Black Star Canyon Star Party Recap - Saturday January 22nd, 2014
This past Saturday the sky was cloudy throughout Orange County when we arrived at the gate about 5 pm. I pondered whether we should even open the gate but the members waiting cars wanted to give it a try. The gate was locked and cars were parked inside for a nature hike so we waited for them to return and drive out. The gate was opened about 5:20 pm and after those visitors left, the waiting OCA members drove in and set up scopes.
At first, all we could see was clouds but as the sun set and the sky darkened, the clouds slowly disappeared. But not fast enough to see the first pass of the ISS at 6:16 pm. We of us did get to see the short 45 second nearly vertical ISS pass at 7:51 pm.
Rob Mackenzie had his big 2800 focal length scope set up giving stunning views of many objects. He even showed galaxy M82 which still showed the bright spot that is the latest Super Nova that showed up recently. He also had a great view of the Double Cluster using a wide angle eyepiece.
Jonathon and Jennifer Kellog had their big Celestron scope running smooth and were sharing views of all the best objects in the sky with those around us. We shared images of M81 & M82 along with some other objects that did not seem as bright as they should be. Val set up a new configuration of his big refractor scope and pumped up the power to show M82 after showing the Beehive Cluster (M44).
We had some BSC first time people show up, including Bill Clark, Michelle & Dave and Brenda,Greg & Mafy. Sam his his two friends, Clare & Steve showed up as did Stuart Capewell again. Shane Hunt was there with Chris and Frank showed up. We had Kyle and his Dad show up but they left after a few hours when Kyle's scope ran out of battery power. Mike Hershberg brought his 5 year old son Isaac. Carol Armstrong was there with no scope and Ken decided he would join the club..
The last person to show up was Alex Zechiel with his girl friend and another gal. We showed them Jupiter, the Orion Nebula and some other objects. Later we looked at asteroids Vesta & Ceres in the ETX125 and checked out the open clusters M41, M46 & M47 that I had suggested we look at near Sirius.
Nice as the evening started, it cooled down fast and we put heavy jackets on early. Unfortunately it got colder as the night went on and that caused people to leave. But we ended up having 19 cars come out with about 30 people. We closed the gate around 11:45pm and the temperature was a chilly 40 F.