Skip to main content

The Star Parties Are Coming!

'Tis the season for star parties in southern California! In California, we're lucky in that star party season generally kicks off in late May with the RTMC Astronomy Expo (and recently added Starlight Festival) and continues through late October with Nightfall. In between, California sees the Golden State Star Party, OPT's SCAE, the Julian StarFest, and CalStars, among other events.

Being August, we still have 3 great star parties coming up!

The Julian StarFest is held on the grounds of the Menghini Winery just a couple miles from downtown Julian. The skies are dark and amenities are nearby.

Julian StarFest in Julian
August 21st through August 24th (Thursday through Sunday)
Go to the website

CalStars is a very casual star party in that no on-site presentations are planned, no registration is required, there's not even a logo! Just show up, set up, and have fun!

CalStar

CalStar at Lake San Antonio
September 25th through 28th (Thursday through Sunday)

Nightfall truly is the premiere southern California star party. Held at a resort with hotel rooms, RV spaces (with full hookups), pools, and hot tubs, it's star partying the way it should be!

Nightfall in Borrego Springs
October 23rd through 26th (Thursday through Sunday)
Go to website


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Great American Total Solar Eclipse of 2017

American eclipses are about to be made great again! It's been about 38 years since there's been a total solar eclipse over the American mainland. And that one just grazed the northwest and northern plains before turning traitor and curving up into Canada. This time around, the path of totality runs essentially through the middle of the entire width of the continental United States, from Oregon to South Carolina. It will be one of the most witnessed total solar eclipses in history.
When: Monday, August 21st (exact times vary based on your location... more below)Where: An approximately 70-mile wide path that cuts through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.Greatest Eclipse: Near Hopkinsville, KentuckyLongest Eclipse: Near Carbondale, IllinoisEclipse LengthShortest: West coast of Oregon at about 1 minute 58 secondsLongest: Southern Illinois at about 2 minutes 41 secondsHow is all the above in…

The Ambiguously Galactic Duo

M81 and M82 are two galaxies hanging out in the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Dipper. M81, on the right, is also referred to as Bode's Galaxy (for its discoverer, Johann Elert Bode). M82, on the left, is also know as the Cigar Galaxy.

Here are the wacky things about images like this one...

(1) Every single star you see in this image is in our own galaxy. It's easy to think you're seeing individual stars in M81 and M82 but that's simply not the case. At 12 million light years away, the galaxies are fairly close to us but they're still much too far to be able to resolve individual stars. Also, while there are such things as rogue stars that get flung out of their home galaxies due to gravitational disturbances, it would be quite rare for one to show up in an amateur astronomer's image.

(2) If your monitor is bright enough and calibrated well, you can see a lot of fuzzy patches, each of which is another galaxy!

Don't look at them too closely... M81 harbors…

Prime Time for New Equipment - Paramount ME II and AG Optical Newtonian

After months of waiting for equipment, parts, and exchanging a couple parts... Everything is finally together and working! I do have to tweak collimation and dial in polar alignment a bit, but for all intents and purposes everything is operational. See the previous post for the first light image (the supernova in M82).

Mount: Paramount ME II by Software Bisque
Telescope: AG Optical 10" Newtonian Astrograph
Guider: Takahashi FS-60C Doublet Apochromatic with SBIG ST-i camera