Nightfall 2016
Well, here we are again at Borrego Springs for Nightfall 2016. The star party started on Thurday this year. And as usual we started the festivities with the traditional social at the bar and patio in the main building.
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The bar was really hopping with old friends getting together over a coke (or something a bit stronger).
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Some of the astronomers starting to gather on the patio.
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This year the temperature was around 80 degrees during the day and very comfortable at night. Fred and Carol having a refresher on the patio.
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Lynne and Jeff just settling in for a nice visit before the announcements begin.
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CCW - Lynne, Jeff, Annie, Fred, Carol, Ron and Al.
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Fred posing with one of the locals.
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Once again Fred was kind enough to ler me mooch a spot with him on his RV slip. Fred didn't set up for a couple of nights as the forecast wasn't the greatest.
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This was first light for my new camera, an SBIG STF-8300m with filter wheel. The first night was mostly aboiut getting a good polar alignment. I did get a few subs that first night and the next and practiced doing some flat frames, but when I did a quick process on them the colors were atrociously out of whack! Al suggested that a couple of filters might be mis-assigned. So, on the morning of day three I took the filter wheel apart and sure enough the red and green filters were swapped around. Many thanks to Al for salvaging the entire trip!
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Fred, Al (and Annie) and I (and Carol) came down a day early to get a jump on things. First things first - we headed down to Carmalita's for dinner and got all caught up with each other. Then it was back to Palm Canyon to get ready for the first night. Here's Al taking some twilight flats for the images he'll be taking when it gets dark.
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This one was taken from Al's spot looking toward my spot just to show that there were a lot of telescopes this year. I'm guessing that there were about 200-250 scopes in all this year and it looked like the majority of them were imagers. Nice!
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Fred coming out of his cocoon after a nice afternoon nap. This year the afternoon naps were fantastic - that is if we weren't out by the pool.
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On Saturday we always have a BBQ to celebrate another successful three days (and nights). Everyone brings something to BBQ for themselves as well as a side to share.
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Jeff and Lynne pulling up with some goodies for dinner.
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CCW - Ron, Carol, Fred, Jeff, Lynne, Al and last but not least - Annie.
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Jeff on the far left and Fred at the BBQ pit. The guys in charge of the charcoal used a lot so it was kind hard to get close enough to get to your food and flip it over. I'm still re-growing the hairs on my knuckles :)
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Some of the folks cooking up their dinner. There was a great turnout. You just had to wait until there was room at the BBQ to elbow your way in.
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Two lovebirds - Al and Annie. A wonderful couple! Al has been a fantastic resource for imaging and things astronomical in general. Annie's company, Locatelli Moving, did the move for Carol and I when we moved to Lincoln. She made it a great experience. Thanks!
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The best part of the BBQ is the desert table. Lots of cookies, pie and cake. Jeff, Al and Lynne on the prowl for sugar.
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The mountains are off to the west toward San Diego. They normally stop any clouds from slipping over. One afternoon we could see lots of heavy rain for about an hour up along the peaks while it stayed dry and clear for us on the east side.
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Jeff, Al and Annie with Al's big Dob.
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Gotta get those selfies. Jeff, Ron and Al.
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Jeff getting his 14" telescope ready. Jeff and I have the same mount, the AP900 GOTO. A fantastic mount whether imaging or visual.
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There's me getting ready for the evening. Red plastic over the laptop screen to reduce the light and not tick off my neighbors.
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Al and Annie stayed an extra night but had to get back to Santa Cruz for work. Sorry to see them go.
Al, Doc, Carol and Annie.
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There they go.
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Jeff was sharing Al's RV slip. So, when he took off Jeff came over and set up with Fred and I.
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Once the star party is over Palm Canyon turns into a ghost town for a few days before the next group comes in. Fred and I stayed an extra three nights to make it a seven night trip. Of course nights five and six were marginal but we had a great time anyway. The maintenance guy was really nice and kept a lot of the RV park and hotel lights red for us on the extra nights.
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I sent this picture of Fred to Al who left that morning to let him know that the further away he got, the better the weather got :)
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We forgot to get the traditional picture of everyone with the club banner. We'll just have to make do with Jeff, Fred and Ron.
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Another shot of us and the banner. The hot tub was great, too. This is the pool area for the RV park. Right behind Carol (taking the picture) is the building where our room was and the other pool area.
Borrego-Sun Nightfall Article
On the second to last night a nice young lady came by and asked a lot of great questions and took some pictures of Fred and I with our gear. Turns out she was a young journalist from Oregon working at the property that season. The Borrego-Sun had asked her to write an article about the Nightfall Star Party. I sent her a couple images that I shot at a previous Nightfall. The paper didn't use her article but used someone else's - but they did us my photo. I am officially published! Wow!
This is the image they used - M81. Click on it to read the article.
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