Re: (IAAC) Sentinel Arizona Star Gaze (Delmarva Stargaze V)
Steve Coe and Linda Ross wrote:
> Sentinel Star Gaze 99 Big Success
> by Steve Coe
> I set up the 13" and A.J. sets up his 8", both Newtonians.
> Once collimation is complete and finders are aligned, we are
> just waiting for it to get dark. An obligatory view of Venus
> shows it to be about 50% illuminated and it is swimming
> in a huge, bright cone of zodiacal light rising from the
> western horizon.
> By now Mars is up nicely and we have a "Mars-a-thon"
> for half an hour or so, trying different magnifications and
> filters. Syrtis Major is easy, as is the Hellas basin and
> Utopia. The southern polar cap is seen at higher power,
> along with some clouds at the limb. The dark features are
> more prominent with the orange and salmon filters and
> the clouds and bright features stand out with a light
> blue filter installed.
Thanks for the great report. FYI, Venus was 75% illuminated on 4/15 and
will decrease to 70% illumination by 4/30.
I also attended a star party (in fact, one that also uses the name Stargaze)
that weekend, the Delmarva Stargaze V
(http://www.delmarvastargazers.org/gaze5.html) on Maryland's eastern shore
near the Chesapeake Bay. Approximately 200 amateur astronomers from
Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and elsewhere attended the
We had mostly clear skies on Friday night until fog rolled in at about 02:00
a.m. The fog lifted about an hour later but my friends and I had turned in
well before then. Just before dawn broke I had to get up to go to the
bathroom and got to see a few more objects through the 17.5" Coulter
belonging to the Delmarva Stargazer's president. It was clear for the
entire night on Saturday. On both nights I observed through a number of
different telescopes of varying designs and apertures.
Personal highlights included seeing both Leo I and II and the X of stars in
the core of M13 for the first time through Kent Blackwell's 25" f/5 Dob.
The Propellor was obvious through this scope but I wasn't able to positively
identify the second, smaller one.
Kent's 25" was the biggest scope at the site (Tuckahoe State Park) although
there were at least two other 20 inchers there. One was a 20" f/6.4 (with a
very tall latter!) that produced excellent images of M65, M66, NGC 3628, NGC
2903, and M3. My friend Kent allowed me the use of his scope (I took only
my ShortTube since I decided at the last minute to go after finally finding
a positive local forecast on weatherunderground.com) on both nights and I
logged several new H400 galaxies but unfortunately not ones that would have
been difficult from the ASH Naylor Observatory near Lewisberry, Pennsylvania
(http://www.ezonline.com/ash/obs.htm) since the southern horizon was blocked
by trees. I had some fantastic views of the Eskimo Nebula, M51 and NGC
5195, NGC 4565, the Cat's Eye Nebula, the Dumbbell Nebula (best I've ever
had even though I've seen it through a 32"), the Veil Nebula, and many other
objects through this instrument. I was able to see the central star in M57
at ~500x through the 25".
Roy Diffrient's award winning 18" f/4.5 Dob was nearby and some people could
see M57's central star through it on Sunday morning. The views of M11, M17,
and many other DSO's through Roy's scope were superb.
At the opposite end of the aperture spectrum I had some nice views of the
North American Nebula through the ShortTube, Ultrablock filter, and a 26mm
Ploessl and through Kent's new toy - a 4.25" Astroscan - and the same
eyepiece and filter. One of my traveling companions had a Meade ETX and I
had my first nighttime looks through one of these controversial telescopes.
Unfortunately, the seeing was not all that good and I had only a few quick
looks at Mars through a couple of scopes.
Astrophotographer Jerry Lodriguss was the keynote speaker and he wowed the
crowd with his fantastic photographs. Some choice door prizes were awarded
and as in years past a 6" Dob was built during the star party (well, some of
it was made beforehand) and raffled.
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