Feb 13th BSC star party Recap

Posted On February 14, 2016

Black Star Canyon Star Party Recap - Saturday Feb 13th, 2016

This past Saturday the sky was clear and it was warm throughout Orange County so when we opened the gate about 5 pm, we were not surprised to see there were 9 cars waiting at the gate. And we were not surprised that by the end of the clear night, we had counted a total of 24 cars that had come to the BSC star party.

The first object we all got to see as it got dark was the crescent Moon. It was bright and looked great in our 6" scope. No one was able to spot the first HST pass at 6:20 pm nor was anyone able to see the 2nd pass at 8 pm. Probably because the Hubble Space Telescope was so dim, low in the sky and the SW sky was not very dark. But we did get to see the 6:50 pm Iridium flare in the North just as I was winding up my green laser night sky tour.

We set up in the usual spot by the middle picnic table and Larry set up his big 9.25" Celestron scope next to us in front of the 1st picnic table. Larry might have been the only one to see Comet Catalina visually through his scope. Next to us in front of the 3rd table, Sam set up and a bit further away Kurt and his 12 year old son Kyle set up two scopes. At the end of the area on the right, Kelee Eiselien set up and Willis joined her.

Across from us George set up his scope with his wife Peggy and was shooting some pictures that included Comet Catalina and galaxy M81. Behind him, Marcello Reginato set up his big scope and was also shooting pictures of Comet Catalina & M81. Jennifer set up her scope to my left of George and her friend Ken had fun viewing objects. Nearby, David Nussdorfer had his scope set up and was trying to view Jupiter when it rose late in the evening.

Ves was the first to set up his scope (8" Meade LS) past the 2nd gate and later was joined by Kevin & Robert. Also in the area was David Murphy who had left his star atlas at BSC so was glad to get it back. Barton Pembroke attended the star party as did Bonnie & Marty along with WM Lee, Tony Lee and their guests David Lee & Jefferey Lehew. Brand new member Bassel Sommakia, who joined the OCA Friday evening, also attended the star party and seemed to have fun.

When it started getting dark, Orion was bright and stunning and a favorite telescope target was the Orion Nebula, M42 which looked great in our scope and others showing lots of nebulosity and all 4 stars in the Trapezium. I wasn't able to find the Catalina Comet or M81 as the sky was just too bright with the Moon light but the open star clusters M41, M46 & M47 looked great. Jupiter was disappointing as shimmered too much while low in the sky but Uranus looked good. Double star Almach was a favorite in our scope showing the blue companion star.

It did get somewhat cold and the temperature was 55 F at 7 pm then had dropped to 46 F at 9:45 pm when the last person shut down and left. We were lucky to have clear skies throughout the evening. We closed the gate about 10 pm and felt we had another successful BSC star party with about 35 people attending.

Please forgive us if I missed anyone or we got your names spelled wrong. Bonnie tries hard to log in everyone and get your names right.

Steve & Bonnie