[Chaos-l] Finally decompressed
jhanzak at unctv.org
Wed Oct 5 16:30:55 EDT 2011
Well the Staunton River outing is over and I've had time to decompress. For me it was
exciting time in that this was the first test run of a possible star party. In spite of the weather,
I feel it was a success.
I got out to the park on Thursday afternoon and I set up my camp in the middle of the observing field.
I was at the furthest reaches of the electric power. After setting up camp I talked with the Park Manager,
Joshua Ellington. I told him I wasn't sure when, but folks were going to be showing up some time over the
next couple of days. Needless to say, my poor tent looked lonesome out there in the field all by it's self. Later
in the afternoon, Robert Nielsen showed up and setup his tent. Even though he didn't stay, my camp had company.
We did get some star gazing in on Thursday through a layer of clouds. We saw M13 and Alberio after aligning my
telescope with Polaris. So we got 45 minutes worth of observing in, at least it was something.
Robert left after that and I crawled into my tent, put on a movie, " Journey to the Center of the Earth", and settled in
for the night. I awoke at a quarter of six with the sound of rain on my tent. I went back to sleep and got up at 8 o'clock.
The rain was gentle and I made breakfast and enjoyed the quiet. After breakfast, I took a hot shower and got ready to face
the day. The rain was coming and going, but nothing much to speak of.
Robert showed back up in the early afternoon and boy howdy, he brought the rain with him. It rained for a few hours and
it was not gentle. This was going to be a test of the integrity of the camp ground.
While it was raining, I was in the Welcome Center staying dry and testing equipment for Mike Malaska, whom was coming
on Saturday to be the first speaker for the Staunton River Star Party.
Eventually the rain stopped and moved on and Robert an I talked about the ground which was splashy but not soggy. A little while
longer, Allen Davis and Steve Andrews showed up to the park and set up camp. and it looked a lot less lonely in the field. Doug
Lively showed up to the park after 7pm in the dark. And I mean DARK.
The skies cleared off at sundown and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. We had to deal with a little fog, but it rolled in and out
through out the evening, but it didn't hamper with the viewing of the clear skies.
We could see the Milky Way stretch from Sagittarius to Cassiopeia and beyond. We had views that knocked our socks off.
It was an awesome night and we wished more members could have enjoyed it. The clouds moved in at 2am but I was in my
tent sleeping by then. It was a long day.
Saturday started of cloudy and pretty much remained that way for the morning. We had a touch of rain, but it was over by noon.
Sun broke out for a while and the Raleigh club showed up in force from 1pm to 6. Sadly the skies just didn't cooperate like they
did Friday but every one enjoyed checking out the park and listening to Mikes presentation.
RAC grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for everyone and before Saturday was over, we had 19 people at the First Staunton River
The Staunton River Park staff were overwhelmingly helpful. There wasn't anything that I requested that they couldn't provide. Joshua,
the Park Manager checked in with us to see if we needed anything and asked what could be improved on. I couldn't think of anything.
So what's next? Well, everyone was so impressed with the park that we are going to have the, "Staunton River Vernal Star Party".
That will be held in March 2012. Keep a close eye on the listserv or come to the CHAOS meetings for more information.
I'll see you on October 11th at the next CHAOS meeting.
Did I mention the MOSQUITOES?????
P.O. Box 3001
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0842
P.O. Box 3001
Chapel Hill, NC 27514-0842
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