GSSP 2015
Here we are at the Golden State Star Party, 2015. This is looking out to Fred's spot out in the Oort Cloud. Fred is setting up his shade.
GSSP 2015
Looking out to Big Valley from Fred's spot.
GSSP 2015
Fred, Al, John and I came a day early to help with the set-up activities for GSSP this year. There were only a handful of people there that first day. A real treat to be there with just a few other folks. This was pretty much the view for the entire field.
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GSSP 2015
Here's Fred talking to a couple of fellow astronomers.
GSSP 2015
John getting his site ready to rock and roll.
GSSP 2015
Al's spot with most of the basic set-up done. Just a couple of telescopes to go and he'll be ready to roll.
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GSSP 2015
Al taking a break from the heat. Most of the week it was in the high 80s and low 90s. Add to that the fact that we're at about 4200' and you get typical high desert weather. Hot, dry and dusty. Al is pointing to his trailer to check out his new gear.
GSSP 2015
This year Al put a lot of effort into adding solar power for his equipment. He's got enough juice to power all of his gear all night long with plenty to spare. Very impressive!
GSSP 2015
Fred came down to check on us once our camp sites were finished.
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GSSP 2015
Getting everything ready for around 400 people, their cars and everything else is no easy task. The GSSP committee took all of the volunteers out to the only burger joint in Adin for dinner. About 40 people completely overwhelmed the staff, but they were great dealing with the sudden arrival of a big bunch of hungry astronomers.
GSSP 2015
Here's John's tent before the shady end went up. John really went in comfort this year. Inside he was sleeping on a big, cushy queen size bed.
GSSP 2015
My distinctive orange tent and telescope set up off to the right. This year I noticed that my telescope cover (7 yrs. old) had a lot of small holes in it. This would prove to be an issue later on in the week...
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GSSP 2015
Sunsets in the high desert are always just like this.
GSSP 2015
A view back toward the entry gate (the white shade tent). All of this will be entirely covered in campers and telescopes tomorrow.
GSSP 2015
The field is organized into streets named after the design of our solar system. Mercury is closest in near the entry gate and the Oort Cloud way out past Pluto.
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GSSP 2015
Setting up the main public tents. First, the frame is put together and the vinyl cover is streched over and fastened to the frame.
GSSP 2015
Once the covers are on it's time to get the legs in. Some of the volunteers lift one side while others insert the legs.
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Go to the other side and repeat.
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GSSP 2015
Once all four sections are up they get strapped together. The ground is so hard that a powered auger is needed to start the holes for the giant spikes that anchor the tent down. Once the stake holes are drilled it take two guys with sledge hammers to drive 'em in. Looks like a railroad chain gang :) The winds can gust up to around 30 mph in the afternoons, so it really needs to be seriously fastened down.
GSSP 2015
Here's the finished product on the first night while Rich makes some announcements.
GSSP 2015
A nice picture of one of our amazing sunsets with my rig on the left.
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GSSP 2015
One of our two Bills. Bill has been working on imaging with his DSLR.
GSSP 2015
Bill Seiler with his Hubble dobsonian.
GSSP 2015
Our current president, Jeff Gose setting up his AP900 mount and C11 OTA. Walter and Carol's trailer and camper behind.
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GSSP 2015
There's Lynne Gose getting ready to settle in with a good book. Shade is your best friend out here at GSSP.
GSSP 2015
Al(right) and I relieved Bill(center) and another fellow out at the entry gate. SCAC volunteers for one day of gate duty. Two guys at the gate for two hours all day long. This takes a big load off the GSSP Committee, letting them concentrate on other duties.
GSSP 2015
Jeff and Carol holding down the fort at the gate.
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GSSP 2015
Every year Bill has a new project to work on. This year he's making some field repairs on a new version of his 3-D printer. He noticed that John didn't have an eyepiece cover on his scope, so he made one for him. It only took a couple of hours.
GSSP 2015
Jeff on the left with his AIC shirt and John on the right. In the middle is our surprise attendee, Carl Coker. Carl left UCSC and the club a couple of years ago and is now working on his Ph.D. in Astronomy at Ohio State. It was a real treat to have our resident expert in all things astronomical back with us for a couple of days.
GSSP 2015
There's Carol building her nest in Walter's truck. Walter sleeps in his trailer next door. This year Walter let Carol get some wheel time with the trailer on the drive up from Santa Cruz.
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GSSP 2015
Walter getting camp set up while Bll supervises.
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Waiting for dinner on the first night. Carol, Bill, Fred, Chris and Carl.
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Mr. Albaugh with one of the chuck wagon grills. The whole Albaugh clan comes out to put on a feed for around 400 people. One dinner is sponsored by the Albaugh family and one is sponsored by The Adin General Store.
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GSSP 2015
This page just wouldn't be complete with a picture of me with my imaging rig.
GSSP 2015
Friday evening we had forcasts for thunderstorms. It really didn't look like we would have any weather problems until some virga started to develop just off to the west and started to move our way. We all had just enough time to either get a good cover over our gear or get it torn down and into the car. My weather cover had developed some small holes over the years, so I figured the safest course would be to get all the gear into the car. I then put a big plastic garbage bag over the mount and the weather cover over that. By the time we got eveyone's gear safely covered up it was pouring pretty good.
GSSP 2015
Prior to the rain the field had been exceptionally dry and dusty, which meant that our cars were REALLY dusty. The rain did a pretty good job of washing the cars. It rained pretty hard for about two hours. Can't really see it here, but the rain is really coming down. A bunch of us spent the evening in John's shade cave swapping war stories and staying away from the leaks :) By the time we all got our gear covered some of us were pretty wet. The temperature was still warm so it wasn't too bad.
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GSSP 2015
Even with all of the rain it was still a glorious sunset. As the thunderstorms really got going we had some serious thunder and lightning ranging from a few miles away to right overhead (which was really exciting).
GSSP 2015
The next day after all the rain, we awoke to a beautiful morning. The ground soaked up every drop of the rain and vitually everything dried out overnight. Here's John, Miguel, Jeff, Chris and Bill discussing the excitement from the night before.
GSSP 2015
Saturday evening was the annual Big Valley fundraiser BBQ. There was Tri-tip to Icelandic chicken and everything in-between. My favorite is the pastry table!!! The population of Adin is 276 people, so when the astronomers all show up we more than double the lacal population. We pump a lot of funds into the fundraiser which goes to help fund local emergency social services. Here's Carol and Jeff chowing down :)
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GSSP 2015
This year the BBQ was held in the Adin park. A very nice venue, and this year they had a great turnout. Clockwise from the front:
Lynne, Jeff, Bill, John, Chris and Carol.
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Here's Al, Fred, Chris and Walter.
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Relaxing after stuffing ourselves silly. Carol, Bill, Ron, Annie, John and Chris.
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GSSP 2015
Our last night for this year's GSSP looked pretty iffy for a while. Off to the NE there were some clouds that looked pretty wet. There was a great double rainbow that lasted about an hour.
GSSP 2015
Fortunately the weather was all off to the NE and moving that way. It turned out to be another great night of stars. Another shot of the double rainbow.
The Last Sunset of GSSP 2015
This was taken just before the rain came. You can see the virga that turned into a 2-hr downpour a few minutes later.
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GSSP 2015
Our last sunset for 2015 had a great sliver of the moon along with a nearby Venus in the same phase. A nice treat!
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John's Pictures

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Ron and Chris waiting for dinner.
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Fred, Carl and Ron
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Al and Fred.
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GSSP 2015
This year we had a record number from the Santa Cruz Astronomy club.
Back row: Al, Fred, Miguel, Bill, Bill, Carol, Jeff and John.
Front row: Annie and Doc, Ron, Eileen, Carol and Walter, Lynne and Chris.
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Jeff was holding Lynne's raffle ticket and her ticket won a nice door prize. Here's Jeff accepting for her. Carol also won a nice pair of travel binoculars. SCAC did pretty well, as always, on the door prizes.
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A few minutes later Jeff's own number was called and he won a great new eyepiece. He did get a bit of good-natured heckling for going up twice.
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GSSP 2015
John did some of his usual magic with this timed exposure of the scene to the north west. A beautiful shot!
GSSP 2015