Black Star Canyon star party Saturday 11/03/07 has been cancelled!
By: Steve Short
October 31, 2007 10:21AM PDT
Hello Fellow OCA club members!
I received word today from the Irvine Land Trust Conservancy that the Black Star Canyon staging area, where we hold our monthly star parties, will be closed this Saturday due to the fire. This area was not burned but the fire has not been fully contained and the roads need to be closed to all but emergency vehicles. I was going to cancel the star party anyway if the fire was still burning as we would not want the smoke and ash to get on our telescope optics.
What a shame as spectacular comet 17P Holmes (Mag 2.9) up in Perseus is quite a sight to see. It is a giant fuzzy ball in binoculars and can be seen easily with the naked eye. I have been watching it move slightly every night. An Iridium flare (Mag -3) will appear Saturday at 7:02 pm 54 degrees NNE and flare out at Mag -8.
Jupiter (Mag -1.8) in Ophiuchus sets early at 8:30 pm with moon Io on the left and moons Europa, Ganymede & Callisto close together and to the right in that order in a Maksutova scope. Mars (Mag -0.6) in Gemini rises about 10 pm Saturday and will double in brightness by the end of November. It will appear better in the next 3 months than it has in the past 2 years.
Uranus (Mag 5.8) will be in Aquarius and sets about 1 am. Neptune (Mag 7.9) is still drifting along slowly in Capricornus. Dwarf planet Pluto (Mag 14.0) in Sagittarius will be very hard to spot as it sets around 9 pm. Another dwarf planet Ceres (Mag 7.2) can be found between Mars & Jupiter in Cetus. Saturn (Mag 0.8), Venus (Mag -4.3) & Mercury (Mag 0.8) can only be seen around dawn.
Don't forget to watch the Leonid meteor shower which will peak November 18 at 3 am. The Radiant for this shower is in the head of Leo the Lion and you can expect to see 20 - 40 per hour. This meteor shower is caused by left over debris from Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.
I hope all of you are all safe and did not lose property from any of the fires. I know some members live in Silverado Canyon which had a mandatory evacuation for all residents. Even Mt. Palomar has been threatened by a fire but our Anza site was not. Hopefully we will be able to use Black Star Canyon next month for our star party.
Your OCA star party host,