Black Star Canyon Star Party Recap - Saturday December 28th, 2013
This past Saturday the sky was clear and blue throughout Orange County when we opened the gate about 4:15pm. There were a few cars (5) waiting at the gate and by the end of the evening we had 21 cars and about 40 people come out to the BSC star party. So the last BSC star party in 2013 was a big success.
At first, all we could see was bright Venus as the Sun set. Then it got dark and just after 5:45pm, we did get to see the ISS pass over big and bright. As Venus was setting, Jupiter was rising in the East and was a favorite telescope target. We watched as Io slipped behind the big planet and a few hours later came into view in the East.
Arpad Balogh set up his home made 4.25” F10.5 Newtonian scope which delighted all who viewed objects that were so clear and crisp. Rob MacKenzie had trouble with his new big 11” Meade set-up but managed to slew it to a number of interesting objects. Jonathon and Jennifer Kellog had their big Celestron scope running smooth and were sharing views of all the best objects in the sky. Vittal brought his big DOBS out and would have stayed later if it hadn't got so cold. Val was having fun using his new Celestron 15X SkyMaster binoculars he just bought at OC Telescopes. Chris, who works at Spacex, was getting great views of all the objects in his 4.5” new scope.
We had a County Park Ranger stop by and we showed him Jupiter through our new 6” Meade LS telescope. Thanks to all who showed Nick other objects which he found so amazing, like the Orion Nebula, Double Star Albireo, Star cluster M15, the Pleiades, etc.
Later in the evening when most people had left, I viewed Uranus and then went to the Andromeda Galaxy (M31) and the Pinwheel Galaxy (M33). Then I viewed Open Clusters M34 & M35 which were spectacular.
Nice as the evening started, it cooled down fast and we put heavy jackets on early. Unfortunately it got real cold (under 40F) pretty early so people started packing up with the final person, Rob leaving about 10pm. We closed the gate around 10:30pm and the temperature was a chilly 37 F.