All Arizona Star Party October 2008

Another 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 noise.  

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. 

Here is Chris' (Ozy) Televue 125 mounted on a Paramount ME.  Chris gets the award for the best mounted scope on the field.  I think he could image in a hericane with this setup.  However when I got up at 4AM to park my scope and take some darks I noticed some beeping.  At first I though it was my scope being mad for tracking past the meridian, but it turned out to be his being mad for running out of battery power.


It was nice to see Meade out with us so far from civilization. They were showing off their 12" coma corrected LX200 and the 16" lightbridge.  They were also kind enough to donate some eyepieces and a MySky for the raffle.  

Ron's famous observing chairs!

Jim waiting for dark

The field of dreams

Waiting for spaghetti and the raffle

Give me shade!

Kevin in front of his new 16" dob!





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