SFAA Star Party on Mount Tam

by Jane Houston Jones

Alot of us Lake Sonoma regulars were at the SFAA picnic at Bootjack picnic area and star party at rock springs on Mount Tam last night. It was the calm before the Mars storm, just a few hikers who stayed for some looks before the normal state park losing hours took effect. Lovely night, poor transparency, good seeing which turned excellent when Mars transited. Most observers were gone by that time, but not us. We drive down the hill watching the moon rise at 4:00 a.m. 10 miles later we were home.

There were over 25 telescopes, from one 20 and several 18-inch reflectors, down to two mighty Orion Starblasts in the reflector department. Refractors ranged from several TV80mm's, at least 4 TV 101's, 2 Meade 6-inchers and our 7-inch AP, which rocked on Mars in the binoviewer. SCTS included a huge C-16-inch with a video hookup at the top of the lot, down the size line to 14-inch,and including just about every size there is. Probably a dozen of these folks would have been at Lake Sonoma last night if not for the annual picnic/star party. No cars, no drive by lights since the park was closed at sunset. :-)