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Last star party of the year

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#1 Jeffmar

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 02:33 AM

This is the time of the year when my local astronomy club has its last few star public parties. Friday I took my big scope hoping to get some nice views of Saturn, some star clusters, and a few nebulae. It was a bit on the chilly side but the views were nice and visitors saw some really interesting things in the sky, It was fun to see the usual folks who bring their scopes or operate the club observatory scopes. After the star party we often go the the local Dennys restaurant for the get together that is called "advanced training". I suppose I do learn something now and then while chowing down on my midnight biscuits and gravy with hash browns, eggs and toast. The people in my club are friendly and knowledgeable, and are generally fun to be around. It is too bad we are done for the year but it was cold enough Friday night that my hands were freezing. I was having a harder than usual time breaking down my equipment at the end of the party because I was losing feeling in my fingers. I am looking forward to next spring when star parties start up again. In the mean time I am going to break out my winter astronomy apparel and keep on going even if I have to use my snow blower to clear a place to set up. 

 

Jeff


Edited by Jeffmar, 19 October 2019 - 02:35 AM.

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#2 sg6

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 02:43 AM

No knowledge of the reasons behind it but it seems this is the time of year to be holding public star parties and to get people along and then hopefully involved.

 

One's here are held regularily from October to March, usually governed by the moving of the clocks. One I visit is a public outreach weekly event. So from mid October to Spring would seem to almost push people away.

 

Are the club planning anything for the Mercury transit. If clear then there are in effect 3 groups getting together to organise something here, and that will be as well as the "normal" weekly stuff.


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#3 Redbetter

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Posted 19 October 2019 - 04:21 AM

No knowledge of the reasons behind it but it seems this is the time of year to be holding public star parties and to get people along and then hopefully involved.

 

One's here are held regularily from October to March, usually governed by the moving of the clocks. One I visit is a public outreach weekly event. So from mid October to Spring would seem to almost push people away.

 

Are the club planning anything for the Mercury transit. If clear then there are in effect 3 groups getting together to organise something here, and that will be as well as the "normal" weekly stuff.

 The answer likely has to do with the geographical locations and conditions.  Clubs tend to plan things when the weather and nightfall work for them.

  • You are roughly 12 degrees further north than Jeff is.  Your area won't even be out of astronomical twilight until almost August so your calendar is likely to be considerably different and need to make use of the winter months. 
  • Salt Lake averages 7inches of snow  in November, 12 in Dec, 13 in Jan, 10 in Feb, and 9 in March...so not necessarily the most conducive weather to planning star parties.  Not sure how much snow your area has but it looks like less than 10% as much. 
  • Percentage of cloud cover for Salt Lake appears to pick up in the Nov-Mar time frame as well, not to mention likely temps being considerably colder when it is clear. 

And in the U.S. weekends get busy in Nov. (Thanksgiving) and Dec. 

 

I am further south with a warmer, drier climate and observe year around.  The club has star parties scheduled year around but most other outreach ends in late October because it is the "wet" season with high percentage overcast.  Of the actual star parties it seems like the late Fall through early Spring ones are always a bust because of weather.  Haven't had a clear Messier marathon weekend since I moved here...although they put one on the calendar every year.  With the amount of overcast, fog and dew I don't even bother observing in the valley in the winter anymore if I can get to altitude, but those sites aren't good for outreach in the cold months and can require tire chains to reach. 


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#4 Jay6821

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 09:34 PM

In my area I'm going to need to break out the winter gear and have a solo star party. I may need to run the snow blower first before it gets dark.  On the plus side, it gets dark pretty early so I can get to bed at a reasonable hour. 


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#5 Jeffmar

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Posted 22 October 2019 - 11:16 PM

In my area I'm going to need to break out the winter gear and have a solo star party. I may need to run the snow blower first before it gets dark.  On the plus side, it gets dark pretty early so I can get to bed at a reasonable hour. 

37701118751 9f0e86facb O

 

Winter is great that way. right?

This is my solo star party a few years ago



#6 Jay6821

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 02:48 PM

Winter is great that way. right?

This is my solo star party a few years ago

 

I am impressed with the perfect square of green grass you use as an observing site!


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#7 Jeffmar

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Posted 23 October 2019 - 07:17 PM

Winter is great that way. right?

This is my solo star party a few years ago

 

I am impressed with the perfect square of green grass you use as an observing site!

It just needs a beach chair, a big umbrella, a little table and a tropical drink on the table.cool.gif

 

Warm is just a state of mind!


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