04/30/11 BSC star party recap
By: Steve Short
May 2, 2011 2:14AM PDT
Views: 2950

There must have been 25 cars waiting when I opened the gate at 7:00 (temp 70F). Finally, a clear night with no clouds on a scheduled BSC star party night (the previous 3 in 2011 were cancelled due to bad weather). But we did have to put up with some winds however they died down as the evening went on. We ended up with 34 cars.

We had many of the BSC regulars attend including Tina, Vittal, Tom Drouet, Val, Greg and Katie, Ron (from JPL), etc. Hassi brought out a number of his astronomy class students. Katie, our best satellite spotter, was first to spot the ISS making a low pass about 9:30 pm. Thomas brought out his family and a big 20 DOBS (in a trailer) and graciously shared its views with anyone who stopped by.

Saturn was the only visible planet but the rings were spectacular and I was even able to see up to 3 of its moons in my small ETX 125 (5 mirror). Unfortunately Orion went down pretty early so we had to spot M42 in a sky washed out by the sun. Vega came up later and we were able to spot M57 and the Double Double, etc. I saw people finding star clusters, like M13 and many were going galaxy hunting with lots of good views of M81 & 82. Unfortunately, I was never able to find dim galaxies M108 or 109 or even the M97 nebula in my small scope.

I locked the gate at 12:30 and the temp was a mild 64F.

No April Fools this time!!

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