STAR PARTY - TUCSON - 16 FEBRUARY 2013
Updated: 17 February 2013
On Saturday, 16 February 2013, I attended the star party sponsored by Astronomy magazine, International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association (TAAA).
During the day there were five presentations and some solar observing.
The talks were excellent and well received by the attendees.
At night there was some observing using telescopes provided by members of the TAAA and a Meade 14" LX200GPS in an observatory at the Pima Community College East Campus.
There were booths set up in the main hallway:
This is the telescope area set up for solar viewing:
Astronomy Magazine gave a presentation and also introduced other speakers:
Prior to the second presentation, I was talking to the speaker and happened to mention my successful imaging of Asteroid 2012 DA14 after its close approach to the Earth on Friday, 15 February 2013. After seeing what I had done, he wanted to show my images at the beginning of his presentation:
Here's a closeup of the screen showing my web site with the images:
(You can view my full report with the images on my Cassiopeia Observatory web site.)
The presentations ended just prior to sunset. Here are more telescopes set up at sunset for the star party:
There was even a Meade ETX-125AT:
This is the 14" LX200GPS:
A little story about the Meade 14" LX200GPS seen above:
One of the speakers had mentioned that the 14" was available for observing requests. Just tell the operator what you wanted to try to see. After sunset I went to the observatory and made my request (Sirius B, the "Pup" star, which I had seen recently with my 8" LX200-ACF). I learned that the telescope had been unused for the past year. And two days prior to the star party, the operator was asked to get it working. He had never used the telescope, nor ANY telescope, before. When I learned that, I volunteered to help him, which he gratefully accepted. He actually had taught himself a great deal about operating the telescope, but since the telescope had been unused for so long, there were some oddities that I had to deal with. I spent most of the night-time star party (about 3 hours) assisting with target objection selection, tweaking the telescope optical and AutoStar alignments, and of course, viewing through the 14" telescope. I was happy to help out and everyone had a great time.
Did we see Sirius B? No. Seeing was not good enough to separate it from the glare of Sirius A. In additional, the telescope was not well collimated, which was not surprising given its history of dis-use. And the pier used in the observatory was not suited to a telescope the size of the 14".
Thanks go out to Astronomy Magazine, IDA, TAAA, and the college for putting on a great event.
Go to the ETX Home Page.
Go to the Cassiopeia Observatory web site.