Laskowski]
      #5821958 - 04/25/13 12:28 PM

Dust devils can be bad, but there are also the times of straight high winds. These can go to and exceed 35mph. While these winds may or may not knock down a scope, and they can, they will also pick up and blow away anything that gains an aerodynamic profile, such as a scope cover, a table, a chair, and anything else that presents a flat, angled surface (or a wind sock in the case of a scope cover).

So:

At the end of each observing session:
- Fold up ladders and chairs and lay them flat on the ground.
- Either secure table feet to the ground or fold them up and lay them flat.
- Make certain your scope cover is strapped in multiple places around the scope from top to bottom.
- Secure all lose items (books, papers, cameras, binoculars pencils, etc.) into cases and store them inside something, if possible.
- Secure any loose wires, cords, and ropes. In a 40 mph wind, the flapping of these things can tear up anything they are against.
- Make certain your ground cloth/carpet is secured down on the corners and possibly the center of the edges, too.
- Make a final check of all ground stakes securing your scope and other equipment.

For tripod mounted scopes:
- If it is a small scope that can be easily broken down at the end of the night and re-alignment is not an issue - Take down the scope and tripod and pack them away.
- Larger scopes - stake down each leg. You can also stake down or weight the center, but once a scope starts to tip, that reinforcement will not provide any benefit.
- Make sure the scope is in a parked position that presents the most balanced profile and lowest center of gravity (hopefully, that will be the same thing for most scopes).

For dobs:

There are two schools of thought: 1) Securing down the whole scope stem to stern, and 2) Securing the base and letting it "weathervane" in the wind. Both have their benefits and weaknesses:

1) If you secure the whole scope, secure it well, because if any securing line or strap comes loose, the whole system will become compromised in a high wind and unexpected and undesirable flight patterns may result.

2) Weathervane - This is not a bad strategy because it allows the scope to work with the wind for the most part. We don't know from what directions the winds will come (and a dust devil comes from all directions at once), so this gives some tolerance to the design. However, this also creates more stress on whatever is securing the base (remember, you have a >5:1 weight ratio from the cage to the base on most dobs). So make those base securing mechanisms stout. Additionally, you should have some sort of altitude locking pin in place to keep the front and the whole OTA from taking flight from the rocker box (I have had that happen at TSP when the gusts were hitting 50mph).

I am sure I missed a few things, but these are some highlights of my limited experience.


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Alvin Huey
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/18/05

Loc: NorCal
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: bicparker]
      #5822006 - 04/25/13 12:49 PM

And in 2006 - an 18" dob was lifted airborne and dumped. The mirror was cracked and the UTA was destroyed. The sad thing was that the scope had a for sale sign affixed to it.

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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: Alvin Huey]
      #5822187 - 04/25/13 01:36 PM Attachment (19 downloads)

This is how I secured mine during a very strong constant wind out of the west. But for dust devils you should have straps or rope on at least 3 sides since they don't really have a direction.

Notice the destroyed tent in the background. 2010 was a brutal year.

Dean

PS, my 12" lightbridge got blown over and damaged the focuser. Lesson learned.


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DeanS
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 07/12/05

Loc: Central Kentucky
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: DeanS]
      #5822201 - 04/25/13 01:39 PM Attachment (12 downloads)

oops

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galaxy_jason
Vendor


Reged: 05/22/07

Loc: Texas
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: DeanS]
      #5822270 - 04/25/13 02:04 PM

Lets hope for some daytime thunderstorms (OK no hail). No really, the best ever starparty was '93 (or maybe '94). I line of t-storms moved through and settled all the dust in the area. Next night was the darkest sky and the snapiest milky way I have ever seen...and I haven't see better since.

Edited by galaxy_jason (04/25/13 02:06 PM)


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Cotts
Just Wondering
*****

Reged: 10/10/05

Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Re: Texas Star Party new [Re: DeanS]
      #5822492 - 04/25/13 04:14 PM

Quote:

Hi Dave,

Rob told me you are keeping your scope, will you bring it to TSP?




Hi, Dean. I have every intention of doing so IF I can fit it in my car (Chrysler 200) . I have been looking high and low for a single-purpose trailer that suits the scope and the modest towing ability of my car. No luck here in Canada (we like our trailers Beefy apparently...) I have seen some nifty ones from various manufacturers in the USA - they do not deliver to Canada. I may stop in at a couple of dealers on the way home and if they have the right one I'll buy it and drag it home! At least then I will have it for all subsequent star parties.

My fall-back position isn't exactly shabby - TEC 200 mm f/15.5 Mak/Cass on AP Mach 1.....

See you soon!

Dave


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