Apr 30th BSC star part Recap
By: Steve & Bonnie Short
May 3, 2016 3:59AM PDT
Views: 1547

Black Star Canyon Star Party Recap – Saturday Apr 30th, 2016
This past Saturday the sky was cloudy throughout Orange County so when we opened the gate about 5 pm, we were surprised to see there were 10 cars waiting at the gate.  By the end of the clear night, we had counted a total of 17 cars that had come to the BSC star party and about 25 people.

The first object we all got to see as it got dark was Jupiter shining bright high in the sky just under Leo the Lion. But it kept fading in and out as the clouds started covering 70% of the sky. At first the North & East were totally clouded over and then things got worse. But after about an hour, most of the clouds were gone and by 8:30 we could see the Big Dipper and Polaris along with most of the bright stars. We could even see Orion and M42.

We set up in the usual spot by the middle picnic table and  Larry set up his big 9.25” Celestron scope next to us in front of the 1st picnic table. Larry might have been the only one to see Mercury visually through his scope before it set. He also shared nice views of Jupiter, M44 & M48 and late in the evening had nice views of Saturn & Mars. Next to us  in front of the 3rd table, Sam set up and shared views of Jupiter & M42. A bit further away the PC Doctor, Willis set up his 8” Meade LX200 and much later in the evening shared views of Mars & Saturn.. At the end of the area on the right, Steve Bennet set up his nice tracking system.

On the other side of Larry, Val set up his nice refractor and shared nice views of Jupiter and M48. Loren Block is a new member who set up across the road and it was his first time attending a BSC star party. There were lots of other 1st timers including John Creigh, Andrew Villaruz, Vinh Nguyen, David Burnworth, John Van Otterloo & son John, Kelee & Amber, Haley Curtis (new member) and guest Omar Quader. Also Natalie Katchtanova brought her daughter Karena  (11) who found Jupiter in her table top telescope with Val's help. I think her 7 year old brother Andrew also saw Jupiter through that scope. This was their first time at BSC and they seemed to love looking through all the telescopes.

Also attending were Marcello Reginato and Eric Seavey.

We did look at M49 but it was very dim as was M104 (the Sombrero Galaxy). In fact all the galaxies were very dim but M42 looked good even in the bright western sky. M13 looked great late in the evening. Most people stayed late to get a glimpse of Mars and Saturn which did not rise until after 10 pm. Saturn looked okay and we could even see its big moon Titan. But Mars was never very clear as the atmosphere made it shimmer but we could see it now has a bigger disk.

We were lucky to have fairly clear skies after 8:30 pm and it never got very cold. We closed the gate about midnight and felt we had another successful 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.

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