Black Star Canyon Star Party Recap - Saturday March14th, 2015
This past Saturday the sky was fairly clear and warm throughout Orange County when we opened the gate about 6:30 pm. There were 13 cars waiting at the gate and by the end of the evening a total of 30 cars and about 48 people come out to the BSC star party.
As it got dark when the Sun set about 7 pm, Venus was shining bright high in the West. As it got darker we could also see Mars about 10 degrees below Venus. Jupiter was a favorite telescope target to the East and the belts were very clear as were 3 Galilean Moons. Moon Europa was not visible as it passed in front of Jupiter but its black shadow was clear on the upper belt. Another favorite was the Orion Nebula (M42) and Comet Lovejoy was still visible even in binoculars.
I think Val was the first one to see Europa's shadow on Jupiter and later almost everyone was looking for it. The best view I had of the black dot that represented Europa's shadow was through Rob's big11” scope. Don set up his scope and video monitor and was viewing M31, the Andromeda Galaxy and later had a nice view of M81. Ves set up his 8” Meade LS telescope for an evening of personal fun which he sure deserved as he tirelessly attends every outreach.
There were a number of 1st time BSC star party people, including Scott Sheffield, Mike & Kathy Maluy, Grace & Bill Deem, Kunal Jariwala, Scott Tanner, Adam Crits, Hugh and a few that came late. Many were from the OCA Beginner's Class were we had 30 new people show up in March.
We set up in the usual spot by the middle picnic table and Larry set up his big Celestron scope next to us. I was never able to view Uranus (just below Mars) as it was hazy and still very light after sunset. I was able to find M40 but never did see M78 or M79 in the haze. It was also way too hazy to see the Hubble Space Telescope pass low in the horizon just before 8:30 pm.
Nice as the evening started, it got pretty cloudy, especially in the East. For awhile, only Jupiter was visible though the clouds and haze. But as many people shut down and went home, the sky cleared up and those that stayed were able to view many more objects. We closed the gate just before midnight and the temperature was a warm 63 F.
Steve & Bonnie