All Arizona Star Party October
All Arizona Star Party has come and gone. Again I spent both Friday
October 24th and Saturday October 25th out in the dust heat and
cold. There were fewer people this year than last. Friday had
maybe 40 and Saturday was about 80 or so. I don't judge the success
of a star party by the number of participants however but by the company
and the quality of the night sky. Friday night this year was
spectacular although very cold by Arizona standards. My thermometer
measured 37F right before sunrise! That was a bit of a shock when it
was forecast to be in the 50's. I pushed through the cold however as
I had pictures to take and everything else was working perfectly.
The cold in fact makes my Canon Rebel behave much nicer with much less
Daytime highs were
uncomfortably warm. My thermometer registered 108F, but it was in
the sun. Best guess for the shade temperature was about 95F.
Quite a contrast from night to day.
I didn't take as many
pictures of the party itself this year as last, but spent most of my time
shooting through my scope after dark. Friday night resulted in some really
excellent images. My new Astro-physics 900 mount didn't disappoint
and even with just a rough polar alignment (just used the polar scope) I
was able to shoot 12 minute exposures without a hitch.
To the left is my
setup. I dedicated the two nights to imaging. You can see my M33
here, my M45 here and my Horsehead
here. I had redundant batteries and you can see my flat
field box at the base of the pier. The AP900 mount was a joy!
To the right you can see our
local group of observers.