Monday, May 14, 2007
Texas Star Party, Sunday-Monday
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Here we are at the Prude Ranch for the Texas Star Party. It took us about 7 and a half hours to drive 450 miles, but that included some extra stops for the boy. The upper field is pretty full, but there's still room. The middle and lower fields have plenty of space.
We got set up in plenty of time before dark--and dark is the operative word here. It's a little clichéd, but it really is hard to make out the constellations with all the "extra" stars around. Before it set, Venus was bright enough that I could cast a shadow passing one hand in front of the other. I was out until about 1:00 this morning, cruising around Leo, Virgo & Canopus. Omega Centauri is just a few degrees above the horizon, but still way more impressive than M13. I could see the "bridge" in M51. M104 looked like a single unprocessed image--the dust lane was easy, and there was a nice bulge around the center with averted vision.
Today was Malt Day. We met up with several people from Cloudy Nights and went into town to the Old Texas Inn for chocolate malts. It's fun to put faces to names.
There's some serious astronomy gear set up here. I has looking at a telescope and mount combination this afternoon that not only costs more than my car, it costs more than my and Trudy's cars together. Further up the field is a telescope with a 36" mirror. You can't really appreciate how big that is until you see that big hunk of glass. It requires a pretty tall ladder to reach the eyepiece when it's pointed straight up.
Anyway, I don't know if we'll get to observe anything tonight: We're just sitting here watching the rain fall. There was a pretty good thunderstorm this afternoon, and it's still kinda dreary.