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Golden State Star Party (GSSP July 11-15th, 2018)

astrophotography observatory observing star party outreach
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#51 JMW

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Posted 15 July 2018 - 07:03 PM

We had a great time observing 3 out of 4 nights. Woke this morning to the sound of thunder. The light rain didn't impact us packing up, we just worked faster. We started the drive home at 8:30am. 

 

I wish it was less hot in the afternoon. We use air conditioning a few hours each do to escape the hottest part of the afternoon. 

 

I got the trailer and truck unpacked at home. I have a few minor issues to resolve on my Webster D14 dob. I snagged the power cable to the fan and the connector will be replaced. I also have a little slippage in my altitude encoder. I see it when I reverse direction.


Edited by JMW, 15 July 2018 - 07:05 PM.


#52 WadeH237

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 11:19 AM

GSSP was a success for us this year.

 

Wednesday night was great for both imaging and observing.  Thursday night was a bit soft and hazy.  I didn't start an imaging run, but did do some observing until 1am or so.

 

Friday's forecast didn't look too good, and I didn't think that we were going to get any observing done.  But as it got close to dusk, the sky was showing improvement, and I decided to uncover the XX14i and the C14.  As it got darker, we started getting a pretty good flow of public night traffic at our site.  The sky was mostly overcast, but where it was clear, it was pretty decent.  We got good views of Jupiter and Saturn, which are always crowd pleasers.  My wife kept the XX14i pointed into Sagittarius.  We had clear skies through Cygnus and the summer triangle, so I had the C14 in that area.

 

When I normally do outreach, I stick to just showpiece objects.  But public night at GSSP is a bit different, since the public gets to look through dozens of telescopes.  I like to show stuff that is off the beaten path, but still interesting.  With what the sky gave us, I figured that I would try the Blinking Planetary.  I used the Delos 17.3 eyepiece in the C14, which does a pretty good job of getting the blinking effect.  I gave the observers instructions to look into the eyepiece, but off to the side.  After noticing the blue ball, I had them look directly at it.  This turned out to be a big hit.  Just about everyone who looked was shocked to see the nebula disappear and replaced by a star.  It led to some good discussions of averted vs direct vision.  Another object that I don't normally use in outreach is the Double Double, but when I looked, it was splitting the close pairs very cleanly, so I went for it.  This was another crowd pleaser.  I was really happy with the questions I was getting.  People were asking whether they were true binaries, how they orbited each other and how far apart the pairs were.  And all this was on a night when I thought we'd be completely clouded out.

 

For Saturday night, I packed up all of the visual scopes and just did imaging.  I had picked up 4.5 hours of the Iris Nebula on Wednesday, and I wanted to get 6 more hours.  With the long drive back to the Seattle area on Sunday morning, I kicked off the imaging run at 10pm and went to bed.  I woke up at 3:30am and decided to check on things.  I noticed that the entire sky was hazy and there was lightning off in the distance to the west.  There was one area of the sky that was completely opaque and it was in the area I was imaging.  So I started packing up the imaging gear, while keeping an eye on the approaching lightning.  Just as we were getting into the truck at 6:30am, it started raining lightly.

 

For the drive home, I normally go north on 97 to avoid the I-5 traffic, but on this trip, I had an errand just north of Portland.  We departed west on 299 towards I-5 via 89.  The line of thunderstorms stretched out the entire way, and we were in and out of them all the way through Roseburg, OR.  We stopped at the new In-N-Out burger in Grants Pass.  (Note to people with RVs:  There is *no* RV parking there, which made it interesting.  You are much better off hitting the one in Medford, which is adjacent to a mall with lots of parking.)  The traffic from Eugene, all the way to Seattle was brutal and added over 3 hours to our trip.  I had pretty much expected this, but needed to do that stop north of Portland.  In the future, I will definitely stick to 97.



#53 audioaficionado

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 03:15 PM

Good thing you got most of it packed up early Wade. The local astro club and I were up in the Sky lakes area East of Ashland, Oregon Saturday night. Clears skies above us, but we saw the lightning way off to the Southeast in your general direction. Glad it held off until the morning. Thunder woke me before 10 am in Medford. Heavy rain showers all day. I was registered for GSSP, but couldn't safely attend it again this year. Hopefully next year.



#54 WadeH237

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 03:21 PM

Sorry that you couldn't make it, Steve.

 

Are you planning for OSP this year?



#55 LenS

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 05:00 PM

Debbie and I were planning on being at the GSSP again this year and made it to Ashland for Monday and Tuesday to see a play and planned to head to the GSSP on Wednesday but the forecast did not look good.  The National weather service prediction was 100 degrees on Thursday and possibilities of thunderstorm activity Thursday night into Saturday.  Even with a generator for our air conditioner we couldn't imagine staying in the heat environment and staying confined to our trailer, so we made the "decision" to head back to Bellevue on Wednesday morning. From what I am hearing only Wednesday was worth the trip even though some of you had "some" opportunities in the following nights 

 

We both have enjoyed our GSSP trips in the past and hope to be there again next year (assuming it will be late June).



#56 audioaficionado

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 05:30 PM

I'm planing on going to OSP Wade. I gotta make at least one of the 3 I had initially planned on this year.


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#57 WadeH237

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 06:41 PM

...Even with a generator for our air conditioner we couldn't imagine staying in the heat environment and staying confined to our trailer, so we made the "decision" to head back to Bellevue on Wednesday morning.

Heat at GSSP is a real issue, and you need to manage it.

 

The first lines of defense are plenty of fluids and light weight, loose fitting clothing.  You need to bring your own shade.  Also, a simple spray bottle with water can keep you pretty cool if you just mist yourself once in a while.

 

One of the best discoveries, though, was when some friends of ours showed us these.  After you get them wet, they will keep you cool on even the hottest days for an hour or two.  We take them to every star party.



#58 Mr. Bill

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:09 PM

For me, that's the "killer" ....the endless hours of baking heat and wind in the afternoon with no natural shade...all with the hope of clear, transparent skies that night which all too frequently doesn't pay off.

 

Since I live down the road, I can make a last minute decision for attending, but that is tough for those that live far away and have to plan way ahead.

 

Maybe another site at higher altitude with cooler daytime temps and tree cover should be considered......Great Basin Nat'l Park in Nevada comes to mind. It has darker skies and spectacular vistas.

 

Just a thought....



#59 LenS

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:24 PM

We love the GSSP site and the friendly local community. It is well suited to the population centers if Northern California and Portland Oregon. For those if us un the Seattle area it is an 8 hr. Drive with RV to Ashland Oregon. Which is why we spend Monday and Tuesday nights there to enjoy Ashland and to see a play. On return home we only spend 1 night in Ashland. Of the GSSP, OSP,TMSP, or Goldendale Washington star parties Debbie an I think that the GSSP is the best.

#60 audioaficionado

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 07:48 PM

I don't like extreme heat, but I'm willing to pay that price for good observing, great food and the camaraderie of fellow astronomers. There are ways to deal with the heat that don't necessarily require air conditioning, but it's nice if you have it.



#61 Mr. Bill

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 08:21 PM

As I said, just a thought...the only thing constant is change; the GSSP used to be at Lassen NP, moved to Shingletown, then to Adin.

 

BTW.....I've attended every GSSP in Adin except for this year and have done several PowerPoint evening presentations and know many of the TAC people that have "run the show" for many years.



#62 CA Curtis 17

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Posted 16 July 2018 - 10:55 PM

Yes, this certainly was a hot year for GSSP.  That's why my son and I took a side trip to the Lava Tubes National Monument on Thursday and Burney Falls on Sat.  The Lava tubes are definitely worth the 1 to 1 1/4 hr trip.  And it is so cool in the tubes.  Burney Falls is only 50min, but was actually quite hot this time except down by the falls themselves.  We stuck around and visited with friends on Fri.  With the cloud cover it wasn't all that bad during the day.

 

Definitely shade, lots of water and ice and a side trip or two are a big help.  Just heading over to the Adin supply to sip a cool drink and seat inside with air conditioning, or getting ice cream at the Oney helps one beat the heat.  The Adin fund raiser late Sat afternoon was another way to cool down in the shade and on grass.

 

Next year should be a week and a half sooner, so I hope a bit cooler.

 

Curtis



#63 Solar Ken

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 11:18 PM

I certainly hope the earlier date next year provides cooler weather. My wife and I pre-registered this year, but had to cancel and give away our registrations when we saw the predicted temperatures. She just can't deal with extreme heat. We've attended for the past 8 years and had to leave a day early last year because of the heat. We have an RV with a generator, but we can't sit in there all day with the A/C running. Lots of water and those cooling towels help, but 95+ temps are grueling.



#64 adlibitum

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Posted Yesterday, 09:20 AM

Yes, this certainly was a hot year for GSSP.  That's why my son and I took a side trip to the Lava Tubes National Monument on Thursday and Burney Falls on Sat.  The Lava tubes are definitely worth the 1 to 1 1/4 hr trip.  And it is so cool in the tubes.  Burney Falls is only 50min, but was actually quite hot this time except down by the falls themselves.  We stuck around and visited with friends on Fri.  With the cloud cover it wasn't all that bad during the day.

 

Definitely shade, lots of water and ice and a side trip or two are a big help.  Just heading over to the Adin supply to sip a cool drink and seat inside with air conditioning, or getting ice cream at the Oney helps one beat the heat.  The Adin fund raiser late Sat afternoon was another way to cool down in the shade and on grass.

 

Next year should be a week and a half sooner, so I hope a bit cooler.

 

Curtis

When you say next year should be a week and a half sooner does that mean it will start on a day other than a Wednesday?

 

Thanks



#65 audioaficionado

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Posted Yesterday, 10:26 AM

No it will start on a Wednesday, but the new moon will be earlier in the month.



#66 adlibitum

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Posted Yesterday, 11:45 AM

No it will start on a Wednesday, but the new moon will be earlier in the month.

Ok new moon is Tuesday July 2 2019 so GSSP next year looks like July 3-7?

 

thanks



#67 WadeH237

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Posted Yesterday, 12:08 PM

I don't think that the dates have been set or announced.  I did hear conversation on site this year that they would like to avoid the 4th of July for various logistical reasons and that it will likely not be Wednesday through Sunday because of that.



#68 CA Curtis 17

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Posted Yesterday, 01:29 PM

I was guessing that they would pick the Sat -We’d before the 4th to avoid the holiday.  But I have not heard the formal date yet

 

Curtis

 


Edited by CA Curtis 17, Yesterday, 01:30 PM.


#69 LenS

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Posted Yesterday, 03:23 PM

If the dates (yet to be chosen) were Wednesday 26 June through Sunday 30 June one would still get about 4 hours of darkness (I find sun elevation of -15 degrees is good to go (for visual work) rather than wait until -18 degrees - Astronomical Twilight) before the Moon rises at about 2:15 AM on Thursday morning and rising approximately 30 minutes later each day.  By Sunday morning the Moon would rise at about 3:51 AM.  Yes, New Moon is July 2 but for those of us that don't want to drive for 12 hours to get back to the Seattle area getting a place to stay for the night to make it a 2 day trip back could be difficult around the 4th.  Just my thoughts - anxious to see what the decision will be.

 

Leonard



#70 audioaficionado

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Posted Yesterday, 06:43 PM

I'm sure the committee will figure it out and get back to us by early next year. I prefer the new moon at the end of the week rather than the beginning. It's a 4 hr drive for me.



#71 LenS

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Posted Yesterday, 09:01 PM

Just another 2 bits worth.

 

A Friday through Tuesday would probably work where everyone would be home no later than 3 July and would still provide plenty of darkness since the Moon rise on the morning of Saturday 29 June would be just before the start of Astronomical Twilight as a nice thin crescent.

 

It is fun speculating and looking to next year - I just wish the global dust storm on Mars will clear up soon.

 

Leonard



#72 Mr. Bill

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Posted Yesterday, 09:08 PM

How about May or Sept.....?

 

Longer nights, less heat.




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