CalStar 2003 Top Memories
by James Turley
Here are my Top Memories of the CalStar 2003, dubbed the "Gegenschein"
- Reclining like a Sleeping Buddha under Craig and Elena's monster 8"
F/13 refractor, getting lost in the dust lanes of M31, wishing for a
flying carpet, a Persian rug, and a hookah.
- Watching the fog roll in at 530am each night as the sun rose below
Saturn as I shut my eyes from a 9 hour observing session, and waking
later, just as the fog was burning off. Celestial timing to perfection,
optimized for the sleep depraved astronomer.
- The Gegenschein thing, previously discussed
- Admiring my courage to mount the ladder of the 36" after having just
visited Steve Sergeant (see below), and surviving the view of Network
filaments of the Veil.
- Visiting Steve Sergeant to sip rare and old Highland Malts, sipping
from the 2" end cap of my MaxBright AP Diagonal.
- The life altering view of the Veil from Carl's 18" Obsession, BEFORE
Bunyan got there.
- Saturn at 435x AND HOLDING in my little 4.5" APO, derived from a high
barlow, Nag zoom stack. Saturn at 435x in the Carl 18". Saturn at
600-900x from the Monster 8" Refractor.
- WDing with new-Papa Carl in the hills behind the Observing Site.
Carl, where's that shot?
- The Redondo Vista Hot Springs Tub and Spa. Thanks for Evan Garber's
idea of hitting all the buttons at once. Thanks Stacy for reserving the
private stall :-)
- Morning Breakfast at Chez Wright, with French Toast from Dan, fluffy
omelets from Koop.
- Our Nocturnal friends, the Coon Brothers, enjoying the a fine Banquet
at Carl's Astro castle, forcing him to cower in fear in his van each
night. In addition to liberating Carl's entire pantry, they managed to
eat my dozen chocolate dipped donuts I was saving for dinner :-)
- Relaxing in the sylvan shade behind the visitors center with Marek.
Just us, a terraced rolling green lawn shaded by giant Blue Oaks, fawns
frolicking in the freshly watered grass, casting a far off glance to the
lake in the clear distance. Lovely spot, complete with 110v, picnic
tables in the shade of the veranda, restrooms, and stuffed animals.
- Aligning my scope and SS2000 Vixen Goto on GP-DX mount Thursday night
7PM, and by 530am on Sunday, I never had to hit the Align button, not
once. Must have slewed 1000 times, and each time, the object was smack
in the middle. Thank you Phil Chambers. Wow!
- A thin Islamic new Crescent moon following the Sun on the Friday
night. Did anyone get a shot? Lovely.
- Meade's Best Tour with Dan Wright, each night, seeing stuff I'd never
dream of looking at.
- Admiring the frolic, laughter, delight, and energy of the Tom
Collett's high school students, while he taught them
to navigate and appreciate the skies in the school scope. Way to go Tom.
- Watching Kevin S reading old newspapers each morning at his camp, like
some proper gentleman.
- Watching Dan Wright code up a random number generator in Excel to
support the Raffle. I was a winner :-)
- Visiting Steve Sergeant, did I say that?
- 24 total hours of observing under Dark Skies, interrupted only by the
- Missing my buddies who couldn't be there with me.
- Playing the William Tell Overture to the field during the final
moments of Tear Down on the Field. A perfect accompaniment to watching
Craig and Elena stuff that 8" F/13 refractor into the Volkswagen.
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