Dark Sky Observing - 2005

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nevers

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Hey Everybody - <br /><br />I finally got a chance to get out to what I call "Dark Skies". True, there are darker sites out there but for me, living in Las Vegas, they are far, far away. I like to go to the Valley of Fire because I feel relatively safe being out by myself, there are some creature comforts available and the scenery is breathtaking.<br /><br />Below is a postcard from last weekend. I had a great time and met some nice people who wandered up into my camp. One fellow had even seen me last year. During my 2 day stay I only saw about 20 new objects: mostly mag 13 galaxies that are of no interest to most people. The nights were kind of "iffy" as far as sky conditions go. I had the usual headlight-in-the-face as people wandered in and out of the campground looking for somewhere to camp. One campsite had an awesome campfire that lite up the entire little valley we were in. I had some disappointing high, thin clouds roll in and out and I had some fun writing on the rocks with my laser. I did happen to met one of the Park Rangers and we're going to try and work out a program for the park where I would bring my 'scopes out and let the public do some viewing.<br /><br />I took a couple of pictures with my 'scopes too. They will follow below. I'm really hoping others will share their pictures as well.
 
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nevers

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Here's a picture of Comet Machholz. It was taken with my Canon Powershot G5 piggy-backed on my Orion AstroView 100mm. After all the mount has been through, I'm surprised that it can still track decently! It's been blown over 3 times: the last time one of the brackets on the dovetail broke off and I had to fix it with JB Weld. So far, it's holding out pretty good.<br /><br />Anyway, the pix alright. You can't see the tail in the picture as I only took 10 frames.
 
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nevers

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Here's another of the same Comet but through my 5" Refractor. No tail either: it looks more like a Planetary Nebula.
 
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nevers

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I saved the best for last: my best work to date. M42 (The Great Orion Nebula): you be the judge...
 
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nevers

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Thanks c_lou! My website is still in the midst of re-construction. I never realized how painfully slow the pages take to load for dial-up modem users until I myself reverted back to dial-up. It will take some time but I'm slowly changing the pages by reducing the file size of the images so they will load faster.<br /><br />I'm glad you liked the pictures. This was my first chance since I got the Meade LXD55-AR5 way back in last July to get to dark skies. Now that I know how to use my set-up a lot better, I can't wait to get out again and try for some Globular Clusters. I'm still working on attaching a guide-scope so I can try some higher magnification stuff.
 
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nevers

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2005/07/08<br /><br />Time: 2130 – 0400 hrs<br />Location: Cold Creek Canyon, Nevada<br />Altitude: ~6000 ft. ASL<br />Weather: <br />- Temperature = 93 - 68°f<br />- Humidity = 10%<br />- Winds = SW @ 5mph with gust />25mph<br />Moon Phase: 2.3 days<br /><br />Equipment:<br />- Meade Starfinder 16” Dobsonian<br />- Orion SkyQuest 10” Dobsonian<br />- Orion ST80 Refractor<br />- Barska 15 x 70 Binoculars<br /><br />This weekend I decided to go to observe with my ‘scopes at some place new: I ended up at Cold Creek Canyon. Actually, I went with my son John who had been there on a few other occasions. It seemed like it would be a nice place: fairly far from town and the inherent light-pollution, high in elevation and traveled by few people were among its pluses.<br /><br />Friday afternoon we left town and arrived at a “campsite” sometime around 6pm. I say “campsite” because it is a very primitive place. It’s more of an “area” then anything. Once you leave the paved road near the town of Cold Creek, depending on where you want to stop, all the roads are somewhat maintained dirt roads. I would hesitate on taking a car any much farther then the three little stock ponds at the beginning.<br /><br />Anyway, we found a nice little spot on a knoll midway along a ridge just above Cold Creek itself. From the top of the hill you could see the water and it was very tempting not to go down there. I’m afraid the view of the sky would be very limited by the surrounding mountains and hills. By the time we got situated, the Moon was already out. There was a nice alignment of the new Moon, Venus and Mercury. Even though we were pretty high in elevation, the views to the South and West were still obstructed by the Spring Mountains: the chain of mountains that run North and South that are West of Las Vegas. They are part of the Toiyabe National Forest.<br /><br />On the way up the Cold Creek Canyon I noticed something developing in the sky but that by now should not surprise me: clouds. They were nowhere el
 
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eosophobiac

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Brad,<br />Your pix and website are amazing! Keep up the great work! <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p> </p><p> </p> </div>
 
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nevers

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<img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> <img src="/images/icons/blush.gif" /> <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" /> I'm glad you liked them. I'm thinking about offering some of my pictures at my website for "desktop background" images. I'll have to work on that over the weekend.
 
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majornature

Guest
Great Images Brad. They're wonderful and it inspires me to study the stars. Also, I checked out your website... <b> <font color="yellow"> AWESOME!!!!!! </font></b><br /><br /><br /><br /> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <font size="2" color="#14ea50"><strong><font size="1">We are born.  We live.  We experiment.  We rot.  We die.  and the whole process starts all over again!  Imagine That!</font><br /><br /><br /><img id="6e5c6b4c-0657-47dd-9476-1fbb47938264" style="width:176px;height:247px" src="http://sitelife.space.com/ver1.0/Content/images/store/14/4/6e5c6b4c-0657-47dd-9476-1fbb47938264.Large.jpg" alt="blog post photo" width="276" height="440" /><br /></strong></font> </div>
 
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