Castro Valley and a disturbing new trend?

by Richard Crisp

After two weeks in Asia I finally returned home on Saturday morning and decided to set up in the backyard last night. I was oh so tempted to go to the Peak, as it looked like it might be pretty good, but I chanced it in the backyard instead. It is just a lot easier to not have to pack up etc.

It was first light for my new ST10XE that I purchased before Christmas (which cursed the weather during my entire two weeks off over the holidays) and one never knows how a major equipment configuration change will affect the "field rig". Being first light on a new configuration, I was concerned I'd not get it right when I packed up for a field night. You know the routine: you get halfway down to the Peak and then you realize you can't do anything because you forgot to pack something critical. From that perspective the backyard was the safe bet. The weather was an entirely different matter.

The weather was gorgeous in the early afternoon, but by sundown the dreaded muck was beginning to appear in the southwestern sky.

I managed to get a few focus runs done and got polar aligned but alas, the clouds deprived me again. It seems to me that more costly and the longer I wanted a piece of gear, the more likely I will be shot down for N nights in a row when I finally get it. In this case I've been after a "10" series camera for well over a year and a half, and I am Zero for three weeks of on and off trying. I hope my purgatory time is finally over!

Now for the "disturbing new trend". While watching the clouds fill in the remaining clear sky last night I noticed that there were two bright searchlights shining on the clouds from some place nearby. You know the kind; just like you see in some WWII "Battle of Britian" kind of movie that are looking for the enemy aircraft. Could they be from the Oakland airport? Could they be from a new car dealership that just opened? Maybe it was some other newly opened business? I sure hope it was a one night event, because the last thing any of us need anywhere are searchlights zipping through the skies at night.

I am certainly no fan of more laws that restrict our freedoms etc, but bright white WWII style aircraft searchlights should have no place in a civilized society! Honestly what useful purpose do they serve? Aren't there some kind of regulations that prohibit this nonsense?

Did anyone else see them in the East Bay last night?

Despite all that, it was sure nice to be home again and out in the elements last night, clouds and searchlights not withstanding.