06/23/12 BSC star party recap

Posted On June 25, 2012

I opened the gate at 7:30 pm and we only had about 5 cars waiting to enter the BSC star party site. It was nice and warm with a thin crescent Moon as the Sun went down. Well after sunset, we could start to make out Mercury with the naked eye. A telescope view showed the planet as a 50% crescent shape as expected.


When it got dark, we had 20 cars parked below and about 40 people on site. But no one was able to spot the Hubble Telescope pass that was supposed to happen at 9:25 pm. Later we did see a faint object pass overhead in the orbit the ISS was predicted about 2 minutes before the ISS did pass over just after 10pmmaybe a re-supply rocket? A few minutes later some did see the predicted Iridium Flare.


Almost everyone viewed Saturn in their scope and biggest moon Titan was shining bright just a few planet lengths to the west of the big planet.


Mars was glowing bright but showed no detail in my ETX125 5″ scope with 5″ mirror. Even seen through a big DOBS, I was not able to make out the white polar cap.


Around 10 pm, the Scorpion was high in the SE sky with the “Teapot” just to the left letting out steam at the spout.  The Milky Way band was visible from Sagittarius up through the Summer Triangle after 10 pm.


Don Stoutenger set up his scope and was again showing objects on a video screen. His view of M51, the Whirlpool galaxy, was superb when it got darker. He also showed M13 and many other objects as did Sam next door using a web cam.


The crowd thinned out as it got later but a few stayed until closing time yet I was able to lock the gate just after midnight. We had another classic summer time Black Star Canyon star party with dark skies and steady seeing all the way to midnight.