[Chaos-l] Semi-Observing At Medoc Mountain Last Night
md_south at mac.com
Sat Jan 17 16:32:54 EST 2009
I'm going to try to make it Friday or Saturday.
Sent from my cell
On Jan 17, 2009, at 2:15 PM, Robert Nielsen <robertnielsen at nc.rr.com>
> I happened to go to Medoc Mountain State Park last night, as sort of
> a "scouting" expedition, and met with Allen Davis who lives nearby
> (he's the guy who setup near us at MASP with the Tak 150 refractor
> complete with turret, etc). I didn't mention it on the listserve
> because the observing was only going to be for a few hours (the last
> quarter moon rose around midnight and there were clouds off and on
> until about 8:30 PM) and I didn't think most people would be
> interested in driving 3 hours for less than six hours of possible
> Plus it was COLD!!!!
> Did I mention it was COLD?
> In fact, I didn't even bring a scope last night, although Allen did
> hook up his "trailer of astronomical gear" to his truck and brought
> it over and setup a 4-inch refractor for both of us to use.
> Mostly, we spent about half the time observing and the other half of
> the time talking in front of a nice, warm fire. I thoroughly
> enjoyed it. And I feel prepared to try to go there next weekend
> for an extended observing trip, if the weather cooperates.
> My plans are to be there multiple nights ... all of which will be
> dictated by the weather. The park ranger (Nicole Crider, who I met
> last night) will be presenting an astronomical program for the
> public on Monday (yes, Monday) night the 26th, and I was planning on
> taking a vacation day from work that Monday if needed and staying
> and helping with that. But if things work out, I might be there
> Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights as well. I'm planning on
> setting up the scope in the middle of their large field, and setting
> up a tent and camping in the nearby campground. I will get the
> necessary permit for "observing", so if anyone else wants to join me
> next weekend just let me know and I will get the permit for everyone
> involved. I also plan on getting one of the campsites with
> electrical connection to recharge my batteries for the next night of
> observing. I will be bringing the "monster tent" ... and if
> someone wants to just bring a pad and sleeping bag, they are welcome
> to stay in my tent if you like.
> The campground is very nice (in my opinion). Apparently there was
> a major renovation that happened about 4-5 years ago, and there is
> now a heated bathhouse with warm showers and all that. If this
> works out as nicely as I think it might, perhaps we can reserve one
> of the group campsites for a mini-CHAOS-star party in the spring.
> And yes, the skies are amazing out there. You don't normally get
> to see the winter Milky Way extend all the way to AND THROUGH
> Gemini! Allen has said that there have been nights when he has
> been there when M33 was a naked-eye object. It wasn't (for my older
> eyes) visible naked-eye last night, but using the tricks I learned
> last CHAOS meeting for determining limiting magnitude, I could see
> ALL FOUR BOWL STARS in the little dipper. I think that means I
> could see down to magnitude 5. I guess that's what 10 degree
> temperature and 20% humidity will get you ...
> So let me know if you would like to come, or also if you would like
> to camp.
> And remember that Astronomy Days is also next weekend. Walter has
> signed me up for the "middle of the day" shift on Saturday, which
> means I might have to drive back and forth on Saturday but I think I
> can swing it. If you have different shifts and want to come next
> weekend to Medoc Mountain, I'm sure Walter can work something out.
> The "trick" is that the gate to the observing field and campground
> closes at 6 PM at night, and opens at 8 AM in the morning. It
> takes (from my house in Chapel Hill) 1 hour and 34 minutes to drive
> there. We might be able to get the ranger to open/close it at
> different times if needed ... but I want to start off right with the
> staff at the park, because I think I might be doing a lot of
> observing there.
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