Black Star Canyon Star Party Recap - Saturday April 26th, 2014
With the rain Friday, I was surprised that the Sun came out Saturday and dried out the ground and by evening, most of the clouds were gone. So we had a big line of 14 cars waiting to get into the BSC Star Party site at 7 pm when we opened the gate.
We did get to see the ISS as it made a pass just before 8 pm and some saw the 8:17 pm Iridium Flare near Polaris. But the X-37B Space Plane was not seen as there were clouds and it was very dim. I don't think anyone saw the dim magnitude 3.1 HST pass at 8:36 pm either during my astronomy talk.
After sunset when the sky darkened, Jupiter was shining bright and was a favorite object to view with its 4 Galilean Moons all in a row. Mars was also up and showing a shimmering reddish disk but no one was able to make out the white northern pole. Later, Saturn rose and became a favorite object to view with big moon Titan clearly visible.
I was able to spot elliptical galaxy M49 but not any of the other nearby NGC galaxies. However, next door to our scope, we were shown galaxies M81 & M82 in the same field of view in Jim's big Celestron using a 40mm eyepiece. Carl & Cindy Fan were on the other side of us with their Celestron and we were sharing views of planets and the Orion Nebula.
Kyle was having fun trying to get their ETX-80 scope working with his Dad Curt and Mom Melanie. They even brought out his school science teacher Mona who had a good time. Don Stoutenger set up along side of Elias & Christa and a car load of family and friends (9 total). It was their first time out at BSC and they brought a big C11 scope.
Rob Mackenzie set up his big 11” Celestron 2800 focal length scope giving a great view of Mars & Jupiter. His wife Cathy was bundled up with an Eskimo coat to fight off the cold. Ves showed up too with his Meade 8” LS and Val was bundled up and helping people as usual along with Butch. Tri Au set up his 12.5” Dobs.
A lot of first timers showed up including Sebastian, Nathan with his 10” Dobs, Erik Yakstas with his mom & dad and a Celestron 5. Did I mention that Jim Krieger, Edward Hickman, Larry Haskin, Tyler & Margie Andrews and Roger Cotton were at the star party and Brent Freeze showed up late.
We ended up having 28 cars come out and counted about 50 people. The gate was closed around midnight and the temperature was a mild 49 F.