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Nightfall 2015: A Wrap and a Recap

The 22nd Nightfall Star Party is a wrap — And it was another great success! The weather was excellent with hardly a cloud in the sky (don't let the photos from Wednesday below fool you). Attendance was excellent, the workshops were great, and a couple of unplanned events got everyone's attention (see the Thursday and Saturday entries below)!

Before we get to the photos... How about a video recap?

Most of these photos were previously posted but I've reposted them here in higher quality and added some new ones.

So, here's your breakdown of Nightfall, day-by-day...

Some, like me, try to arrive in Borrego Springs on Wednesday. These photos from the drive to the Palm Canyon Hotel show that the sky wouldn't be cooperating that night.

3-panel panoramic image from the RV park on Wednesday night.

By the next day, clouds gave way to perfectly clear skies for the first official night of Nightfall!

Shown here is a Takahashi FSQ-106EDX-III atop an Astro-Physics Mach1 GTO mount and Eagle portable pier.
A very bright meteor went almost directly over the hotel early Thursday night. It traveled from east to west. This view was captured by the GMARS all-sky camera which is located about 70 miles due north of Borrego Springs (by line of sight).

This is typically the day when things really get going at Nightfall. Most attendees show up, the hotel and RV park begin to bustle, and the fun begins in earnest!

Big Dobs dominate the west parking lot.
Mark Melnyk, the main organizer of Nightfall, and Adam Block, the premium speaker for 2015, pose for the camera in the late afternoon.
Norm Van Treeck and Michael Frasier bring their solar scope arsenal and let passersby get amazing views of our nearest star.
A quick snapshot of the sun through the 152mm Lunt solar scope shown in the photo above.

After a day or two of setting up equipment, staying up late, and sitting around the pool, many attendees gather for the Saturday star-be-cue potluck, a regular fixture of Nightfall. The grill was on full blast and the side-dishes were delicious!

Attendees of the Saturday potluck dinner.
After dinner, how about a show?! The US Navy obliged by launching an unarmed Trident II missile as part of a missile launch test program. Notice the 2 large distinct shells, the aquamarine cloud at center, and the rocket stage to the right and below the aqua cloud.
The very short clip below shows the expansion of the vapor cloud. The cloud expanded quite rapidly in real time — the sequence shown here represents about 2-3 minutes.

The last day of Nightfall is always a little bittersweet — The realization that tomorrow is Monday hits, yet you're still on a high from the excellent time you had all weekend. When most attendees had already departed or were packing up, I brought out the drone to snap some aerial shots and video. Here's one of the snapshots.

The Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort as seen from the north west corner. A DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter (drone) was used to capture this image.
See you all next year!


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