Observing Report --Mount Tamalpais 4/5/03

by Jane Houston Jones

When we arrived on beautiful Mount Tamalpais at 5:00 p.m. we planned to take a hike in the meadow near our observing site and see the panoramic views before getting set for the first star party of 2003. The Rock Springs parking lot is where the SFAA holds monthly star parties from April until September every new moon Saturday night.

It was so cold and windy we immediatly put on all our observing clothes and broke out the chemical hand warmers. We decided not to set up solar telescopes, took a short hike and warmed up in our vehicle. It was already cold and very windy, as predicted on the weather loops. A few solar telescopes were already set up. Kerry Sagar had his new Coronado filter and refractor set up. Another SCT and Kerry's 8-inch dob were aimed at the moon. We stayed in our car and snacked on meat loaf sandwiches and Merlot. :-)

Close to dusk we set up f/5.75 12.5-inch and f/4.8 14.5-inch reflectors. Eventually 12 telescopes set up, and another half dozen (at least) other astronomers arrived with telescopes and just didin't bother setting up due to the wind and cold. An additional half dozen just didn't even bother bringing a scope but came up for moral support and to mooch views

Mercury and Moon, Saturn and Jupiter looked quite good early at low power.Leo and Ursa Major gals wowed everybody. There were only a few visitors early - most people come to hear the lecture at 8:00 p.m. then look through the telescopes at 9:00 p.m. Sometimes the audience is 400 - last night maybe 100 or less. When the talk was over the people who were not frozen came to the telescopes. It was so cold and windy that by 10:00 p.m. we all packed up and headed home. When we got home we watched Thunderbids, a 1960's era sci- fi puppet show filmed in"Supermarionation" showing on Tech TV now. Lots of fun!

DateApril 5, 2003
Observing Time6:30pm to 10:00pm PST
LocationMount Tamalpais State Park Lat 37.88 long 122.54 elevation 1970 feet
Equipment12.5" f/4.75 reflector
Eyepieces22 Televue Panoptic mostly 83x
Sky ConditionsLM using IMO area 4 alpha-epsilon-beta Gem 9 stars - 5.6 transparency 3/10; seeing 3/10
Temp/R.H.39 degrees RH 70 percent steady all night, 20+ mph winds