Saturday Dec 5th Black Star Canyon star party Recap
By: Steve & Bonnie Short
December 7, 2015 2:50AM PDT
Views: 1794

Black Star Canyon Star Party Recap - Saturday December 5th, 2015
This past Saturday the sky was cloudy with mild temperatures throughout Orange County so when we opened the gate about 4:15 pm, we were not surprised to see there were only 3 cars waiting at the gate. By the end of the night, we had counted a total of 18 cars in the parking area and about 26 people.

The ISS was first spotted by Bonnie WSW right on time at 5:38 about 10 degrees high. It was a bright magnitude -2.8 and entertained the crowd for 5 minutes as it flew through the sky. But we did not spot the Iridium Flare that was supposed to go off at 5:39 pm in the South.

We set up in the usual spot by the middle picnic table and new member Pete set up beside us with an ETX-90 Loaner Scope he just got. He was thrilled to see Albireo, M31 & M45 for the first time. Vittel was set up further away and shared views of the Dumbell nebula, ET cluster and a star asterism “4” along with other objects through his 8” DOBS. He even thought he saw M33, the Pinwheel Galaxy but I could not see it in his scope or mine as was so faint.

Also in that area was Rose & Greg Millward using their big Celestron but the 2” diagonal & eypiece was limiting how high the scope could be pointed. David Murphy was also set up nearby. Sam was set up on the other side of us but had to leave early. Greg Gebhardt set up a comfortable chair next to us and had fun using his 15X binoculars. Paul was set up at the end and shared a view of a double star in Cassiopeia.

Ves was first in the auxiliary parking just past the 2nd gate and Andy David set up net to him using the Celestron scope she had purchased from Ves. Someone new in a VW van set up next to Andy and was working with some new imagers he had built. Later, Don Stountenger set up in that area showing images on his laptop using a cam.

When it started getting dark, most of the sky was cloudy and we could barely see the Summer Triangle stars and Polaris. But the sky gradually cleared up and by 7 pm there were hardly any clouds. Everyone loved it when Orion came up and we could see M42, etc.

Setting up across from us were Marcelo Reginato using his big Celestron scope. Also George set up near Marcelo but was without his wife Peggy this time, who stayed home with their new dog. Sydney Hartman, her Dad & one of her friends also set up across from us and had a good time with her new DOBs. They shared a nice view of M45, the Seven Sisters. We also had Scott & Sandy Graham set up a Loaner Scope and tested it out. They started off finding Vega and then Albireo.

We had several first timers at BSC including Andy David , Sean & Natalie, Doug & Joann and Bill Prats.

Later in the evening, the Summer Triangle was well placed for viewing. Double star Albireo looked nice as did the Ring Nebula (M57) up by Vega. We had nice views of the Andromeda Galaxy through our 6” Meade LightSwitch, along with Uranus & Neptune. We also viewed the Deep Sky objects M31, M34 & the Double Cluster but I was never able to see M33. Bonnie liked M31 through our 15power Celestron binoculars along with M45 and other objects like the Double Cluster. After Orion rose high, I was able to see the Orion Nebula, including a 4 Trapezium stars clearly.

It did get cold and the temperature was 50 F at 7:15 pm then had dropped to 45 F at 9:45 when the last person shut down and left. We closed the gate about 10:15 and felt we had another succesful BSC star party.

Please forgive us if I missed anyone or we got your names spelled wrong. Bonnie tries hard to log in everyone and get your names right.

Unfortunately it got pretty cold as the night progresses going from 67F at 5pm to 53F at 6:20 then dropping below 50F so most everyone left by 10pm. The gate was locked just at 11:15pm and the temperature had dropped to 44 F.

Steve & Bonnie

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